Virgil van Dijk told Darwin Nunez to get his "head down, work and be important" for Liverpool after the striker's decisive cameo performance against Manchester City.

Nunez came on with just under an hour played in Saturday's Community Shield clash between the Premier League champions and the FA Cup winners.

He made a telling impact, winning a penalty when his header struck the arm of Ruben Dias to enable Liverpool to restore their lead through Mohamed Salah after Julian Alvarez had cancelled out Trent Alexander-Arnold's opener.

Nunez, signed from Benfica for a fee of £64million (€75m), with a further £21.4m (€25m) in potential add-ons, capped off a 3-1 triumph for Jurgen Klopp's side with a header late in stoppage time.

The 23-year-old had been the target of criticism and social media jibes following some sloppy performances early in pre-season, though Nunez scored four in a 5-0 rout of RB Leipzig last week and slotted in seamlessly to Liverpool's attack at the King Power Stadium.

Van Dijk shrugged off the criticism of his new team-mate, who the defender explained is already an important player in Liverpool's squad following the departure of club great Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich.

"He's important. He's difficult to play against and hopefully he can show it for the rest of the season," Van Dijk told reporters.

"We all help him in some ways and make sure that he's comfortable, he's calm and just work, and don't focus on what the outside world has to say because everyone has to say something these days. So head down, work and be important for the club.

"I don't speak Spanish, so I'm not saying anything to him at the moment, but we have plenty of Spanish speakers in the team and I know for a fact that they help him, and I don't see anything that bothers him at the moment.

"But we will see, everyone has something to say because there are so platforms to do it. So it can hit you but it shouldn't. Just enjoy your game, enjoy the group, enjoy the club, because we are very blessed to be able to play for Liverpool."

It was a sentiment echoed by midfielder Fabinho, who himself took time to settle into the Premier League following a move from Monaco in 2018.

He said: "We saw he's getting better from the first game of the pre-season. He did really well for the team.

"We've had three weeks of training, so now he knows the way we play a little bit. We are learning the way he plays a little bit more.

"We know he is fast, he's strong and he's a proper number nine. He will be in the box, it looks like the ball follows him, he will always get the chance to score.

"So yeah, I think it's really important for him to score in the first official game in a Liverpool shirt. He will be very important for us this season."

Liverpool's victory marked their first Community Shield triumph under Klopp, at the third time of asking.

Including occasions when the trophy was shared, only Manchester United (21) have won the trophy more times than the Reds (16), whose performance delivered a message to rivals City ahead of the new campaign.

Van Dijk, though, knows using the Community Shield display to predict how Liverpool's season could go would be foolish.

"We can't look to the future," the centre-back added. "It's a boring answer but we knew that, for example, two years ago we had so many injuries, those are part of football as well.

"We are focussing game by game. Hopefully it will be a successful season, better than last season. We are excited to crack on, and we will see what the year brings."

Fabinho has backed Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz to step up in Sadio Mane's absence for Liverpool, though he acknowledged the Uruguay striker may need time to adapt to the Premier League.

Liverpool narrowly missed out on a historic quadruple last term, winning both domestic cups but finishing as runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League as Mane scored 23 goals in all competitions.

The off-season has seen Jurgen Klopp remould his attack after Mane left for Bayern Munich, signing Nunez from Benfica in a deal potentially worth up to £85million (€100.5m), while Diaz made a positive impact after joining from Porto in January.

While Fabinho acknowledged Mane is a "big loss" for Liverpool, he remains confident the Reds' new-look attack will fire them into contention for more silverware next campaign.

"Darwin may need a bit of time to adapt, let's see, but a player like him can really change a team," Fabinho told the Athletic.

"He's a proper number nine. He's a goalscorer. He scored in both games against us in the Champions League. We know how good he is. 

"Even though we lost Sadio, I still believe that we can fight for everything. The team is still really strong.

"For a long time it was always Sadio on the left side. But we have Luis on the left side and we saw how well he played in the second half of last season. Luis will become increasingly important.

"At the end of the season, I spoke a lot with Sadio. He told me about the situation that he could leave. I was always saying to him, 'come on Sadio, stay here. You can win the Premier League and the Champions League right here, don't leave'. But I think he had already made his mind up. We had to respect that.

"Sadio had a really good story in a Liverpool shirt. He played for six years here and during that time he won everything you can win and he decided that he wanted a new challenge. That's okay.

"After the parade in Liverpool, everyone said goodbye to him. We knew there was a good chance he would be leaving. I always kept some hope that he would still stay but then it was all confirmed.

"Losing Sadio is a big loss. He was one of our best players but it's something that we can't change. We have to deal with it. Now other players have to step up and take on greater responsibility."

Next season will also see Fabinho assume a key role as Brazil look to end a 20-year wait for a World Cup win in Qatar, with the Selecao beginning their campaign against Serbia on November 24. 

And the midfield enforcer admitted ending his nation's long drought is in his thoughts as he suggested the timing of the tournament could be a positive for players.

"For us as players, I actually think it's good for us that the World Cup will be in November and December," he added. "Maybe around that time of year, we'll be in our best shape of the season.

"One of my big targets for the season is to play in the World Cup and try to win it for my country. 

"It's been 20 years since Brazil last won the World Cup and the people at home want so much for us to win it for the sixth time.

"I'm focused on giving my maximum to play a good season for Liverpool but I can't lie, the World Cup is also in my thoughts."

Fabinho thinks Mohamed Salah could go on to be regarded as one of the greatest players to ever pull on a Liverpool jersey after signing a new contract.

Salah ended speculation around his future by agreeing a new three-year deal on July 1 – the Egypt forward only had 12 months remaining on his previous deal with the Reds and could have departed as a free agent after the 2022-23 season.

That would have been a significant blow for Liverpool considering Salah's impact since joining from Roma in 2017.

The 30-year-old has made 254 appearances for the Reds and scored 156 goals, assisting 58 more.

Those 156 goals rank Salah ninth on the list of Liverpool's record scorers, while his Premier League goal involvements tally of 164 is third only to Robert Lewandowski (184) and Lionel Messi (200) among players from Europe's big five leagues since August 2017.

He has played a vital role in Liverpool winning six trophies since his arrival, including the Reds' first Premier League crown and a Champions League title, but Fabinho is convinced there could be even more to come from Salah.

Speaking in Bangkok on Monday ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Manchester United, Fabinho said: "We are really happy for [Salah], happy to see him playing for Liverpool.

"He's already a Liverpool legend, but I think he can be one of the best Liverpool players in the history of this club.

"So I'm happy for him, for sure he will continue to score goals and play his best football because he is really important for us."

While pre-season friendlies might be considered of little importance to the average supporter, Harvey Elliott is fully aware of how crucial they could be to him.

The 19-year-old enjoyed an impressive loan spell with Blackburn Rovers in the Championship in 2020-21 and looked set for a prominent role in the first team upon his return.

But a dislocated ankle suffered against Leeds United in September kept Elliott out until February, and while he was able to take part in the final three months of the season, he freely admits he was not himself.

The England Under-21 international's mental state has improved over the off-season, however, and he is eager to make the most of pre-season.

He said: "It's easy to sort of get overwhelmed by the injury and come back, and you keep thinking about it and not feel comfortable and confident and stuff like that, and I think towards the end of the season, I did a little bit, because my form wasn't really there, and I wasn't really myself in training sessions just because I was a bit worried.

"So, I mean, now I feel 100 per cent, that the line has gone through last season. This season is a new one, new achievements to be reached and new goals to be reached as well.

"So I'm just looking forward to it and making sure, as I said, I'm in the best possible position to go out.

"I'll put myself out there to the manager, to the coaching team, to the players that, I'm still here, and I'm still able to play for the team. I'm still able to give my 100 per cent focus and committing to the team."

June 30, 2002, Yokohama. Ronaldo pounces on Rivaldo's dummy to side-foot past Germany's Oliver Kahn, becoming just the ninth man to score twice in a World Cup final and making Brazil champions of the world.

That moment, the pinnacle of the legendary forward's career, remains unmatched to this day for the Selecao, with Brazil failing to add to their five World Cup crowns in the subsequent two decades.

Should Brazil fall short of glory in Qatar later this year, that drought will stretch to at least 24 years, matching their longest wait for World Cup glory since their maiden title in 1958 (also between 1970 and 1994).

For a country whose hopes have been entrusted to such footballing icons as Ronaldinho, Kaka and Neymar in subsequent years, such a drought seems inexplicable, with three quarter-final exits and one historic semi-final humiliation the sum of their efforts since 2002. 

Exactly 20 years on from Brazil's triumph in Japan and South Korea, Stats Perform looks back on that momentous success, questions why it is yet to be repeated, and asks whether Tite's class of 2022 are equipped to bring glory to one of the world's most football-mad nations.

2002: Irresistible Ronaldo fires Selecao to glory in Japan and South Korea

It is no exaggeration to say Brazil's last World Cup win was one of the most impressive triumphs in the competition's history.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's men went from strength to strength after requiring a late Rivaldo penalty to edge a tense opener against eventual third-placed finishers Turkey, winning all seven of their games by an aggregate score of 18-4.

The class of 2002 thus hold the record for the most games won by a nation at a single World Cup, with Ronaldo – coming off an injury-blighted four seasons at Inter in which he managed just 36 Serie A appearances – the star of the show.

Partnering Rivaldo and supplied by Paris Saint-Germain's breakout star Ronaldinho, O Fenomeno netted eight goals across the tournament, the joint-most of any Brazilian at a single World Cup and the highest tally of anyone since West Germany's Gerd Muller struck 10 times in 1970.

 

Ronaldo's 19 shots on target in the tournament has not been matched in any subsequent World Cup, while his total of 34 attempts was more than five different nations managed. 

Quarter-final opponents England, vanquished when Ronaldinho audaciously (perhaps fortuitously) lobbed David Seaman from long-range, were the only side to keep Ronaldo out as he took the competition by storm.

A 25-year-old Ronaldo's final double against Germany represented his 44th and 45th international goals in just his 64th Brazil appearance. He managed just 17 further strikes in the famous yellow shirt during his career.

There was nothing in the 2002 squad's make-up to suggest a long wait for further tournament success was imminent: The experienced Cafu (31 in 2002) and Roberto Carlos (29) were still around in 2006, while future Ballon d'Or winners Ronaldinho (22) and Kaka (20) had their whole careers ahead of them.

How, then, did one of the greatest sides in modern international history contrive to fall so far short in subsequent World Cups?

 

2006-2010: Zidane and Sneijder sparkle as drab Brazil fall short

Brazil looked set for another shot at glory in Germany in 2006. Ronaldinho was crowned the world's best player in 2005; Kaka was to follow in his footsteps in 2007; and Ronaldo had hit a century of goals in his first four seasons with Real Madrid.

Brazil conceded just once in group-stage clashes with Croatia, Australia and Japan before crushing Ghana 3-0 in the last 16, but with Carlos Alberto Parreira cramming his three attacking stars into a rigid 4-4-2 shape, it was France who more closely resembled the Brazil sides of old in the last eight. 

Zinedine Zidane's performance in Frankfurt stands as one of the finest in the competition's history, as he tormented the defending champions' flat midfield before assisting Thierry Henry's winner.

It was the first of two masterful midfield displays to end the World Cup hopes of drab Brazil teams, with Wesley Sneijder assuming Zidane's role as the Netherlands vanquished Dunga's men in South Africa in 2010.

Progressing from the group stages has not been an issue for Brazil. Astonishingly, they are unbeaten in their last 15 group games, last suffering a first-stage defeat against Norway in 1998.

A lack of tactical nous against the world's best, however, has been a legitimate charge, and an understandable one given the identities of some of their head coaches.

Parreira's one Brazilian top-flight title was won way back in 1984, while Dunga's only club-level experience remains, to this day, a dire 2013 campaign with Internacional.

In that context, the return of Scolari, the emergence of Neymar and a home World Cup lifted expectations to monumental levels by 2014, when Brazilian dreams were to be shattered in the most incredible manner imaginable.

2014-2018: Home humiliation and Neymar reliance see Brazilian woes continue

The 2014 World Cup was billed as a festival of football, lit up by jubilant Brazilian crowds and thrilling football – the 171 goals scored across the tournament are the joint-most on record, alongside 1998.

Sadly for Brazil, eventual winners Germany provided 18 of those, with seven coming in a scarcely believable semi-final rout at the Mineirao.

Having gone 5-0 down within 29 minutes in the absence of Neymar and Thiago Silva, Scolari's men collapsed to arguably the greatest humiliation in World Cup history and, as almost goes without saying, the heaviest semi-final defeat the tournament has ever seen.

Only when Yugoslavia faced Zaire in 1974 had a side previously been 5-0 up after 29 minutes at a World Cup, but for all the excitement building around the host nation, Brazil's class of 2014 always appeared flawed.

An over-reliance on Neymar – cruelly sidelined by a dreadful quarter-final challenge from Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga – was clear in both 2014 and 2018, when Brazil fell to a 2-1 defeat to a Kevin De Bruyne-inspired Belgium in Russia.

 

Across those two tournaments, Neymar's six goals and two assists saw him directly involved in 42 per cent of Brazil's goals.

Fluminense striker Fred, ridiculed by many for his performances in 2014, wasn't exactly up to the task of replacing his goal threat, while Gabriel Jesus failed to find the net despite starting every match under Tite in 2018.

Indeed, coming into the 2018 tournament, Neymar – with 55 goals in 85 caps, was the only player in the Brazil squad to have scored more than 12 international goals.

Having achieved the rare feat of holding onto his job after leading Brazil at a World Cup, Tite will hope the emergence of several other stars lessens the burden on his number 10 this time around.

The road to Qatar: Can the class of 2022 end World Cup drought? 

Assuming he remains in charge when they face Serbia on November 24, Tite will become the first coach to lead Brazil at back-to-back World Cups since Tele Santana in 1982 and 1986.

While neither of Santana's campaigns ended in glory, the current boss – a Copa Libertadores and FIFA Club World Cup winner – will hope his six years moulding the side will prove invaluable in Qatar.

Brazil have already ended one mini trophy drought under his watch, winning a first Copa America title in 12 years on home soil in 2019 before finishing as runners-up to Argentina two years later.

Most impressively, Brazil triumphed without the injured Neymar in 2019 as Everton Soares top-scored, and the form of a series of Selecao stars has given Tite enviable squad depth.

In Allison and Ederson, he can choose between arguably the top two goalkeepers in the Premier League, while Fabinho was crucial as Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool fell narrowly short of a historic quadruple last term.

Casemiro, who won his fifth Champions League title with Madrid in May, could partner him in a fearsome midfield duo, but most of the excitement is centred on his club team-mate Vinicius Junior, whose 22 goals and 16 assists for Los Blancos last term suggest he can be the man to dovetail with Neymar.

 

After landing an appealing group-stage draw alongside Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon, the excitement around Brazil is building once more.

With the Selecao topping the FIFA World Rankings, having fairly recent a Copa America win under their belts and possessing some of European football's most-effective players, 2022 seems as good a time as any for Brazil to end 20 years of disappointment and bring 'o Jogo Bonito' to the world once more.

Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho were included in Liverpool's starting line-up for Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Fabinho had not played since the win over Aston Villa on May 10 due to a hamstring injury, while midfield colleague Thiago also damaged a hamstring against Wolves last week.

Manager Jurgen Klopp initially appeared to rule Thiago out of the Stade de France showpiece, but the Spain international – as well as Fabinho – returned to training earlier this week.

The pair were included from the beginning against Madrid, with Klopp making three changes from the 3-1 win against Wolves.

Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, rested last week with an eye on the Madrid clash, were recalled to the XI along with fit-again Thiago.

Jordan Henderson was named in the side for his 57th appearance of the campaign – the most of any player from Europe’s top five leagues this campaign – while it was also his 50th Champions League appearance, making him the fourth English player to hit that milestone for Liverpool.

There were no surprises in Klopp’s line-up, with Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold named in the full-back spots, the latter surpassing Thomas Muller (23 years, 254 days) as the youngest player to start three Champions League finals. Alexander-Arnold featured in this game at the age of 23 years and 233 days.

Saturday's contest marked the third time Liverpool and Madrid had met in a European Cup or Champions League final, making it the most contested trophy match between two sides in the history of the competition.

Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Diaz, Salah, Mane.

Subs: Kelleher, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Minamino, Jota, Tsimikas, Matip, Elliott.

Pele expects to enjoy a strong Brazilian flavour to the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid, but asked on Friday night: "Am I the only one excited?"

The three-time World Cup winner, still considered by many the greatest player in history, pointed to the strong presence of players from the Selecao set to be on show at the Stade de France in Paris.

He noted how Madrid have Vinicius Junior and Casemiro in their ranks, while also suggesting Alisson and Fabinho could have crucial roles for Liverpool in the showpiece match.

Pele could have also mentioned Madrid's Marcelo, Eder Militao and semi-final comeback hero Rodrygo, who scored twice at the death in the second leg against Manchester City to rescue a seemingly lost cause.

Their Brazilian influence is strong, while Liverpool can also point to forward Roberto Firmino in their squad.

Pele wrote on Instagram: "I want to see a great final between @realmadrid and @liverpoolfc tomorrow. My friends @vinijr and @casemiro will have a tough challenge against @alissonbecker and @fabinho. Am I the only one excited about tomorrow's match? I'm sure not!"

The 81-year-old Pele has been battling ill health in recent times, undergoing treatment for colon cancer. He recently said he managed to find "peace" in the company of his wife Marcia and dog Cacau.

"Treatment is difficult, but feeling their love is the best medicine," Pele said.

Jurgen Klopp is expecting both Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho to be fit to feature for Liverpool in Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

The two key midfielders were doubts for the Reds heading to Paris this week.

Thiago hobbled out of the final match of the Premier League season against Wolves with a calf injury, while a hamstring complaint means Fabinho has not played since the win at Aston Villa on May 10.

However, Klopp offered a positive update in his pre-match news conference on Friday.

"The mood is good, very good," the Liverpool manager said. "We're really excited about being here now, getting a feeling of the stadium, the location. That's all good.

"It looks good for both Thiago and Fabinho. Fabinho trained completely normal; Thiago trained yesterday with the team, will train today, and then we will go from there."

Liverpool are unbeaten in the nine games they have played this season without either Thiago or Fabinho in the starting XI, although they have drawn three of those matches.

The pair have appeared together in the line-up 20 times in 2021-22, contributing to an outstanding 17 wins.

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho resumed training on Wednesday in a boost for Jurgen Klopp ahead of the Champions League final.

The Premier League side take on Real Madrid in Paris on Saturday for the biggest prize in European club football, but it was feared Klopp could be without two of his key midfielders.

Thiago Alcantara remained absent from the AXA Training Centre after suffering an Achilles injury in Sunday's win over Wolves, but Fabinho – who has not played since sustaining a muscle strain at Aston Villa two weeks ago – was in attendance and appeared to take part in full training.

Klopp had previously expressed confidence that the Brazil international will be fit for the final.

Liverpool have had a slightly better win percentage this season in all competitions with Fabinho in the side (74.5 per cent with, 73.3 per cent without) and have conceded marginally fewer goals on average (0.7 per game with, 0.9 per game without).

Joe Gomez, who came off injured with an ankle issue in the win at Villa, was also back in training but is unlikely to feature from the off at the Stade de France having made just 11 starts for the Reds in all competitions this season.

Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk have been named among the substitutes for Liverpool's final game of the Premier League season against Wolves at Anfield.

The Reds need to win and hope Manchester City drop points against Aston Villa in order to win the title on the final day – otherwise Pep Guardiola's men will be champions once again.

Divock Origi misses out with a muscle injury in what would have been his final home appearance for Liverpool, with the striker leaving the club at the end of the season, reportedly on his way to Milan.

Salah and Van Dijk both suffered injuries in last week's FA Cup final win against Chelsea, although manager Jurgen Klopp indicated his confidence that both would be fit for next week's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Klopp said on Friday both would be in contention against Wolves, along with Fabinho, but none of the trio make the starting XI. Fabinho, injured at Aston Villa before the cup final, misses out completely.

Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip continue to pair up in defence, while Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita make up the three-man midfield. James Milner – out of contract as things stand – is on the bench.

Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane start in attack, with Liverpool looking to end the season undefeated at home.

With Son Heung-min only a goal behind Salah in the Golden Boot race, Liverpool's talisman will hope to appear at some stage.

Jurgen Klopp understands Mohamed Salah would be keen to play on the final day of the Premier League season and clinch the Golden Boot, but neither Liverpool nor the player are willing to take any risks with his fitness.

Salah sustained a groin injury in Liverpool's FA Cup final win over Chelsea last weekend and missed the midweek victory at Southampton that keeps the Reds in contention for the title.

There could yet be a double celebration for Klopp's men on Sunday, with City only one point ahead while Salah (22 goals) narrowly leads Son Heung-min (21) in the scoring charts.

But given Liverpool also have the Champions League final against Real Madrid to consider the final week, they have to be sure Salah is fit to play.

The winger – who has been nominated for the PFA Fans' Player of the Year, alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Conor Gallagher and Declan Rice – is not the cup winners' only injury concern either.

Virgil van Dijk (knee) was also injured at Wembley, while Fabinho (hamstring) hobbled out of the prior match against Aston Villa. Joe Gomez, who has a history of serious injuries, had an ankle problem at Southampton.

"Joe has good news," Klopp said ahead of Sunday's match against Wolves. "We want a reassuring further scan, but the first was like he and we thought after the game – we were lucky.

"It was a proper knock, but nothing happened. It's the leg where he was injured, so I understand 100 per cent everyone was concerned; I was, until I saw Joe's face in the dressing room, because most of the time we know best about our body.

"The result of this [second] scan is not here yet, but we don't expect anything really different. It's just about reassuring it's all fine.

"And then from there, we go. If it's fine, then it's about pain: how can he deal with pain? We'll see what Joe can do today or tomorrow, but I don't know at the moment.

"With the other boys, it looks all good. What we do with them at the weekend, I have no idea.

"I understand 100 per cent the goalscoring battle with Son Heung-min, but there is no chance we take any risk; Mo doesn't want to take any risk, there's no doubt about that.

"But it looks good, the boys made steps. We will see.

"My preferred solution would be they all could play at the weekend, for rhythm reasons, stuff like this, or at least could be on the bench and we could bring them on or not. But if not, then we take it from there. I cannot say 100 per cent."

Fabinho will definitely be back available for Liverpool's Champions League final against Real Madrid, manager Jurgen Klopp has said.

The Reds were dealt a huge blow ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final against Chelsea with the news that the Brazil international has been ruled out with a muscular injury.

Fabinho was forced off during the first half of Tuesday's 2-1 win over Aston Villa and will not return in time for this weekend's trip to Wembley.

However, providing a further update at his pre-Chelsea news conference on Friday, Klopp confirmed the 28-year-old will be available to face Madrid in Paris on May 28.

"He will definitely be back for the Champions League final," Klopp said. "Whether he will play before that, we don't yet know.

"Fab is a professional. He was obviously not happy about missing the Chelsea match, but he took it and is already taking on the fight against time, if you want. That's how it is.

“It is not enough if you are ready on Friday before the final, it should be Tuesday or Wednesday or something like that and we are working on that.

"We are all very positive that it will be the case. So he is absolutely OK."

Liverpool have lost just three of the 47 games that Fabinho has played in this season, conceding 0.7 goals per game compared to 0.9 in the 12 matches he has not featured.

Jordan Henderson is likely to return to central midfield alongside Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara for the clash with Chelsea, and Klopp has full confidence others can step up.

"If all the other boys didn't show the attitude they have had in training all season, we'd have had no chance this season," he said. That's been very important."

Liverpool are competing in their first FA Cup final since 2011-12 when losing 2-1 to Chelsea, with the most recent of their seven triumphs in the competition coming in 2006.

The Reds have already lifted one cup at the national stadium this year, though, having overcome Chelsea on penalties following a goalless draw in February's EFL Cup final.

Klopp's side are therefore looking to win both of England's domestic cup competitions in the same season for the first time since 2000-01, when also winning the UEFA Cup.

"We didn't 'beat' Chelsea. We won the penalty shoot-out," Klopp said. "I've said a few times, without luck you have no chance, and luck was on our side that day.

"It was a tough, tight game and we know how good Chelsea are and we expect another tough game.

"Both teams will go for all they have. That's what I expect from Chelsea and that's what I especially expect from us this time.

"It's the biggest domestic cup competition in the world. I haven't watched 20 FA Cup finals but I don't think that's necessary to understand how big it is.

"We are really looking forward to this opportunity. The boys worked their socks off to arrive here, with all the different challenges over the year.

"It's now a massive final for us and I'm really happy we are part of it. We always gave our all to arrive to the final [in previous years], we just didn't make it."

The three previous meetings between Liverpool and Chelsea this season have finished level and Klopp is anticipating another tight contest against Thomas Tuchel's side.

"Chelsea are a really well-coached team. They have a similar system to others but a different level," he said.

"They have an idea for all areas. They're organised defensively and offensively, with incredible talent. We have no idea how Thomas will line up. There are so many options."

Fabinho has been ruled out of Saturday's FA Cup final, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hopes the midfielder will return before the end of the season.

Brazil international Fabinho was forced off during the first half of Liverpool's 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday.

It was subsequently confirmed that the 28-year-old had sustained a muscle problem and Klopp has confirmed he will not feature against Chelsea at Wembley.

However, Klopp is confident that Fabinho will make his comeback in time to play against Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28.

"There's a good chance that he will be available for the Champions League final," Klopp told Liverpool's official website. "Not for the weekend."

Liverpool trail Manchester City by three points in the Premier League, with two games remaining. They face Southampton next week and host Wolves in the final fixture of the campaign.

Palmeiras midfielder Danilo has been granted his first call-up to the Brazil squad, while Tite selected Fabinho for the upcoming friendlies in June despite injury concerns over the Liverpool star.

Brazil announced a 27-man squad on Wednesday for friendlies against Korea Republic, Japan and South American rivals Argentina next month.

Fabinho is one of 13 Premier League players called up, despite the midfielder limping off in Liverpool's 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday after suffering a muscle injury.

Reports suggest Fabinho will miss the upcoming FA Cup final against Chelsea, along with league games against Wolves and Southampton, as he faces a race against the clock to feature in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28 as Liverpool hunt an unprecedented quadruple.

Fellow midfielder Danilo was the other notable inclusion by Tite, with the Palmeiras man earning his maiden call-up after impressing at the Club World Cup, where his side were defeated in the final by Chelsea.

On Danilo's inclusion, Tite told reporters: "Danilo is one of those players that we have been following, we are always attentive to players that are emerging. 

"Danilo played well at the Club World Cup in games that we followed live and made visits to the club. We were looking at a series of things on how he performs so we could justify his selection."

Fabinho's Liverpool team-mate Alisson also made the list, along with fellow goalkeeper Ederson, while Manchester United duo Alex Telles and Fred were named alongside Arsenal's Gabriel Magalhaes.

Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes was again selected by Tite and will look to add to his six caps, but there was no room for Magpies team-mate Joelinton, who has impressed since dropping into midfield under Eddie Howe.

Casemiro could partner Guimaraes in the middle alongside Lyon's Lucas Paqueta, while Weverton and Guilherme Arana were the only other two players to feature from Brazil's domestic league.

Tite will have vast experience in the backline to call upon as well, with the likes of Alex Sandro, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and Marquinhos to select from.

Up top, Gabriel Jesus will look to carry over his scoring form from his exploits with Manchester City, with Neymar, Vinicius Junior and Real Madrid's Champions League hero Rodrygo part of a star-studded attacking line-up.

