Belfast Telegraph

Proud Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool deserve their place in Wembley showpiece

By Robert Jones

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed his players after their penalty shoot-out victory over Stoke in the Capital One Cup semi-final and declared that they deserve their place in the Wembley decider.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Liverpool appeared to be in control of the tie until Marko Arnautovic scored for Stoke on the stroke of half-time, which was enough to give the Potters victory on the night and ensure extra-time.

The two sides couldn't be separated in the additional 30 minutes, however, and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and midfielder Joe Allen were the heroes for Klopp's side in the spot-kicks.

German Klopp said afterwards: "It was great, the atmosphere was special. It was a good game for my side against a difficult side to play against.

"They changed their style. It was (Jack) Butland to (Peter) Crouch so it was difficult to defend.

"We had a few problems, but they didn't have too many opportunities.

"Their goal was double offside but, in the end, we had luck in the penalty shoot-out. Over the whole 120 minutes, the players, crowd and Liverpool deserved it.

"Wembley is a cool place to play football... but we go there to win. It's not much fun to lose."

Klopp will hope to banish his Wembley misery against either Everton or Manchester City, who meet in tonight's second semi-final with the Toffees 2-1 up.

The last time Klopp managed at Wembley, his Borussia Dortmund side lost the Champions League final 2-1 to rivals Bayern Munich thanks to a late Arjen Robben goal.

Potters boss Mark Hughes, however, disagreed with Klopp and insisted his side had performed the better.

He said: "I thought we were by far the better team. We were behind in the tie and I'm proud of what the players produced. Nobody gave us a chance - why they would do that I don't know.

"We've proved for a couple of years that we're a good team. I think Liverpool were delighted to go to penalties and then it's a lottery.

"In terms of a performance, I thought we merited a win. We got a win on paper but the objective was to get to a Wembley final which we didn't."

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez, meanwhile, says he would only play for Liverpool if he were to return to the Premier League.

The 29-year-old left Anfield in a £75m move during July 2014, having scored 84 goals and nearly helping Liverpool win the title.

Suarez said if he was to one day look to move back to England, it would only be for the Reds, having originally signed from Ajax in January 2011.

"You never know what will happen in the future," he said.

"If I was to return to England, it would be to play for Liverpool - not for any other team.

"I have missed the fans. The (Anfield) atmosphere is incredible. The fans know that they are in my heart."

Belfast Telegraph


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