In pictures: Chelsea v Liverpool
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has issued an update on the fitness of both Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk after injury scares in their FA Cup final win over Chelsea. Klopp is hopeful both of the pair will be OK but was unable to offer detailed analysis of their fitness issues in the immediate aftermath of their second cup triumph of the season.
Salah was forced off in the first half at Wembley with a muscle problem that has been reported to be a sore groin. And Klopp told ITV after Liverpool won the FA Cup 6-5 on penalties: “Mo is a bit more than Virg. Virg had little problems across the 120 minutes.
“Mo came and I had to make a decision, he said, ‘I could carry on, but I felt a little bit.’ So I took him off. We have the squad. I hope he will be fine.”
The Liverpool manager meanwhile said to ITV of Van Dijk, who was brought off before extra time and replaced by Joel Matip: “I couldn’t be more proud of my boys, the shift they put in, how hard they fought, early changes. I think Virgil is fine but his muscle was hurt.”
Left-back Andy Robertson was also forced off with apparent cramp in extra time. But his replacement Kostas Tsimikas was the hero on the night as he scored the decisive spot-kick for a shootout triumph to spark jubilant smoke-filled scenes at the Liverpool end inside Wembley.
The German added to ITV: “I asked him [Tsimikas] first five if he wanted to take a penalty and he said, ‘Yes, [number] seven or eight.’ So I said, ‘Wow, so I need a first five.’ But all five did really well and Ali saved a sensational pen. Unbelievable.
“Just an incredible game for our supporters. What a day, the weather was fantastic, the atmosphere was outstanding. And we take the cup home, unbelievable.
“It’s heartbreaking to be honest when you think about Chelsea, second time, 120 minutes, we were twice the more lucky side in the penalty shootout. In the game it was up and down. We had really good moments. We played a lot of good stuff against an incredibly strong team.
“I think we played in a lot of moments almost better than ever against Chelsea. We shouldn’t take that for granted. But it’s still 0-0 after 120 minutes. They had their chances obviously as well on counter-attacks and stuff like this. Penalty shoot out, losing one, I hate that. It was really unlucky again [for Chelsea]. We are over the moon.”
Liverpool will desperately hope that Salah, Van Dijk and Robertson’s issues are not serious as they have a Champions League final to play against Real Madrid in Paris on May 28. Fabinho was absent against Chelsea at Wembley but will be fit for the trip to France.
Liverpool have two Premier League matches to play before then knowing an unprecedented quadruple is still possible, if unlikely. They will hope for a favour from West Ham against Manchester City on Sunday before the Anfield outfit face Southampton in midweek.
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