Liverpool have a six-man boost for Jürgen Klopp that could give them the Man City edge
As Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga sent his penalty into orbit at the end of a thrilling penalty shootout in the EFL Cup final, it meant Liverpool’s first trophy in nearly two years .
The last piece of silverware for the Reds ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final victory was of course the long-awaited first Premier League title of 2020. It was the club’s fifth major piece of silverware from the Jürgen era. Klopp.
For many stalwarts of Klopp’s reign, winning the Carabao Cup will be just the last medal, but for some it will be their first taste of silverware for the club. In some cases, it will be their first sample of success in their career.
EFL Cup hero Caoimhín Kelleher was at the club when they won the Champions League in 2019 and won the Premier League 12 months later, but he played no part in either competition. Therefore, one could argue that winning the Carabao Cup is his first real honor as he played every round for the Reds en route to victory.
Sunday’s victory represented Ibrahima Konaté’s first golden coin, with the French defender set to claim honors during his time in Germany with RB Leipzig. Kostas Tsimikas had won trophies in Greece with former side Olympiakos, but the Greek defender is one of those in the Liverpool side getting a taste of English success for the first time.
Thiago Alcântara has won virtually every trophy available in club football with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, is also one of those to receive a winner’s medal for the first time in England. Thiago was expected to start in the showpiece event but was heartbreakingly removed from the starting XI during the warm-up due to a muscle injury.
Diogo Jota, who has enjoyed such success since joining Liverpool, also had his first big taste of silverware in his career. Jota celebrated promotion from the Championship with Wolves in 2017-18, but the EFL Cup represents the biggest honor he has won to date.
Harvey Elliott, who would no doubt have played more in this competition if he hadn’t suffered his terrible injury at the start of the season against Leeds, also achieves real success for the first time.
After winning the EFL Cup, there is no doubt that many members of the Liverpool squad who won their first trophy want more. Success breeds more success, and with the club still in contention for the title, not to mention serious Champions League and FA Cup contenders, Sunday may not be Liverpool’s last trip to Wembley this season.
“We all know that right now people are really happy with this team,” Klopp said while preparing for the EFL Cup final. “But in 20 years if you talk about this team, I wouldn’t be surprised if people said, if we don’t win anything anymore: ‘Yes they were good but they should have won more.'”
Sunday’s win over Chelsea could be just the start of four memorable months. For the six players for whom it was a first at Liverpool (and even those who have already won things at Anfield), it will be a boost that could have a positive influence for the rest of the season as they are preparing to fight Manchester City for the title – and possibly the Champions League and FA Cup too.