Jürgen Klopp says defeat by Liverpool does not make Chelsea ‘bottlers’

<span>Mauricio Pochettino and Jürgen Klopp on the Wembley touchline.</span><span>Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA</span>
Mauricio Pochettino and Jürgen Klopp on the Wembley touchline.Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Jürgen Klopp has said it is unfair to label Chelsea “bottlers” for their ­Carabao Cup final display and that he felt sorry for Mauricio Pochettino’s team after their defeat by an inexperienced Liverpool.

Chelsea were described as “blue billion‑pound bottle jobs” at Wembley by Gary Neville for a woeful extra‑time performance against an injury‑ravaged Liverpool side featuring four young substitutes. Klopp continues to savour “an immense” victory for his club but believes the accusations aimed at Chelsea were harsh and inaccurate, albeit part of the fallout from a cup final defeat.

The Liverpool manager, who may have to rely on the same young squad for the FA Cup tie at home against Southampton on Wednesday, said: “I understand that people have to talk about it but I was in the other seat as well, losing a final, and people say a lot of things about you that you don’t like to hear. In my case some of them were true, some were not true, just ­guessing what might have happened.

Related: Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool showed Chelsea how to win with young players | Jonathan Wilson

“I’m the one who knows what it’s like to lose five or six finals in a row. I can imagine how it was for Chelsea. Everybody tells you: ‘By the way, you lost the last five and that’s a new record.’ It’s not nice and I really felt for them.

“They didn’t deserve to get all the blame. They played a really good football game, in a final where nobody plays their absolute best football. You just have to beat the opponent, and that’s what we did. That’s why this ‘bottling’ thing is really not mine. I really don’t understand it. They wanted it badly and didn’t get it, and I saw in the faces of the players and Poch after the game that it felt horrible. I don’t think anybody deserves these kind of feelings but in finals it is like that, that one feels like that and the other one is happier. It’s tricky, but it is the world we are living in.”

Ryan Gravenberch will miss at least the fifth-round tie and the Premier League game at Nottingham Forest on Saturday with an ankle ligament injury sustained at Wembley. Wataru Endo is also an injury doubt and Mohamed Salah, Darwin Núñez and Dominik Szoboszlai will again have fitness tests before Klopp finalises his lineup for Southampton. Klopp remains astonished by the manner of the triumph on Sunday.

“It was really touching the way they played and the way they contributed,” Klopp said of the young players. “The situation before we scored, when we got the corner, I don’t think I will ever forget it. ­Caoimhín [­Kelleher] passes the ball out to Wataru, the ball goes left to [Jarell] Quansah, passes it down the line then Dannsy [Jayden Danns] chips the ball, James [McConnell] passes the ball to Bobby Clark, who is waiting between the lines. That is wonderful because these details in football are incredibly important – the positions you are in – and these boys are doing it. It shows it’s possible. I didn’t know it was possible.

“If you’d asked me before this lineup: ‘Can you win a game in extra time against Chelsea?’ No. Impossible. But seeing it and being part of it is super special. I know we won bigger trophies, it just didn’t feel like that in that moment.”