Jurgen Klopp has revealed what he said to Thiago Alcantara after Liverpool’s FA Cup win over Chelsea on Saturday.
The Spaniard missed the League Cup final win over the Londoners back in February after picking up an injury in the warm-up, but has been in superb form since returning to fitness for the Reds and was a stand-out performer against Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Completing the full 120 minutes in midfield, the 31-year-old scored his penalty in the shoot-out as Liverpool clinched a domestic cup double as Klopp’s side go in search of an unprecedented quadruple.
And having seen Thiago become such a vital player for his side since signing from Bayern Munich at the start of last season, the German joked he wished he had signed the playmaker earlier.
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“After the game I said to Thiago, “If I had known what a player you are, I would have signed you four years earlier!”” he told reporters. “He said, “You taught me running!”
“I take that, that’s fine, that’s fine. Obviously he could already play football pretty well but he learned running at Liverpool. It’s fine.”
While Thiago scored his penalty before Kostas Tsimikas sealed the win, Sadio Mane had already missed a golden opportunity to clinch the FA Cup after stepping up for what would have been the winning spot-kick. However, facing compatriot Edouard Mendy, the goalkeeper dived the right way to deny the Reds forward.
And Klopp took responsibility for Mane’s miss after the final whistle, revealing he had spoken to the Senegalese before the shoot-out and influenced his decision.
“Sadio’s penalty is, for sure at least 50% my responsibility,” he said. “Because you have to let the boys do what they think to 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 realise it’s better to shut up. But we still made it and it means the world.”