Sunday Times

Klopp hopes League Cup will be part of ‘wonderful’ book’s last chapter


● Winning the League Cup would be a crucial addition to the final segment of a memoir with Liverpool, the soon-to-depart manager Jürgen Klopp said before his side’s final match against Chelsea this afternoon.

Klopp has announced his decision to step down as Liverpool manager at the end of the season, citing dwindling energy levels.

The 56-year-old, who is the only Liverpool manager to win six different major trophies, would dedicate the victory to everyone connected to the Merseyside club as part of his trophy-laden nine-year epoch.

“I want to win [today at Wembley] but not for me or my trophy cabinet,” Klopp said of the League Cup final. “It is for the boys, for the club, for the people. That is much more important.

“We wrote, and we are still writing, a wonderful book, and when I leave we close that book and put it on the shelf, and then someone else will write a wonderful book. Yes, there is space for some chapters. It is long. I am not there and writing the résumé already? Not at all. I am 100% in trying to create a few special memories on top of what we have done.”

Klopp’s side have a lengthy injury list that could hinder their chances of securing a record-extending 10th League Cup triumph, with the likes of Diogo Jota, Trent AlexanderA­rnold, Alisson and Curtis Jones sidelined and forwards Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai doubtful.

Liverpool’s most recent triumph came in the 2021-22 campaign when they also lifted the FA Cup, and narrowly missed securing a treble, as they finished second in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino called on match officials to make fair decisions.

He does not want the emotions and pressure surroundin­g Klopp’s farewell season to be a factor at play, hoping the referee, Chris Kavanagh, will officiate the challenges at Wembley without the “red” bias.

The Argentine manager pointed out that his side’s penalty appeals were unfairly dismissed during their 4-1 defeat at Anfield in the Premier League last month. “What we need to be sure is that we are going to compete and be fair in every single decision,” he said on Friday.

“When we played against Liverpool in Liverpool, I think not one key decision was for us.

“Two penalties were not given. Duels, 5050s were always for the other colour — always red. I want to be treated in a fair way.

“It’s nice, Liverpool is an amazing club, and I love Klopp. It’s his last season here, and we go to compete in the same way, and to see it for both clubs in the same way. But after my last experience playing there, what I want in Wembley is to go there and not feel the pressure.

“It is to play a game in the same level, and the best team will win. But not to feel the pressure of people around.”

Pochettino was denied the previous chance to get his hands on English silverware during his time at Tottenham Hotspur, having lost the League Cup final to Chelsea in 2015. Liverpool are eyeing a record-extending 10th League Cup victory, while Chelsea are hoping to reignite their shaky season by winning the Cup for the sixth time.

 ?? ?? Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

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