Jurgen Klopp is interested in signing Kylian Mbappe, but accepts Liverpool are not able to compete with Real Madrid for the Paris Saint-Germain forward's signature.

Mbappe is due to be out of contract with PSG next month and revealed last week he is close to making a decision over his future.

Madrid are the strong favourites to sign the France international, while a number of other clubs – Liverpool among them – have also been linked in the past.

According to reports from Spain this week, Liverpool made a late attempt to persuade Mbappe to make the switch to Anfield, rather than the Santiago Bernabeu.

But while Klopp is a fan of Mbappe, he insists Liverpool have no intention of attempting to sign the 23-year-old in the next window.

"Of course we're interested in Kylian. We're not blind," he said ahead of Tuesday's crucial Premier League clash with Southampton.

"I have nothing to say about [the reported contact] between Kylian and Liverpool... it's all fine.

"We like him and if you don’t like him then you have to question yourself. But we cannot be part of these battles; there must be other clubs. He's still a great player."

 

Mbappe has scored 36 goals and provided 21 assists for PSG this season, firing the Parisians to the 10th Ligue 1 title in the club's history.

His total of 57 goal contributions this season can only be bettered by international team-mate Karim Benzema (59) among players in the top-five European leagues this season.

He has been involved in 245 goals in all competitions since his PSG debut in September 2017, which is at least 98 more than any other player for the club over that period.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated the national anthem should never be booed after Jurgen Klopp defended Liverpool fans voicing their disapproval ahead of the FA Cup final.

Boos could be heard ringing around the Liverpool end at Wembley Stadium on Saturday when 'Abide With Me' and national anthem 'God Save the Queen' were performed before kick-off.

More disapproval followed when Prince William, a member of the royal family and chair of the Football Association (FA), shook hands with the Liverpool and Chelsea players.

Liverpool went on to win their eighth FA Cup by defeating Chelsea on penalties, and Klopp described the "majority" of his supporters as "wonderful people" even if he did not want to hear the boos.

"Of course I have thoughts but I think in these situations it's best to ask the question: 'Why does it happen?' Klopp said on Monday ahead of a Premier League clash with Southampton.

"They wouldn't do if there was no reason. I've not been here long enough to understand the reason for it – it's for sure something historical – and that's probably questions you can answer much better than I could ever.

"The majority of our supporters are wonderful people. Really smart, go through lows and highs. They wouldn't do it without reason."

The behaviour of the Liverpool supporters has been met with widespread condemnation and Johnson's official spokesperson criticised the vociferous Reds supporters.

Asked if the Prime Minister believes there is ever a justifiable reason to jeer the anthem, he said: "No. Obviously the events over the weekend, it was a great shame that as we were marking 150 years of the FA Cup that brings people together that a small minority chose to act in that way."

Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, added: "I utterly condemn any fans who booed Prince William at Wembley today.

"The FA Cup final should be an occasion when we come together as a country. It should not be ruined by a minority of fans' totally shameful behaviour.

"In this year of all years – the Queen's Platinum Jubilee – this is dreadful."

Jurgen Klopp hailed the impact of Luis Diaz after he put in a man-of-the-match performance for Liverpool as they beat Chelsea on penalties in the FA Cup final.

Saturday marked the second time Liverpool have beaten Chelsea on penalties at Wembley this season, having also done so in the EFL Cup final in February, where Diaz was similarly among the best players on the pitch.

On this occasion, Diaz had six shots – twice as many as any other player for either team – but did not score as the game ended goalless, denied by Edouard Mendy with his sole effort on target when through on goal in the first half.

In his post-match media conference, Klopp could not hide his joy at the performance of a player who only arrived on Merseyside from Porto at the end of January.

"What a boy, what a story, what a player... but he should have scored!" Klopp joked. "It's so funny, we hug each other and all we shout is 'Vamos' or whatever, all I can speak in these languages.

"I feel lucky, he fits like a glove to our football and that's really, really special."

Liverpool have now lifted the FA Cup eight times – only Arsenal (14) and Manchester United (12) have won it more often.

Klopp was pleased with the latest victory as well as the performance, although he conceded Liverpool were fortunate to win on penalties, even if he did have an explanation for why his side are so good at them, having teamed up with a company called Neuro11, which specialises in improving sporting performance with brain tracking.

"My team know exactly what I feel about them. This is a trophy for the whole club," Klopp said.

"We saw all the faces [of the fans] when we came here on the bus and could see what it means to the people, that we could make it is massive. Game 60 or whatever in an intense season.

"All respect to Chelsea. What a team, what a performance.

"In the end we all know penalties is a lottery, but we did it again. We work together with a company, four guys, we got in touch with them... one is a neuroscientist who said you could train penalties."

Sadio Mane had the chance to win the final for Liverpool with their fifth penalty, having scored the decisive spot-kicks for Senegal in both the Africa Cup of Nations final and World Cup qualifying against Egypt earlier this year.

