For the second time this season, Liverpool celebrated the Magic of the Cup™. Jürgen Klopp rolled out a Rolls Royce of a lineup in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, boasting wold class players in every position, with only holding midfielder Fabinho missing due to injury to start the match.
During the course of the match, Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, and Andrew Robertson were all withdrawn with tweaks and knocks. And with it being match 60 of 63 for Liverpool this season, Klopp made the full compliment of substitutes available, with each of the players coming on making key contributions to get the match to penalties.
And in the end, it was ageless wonder James Milner who stepped up to take the first penalty in the shootout. It was reserve left back Kostas Tsimikas who was the hero, tucking his sudden death spot kick past Edouard Mendy to clinch to trophy for the Reds.
The path to the final, too, was paved with the efforts of players from every level of the club, from the superstars to the Academy. Over the course of 6 matches in the FA Cup competition, Klopp fielded 31 different players. Reserve forward Takumi Minamino was the lead scorer for the club in the competition, netting three times across 230 minutes. Starlets Harvey Elliott and Kaide Gordon both opened their goal scoring accounts for Liverpool along the way against Cardiff City and Shrewsbury Town respectively.
The likes of Conor Bradley, Elijah Bonner-Dixon, and Tyler Morton were line up alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez in the early rounds of the FA Cup. These players The contributions up and down the line allowed Klopp to keep key players fresh as Liverpool have not only competed on four front, but made three finals and made it to the last week of the season with the league title still within the realm of possibility.
We’ve written about it on this site, time and time again that this group of players is truly special. When all is said and done, this quite possibly the best Liverpool squad ever. And while we will remember the stars of the squad, we should cherish the contributions of the entire group that made the FA Cup and everything else possible this season.