Klopp’s last dance has one trophy and the Liverpool manager is targeting more

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp lifts the trophy next to Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk as the team celebrates winning the English League Cup final soccer match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Jurgen Klopp’s last dance at Liverpool is off to the perfect start.

Klopp steps down as manager at the end of the season but he and Liverpool have locked up the first trophy of a possible four.


After a heavily depleted team defied the odds to win the English League Cup final by beating Chelsea 1-0 in extra time, Klopp is determined to win more silverware and the players are determined to help him. “We just want to give our all for him. We always did,” defender Joe Gomez said. “But now when the finishing line is in sight it adds that extra emphasis. It’s special and hopefully it’s the first (trophy) of a few we can get.”

References to Klopp’s last dance have started to trend on social media, likening his Liverpool farewell to Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1998, when they won the NBA championship. The season was documented in the Netflix series, “The Last Dance.”

Since Klopp was hired in 2015, he has transformed a sleeping giant into a force again. The League Cup was his eighth trophy, among them a full set of major trophies including the Premier League and Champions League. And Liverpool might not be finished. It leads the Premier League, and is still in the FA Cup and Europa League.

“I couldn’t care less about my legacy. I’m not here to create one,” Klopp said on Sunday. “As a manager of a football club, you are there to do the job actually.”

But the League Cup final showed Klopp will leave the club in good shape. Seven of his players on the day were aged 21 or under. When Virgil van Dijk headed in the winner in the 118th minute, he had three academy players beside him.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves but we are in every competition and we are going to try to win every game,” Gomez said. “That’s the target and we will go again.”

Beside the players, Liverpool fans are savoring their final moments with Klopp.

Supporters carried flags and banners with messages of thanks to their outgoing manager as they made the short walk from Wembley Park subway station to Wembley Stadium. Singing loudly, it was a party atmosphere long before kickoff and they are hoping for one long party before finally saying goodbye.

“It has been a bit sad for everyone, but I think everyone now thinks we’re going to push on and do even better than we would have done (this season),” Liverpool fan Nick Knight told The Associated Press.

The fans showed their appreciation long after the final whistle as they serenaded Klopp and his players on the field.

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