However, his international team-mate Mendy saved it, and the Reds boss conceded that it was partly his fault as he told Mane to go the other way to where he went in his Senegal successes to throw the Chelsea goalkeeper.

"Sadio's penalty was 50 per cent my responsibility," he said. "He knows the goalie so [I said he should] do it the other way around. How often in my life I thought it better to shut up."

Klopp also had to field questions about the quadruple, on which he dampened expectations slightly after seeing his team have to play 120 minutes, with Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson all substituted through injury or cramp.

Liverpool have now won the EFL Cup and FA Cup, with a Champions League final still to come against Real Madrid on May 28. They still sit three points behind Manchester City in the Premier League with just two games remaining.

"I said before about the quadruple thing, its great we can talk about it," Klopp said. "We sit here now, it's already 20 past nine if my watch is right, and we play Tuesday night against Southampton.

"I think we will have to make a few changes. Last home game of the season for them, [it] will be incredibly tough. [The quadruple is] on if you like, but [possibly] off because of the [fitness] situation.

"This [second] part of the season, my boys drew against Chelsea, City and Tottenham and won all the rest. It's insane.

"If it isn't enough, we will congratulate City. We drew with them twice, we will have to see what we can do next season.

"We came from a season where no one in this room probably apart from me thought we could go again."

Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool's "outstanding" display after they overcame Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out to win the FA Cup final at Wembley.

After two hours of fiercely competitive action ended without a goal – as was the case when the two sides met in February's EFL Cup final, Allison saved Mason Mount's sudden-death spot-kick, allowing Konstantinos Tsimikas to seal Liverpool's first FA Cup triumph since 2006.

The Reds lost Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half before both Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson were substituted after normal time, while Sadio Mane missed their first opportunity to seal victory in the shoot-out.

But Liverpool dug deep to win both domestic cups for the first time since they did so in 2001 under Gerard Houllier, and they could yet add the Premier League and Champions League trophies in a remarkable campaign.

Klopp emulated Alex Ferguson to become only the second manager to win the Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup and the English top-flight title with the same English club.

After also becoming the first German boss to win the FA Cup, Klopp said he could not have been prouder of his team.

He also appeared to hint the discomfort suffered by Van Dijk was not serious after replacing the Netherlands defender with Joel Matip at the start of extra time.

"[We were] outstanding, I have to say it was again the same, an incredibly intense game against Chelsea, they would have deserved it exactly the same way [as us], like in the EFL Cup," he told the BBC.

"Small margins were again the difference and I couldn't be more proud of my boys, what they did, the shift they put in, how they fought, how hard it was...

"[We had] the early change with Mo, Virgil is fine I think – all these things, missing good chances, overcoming good moments from Chelsea and having also good moments, playing a really good game but nothing will change the result…Then the penalty shoot-out was nerve-wrecking, my nails are gone!" 

Chelsea became the first team in FA Cup history to finish as runners-up up in three consecutive seasons, having lost to Arsenal in 2020 and Leicester City last year.

Klopp said he felt for the Blues, who he said had matched his own side in proving they were "mentality monsters."

"I really feel for Chelsea, the second time after 120 minutes that they get nothing, that's hard," he added.

"For us, I'm pretty happy! They're mentality monsters, but I saw mentality monsters in blue as well. It was one penalty, that's it. Chelsea played outstanding, but in the end there must be one winner and that was us today."   

 

Penalty hero Tsimikas revealed Klopp had encouraged him to step up earlier in the shoot-out, but was delighted to have been granted the opportunity to be the match-winner.

"It's very, very special for me," the left-back told the BBC. "The manager asked me which number I want, I said number seven. He said 'why so far down?' and I just said 'I want number seven.' Number seven gave me the opportunity to win the game, I chose the right side and I scored, so I'm very happy for that.

"Of course, we wanted it so much, it was our goal from the start of the season. We still have two more goals to achieve, we'll go for it and hopefully, at the end, everybody will be happy.

"We have to celebrate now, but we still have in our minds the big final and the two upcoming [league] games, and we have to be 100 per cent focused to achieve our goals.

"We gave absolutely everything, we have to celebrate hard, but tomorrow's the next day, we still have a lot to do. We have games in the Premier League and we have a big final {in the Champions League against Real Madrid]."

Of course it was penalties. It was never not going to be penalties.

Thomas Tuchel chose not to bathe the game in narrative and left Kepa Arrizabalaga on the bench this time, but it was another substitute who stepped up to deal Chelsea their second shoot-out agony against Liverpool this season.

The unlikely hero was Kostas Tsimikas, who stepped up to slot home the winning penalty and give the Reds their second trophy of 2021-22.

It meant that Jurgen Klopp became only the second manager to win the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and EFL Cup all with one English club, after Alex Ferguson.

He is also the first German to win the FA Cup and just the second Liverpool manager to take charge of the club in the final of four major domestic/European competitions (EFL Cup, Europa League, Champions League and FA Cup), after the great Bob Paisley. This is another golden era for the Merseysiders, no doubt about it.

