Three days after his wild, glasses-breaking euphoria on the touchline at Carrow Road, Jurgen Klopp is intent on having plenty more to celebrate as Liverpool take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of their Capital One Cup semifinal against Stoke City. Klopp may, though, hope for just a little less drama this time around than their seesaw victory over Norwich on Saturday.
Having fought back from 3-1 down to lead 4-3, Liverpool conceded an injury-time equalizer before Adam Lallana volleyed home a winner with almost the lack kick of the game. As Klopp sprinted manically down the touchline to join in the celebrations with his players, his glasses bit the dust. But he has confirmed that he will have a new pair on hand when Liverpool try to complete the job at Anfield on Tuesday and seal a first final of the Klopp era.
“I am wearing my second pair now,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “They are black, and I look a little bit like a serial killer. Now we have the best situation you can have in a second leg. We won the first game away, now we have the opportunity to play at Anfield. I heard about the special atmosphere at Anfield, and I am really excited, looking forward to it. Let's take the power of LFC and go to the final.”
Liverpool got the win at the Britannia Stadium three weeks ago thanks to a goal from Jordan Ibe. And after semifinal defeats in both the League Cup and FA Cup last season under Brendan Rodgers, Klopp is eyeing the possibility of some silverware less than six months after taking the reins.
With a place in the Champions League perhaps beyond them this season, the League Cup offers the best chance for Liverpool to have something tangible to take away from the campaign. But the same is true for their opponents. Stoke have provided plenty of high points this season, with the attacking trident of Marko Arnautovic, Bojan Krkic and Xherdan Shaqiri earning plaudits aplenty. But manager Mark Hughes is keen for the club to earn the reward of a first League Cup final since they won the competition for the only time in 1972.
“It has been 40-odd years and we remind the players of that because this is an opportunity to make your mark in the game,” he said, reports The Guardian. “When that presents itself, you really have to grasp it. It is an opportunity we are not going to allow to pass by lightly. We are going to give it everything. It is a chance for everybody involved here to achieve something that hasn’t been achieved for many years.
“And it is important to us because, if we can get to a final, win a trophy, then that gives you a winning mentality – you’ve experienced that as a group and that will help you to continue to progress. It is a big part of what we want to do moving forward.”
Stoke will have to overturn a 1-0 deficit without captain Ryan Shawcross, however, after the defender suffered a back injury in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Leicester City. Geoff Cameron is also out, although Arnautovic and Bojan should return to the starting lineup. Liverpool are likely to have center-back Dejan Lovren back in contention, although right-back Nathaniel Clyne is a major doubt after suffering a knock at the weekend.
Kickoff time: 2:45 p.m. EST
USA TV channel: beIN Sports
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