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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp describes latest Carabao Cup triumph over Chelsea 'most special' of his career

Jurgen Klopp's hopes of a trophy-laden end to his Liverpool reign are off to the perfect start; he described Liverpool's 10th Carabao Cup triumph, as the most "special trophy" he's ever won and described the victory with so many young players "absolutely exceptional"

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Jurgen Klopp dedicated Liverpool's Carabao Cup final win to a squad and academy

Liverpool began the long goodbye to Jurgen Klopp in style as Virgil van Dijk's header in the final moments of extra-time secured Carabao Cup glory for a threadbare Reds side at Wembley, an achievement the German described as the most special of his career.

Klopp was without 10 first-team players at kick-off and that increased to 11 by the 28th minute as Ryan Gravenberch was carried off on a stretcher, adding to the significant absences of Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Dominik Szoboszlai, Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones and Trent Alexander-Arnold, as well as goalkeeper Alisson.

Only five Liverpool players from their 4-1 win over Chelsea at Anfield less than four weeks ago started at Wembley, while the bench contained six academy graduates aged 21 and under. When the match finished, 18-year-old Jayden Danns, 19-year-olds James McConnell and Bobby Clark as well as Harvey Elliott (20) and Jarell Quansah (21) were out on the field for Liverpool. Conor Bradley (20) had started in defence.

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Highlights from the Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool

"What we see today is so exceptional," a beaming Klopp told a press conference post-match. "We might never see it again, these things don't happen in football. Apparently, you don't win trophies with kids, I didn't know that.

"It is easily the most special trophy I've ever won. It's absolutely exceptional. I wish I could feel pride more often, tonight that's the overwhelming feeling - nothing to do with maybe my last game at Wembley. It was how everyone contributed.

"Seeing the faces of these kids. Nobody will ever forget this story - it's so difficult. This tonight, if you find the same story with academy players coming on against a top side and still winning it, wow."

Yet, with a severely depleted side and almost an entire starting XI unavailable, Klopp's side took the game to in-form Chelsea, who produced an xG tally of 2.28 but could not score against stand-in goalkeeper, and standout performer, Caoimhin Kelleher.

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Liverpool, under the circumstances, could have caved but remained bold and brave in their approach, and were forced to fight courageously before Van Dijk's winner - headed in from a corner in the 118th minute - sealed an unlikely triumph in adversity.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and captain Virgil van Dijk lift the Carabao Cup trophy following their 1-0 win over Chelsea at Wembley

Klopp added: "I couldn't care less about my legacy, I'm not here to create one. I'm here to do the job. We've learned so much in this time. From time to time you need something to really celebrate, this was so special.

"We had problems before before the game, injuries, we had a referee who wasn't up to the level of the game - no common sense again. You see tired players. I have no clue who can play on Wednesday [against Southampton in the FA Cup].

"We finished the game with players who have [injury] problems. But for tonight, it is a night I will never forget. If no one else sees it like that, no problem, but for me it's a really special memory."

'How do you follow Jurgen Klopp?'

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Karen Carney, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Redknapp discuss the challenges facing Jurgen Klopp's successor at Liverpool.

Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp:

"What a man. How do you follow that? How do you follow Jurgen Klopp?

"Trying to come to Liverpool after what he's done and what he's created, it's virtually impossible. It is. The guy is just such a leader of men.

"He's led a city, every Liverpool fan around the world has looked up to that man and what he's achieved.

"He's turned around a club that was struggling at the time and made everyone believe in what he was trying to achieve, and even those young players he has given opportunities to, the belief he has got in all of them.

"He's just an incredible human being."

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