As the sun shone down on Wembley Stadium, awash in a sea of blue and red and with a noise that could make the arch quiver, Chelsea and Liverpool played out their latest edition of "No, my German coach is better!"

Both teams had already contested three stunningly close encounters this season, drawing in both league games and with the EFL Cup final having to be decided by the 22nd penalty of a shoot-out.

Why did we ever think this meeting would be different?

The FA Cup final is one of the most traditional days in the football calendar, with 'Abide with Me', the national anthem and a royal presence on show.

 

Tradition was missing from the touchline though as both Tuchel and Klopp arrived dressed in tracksuits and baseball caps, while Chelsea for some reason decided to play in their changed kit of all yellow, perhaps trying to evoke memories for Liverpool of their first-half scare in the recent Champions League semi-final against Villarreal.

The attire may have been casual, but the start from Liverpool was anything but.

It was a case of sun's out, guns out for the Reds as they set about attacking Chelsea from the off, showing more of the intense counter-pressing that saw them through their semi-final with Manchester City a few weeks ago.

As in the EFL Cup final, Luis Diaz was a nuisance on the left, putting two balls into the box that very nearly found team-mates, before the Colombian was denied by Edouard Mendy when put through one-on-one by a sumptuous Trent Alexander-Arnold pass.

But Chelsea had good chances of their own, with Christian Pulisic putting an effort wide while Marcos Alonso was thwarted by Alisson.

It was difficult for much momentum to be gained with four lengthy stoppages for injuries, including Mohamed Salah reliving his experience from the 2018 Champions League final and having to come off in the first half.

Salah's replacement Diogo Jota fired over from an Andrew Robertson cross, while Romelu Lukaku did the same as he tried to outmuscle Virgil van Dijk. Liverpool managed nine shots to Chelsea's three in the opening 45 minutes, with 42 final third entries to their opponents' 18.

Despite that, a well-organised defence from the Blues saw the score remain level, and you wondered just what would it take to separate these two seemingly inseparable entities?

It was Chelsea's turn to start brightly after the break – Alonso and Pulisic going close again. More chances spurned.

As was the case with Liverpool, that initial burst died down, allowing the Reds to have a couple of shots narrowly miss the target through Diaz and Jota.

The woodwork was struck three times in the second half as both teams continued to try, and continued to fail. 

Van Dijk going off, and he was later seen to be hobbling, presented another injury concern for Liverpool heading into extra-time and Chelsea attempted to give Joel Matip a blistering welcome. Yet Liverpool stood firm.

Diaz received a standing ovation as he left the field, his second excellent performance in a Wembley final for the club, and he only joined on the last day of January.

The former Porto man was the first player to have six shots in an FA Cup final since Anthony Martial for Manchester United in 2016, who also did not score.

 

A big rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone went up from the Liverpool end at half-time in extra time while Chelsea fans waved their flags, one last effort to give their teams the slimmest of edges. But this one was destined for spot-kicks.

An early miss from Cesar Azpilicueta meant it looked like an extra-time substitute was going to yet again be his team's downfall, only for the Spaniard to be given a reprieve when Sadio Mane drilled at compatriot Mendy. Sudden death.

But Alisson had a save in his locker, too, getting down to his left to keep out Mason Mount's timid effort, setting the stage for Tsimikas, who had replaced Andrew Robertson, to send Mendy the wrong way and spark celebrations and smoke bombs aplenty in the Liverpool end.

It was yet more domestic cup heartbreak for Chelsea, who having appeared in five of the last six FA Cup finals, have only won one of them.

Liverpool's recent FA Cup record, however, was significantly worse. Klopp had only made it as far as the fifth round on one occasion in six attempts, going out in the fourth round four times and the third round once.

In fairness to Chelsea, much like the EFL Cup final, this one could have gone either way, and it must be remembered that having been in charge of Chelsea for just one year and 108 days, Tuchel has already overseen four major finals, matching Jose Mourinho.

As it was in February, this was Liverpool's day, finding those fine margins and getting over the line to do the EFL Cup and FA Cup double. Not bad for a team that supposedly didn't care about the cups.

A quadruple might now look unlikely given City's league form, but another final, a chance for a third trophy this term, awaits on May 28 in Paris – Real Madrid the opponents.

You'd not bet against that one going to penalties, either.

Konstantinos Tsimikas scored the winning penalty as Liverpool kept their quadruple hopes alive with a 6-5 shoot-out success over Chelsea after an absorbing FA Cup final.

Extra-time substitute Tsimikas sent Edouard Mendy the wrong way with the decisive kick after Alisson saved from Mason Mount, as Jurgen Klopp's side secured a repeat of February's EFL Cup final win after two hours of action ended 0-0.

Liverpool had been dealt a huge blow when Mohamed Salah was forced off through injury in the first half, with Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson also substituted after 90 minutes were through.

