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Liverpool ‘understood’ Carabao Cup semi-final better than Fulham – Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool set up a League Cup final clash with Chelsea (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool set up a League Cup final clash with Chelsea (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s game plan and admitted his players “understood” the occasion better than Fulham after Wednesday night’s 1-1 Carabao Cup semi-final draw booked their place in the final thanks to a 3-2 aggregate win.

Luiz Diaz’s first-half strike was cancelled out by Issa Diop’s 76th-minute equaliser but the Cottagers could not find another at Craven Cottage as the Reds set up a Wembley showdown with Chelsea.

Klopp praised Liverpool’s second-half performance, where they soaked up pressure and frustrated Marco Silva’s men.

“They came out and they pressed for a while, but we understood the game slightly better,” Klopp said.

“I liked the second half as well. We should’ve scored, there were two situations.

“I think the counter-attack, everything was perfect and then Lucho (Diaz) doesn’t find the right player – which was a little bit of a shame – and when Harvey (Elliott) could shoot with his slightly-weaker right foot, we could’ve put the game to bed, but we didn’t.”

Liverpool were far from their best on the night and missed the presence of Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Klopp knew the occasion would not be an easy one against their Premier League rivals but a solid team performance saw the visitors capitalise on their 2-1 first-leg advantage at Anfield.

“It was just a good game, a good cup game,” Klopp added.

“Whoever expected tonight that we just show quality and we get through and this will be a walk in the park doesn’t understand the game and doesn’t understand the importance of the occasion.

“Both teams wanted to go to Wembley – and we qualified and that’s all we could wish for.”

Joe Gomez continued to feature at left-back in place of the injured Andy Robertson and rarely put a foot wrong against Bobby De Cordova-Reid.

Klopp added: “He played exceptional today again. He’s a real defender and he comes inside. He’s doing that really well.

“He is a life-saver, to be honest, that he was here, that he could play and people forget how important Joey (Gomez) was in the best years we had.

“I don’t know how many games he played in the year when we became champions and how many games he played when we won the Champions League. A lot and rightly so because he’s a top-class player.”