100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
‘Out of this world’: Jürgen Klopp proud of Liverpool’s FA Cup win over Chelsea
Jürgen Klopp said it was ‘pure joy’ to be part of Liverpool’s pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple
Jurgen Klopp matches astonishing Sir Alex Ferguson record after Liverpool FA Cup win over Chelsea
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has become the second manager the win all of the major offers there are on offer…
'We have no idea!' - Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp makes Chelsea admission ahead of FA Cup final
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been speaking to the press ahead of the Reds' FA Cup final meeting with Chelsea…
'Impossible dream still possible' - National media react to Liverpool FA Cup final win over Chelsea
How the national media reacted to Liverpool's win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Chelsea v Liverpool FA Cup final kick-off time, TV channel, live stream info and team news
Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea face Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday; here is everything you need to know about the…
Old traditions meet modern convention in FA Cup final of promise
Liverpool and Chelsea clash at Wembley on Saturday with a rich history of Cup success in today’s changing landscape
Get all your news in one place
Latest Sport news:
Cycling review highlights need to put athletes before medals
A new report on how our top cyclists are managed highlights favouritism, failings at the sport's HQ in Cambridge and…
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Alfa Romeo seeks “easy weekend” at Spanish GP with F1 updates
Alfa Romeo Formula 1 boss Fred Vasseur is hoping for an “easy weekend” following the dramas of Imola and Miami…
Ball On A Budget: Rekurv E-14.05 Touring Boots
German gear and equipment distributor Louis' sub-brand Rekurv introduces the E-14.05 touring boots. These stylish boots are CE-rated and affordable.
Betis star suggests crowdfunding Hector Bellerin’s transfer after Arsenal loanee’s tears at final home game
Hector Bellerin was in tears after the final home game of his loan spell to Real Betis - prompting teammates…
Giannis Antetokounmpo Needs More Help From the Bucks
The Bucks’ flaws that laid themselves bare in this series are the ones that need addressing.
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
Hamlin "emotional" after Busch claimed win for his 23XI NASCAR team
NASCAR Cup driver Denny Hamlin says there has been no win he’s had that equals the emotions he experienced watching…
Suzuki’s Mir laments “painful mentally” Le Mans MotoGP crash
Suzuki’s Joan Mir says his crash out of podium contention in last Sunday’s MotoGP French Grand Prix was “painful mentally”.

Chelsea match Liverpool but Jürgen Klopp’s side have sense of destiny

By Barney Ronay at Wembley

Sometimes a miss really is as good as a mile. Wembley was a fevered place at the end of this gruelling, apparently endless FA Cup final. As the Liverpool players capered at the eastern end of the ground, lost in a fog of red smoke, tumbling and rolling on the grass in front of a stand that seemed a single mess of limbs and light and noise, the contrast in the other half of the pitch was unavoidably stark.

Chelsea’s players sat, bereft, on the turf as the end behind them emptied out. And at that moment these two entities seemed to be heading in entirely opposite directions. For Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool this is now a definitive, era-marking season, two domestic cups in the bag and another final to come, the semi-impossible dream of the quad still there.

For 120 minutes Wembley had provided a point of intersection for these two clubs, roped together once again on this stage, chasing the late afternoon sun. But like trains hitting the points and shearing off on their own arc, the sense of separation felt profound at the end.

For Chelsea this was always a chance to say goodbye to something. The Age of Abramovich has been pegged out around these summer beanos, the Metropolitan line north thronged with blue shirts and pink flesh, the sense of a stroll, a spree, a flag day. There will be more of these days, other glories, other eras, other billionaires. But nothing quite like that endlessly giving hand. And there would be no Viking funeral here.

Whereas for Liverpool the Klopp supremacy keeps rolling on. This, it turns out, is the sweet spot. How far can it run on from here? There had been a sense that the thing Klopp has built needed a little filing at the edges. Up until the spring of this season a total of two trophies felt a little light for six years of furious progress, for the memories, the style, the imprint made on English football.

