Jürgen Klopp hails Liverpool triumph as ‘most special, a memory for ever’

Jürgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s Carabao Cup triumph as the most special trophy of his 23-year career in manage­ment and proof, to play on the old Alan Hansen quote, that you can win something with kids.

Liverpool were depleted going into the final against Chelsea and had further injury torment when Ryan Gravenberch was taken off on a stretcher after 28 minutes after a poor tackle by Moisés Caicedo. Wataru Endo also left Wembley on crutches having sustained an ankle injury in a tackle with the same ­Chelsea midfielder.

Klopp finished the final with the ­inexperienced youngsters Jayden Danns, James McConnell, Bobby Clark and Jarell Quansah on the pitch.

Related: Liverpool’s fearless youngsters are Jürgen Klopp’s greatest legacy | Jonathan Liew

But Liverpool finished in the ascendency with the captain Virgil van Dijk’s header sealing a record‑extending 10th League Cup triumph late in extra time. The Liverpool manager, who went up to lift the trophy with Van Dijk in his final season in charge, said: “What we see here today is exceptional. We might never see it again. These things don’t happen in football. I got told there’s an English phrase – you don’t win trophies with kids. I didn’t know that.

“In more than 20 years it is easily the most special trophy I have ever won. It is absolutely exceptional. Sometimes people ask me if I’m proud of things and it’s really tricky, I wish I could feel pride more often. But tonight is an overwhelming ­feeling. I was proud of everyone involved in everything here, I was proud of our people for the way they pushed us, I was proud of the staff for creating this kind of atmosphere 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 completely ­overwhelming. It was nothing to do with it being maybe my last game at Wembley. It was really because of how everybody contributed. Seeing the faces after the game of the kids, Jayden Danns … can you create football stories which definitely nobody will ever forget? It’s so difficult. If you find the same story with academy players coming on against a top, top side and still winning it, I’ve never heard of it.”

While filled with pride for his young team, Klopp was incensed by the referee Chris Kavanagh’s performance and appeared to ignore his offer of a handshake after the game. The Liverpool manager said: “I couldn’t care less about my legacy. As a manager of a football club I am there to do the job. It’s not a problem if a manager leaves, if these people would leave, our supporters, that would be a problem. As long as they are the way they are, Liverpool Football Club will be fine and that’s the most important things.

“From time to time you need something to really celebrate. 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. We had a ref who was not up to the level of the game, that didn’t help one team or the other, it was just: ‘What did he see? What is that?’ There was no common sense again, for refs it’s something I’m not sure they teach or ask for it, it’s just not there.

“Then getting through all things. You see tired players. I have no clue who can play on Wednesday [against Southampton in the FA Cup] because we have players on the pitch until the end of the game who had problems. We asked Harvey [Elliott] and Lucho [Luis Díaz] to stay up front and not go back any more. Tonight it is a night I will never forget. It’s a really nice memory for ever.”