LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 9, 2022: Liverpool's Elijah Dixon-Bonner embraces Manager Jurgen Klopp as he is substituted during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Shrewsbury Town FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp pays tribute to “extended squad” ahead of FA Cup final

Jurgen Klopp has used 30 players on the road to Saturday’s FA Cup final, and ahead of the clash with Chelsea at Wembley he has praised his “extended squad.”

The Reds are into the final of the FA Cup for the first time in a decade, and Klopp has reaped the benefits of a rotational approach along the way.

A total of 30 players have featured throughout the victories over Shrewsbury, Cardiff, Norwich, Nottingham Forest and Man City, with only one, Ibrahima Konate, playing in all five.

Kaide Gordon and Harvey Elliott have been among the goalscorers, while academy youngsters Conor Bradley, Tyler Morton, Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Max Woltman, Melkamu Frauendorf and James Norris have all been given minutes.

It is this that Klopp has embraced ahead of the trip to Wembley, with the manager hailing his “extended squad” in an interview with the club’s official website.

“‘Second’ competitions like the Carabao Cup, I loved it so much, and now the FA Cup the same,” he reflected.

“That’s what I love most about it: that we really can say we are here, we arrived in the final and we used the full squad pretty much, and the extended squad if you want.

“Massive experience for the boys, for Kaide, for Elijah…my God! I can remember his face when he came on and all these kind of things.

“It’s just great and the boys, the first-team players, they see it exactly the same.

“Always when you have this kind of journey it brings you closer together.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 9, 2022: Liverpool's Kaide Gordon celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Shrewsbury Town FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is a testament to Klopp’s management that he has been able to juggle his squad throughout and book a place in the final, with the likes of Gordon, Bradley and Morton standing out.

They have, understandably, made way for the big guns in the final rounds, and Klopp believes Liverpool are now “ready to go for the biggest prizes,” including the FA Cup.

“We always [did] it but never for that long, to be honest,” he said of the Reds’ run.

“It started as a similar experience but ended earlier, so this year it is really special and it is a big one.

“It is our first one and we are a different kind of team than we were in the past.

“These boys are now really ready to go for the biggest prizes and the FA Cup is a massive prize.

“So, we will try to be the best version of ourselves and bring it home.”