But the Reds dug deep to condemn Chelsea to their third consecutive FA Cup final loss, and they could yet add the Premier League and Champions League trophies to their domestic cup double in the coming weeks.

Liverpool may have lost ground in the Premier League title race to Manchester City, but they could claim a second trophy of the campaign when they face Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

A Wembley Stadium meeting between the Blues and the Reds is, of course, nothing new, with Thomas Tuchel paying the penalty – literally – for his ill-fated introduction of Kepa Arrizabalaga in February's EFL Cup final loss.

Revenge will certainly be on Chelsea's minds after substitute Kepa missed the decisive spot-kick in the shoot-out at the end of that goalless draw, and they will be desperate to avoid becoming the first team to lose both domestic English cup finals in the same season since Middlesbrough in 1996-97.

For Liverpool, meanwhile, their pursuit of the quadruple, and with it, footballing immortality, hinges on their ability to see off the Blues.

Who will be crowned the latest winners of football's oldest national competition? Stats Perform takes a look at the key Opta numbers ahead of these two rivals' fourth meeting of the season.

Wembley regulars hunting cup success

Chelsea and Liverpool have met in the final of the FA Cup on just one previous occasion, with Ramires and Didier Drogba firing the London club – then managed by Roberto Di Matteo – to victory just over a decade ago on May 5, 2012.

Both sides have significant pedigree in the competition, with Chelsea making their 16th final appearance and Liverpool featuring in their 15th – only Arsenal (21) and Manchester United (20) have made more such appearances than the duo.

However, neither side have had it all their own way when making it this far, with Chelsea losing each of the last two finals.

The Blues are the first team to qualify for three consecutive finals since Arsenal between 2000-01 and 2002-03, but another defeat would make them the first team since Newcastle United in 1998-99 to lose on their last three final appearances (1973-74, 1997-98, and 1998-99).

Liverpool, however, have lifted the trophy on just 50 per cent of their previous final appearances (7/14). Only two teams have a worse success rate having reached 10 or more finals (Everton, 5/13, and Newcastle, 6/13).

 

Fourth time lucky as deadlocked rivals meet again?

Having both made their names coaching Bundesliga sides Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, Tuchel and Klopp are no strangers to one another, and have become accustomed to head-to-head meetings this season.

Chelsea and Liverpool have already met three times this campaign, twice in the Premier League and once in the EFL Cup final, with each of those games ending level.

Having clung on with 10-men to earn a 1-1 draw at Anfield in August, Chelsea fought back from two goals down in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in January before enduring penalty heartache at Wembley the following month.

 

The last fixture between two English top-fight teams to see more draws in the same campaign was Arsenal v Chelsea in 2017-18 (four).

Fans of a penalty shoot-out, then, could be in for more entertainment on Saturday. 

The Mane for the big occasion

The electrifying form of January arrival Luis Diaz means Klopp's Reds have never had such attacking depth available, but could one of his longest-serving attackers make the difference here?

Since arriving at Anfield in 2016, Sadio Mane has scored six times against Chelsea, with no other player scoring more often against the Blues in that time.

Mane made an important contribution to Liverpool's 3-2 semi-final win over Manchester City, becoming the first player to score a Wembley brace for the club since Steve McManaman in the 1995 League Cup final against Bolton Wanderers.

Should Mane again find the net against one of his favourite opponents, he would become the first Liverpool player to score in consecutive Wembley appearances (when used as a neutral venue) since Phillipe Coutinho in April 2015 and February 2016.

 

Can Werner haunt his former suitors? 

Chelsea forward Timo Werner made headlines on Friday after claiming to have chosen Stamford Bridge over Anfield when he left RB Leipzig in 2020.

And the Germany international will hope to continue his excellent FA Cup campaign if he is chosen to lead the line at Wembley.

No player has made more goal contributions in the competition than Werner this season, with the 26-year-old recording two goals and three assists in the Blues' cup run.

While that tally is more than any Liverpool player has managed in the competition this term, it's also the most any Chelsea player has registered in a single FA Cup campaign since Pedro (six) and Willian (seven) both impressed in 2016-17.

However, Chelsea ended that season by falling to a 2-1 final defeat to Arsene Wenger's Arsenal, so Werner will be hoping any contribution he can make will prove more decisive.

 

Timo Werner insists he has no regrets after choosing Chelsea over Liverpool as the two Premier League clubs prepare for the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp was said to have been a big admirer of Werner when the forward was as Stuttgart and the German was in charge of Borussia Dortmund in 2015.

Klopp subsequently left for Liverpool and was again a frontrunner trying to secure the services of Werner, who came into high demand from Premier League sides after impressing for RB Leipzig in 2020.

However, Chelsea acted the fastest to sign Werner in a £45million deal, beating the likes of Tottenham and Manchester United to the signing, while Liverpool opted for Wolves star Diogo Jota.

The Germany international struggled in his debut Premier League season, scoring six goals in 35 league appearances and converting just over 7.5 per cent of chances.

Werner has yet to hit the heights in the league again this campaign, managing just four goals in 21 games, but his performances in recent months have offered Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel encouragement.

No player has had a direct hand in more FA Cup goals this season than Werner (two goals, three assists) and he does not look back with regrets as Chelsea prepare to face Liverpool at Wembley Stadium.

"The only thing I can say is they have a German manager," the 26-year-old said to Standard Sport when asked about the links to Liverpool. "I have known him for many years before, because when I was in Stuttgart, he talked about going to Dortmund. Then I played not so well, so it was done.

"When I was in Leipzig, I had the possibility to come to the Premier League. Liverpool were also in my thoughts and were a big possibility for me, but at the end I decided for Chelsea and I won the Champions League title last year. It was not the worst decision."

 

Werner also heaped praise on Klopp, who will become just the second Liverpool manager to take charge of the club in the final of four major domestic/European competitions, after Bob Paisley.

"He is one of the best coaches we had in Germany," the striker said of Klopp.

"Not to attack our manager, but over the past years he won the most titles. He has a very nice personality – a personality that the German people love, because he seems like fun.

"The Germans love the types like Thomas Muller, Jurgen Klopp — they have empathy. They say what they think, and that is really important in this business, to not fake something.

"He's real. He is a funny guy and also, with his power on the sideline, he tries to bring the people with him. That's what we Germans like."

 

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel is set to take charge of his fourth major domestic/European final at Chelsea after being at the helm for just one year and 108 days (on the day of the final).

No manager has appeared in more finals in Chelsea's history (Jose Mourinho also four), and Werner was quick to credit Tuchel, while discussing his own problems in front of goal.

"He is on a level now where, when you say who are the best managers, you have only now Klopp, him and [Pep] Guardiola maybe," he added.

"I think maybe he is [demanding], because a lot of strikers this season have struggled a bit. I had so many disappointing moments when I normally can score.

"I know what I can do, because I did it in the past, maybe 100 times. I think it was a lot also on me, a lot on my head to get the things clear in front of goal.

"But you have to keep going and that's the thing that I learned over two seasons. It can't always go up.

"The five years before Chelsea, the last year was always going up. I never had so many problems in terms of scoring as I've had in the last year. But in the end, it helps you, it brings you to another level."

Gary Neville agreed with Jurgen Klopp's verdict on Tottenham under Antonio Conte, believing it shows the coach was not "the right fit" for Manchester United.

United have been linked with Conte on numerous occasions in recent seasons as they have moved from manager to manager since Alex Ferguson's retirement.

The Red Devils have not won the Premier League since Ferguson's final campaign in 2012-13, while Conte has claimed three league titles with three clubs in two countries over the same period.

Now he is seeking to guide Spurs back into the Champions League, frustrating Liverpool to earn a precious 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday.

But the manner in which Conte sets his teams up has been the source of some debate since that match, as Liverpool manager Klopp questioned the tactics employed by his opposite number afterwards. Tottenham had just 34.5 per cent of possession against Liverpool, relying on counter-attacking qualities.

"I don't like this kind of football," Klopp said. "But that's my personal problem. I think they're world class, and I think they should do more for the game."

 

Klopp has the backing of former United captain Neville, who shared a clip of the German's news conference on Twitter as he suggested Conte's style of football would not work at Old Trafford.

"I respect Conte and his football enormously, but this Klopp interview gives the clear reason why he wasn't the right fit for United," Neville wrote.

Former Liverpool man Jamie Carragher, Neville's Sky Sports colleague, replied with evidence of the ex-United man calling for the appointment of Diego Simeone, the Atletico Madrid coach whose tactics might also be considered negative.

But Neville insisted Conte and Simeone were not comparable, suggesting the Atletico boss would work well at United.

"Simeone 4-4-2 aggressive style. Proper United that," Neville responded. "Conte wing backs? No..."

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.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists the Reds still have work to do to secure a spot in the Champions League final, and expects Villarreal to try "with all they have" in Tuesday's semi-final second leg.

The Reds are still chasing a historic quadruple after beating the Yellow Submarine 2-0 in last week's first leg at Anfield, with goals from Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane putting Klopp's team on the brink of a third Champions League final during his seven-year tenure.

Klopp's team produced a dominant performance at Anfield to restrict Villarreal to no attempts on target, and could become the first team since Porto in 2003-04 (against Deportivo La Coruna) to not concede a single shot on target across a two-legged Champions League semi-final.

Liverpool also recorded 22 high turnovers as they suffocated Unai Emery's team, the most by a team in a Champions League knockout game this season and the most Klopp's Reds have ever produced in the competition.

However, Klopp insisted his team would have to withstand a fierce Villarreal response on Tuesday, and said Liverpool would not take anything for granted.

"No [the tie is not over], we know that. It's half-time. In the best possible way, we ignore the result from the first game," Klopp told his pre-match press conference.

"As if it was a cup tie with only one leg and it would be decided in Villarreal, we will try to win there, that's what we want to try, knowing that they will go with all they have, that was clear with all the things Unai said after the game.

"It will be another tough one, but it's fine, the Champions League semi-final should be tough. We never expected it to be easy and this will not be easy. We played a good game at home, and we had better play a good game there as well.

"The Champions League semi-final is the second-most important game you can play [after the final]. That's why whatever happened in the last few weeks is not important.

"You never know if you will reach the semi-final again, if you will ever have another chance to go to the final, you never know. We have an exceptional team here, but nothing is taken for granted, you better treat it carefully and be ready, and we will be ready."

 

Liverpool have won on all five of their Champions League road trips this season. Should Klopp's side win in Spain, they would have played the most away games while maintaining a 100 per cent record by any team in a single European Cup/Champions League campaign.

With the Reds on a 13-match unbeaten streak on their travels in all competitions, Klopp highlighted the importance of having extra options available in his squad compared to previous seasons.

"In general, our last periods of the season are pretty intense, because the Premier League is so difficult," Klopp added.

"It helps that we know, historically we are in the best possible shape [physically], where we don't have to push the boys through like we did in 2018, where we arrived at the final [a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid] pretty much on three wheels, with players coming back from injury and these kinds of things.

"We have to make sure we can make changes here and there and keep them all in rhythm, and to win the football games, that's what it's about."

Tuesday will also see midfielder Thiago Alcantara return to Spain after an outstanding first-leg display in which he attempted over 100 passes, and Klopp said the in-form 31-year-old would start for any team in world football.

"When Thiago is in the shape he is in now, he would play in each team in the world, and he would perform for Spain as well," he added. "He had problems when he arrived here, he got injured, and Spain obviously has a lot of options in midfield because it's an incredibly talented football team.

"But in the shape he's in at the moment he would play for each national team, and not only play in it, he would probably be the outstanding performer. 

"Every person needs to be fit and to gain rhythm and then he can show his best football. If he's in the right place physically, he will show everyone how good he is."

The Premier League witnessed drama at both ends of the table on an absorbing Saturday, as Manchester City and Liverpool continued to trade blows in the title race.

Jurgen Klopp's men downed in-form Newcastle United thanks to Naby Keita's first-half strike, before City responded by cruising to a 4-0 thrashing of Leeds United at Elland Road.

At the other end of the table, Norwich City were condemned to a record sixth Premier League relegation at Aston Villa, and Watford look destined to join them after Burnley continued their incredible upturn in form at Vicarage Road.

After another frantic day of action, Stats Perform looks at some of the key Opta facts from Saturday's contests.

Newcastle United 0-1 Liverpool: Keita continues Reds' run

Liverpool's bid for a remarkable quadruple faced a tough test when they travelled to Eddie Howe's in-form Newcastle in the first clash of the day.

However, Naby Keita's 19th-minute goal proved the difference in a competitive encounter, and was Liverpool's earliest winning goal in a 1-0 Premier League victory since December 2016, when Georginio Wijnaldum netted after eight minutes against Manchester City.

Klopp's side had chances to extend their lead, with home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka making nine saves, his highest tally in a single Premier League match. Since 2003-04, when Opta data began, the only Newcastle goalkeepers to make more saves in a Premier League game are Tim Krul (14 against Tottenham in November 2013) and Karl Darlow (11 against Tottenham in September 2020).

However, a 21st clean sheet of Liverpool's league campaign was enough to move them to the top of the table - only in 2005-06 (22) have the Reds kept more shutouts in a single Premier League campaign.

Liverpool have now picked up 40 points from the last 42 on offer in the competition, and the win turned up the pressure on City ahead of their trip to Leeds later on Saturday.

Leeds United 0-4 Manchester City: Visitors draw on set-peice prowess to reclaim top spot

The Reds were not top of the table for long, however, as City claimed a 4-0 win over relegation-threatened Leeds at Elland Road. Goals from Rodri and Nathan Ake both came from set pieces, meaning City have now scored 18 set-piece goals (excluding penalties) this season, their most in a Premier League campaign since 2013-14 (22).

Pep Guardiola's men have also kept five consecutive away league clean sheets, the best such sequence in the club's history.

After Gabriel Jesus had made the points safe, Fernandinho stuck a superb fourth goal late on, becoming the club's oldest ever Premier League goalscorer at 36 years and 361 days old, overtaking Frank Lampard in 2015 (36 years and 338 days old).

Leeds, meanwhile, are looking over their shoulders after another heavy defeat. They have conceded a remarkable 20 league goals against the two Manchester clubs this season (11 against City, nine against Manchester United) – a new top-flight record for goals conceded against the duo in a single season.

Watford 1-2 Burnley: Clarets' revival continues after Cork ends barren run

Elsewhere, Burnley continued their incredible revival by coming from behind to defeat Watford, making Mike Jackson the first Clarets boss to win three of his first four league games in charge since Jimmy Mullen won his first four in 1991.

