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Liverpool feels the pain after League Cup loss

Soccer

Only “silly idiots” wallow in defeat was Jurgen Klopp’s defiant message for his Liverpool players after his perfect day was ruined by a penalty shootout loss to Manchester City in Sunday’s League Cup final.

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Klopp’s hopes of becoming an instant hero at Anfield by lifting a trophy after only 143 days as manager were dashed in a dramatic climax to Sunday’s Wembley showdown, as City’s players kept their nerve to claim a fourth League Cup triumph.

It was enough to dampen the trademark smile of Liverpool’s German coach and leave him scrabbling around for positives to take from what he admitted was a gut-wrenching defeat.

Yet with the fixture computer throwing up an instant rematch with City in the Premier League at Anfield on Wednesday, there is little time for self-pity.

Defeat, according to Klopp, is a painful lesson, but one his players can learn from.

“You have to feel a defeat. It was important,” he told reporters.

“You have to stand up. Only silly idiots stay on the floor and wait for the next defeat – but for this and for the next time, we need to learn how to feel it.”

It is, however, becoming a familiar feeling for Klopp, who has now lost four consecutive cup finals dating back to former club Borussia Dortmund’s 2013 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich at the same stadium.

He has since lost two German Cup finals and now tasted a maiden disappointment in his new job.

Liverpool’s hopes of winning a record-extending ninth League Cup title took a hit when Simon Mignolet gifted Fernandinho the opening goal, with the Brazilian’s shot from wide in the penalty area squirming under the Liverpool `keeper and into the net.

The Merseysiders scrapped their way back into the encounter, though, with seven minutes of normal time remaining as Philippe Coutinho pounced on a rebound to drill the ball low into the net and force extra time.

Liverpool were perhaps fortunate to reach the shootout as Mignolet set about making up for his error with a string of top-drawer saves but when the referee brought an end to proceedings, the omens were certainly in favour of Klopp’s side.

Prior to Sunday, they had won all five of their cup finals that had gone to shootouts, but their luck ran out as Lucas Leiva, Coutinho and Adam Lallana were denied from the spot by City keeper Willy Caballero, leaving Yaya Toure to drill home the winner.

“It was a great day until the last shot in the penalty shootout,” added Klopp.

“Everything was perfect, a perfect experience – but in the end we lost. We tried everything. I think I can be proud of a lot of things.”

Reuters

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