An FA Cup win at Wembley feels like another shade in the palette, a rounding out. It also nudges the current season on to a genuinely thrilling denouement. What is this thing now? How high can it go? Scroll through the all-time lists and Liverpool’s greatest ever season is probably 1983-84, when they won the league, League Cup and European Cup. Three years previously they won a League Cup and European Cup double. In 2001 there was another treble, FA Cup, League Cup and Uefa Cup.

Jürgen Klopp with the FA Cup after Liverpool’s penalty shootout win over Chelsea
Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool have lifted two domestic cups in three months after their FA Cup triumph. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

Triumphing in the current title race looks a very long shot from here. But should Liverpool beat Real Madrid in two weeks’ time Klopp’s side are looking at a domestic cup double, plus champions of Europe, plus 90-odd points in the league. It would be one of the great Liverpool seasons; one of the great English seasons.

That final European step looks more daunting after the loss of Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk to injuries here. But two weeks is a decent cushion. And victory here will also speak to Paris, and that shot at the sun. Liverpool will travel light. There is just something about this team and finals.

The margins are, of course, fine: penalties at the end of 120 minutes, the width of a post, a one-handed save. But somehow it always felt like the day was heading that way.

Wembley had been a delicious, sunlit spectacle before kick-off, the pitch jammed with so many pre-match sideshows – the band, a flag, some soldiers, Pete Tong and his record player. Last year had been a meagre, plague-football affair. This, by contrast, was all the toys in the bag, the full flush of smoke, noise, tongues of fire. But yeah, you kind of knew how it was going to the end, even then.

Chelsea were poor early on, a team that didn’t seem to know how to move forward, how to take the ball up the pitch, where to make it stick. For Liverpool Luis Díaz was electric, skating inside with that easy gliding style, a footballer who is completely unafraid, who will take you into those horrible spaces and stretch you thin.

The afternoon began to unwind from that point. By the end, two hours in, the sun had faded to a watery glaze. The players sunk into a huddle by the touchline, draping themselves in towels. The Chelsea physio pounded the thighs of Trevoh Chalobah like a man kneading a batch of prized sourdough. And by that stage the rolling total stood at 420 minutes between these two teams, stretching back to August last year, without an edge between them, outside that extended penalty shootout in the spring.

Liverpool had looked a little lacking in peak freshness, although they kept running even as the game began to set around them. It fell to Mason Mount to miss the decisive penalty, striking it well enough, but seeing Alisson make a brilliant one-handed save. Kostas Tsimikas rolled the ball into the corner and in that moment the day finally split in two.

For Liverpool there is the delicious symmetry of a domestic cup double, a feeling of some marker left in the record books. Klopp finally has a toehold with domestic cups: this was his third in the last 10 years, his second in three months. Thoughts will now turn to the chance to gorge at the season’s end, and to a kind of ultimacy that is now within this team’s grasp.

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
‘Out of this world’: Jürgen Klopp proud of Liverpool’s FA Cup win over Chelsea
Jürgen Klopp said it was ‘pure joy’ to be part of Liverpool’s pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple
Jurgen Klopp matches astonishing Sir Alex Ferguson record after Liverpool FA Cup win over Chelsea
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has become the second manager the win all of the major offers there are on offer…
'We have no idea!' - Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp makes Chelsea admission ahead of FA Cup final
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been speaking to the press ahead of the Reds' FA Cup final meeting with Chelsea…
'Impossible dream still possible' - National media react to Liverpool FA Cup final win over Chelsea
How the national media reacted to Liverpool's win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Chelsea v Liverpool FA Cup final kick-off time, TV channel, live stream info and team news
Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea face Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday; here is everything you need to know about the…
Old traditions meet modern convention in FA Cup final of promise
Liverpool and Chelsea clash at Wembley on Saturday with a rich history of Cup success in today’s changing landscape
Get all your news in one place