After James Tarkowski's own-goal put Watford ahead, Jack Cork ended his run of 84 Premier League games without a goal with his first strike since December 2018 (against Liverpool), before Josh Brownhill scored a late winner.

The Clarets are now five points above the bottom three after winning three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April 2019, having won just three of their previous 21 games.

Roy Hodgson's Watford, meanwhile, look destined for relegation after becoming the first side in English top-flight history to lose 11 consecutive home league matches.

Aston Villa 2-0 Norwich City: Canaries suffer another relegation at Villa Park

Burnley's win had other ramifications, contributing to Norwich suffering their sixth relegation from the Premier League – the most of any club in the competition's history – after the Canaries were beaten at Villa Park.

Remarkably, Norwich have been relegated in each of their last four Premier League seasons (2013-14, 2015-16, 2019-20 and 2021-22). They are only the second side in English league history to suffer relegation in four consecutive campaigns in the top-flight, after Crystal Palace (1992-93, 1994-95, 1997-98 and 2004-05).

 

Dean Smith's men saw their fate sealed after becoming the first team to concede 70 Premier League goals this season after just 34 games, representing the earliest point in any league campaign they have reached 70 concessions since 1956-57 (in their 34th game in the old Third Division South).

Ollie Watkins set the tone for Villa's win with his first-half strike, and he has now scored at least 11 more goals than any other Villa player since his September 2020 debut (25 goals in all competitions).

Steven Gerrard believes extending Jurgen Klopp's contract is Liverpool's "most important signing for many years to come".

Reds boss Klopp signed a two-year extension to his deal at Anfield on Thursday that will keep him tied to the club until 2026.

Gerrard, who is now manager of Aston Villa, played almost his entire career at Liverpool, making 710 appearances, scoring 186 goals and winning two FA Cups, three League Cups, a UEFA Cup and a Champions League with his boyhood club.

Speaking at a media conference ahead of Villa's Premier League match with Norwich City, Gerrard said Klopp's new deal was good news for all Liverpool fans.

"You can tell by the smile," he said when asked what he thought. "Listen, all the Liverpool fans worldwide are absolutely delighted with the news.

"Congratulations to Jurgen and his staff, and I think it'll be Liverpool's most important signing for many years to come. That's how highly we all think of him. [It is] terrific news for Liverpool Football Club."

 

Gerrard has inevitably been linked with an eventual move to manage his former club, having spent a brief spell in charge of Liverpool's under-18 side before moving to Rangers, where he won the club's first Scottish Premiership title in 10 years.

He became manager of Villa in November and has overseen 22 matches so far in all competitions, winning eight, drawing three and losing 11.

Liverpool are still in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple this season, having already won the EFL Cup. Klopp's men have an FA Cup final against Chelsea to come, are 2-0 ahead after the first leg of their Champions League semi-final with Villarreal and sit just a point behind Manchester City at the top of the Premier League with five games remaining, with both scheduled to play Villa in the run-in.

"I think he certainly deserves it for the way he's performed," Gerrard continued. "I think the [Liverpool] fans have been craving that signing for some time, and he's built a world-class team, and I think they're on the cusp of something really special.

"We can have an influence in that, so that'll be interesting when [Liverpool] come to Villa Park. We wish them well outside of that fixture, and I think it's totally deserved and it's fantastic news for Liverpool Football Club. I think it's the most important signing for a very long time at the club."

As Jurgen Klopp sat in front of a tremendously busy media room when he was being presented as Liverpool's new manager in October 2015, he said his mission was to "turn doubters into believers."

He felt Reds fans were a little too used to coming so near yet so far, having not won a league title since 1990 at the time, and only winning one trophy - the 2012 League Cup - since 2006.

Early on in his reign, after his new team had fallen 2-1 behind to Crystal Palace at Anfield, he was aghast at fans leaving the ground with almost 10 minutes to go, saying he felt "pretty alone" in that moment.

Fast-forward to April 2022, and having won the Champions League, the Premier League, a UEFA Super Cup, a FIFA Club World Cup and an EFL Cup since, it is safe to say that the Liverpool fans are now believers as they sang Klopp's name at the top of their lungs during the 2-0 Champions League semi-final first leg victory against Villarreal.

The Reds are still in with a shout of winning an unprecedented quadruple this season having already won the EFL Cup, with an FA Cup final against Chelsea to come, a lead in their Champions League semi, and sitting just a point behind leaders Manchester City in the Premier League title race with five games left.

News that Klopp had signed a two-year extension to his Anfield deal on Thursday, meaning his contract now runs until 2026, came as a huge boost to fans ahead of what promises to be an exciting run-in, and Stats Perform has taken a look at some of the important steps that took those doubters and filled them with such belief.

Darkest before the dawn

There was a lot to clear up in the squad left behind by the outgoing Brendan Rodgers. If you look at the team Klopp chose for his first game in charge against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, you will see names on the bench such as Jerome Sinclair, Joao Teixeira and Conor Randall, names not too familiar to many now.

