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The Most Special Trophy I Ever Won, Jürgen Klopp Declares After Carabao Cup Win

Micheal Chukwuebuka, Reporting

IT is no longer news that Virgil Van Dijk headed in the only goal towards the end of extra-time to secure Liverpool their 10th victory in the competition.

The Netherlands international scored with a beautiful header from Kostas Tsimikas’ corner with 118 minutes on the clock to decide who goes home with the League Cup in a thrilling game that ended with Liverpool’s youthful side on the pitch.

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At a press conference after the game, Jürgen Klopp revealed how confident he was before and after Virgil Van Dijk’s winning goal:

“That would be cool if I could see goals coming, I would relax [in] a lot of moments of my life. No, I loved it. I think that was the moment where everything just felt, ‘Come on.’ What we see here today is so exceptional, we might never see again and not because I am on the sideline, because these things don’t happen in football. 

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I got told outside that there’s an English phrase, ‘you don’t win trophies with kids’ – I didn’t know that. Yeah! There are longer careers than mine but in more than 20 years, [it’s] easily the most special trophy I ever won.

“It’s absolutely exceptional. Sometimes I get asked if I’m proud of this, proud of that, proud of that, and it’s really tricky. I wish I could feel pride more often, I just don’t do. Tonight there’s an overwhelming feeling, ‘Oh my God, what’s going on here?’ I was proud of everybody involved in everything here.

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“I was proud of our people for the way they pushed us. I was proud of the staff for creating this kind of atmosphere surrounding where these boys can just do what they are best at. I was proud of our Academy. 

“I was proud of my coaches. I was proud of so many things. It was really overwhelming. It had nothing to do with maybe my last game at Wembley – I checked that, nothing to do with that. It was really because of how everybody contributed, seeing the faces after the game of the kids – Jayden Danns.

“Can you create in football stories which definitely nobody will ever forget? It’s so difficult because this happened before, this happened before, they won it then, there.

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“This tonight, if you find the same story with Academy players coming on against a top, top, top side and still winning it, I never heard.”

ON WHAT THIS VICTORY DOES TO HIS LEGACY..

“I couldn’t care less about my legacy. I’m not here to create one. As a manager of a football club, you are there to do the job actually.

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“Nothing what we did in the last eight-and-a-half years would have happened… it’s not replaceable, you couldn’t have done the same in another club or whatever. It was exactly made for this combination and it’s fantastic. But we learn so much in that time, I learned so much, the people learned so much. 

“It’s not a problem if the manager leaves or whatever, if these people would leave – our supporters – that would be a problem. But as long as they are the way they are, Liverpool Football Club will be fine and that’s the most important thing. But for these kind of things from time to time you need something to really celebrate.

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“Come on, this was so special. You saw the game, you saw the circumstances. We had problems before the game, they became bigger during the game… And then getting through all of this, you see tired players. 

“I have no clue who can play on Wednesday because we had players on the pitch until the end of the game who had problems. We asked Harvey [Elliott] to stay, we asked Lucho [Luis Diaz] to stay up front, don’t go back anymore.

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So, I have no idea who can play on Wednesday but for tonight it is a night I will never forget. If nobody else sees it like that, no problem. For me, it’s a really nice memory forever.”

ON VAN DIJK’S LEADERSHIP..

“I love talking about my players. I really love it. Virgil van Dijk from the first day since he stepped into Liverpool FC is absolutely outstanding. But you anyway in his lesser-good moments go for him like he didn’t want to perform. ‘Why is he like that?’ Sorry, they’re human beings, it happens from time to time.

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That we are not spot on probably happens to you as well. Yes, thank God, he’s absolutely spot on, top shape, we need him; we need them all. I think he learned an important lesson tonight for himself. Not that he needed to learn it, but we gave him the opportunity to learn it. Whatever happens, you always can win the game whatever.

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“Because we couldn’t explain to the players what the plan was. We explain to the players on the outside [that] we want them to do this and that. Majority of the other guys standing on the pitch just adapt to it. Kids come on. Harvey outside, Harvey inside. Joey [Gomez] inside. Stuff like this. I was a player myself and you think, ‘What’s the idea behind that?’ But nobody, I saw it in their faces, nobody thought [that]. Just, ‘OK, come on.’ Then we do it like that. Yeah, he will not forget, not because it was the first trophy as Liverpool captain, [but] just because [of] the circumstances.”

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