Jurgen Klopp was overjoyed after seeing Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-2 to reach the FA Cup final in their pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, convinced they beat the world’s best team.
Liverpool secured their spot in the English football showpiece for the first time since 2012 with a thrilling victory at Wembley on Saturday, though for a while it looked set to be far more comfortable than it ultimately proved.
The Reds were 3-0 up at half-time thanks to an Ibrahima Konate header and Sadio Mane’s double – his first punished a Zack Steffen lapse, before then lashing in an excellent volley for his second.
City pulled one back through Jack Grealish and forced a tense finish when Bernardo Silva made it 3-2 in stoppage time, but Liverpool held on to leave Klopp jubilant.
“Oh absolutely proud, it’s incredible,” he told BBC Sport. “I think the first half was one of the best we’ve ever played.
“We did all the right stuff, scored at the right moments, we played an incredible game in the first half, I have to say. I loved every second of it.
“The second half started with the City goal and then it opens up. The quality of City is insane and you could see it was a much more open game.
“We had our situations. [TV pundit] Micah Richards said it was all City situations, but we had our counter-attacks and we could have closed the game there, but we respect the quality of City so much.
“It’s so difficult to win against them, but because of these boys in my dressing room, we have a chance. It’s enough for me to give it a try.”
The victory means Liverpool remain on course for the quadruple. They have already won the EFL Cup, are into the Champions League semi-finals and continue to push City in the Premier League title race.
Klopp stressed that prolonging their season makes winning the quadruple tougher even if it is the only way to secure a clean sweep, but he appeared to be relishing the challenge after defeating the team that he believes sets the bar for everyone else in world football.
“Quadruple talk… I can’t believe it,” he continued. “With this game now, I’m not sure we have another full week before the last matchday, so it’s all difficult.
“But who cares, we came here wanting to go to the final, we knew about the problems, but the quadruple – qualifying for this kind of final makes it even more difficult.
“It’s the only way to do it but makes it more difficult too, so it’s a strange situation. But all good, we are over the moon. We beat the best team in the world and that’s a pretty special moment.”
Liverpool will find out their opponents for next month’s final on Sunday, when Crystal Palace and Chelsea tussle at Wembley.