"There were many full-throttle moments in the game. We need to improve but after working with the players for three days I am completely satisfied," Klopp said after the 0-0 draw, but he knew he had his work cut out.

Although ultimately it was a disappointing league campaign in 2015-16 for Liverpool, finishing eighth with just 60 points, behind both Southampton and West Ham, Klopp did manage to reach two finals, in the EFL Cup and the Europa League.

He ended up losing both of them, on penalties to Man City and 3-1 to Sevilla respectively. The players were despondent, but as detailed earlier this week by Reds captain Jordan Henderson, Klopp insisted his players not mope, but celebrate what they had achieved, and what he was sure was still to come.

First step in the evolution

After adding Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum prior to his first full season in charge, many people were a bit underwhelmed, but those fears were soon allayed as Liverpool set about playing the sort of football they have since become synonymous with.

A 4-3 win at Arsenal on the opening day of the season set the tempo, albeit that was tempered by a 2-0 defeat at Burnley straight after in which Liverpool could do nothing with their 80 per cent possession at Turf Moor.

However, as the season progressed, Klopp was able to get a tune out of a potent front three of Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, with Mane and Coutinho scoring 13 Premier League goals each, while Firmino added 11 more.

A 3-0 win against Middlesbrough at Anfield on the final day of the season sealed a Champions League spot, but the question was, could Liverpool stay competitive in the league while also navigating through a European campaign?

 

No player is bigger than the club

Liverpool had made an addition to their already potent attack by bringing in Mohamed Salah from Roma, but the 2017-18 season looked to be thrown into turmoil before it had begun, with Coutinho handing in a transfer request the day before the opener at Watford.

The Brazilian was forced to stay until the January transfer window before being allowed to move to Barcelona, but it did not exactly slow Klopp's men down, largely thanks to the revelation that was Salah.

The Egyptian plundered 4e goals in all competitions in his debut season with the Reds, and coupled with the addition of Virgil van Dijk in January, led to Liverpool making it all the way to the Champions League final in Kyiv.

They were ultimately beaten by Real Madrid thanks to some odd goalkeeping from Loris Karius and a stunner from Gareth Bale, but it felt like the start of something, rather than the end.

 

Righting wrongs

After adding Alisson and Fabinho to an already strong team, it seemed that Klopp had addressed his two biggest weak points, and so it proved as Liverpool became a near unstoppable force.

They went toe-to-toe with a rampant Man City in the title race, while also showing a determination to avenge their Champions League heartbreak.

They did just that after a remarkable 4-3 aggregate win against Coutinho and Barcelona in the semi-finals, before beating Tottenham 2-0 in Madrid to give Klopp his first trophy at the club, arguably the biggest one of all.

However, in some people's eyes, the biggest one was the Premier League, which they missed out on to City by a single point, despite amassing an incredible 97 themselves. Only City that year and when they achieved 100 the year prior had ever won more points in England's top flight, but it still didn't result in a league title.

Righting wrongs: Part two

Just as they had done in the Champions League, Liverpool had a sense of purpose to go one better in the league in 2019-20, and that led to the title race being over pretty much before it had begun.

A 3-1 win against City at Anfield in the November put the Reds nine points clear of Pep Guardiola's men, and they never looked back, until they were forced to stop their relentless pursuit.

After a break of several weeks following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Liverpool returned to finish the job and seal their first league title in 30 years after going two points better than the year previous, ending the campaign with 99 to their name.

 

The beginning of the end?

The pandemic meant every club had lost their fans, with no-one allowed in grounds. While the increasingly believing Kop was missed, it was not until Klopp started losing his defence that problems emerged in 2020-21.

By mid-November, he had lost Van Dijk and Joe Gomez to long-term injury, and Joel Matip completed the set in January, meaning Liverpool had to play a significant chunk of their campaign with either midfielders, or rookie defenders at centre back.

This led to a downturn in results that had people questioning if the ride was over. Had Klopp's relentless Reds finally run out of steam, and was this the inevitable consequence of shining so brightly?

Thanks to some very hard-earned wins, including a remarkable stoppage time winner from Alisson at West Brom, Liverpool scraped third place and a crucial Champions League spot. Had stories of their demise been greatly exaggerated?

 

The quadruple chasers

Yes, yes they had. With their defenders all back, and Ibrahima Konate added from RB Leipzig, Liverpool have, if anything, found new levels of excellence this season. They have gone right back to challenging City, and have proven themselves to be one of the teams to beat in Europe too.

They are currently the top scorers in the Premier League with 85 goals in 33 games, and have won 13 of their last 14 league games, with a 2-2 draw at City their only blemish in that time.

Can they go all the way and make history by winning a quadruple? It still seems unlikely, but whether they do or they don't, the news that Klopp's story with Liverpool has been extended by two more years can only be positive.

You better believe it.

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