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The good, the injuries & our greatest side ever? – Last word on Liverpool’s FA Cup triumph

Following Liverpool’s glorious FA Cup triumph on Saturday, two buoyant Reds fans look back on a memorable afternoon.

That’s trophy number two for the season sorted then!

Jurgen Klopp‘s men got the better of Chelsea on penalties at Wembley, with the popular Kostas Tsimikas scoring the winning spot-kick.

Here, This Is Anfield’s Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) is joined by Taintless Red to discuss Liverpool’s FA Cup win and decide if this is the greatest Reds side of all time.

 

The good…

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas celebrates on the shoulders of goalkeeper Adrián San Miguel del Castillo after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

RED: Mentality monsters indeed! What an incredible squad.

The determination to keep fighting, keep going, after all the matches played this season and losing a string of key players during the final, was immense.

The second of two cup competitions in the bag this season, completing the set of winning every possible trophy for a lot of this unbelievable squad and our iconic manager.

This has already been a very successful season and it’s got the potential to be even more.

The first 25 minutes were possibly the best we’ve played against Chelsea for many years. We were intense, sharp, precise and fluid. The only thing missing were the goals that our exciting football deserved.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas celebrates after scoring the decisive goal in the penalty shoot-out during the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There were many excellent performances – in fact, I think everyone played well.

Alisson made several brilliant saves with his handling and catching faultless and Konate was immense. It’s scary that he’s only going to get better with experience.

Trent, after a few hairy moments defensively in the first half, put in a performance over 120 minutes that no other full-back in world football is capable of – not only his insane passing and vision, but his defending, sprinting back and covering were quality.

All three of our starting midfield were outstanding – the triumvirate of Thiago, Henderson and Keita gelled perfectly with each complementing the other.

Diaz was sensational, just missing that final finish on the day. Sadio battled throughout, I’m so glad his miss penalty didn’t haunt us. Jota, like our other subs, came on and did a really good job, too.

And Kostas at the end! Top marks for the whole team. A great day for all our fans.

2J8AC5D Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas celebrates scoring the winning penalty during the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday May 14, 2022.

HENRY: What a day, what a team, what a time to be a Liverpool fan!

My nerves were shredded by the end but it was all worth it just to see Kostas wheeling away and his joyous team-mates chasing him around the pitch.

The Reds never do it the easy way, do they?

As Red said, there were big performances everywhere, from Alisson to Konate to Thiago to Diaz, but the fans also did their bit.

A special word of praise for Jota in the shootout – I have been critical of his form but he showed incredible bottle to fire home a must-score penalty.

The atmosphere at Wembley was extraordinary and those post-match scenes, and the many videos and photos that have followed, were iconic.

‘One Kiss’ really is a banger, isn’t it!

Not only did the Liverpool faithful roar their team to victory, but they also annoyed the rest of the country by booing the national anthem!

Some rival fans just don’t get it, and never will.

All in all, a truly memorable day and yet more silverware in the cabinet.

 

The bad…

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is goes down with an injury during the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

RED: The injuries are a concern, although the initial noise coming from the players and manager is that they’re hopefully not too serious.

For Liverpool to go on and lift the FA Cup with Van Dijk, Salah and Robertson all coming off with injury issues – and no Fabinho – shows how special this team is.

The 120 minutes played does cause issues for team selection against Southampton, though, and a lot of those players who played so long or came off with injuries won’t be able to start.

Klopp has a juggling act for that match, although it will depend a lot on the West Ham vs. Man City result.

If City win that game, then I would rest the entire team. If they miraculously drop points then I would still expect quite a few changes for freshness.

But it would be a case of ‘hello, hello! Here we go…’.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp consoles Mohamed Salah as he goes off with an injury during the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

HENRY: The injuries are clearly the one negative on an otherwise great occasion – this has been a long season and it does seem to be catching up with some.

The hope is that Van Dijk and Salah will both be fit for Paris, but if not, at least Liverpool have the squad to cope these days.

What else could there possibly be to moan about?

If you’re taking time out of your day to be critical of any individuals, or aspects of the performance, what are you really getting out of football?

 

And greatest Reds team ever?…

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates after with the trophy the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

RED: It’s certainly the greatest Liverpool team I’ve ever seen, but it’s difficult for me to be too opinionated comparing them with all the former sides I did not have the pleasure of watching week in, week out.

What I will say is we referred to the 1970s and 1980s as the glory years and under Klopp we’re certainly in them again.

I’ve also heard some former legends who played in those teams, most recently Mark Lawrenson, say they believe this is Liverpool’s best-ever side.

If we weren’t facing unfair competition from a country with limitless resources, this squad would have two more Premier League titles.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with former player Jason McAteer (L) after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I read that with two matches still to play Liverpool already have more points than Man United had in seven of their Premier League title seasons – that’s incredible and also frustrating!

Klopp took a squad that was thrashed 6-1 by Stoke and has turned it into a juggernaut with our third Champions League final in five seasons on the horizon.

With the boss staying another four years, if we can get over the line in a few more Champions League and Premier Leagues then it’s certainly in the conversation for being the best Liverpool side ever.

If we somehow manage to do the quadruple this season, it’s the greatest season of any English club ever.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's Sadio Mané (L) celebrates with Roberto Firmino (R) after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

HENRY: I don’t believe any Liverpool team ever has played at such a ridiculously high level, against such an incredibly strong direct rival.

For that reason, they are the greatest side in the club’s history for me, although as Red says, I’m wary of some recency bias coming into play.

I never saw those ’70s and ’80s teams, but football has changed so much since then, in terms of quality, intensity and pressure, and I just don’t believe any teams were as special as this lot, with all due respect to them.

Was the competition really as strong?

Trophies were always needed to back up any claim about them being the greatest and they are coming in waves these days.

These truly are the best of times.

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