Wembley here we come.
We controlled that game for the vast majority but just didn't put it to bed because in the final third we were lacking that touch quality. Numerous times we got in and then failed to finish the move or the final pass just wasn't right. But the pressing and intensity we showed was as good as it's been all season, close to how we played with Klopp 1.0.
The last 15 minutes we seemed to lose all that though. Once they scored and got their tails up, we just looked like we'd lost our heads and didn't know how to deal with it. And maybe that's where the experience we lost last summer would have helped. I will add here though, Virg and Gomez at the back were outstanding and the addition of Konate did settle us down a bit for the last five or ten minutes.
Big shout out to the kids. I've already mentioned it in the Academy thread but six lads who spent time in our youth teams to be finishing a major domestic semi final is testament to the job the Academy is doing, testament to the lads themselves and testament to the trust Jürgen has in them. Obviously injuries have played a part in them getting a run out but that's normally the case for kids. They've still got to produce the goods when they play and most of them did. Bobby Clark, in particular, is becoming a favourite for mine because he's playing with so much passion.
Chance for us to make it a perfect ten in the League Cup and the quadruple is still on.
Kelleher - in terms of what I think a keeper should be, he done alright with the exception of getting caught in no-mans land for the chance Pereira hit the post. His shot stopping (his main job) was spot on. Couldn't do much with the goal, was past him before he could react. However, what a modern day keeper is expected to do, in regards to being judged more on your ability with your feet rather than your hands, he probably had a shaky game as his distribution wasn't great. I actually gave him man of the match because as a keeper I thought he was really good.
Bradley - continues to look like a solid, dependable player at right back. The more he plays, the better he'll become. Considering Fulham's threat all season has been Willian and Robinson down the left hand side, I thought young Con did a very good job against them. Don't think we can be too critical of him for the goal as he's tried to stop the cross only for Wilson to cut back inside - good winger play.
Quansah - this kid never fails to impress. Lovely ball for the goal. Really good defensively. Was vocal in setting up the defending of set pieces as well. Learning from the best centre halves in the world on a daily basis is really rubbing off on this lad. And what a show of faith in him from the boss, to trust him in such a big game.
Van Dijk - yet another imperious display from the skipper. Dealt with everything Fulham had to offer. And you can see what a leader he is. Constantly looking after the lads around him. He was giving big congratulations out to a few players during the game. He's got that aura back as well where the opposition forwards don't even wanna try and take him. I saw Jiminez on a few occassions thinking nah F**k that I'm not trying to take on that big Dutchman.
Goalmez - had his customary effort that flew over the bar but it is coming. He was excellent again at left back, moving into midfield to give us a bit more control in there. Dealt with pretty much everything that came down their right. Probably due a rest now with Norwich up next.
Elliott - your typical showing from Harvey. Lots of huffing and puffing without the ball and lots of disappointment with it. His work rate is unquestionable. And he was leading the charge a lot of the time. But with the ball, bar one excellent cross to the far post for Gravenberch, he really didn't do much. I think the boos from the crowd got to him as well. It seemed to fire him up to want to do something special. The one real chance he had when we hit them on the break was a back pass more than a shot.
Mac Allister - didn't do much to catch the eye but was boss in my opinion. He's really starting to look at home in that position. I had my doubts about him at the start of the season but he's putting to them bed recently with a string of good performances. Fulham allowed him to play a bit more advanced yesterday as well, with him playing a lot more in their half than ours. No surprise that when he went off, we looked a lot more disjointed.
Gravenberch - few nice touches and a couple of those runs where he drives with the ball but not much that will get people off their seats. He has all the tools to be a real force in this midfield, it's just about putting it together. A stop start Liverpool career so far but he isn't the first to suffer from that.
Gakpo - didn't do too much, which given this was his chance to stake a claim to start more matches and his form in the League Cup this year, it was a disappointment from Cody. I got the feeling he wasn't overly comfortable playing on the right. And I was expecting him and Elliott to swap when I saw the line up, with him taking more of a midfield role.
Nunez - wasn't his most chaotic of performances, in fact I thought Fulham dealt with him quite well. Didn't give him too much space to run into. He did force Leno into a good save though. And his other effort that just went past the post was really unlucky. Can't wait to see this mad f**ker during the final celebrations. He's just as likely to raise Klopp to the fans as he is the Cup.
Diaz - a very standard performance from Lucho. The sort he's been putting in all season and got himself another goal. His best goalscoring season in a Liverpool shirt now. And what a goal. Lovely control on the chest, cutting in as he always does and getting the finish. Plenty of graft as well. Gave Gomez a lot of support defensively, when needed. Works hard across the front line.
Jones - didn't do much when he came on, either good or bad. I think Jürgen saw it as an opportunity to give Mac some time off the pitch by testing out Jones in the holding role. 3-1 up, 25 minutes to go, was an ideal opportunity to take the number 10 off. As I said earlier though, I think it actually made us more disjointed.
Jota - was probably involved with the incident with Diop than the actual game. Not sure how Diop avoided a booking when trying to put Diogo in a headlock though. Had one possible chance but just can't sort his feet out to find that little bit of space.
Konate - seemed to settle us down when he came on. Just gave us that assurance again at the back.
Clark - lots of graft so far from the lad. Done well in the corner towards the end of the game, which shows a real maturity for one so young.
Overall, we're going to Wembley and that's all that matters.
Well in Reds.