The upcoming friendlies are part of Brazil's penultimate preparations for the 2022 World Cup, where Tite's side are placed in Group G alongside Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras); Alex Sandro (Juventus), Alex Telles (Manchester United), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Danilo (Juventus), Guilherme Arana (Atletico-MG), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain) and Thiago Silva (Chelsea); Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Danilo (Palmeiras), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Lucas Paqueta (Lyon) and Philippe Coutinho (Aston Villa); Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphinha (Leeds), Richarlison (Everton), Rodrygo (Real Madrid) and Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

Liverpool overcame a spirited Villarreal performance to book their spot in the Champions League final with a 3-2 away win, netting three second-half goals after seeing their first-leg lead wiped out in Spain.

Boulaye Dia handed Unai Emery's men an early lead in front of a boisterous home crowd, before Francis Coquelin stunned the below-par visitors by wiping out their aggregate lead on the stroke of half-time.

But Liverpool grew into the game after their dismal start, and after Geronimo Rulli failed to make a routine stop from Fabinho's effort, half-time substitute Diaz headed home to send Jurgen Klopp's men to the final.

Sadio Mane raced clear to round Rulli and roll home a late third to make the result safe before Etienne Capoue was sent off late on, keeping the Reds on course to cap an incredible season by winning four major trophies.

After failing to record a single shot on target at Anfield, the Yellow Submarine needed just three minutes to open the scoring, Dia tapping home after Capoue turned Pervis Estupinan's delivery across goal.

Gerard Moreno saw a close-range header blocked as the visitors produced a dreadful first-half performance, and the Reds' advantage, which looked to be decisive prior to kick-off, was wiped out when Coquelin sparked wild scenes by heading Capoue's cross into the top-left corner.

Trent Alexander-Arnold struck the top of the crossbar with a deflected effort as Liverpool improved after the break, before Fabinho drilled a low shot through the legs of Rulli to restore the visitors' aggregate lead after 62 minutes.

Diaz went close to bending home a superb second moments later, but was on hand to nod home Alexander-Arnold's cross after 67 minutes and put the Reds back in full command of the tie.

The tie was settled once and for all when Mane took advantage of another Rulli error after 74 minutes, rounding the keeper well outside his area before rolling home to secure Liverpool's progress, with Capoue then dismissed for a second yellow card after fouling Curtis Jones.

Jurgen Klopp has revealed he expected nothing less than the stern examination Liverpool were given en route to a 3-1 win at Benfica.

The Reds took control of the sides' Champions League quarter-final tie with victory in Portugal but the game was far less comfortable than the scoreline perhaps suggests.

The hosts created a string of chances after Darwin Nunez had halved the deficit early in the second period and were somewhat unfortunate to concede a potentially decisive Luis Diaz goal late on.

However, the challenge posed by Benfica certainly did not surprise Reds boss Klopp, who said: "In the end, coming here in an away game in the Champions League is tough. Obviously, Benfica fought for their lives. 

"We opened the door a little bit too much but they deserved the goal as well, even when we could have defended probably better. It's not that had absolutely no situations before.

"It was a tough game, what I expected, especially when they scored the crowd was there immediately. We knew it, we always know it, 2-0 is nothing, it's nice but not more. 

"They scored the goal and it was much more open than we wanted but, in the end, we should have scored [more] in the first half, could have scored in the second. 

"They played a really good game but the goalie was anyway the best player, he made a couple of really good saves. That's it, we won it, two goals up, half-time, not more, not less, let's keep going."

Klopp went on to provide a positive update on midfielder Fabinho, who was involved in a nasty clash of heads with Nicolas Otamendi in the final minutes of normal time.

He added: "Fabinho has a little cut – he's fine. It is a cut in the back of his head. It will need a bit of time but he should be fine.”

The German also refused to get overly excited about Liverpool's chances of progression to the semi-finals, insisting Benfica will remain dangerous at Anfield.

He continued: "It's half-time, we have a much better result than before, we know much more about the opponent. 

"They will go for it again, they won at Ajax and ground out all the results they needed in the group stage.

"We are aware of the quality and now we have a nice game in between [against Manchester City] but then we will be ready again for Benfica."

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