Klopp emulates Ferguson with dramatic Liverpool FA Cup triumph

By Sports Desk May 14, 2022

Jurgen Klopp has become only the second manager to win the European Cup, EFL Cup, the top-flight title and the FA Cup with the same English club, joining Alex Ferguson.

Klopp's Liverpool side triumphed on penalties over Chelsea for the second time this season on Saturday, as they won 6-5 in the shoot-out after a 0-0 draw to seal the club's first FA Cup success since 2006.

While Chelsea were left to reflect on a third straight FA Cup final defeat, after losses in 2020 and last year to Arsenal and Leicester City respectively, Liverpool's hunt for an unprecedented quadruple continues.

The victory means Klopp has now won the Champions League (2018-19), the Premier League (2019-20) and both of England's domestic cup competitions during his time at Liverpool.

Only Manchester United's managerial great Ferguson, who retired in 2013, had managed that feat with the same English club before.

In a good omen for Liverpool ahead of their clash with Real Madrid in Paris on May 28, they have won both of England's domestic cup tournaments for the first time since 2001, when they also went on to win a European trophy.

Only United (12) and Arsenal (14) have won the FA Cup on more occasions than the Reds (eight).

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    The on-loan Juventus midfielder, brought on in the second half of extra time, missed the only spot-kick as Frankfurt prevailed 5-4 in a game that finished level at 1-1 in Seville on Wednesday.

    It marked the first time Rangers had tasted defeat on penalties in European competition since the 1999-2000 UEFA Cup when losing to Borussia Dortmund in the last 32.

    Ramsey was visibly upset after Rafael Borre converted the decisive penalty for Frankfurt, who are the first German team to win the UEFA Cup or Europa League since Schalke in 1996-97.

    But Page insists he has no worries about selecting the 31-year-old to take a penalty should Wales' upcoming World Cup qualifying play-off against either Scotland or Ukraine go the distance.

    "I have no doubt whatsoever that if it comes to penalties that he will take one," Page said at a news conference on Thursday after naming his 27-man squad for that June 5 showdown in Cardiff.

    Asked if he still has faith in Ramsey, Page said: "Absolutely, 100 per cent. It happens to the best in the world. Top players, they put themselves up.

    "I am so proud of him for putting himself up [to take a penalty]. He is a world-class footballer. He had the courage and conviction to take a penalty. Top players recover from that, no problem."

    Ramsey is part of Wales' latest squad, as is Gareth Bale, who will become a free agent when his Real Madrid contract expires in the coming weeks.

    Bale's agent this week suggested a return to English football is the most likely option, with the forward aiming to keep fit ahead of November's World Cup should Wales qualify for the tournament for the first time in 64 years.

    "I think everybody is probably thinking the same thing about his future," Page said. "It will depend on how results go with regards to what he does next season with a club.

    "The only person who can answer that is Gareth. All I know is whenever he turns up for us he is first class. The full focus on himself is winning this game against Ukraine or Scotland, so he can worry about that after."

    Bale has started just four games for Madrid in all competitions this season and has not been part of their matchday squad for any of their past five games because of a back problem.

    The Wales skipper is back in training, however, and Page expects him to be part of Los Blancos' squad for next week's Champions League final against Liverpool in Paris.

    "I think Gareth puts himself when he is fit to be available for Real Madrid like he does with us," Page said. "It is down to the manager then whether he wants to select him or not in the squad. 

    "I think he is confident he will be involved and we will wait and see whether he is involved. We will then get him in camp as soon as we can."

  • Kohli considering break to 'rejuvenate mentally and physically' amid slump in form Kohli considering break to 'rejuvenate mentally and physically' amid slump in form

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    Kohli, who also gave up the captaincy at Royal Challengers Bangalore last year, has not scored a century in any format since November 2019 when he managed 136 in Kolkata against Bangladesh.

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    "The amount of cricket that I have played and the ups and downs and the toll that it takes on you to play three formats of the game plus the IPL for 10, 11 years non-stop with the seven years of captaincy in between.

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    "So to take a break and when to take a break is obviously something that I need to take a call on, but it is only a healthy decision for anyone to take some time off and just rejuvenate yourself mentally and physically.

    "Not so much physically because physical fitness you keep up with through the course of playing cricket all the time, but it is a mental kind of reset that you need, and you want to be excited for what you are doing. You don't want to feel like you have been forcing yourself into any situation.

    "It's only a thing of creating a balance and finding that balance which is right for you as an individual moving forward and I'll definitely discuss this with all the people involved – [India coach] Rahul [Dravid], the Indian team management, everyone to chart out whatever is best for myself and for the team definitely."

     

    Kohli would not be the first high-profile international player to take a break from cricket to prioritise their mental and physical health, given new England Test captain Ben Stokes did so last year.

    However, Kohli insists he is still enjoying his game as he looks to secure a playoff spot in the IPL with Bangalore.

    "Right now, there is nothing that you can point out saying there is a problem here," Kohli said.

    "I know where my game stands and you cannot come this far in your international career without having the ability to counter the situations and counter conditions and counter different kinds of bowling.

    "So this phase for me is the easier phase to process but I don't want to put this behind me. I want to learn from it and understand that what are the core values that I have as a sports person and as a human being.

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    "My experiences are sacred to me – whatever I have experienced in this phase or in the past as well. 

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    Mbappe's contract with Paris Saint-Germain is due to expire at the end of the season as reports persist that the World Cup winner will move to the Spanish capital.

    The France international has stated he will announce his decision before joining up with Les Bleus for international duty in June, with PSG still hopeful of keeping their talisman at the Parc des Princes.

    Mbappe's 57 goal contributions in all competitions this season can only be bettered by Madrid forward and international team-mate Karim Benzema (59) among players in the top five European leagues.

    Ancelotti could have the pair to call upon in his attack alongside Vinicius Junior next term, but the Italian insists he is concentrating on the European showpiece with Liverpool on May 28 in Paris.

    "I spend my time in Valdebebas [Madrid's training ground], in the car at home or in a restaurant," Ancelotti said ahead of Friday's LaLiga game against Real Betis.

    "Nobody asks me about Mbappe because everyone is thinking about the Champions League final.

    "I don't consider the Mbappe issue; the only thing I have in mind is the Champions League final, and that leaves me very calm."

    Ancelotti will continue to rotate his side against Betis on Friday with the LaLiga title already secured as Madrid eye their 14th European crown.

    Meanwhile, Liverpool remain in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple, having lifted the FA Cup last Saturday against Chelsea and then beaten Southampton on Tuesday to sit one point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with a game to go.

    However, Ancelotti does not believe the contrasting schedules will make a difference when the two teams meet at the Stade de France in UEFA's premier club competition.

    "Liverpool in this period have had more difficulties than us, because they have important games," he added.

    "They have won the FA Cup. We have had the opportunity to think more about this game, but it will not affect the team. We will think about the game from Monday."

    Ancelotti also called on Madrid to enjoy the occasion of the final.

    "We must not forget the happiness of playing this game," he continued. "It is normal to have anxiety and worry about facing a strong team. I am happy to have time to prepare it.

    "We are where many want to be – it is the most important game of the world football. Now we are enjoying it. After the match, there may be more happiness or a bit of sadness."

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