Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accepted part of the blame for Sadio Mane’s missed FA Cup final penalty but rejoiced in the dramatic triumph.
The Reds secured a domestic cup double for the season on Saturday by beating Chelsea at Wembley. In a repeat of the Carabao Cup final, neither Liverpool nor Chelsea could find a winner after 120 minutes.
As a result, it once again came down to spot-kicks to decide the FA Cup final.
While Liverpool won 11-10 in the Carabao Cup and it came down to the goalkeepers, Kostas Tsimikas netted the decisive penalty for the Reds to win 6-5 this time around.
The Reds had gained an early advantage in the shoot-out when Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta hit the post.
However, Senegal international Mane then had his effort saved by fellow countryman Edouard Mendy. Nevertheless, Alisson Becker saved from Mason Mount, allowing Tsimikas to win it where Mane couldn’t.
Klopp told his post-match press conference: “Sadio’s penalty is for sure at least 50 per cent my responsibility because you have to let the boys do what they think they do, but with him I said, ‘He knows you exactly, the goalie, so do the other way around.’
“How very often in my life, I realised it’s better to shut up! But we still made it and honestly it means the world to us.
“It’s massive. It was difficult. The first 25 minutes were the best 25 minutes we played ever against Chelsea, we played an incredible game, but we didn’t score.”
Klopp added that Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel and his players deserve massive respect for their efforts.
“Then it’s clear, Chelsea with the quality they have, they find a way back in the game, they did that,” the manager said.
“There were like ups and downs in the game; they had their chances, we had massive chances, none of us used them. So a penalty shootout is a logical thing.
“Doing it like this feels good but gives you more a sense of how hard it must be for the opponent, because it would have been extremely hard for us in that moment after 120 minutes, losing like this. So, honestly, my respect to Chelsea and what they did.”
Klopp, Liverpool show strength in depth
Liverpool’s latest penalty shoot-out win showed their strength in depth.
Indeed, deputy left-back Tsimikas has had to play second fiddle to Andy Robertson for most of the season.
He has earned more game time than last term, but still has to settle for a sporadic role.
Nevertheless, the FA Cup final was his moment to shine and he stepped up impressively, sending Mendy the wrong way.
Liverpool now have two Premier League games left before their Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris.