First of many finals under Klopp’

It finished 1-1 after extra time, before Manuel Pellegrini’s clinched a 3-1 victory in the penalty shootout, largely thanks to the heroics of Willy Caballero in between the posts.

Jurgen Klopp will be devastated having vowed after their semi-final result over Stoke City that he would deliver the trophy to Anfield.

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Despite failing in his first bid for silverware, though, Reds supporters remain optimistic that the German manager is the man to return glory to Merseyside.

It was just 10 months since Liverpool’s last visit to Wembley, but so much has changed. Just seven of that squad were named in this one, although injuries do skewer that statistic somewhat. Still, the difference from last April is tangible.

On that day, in the 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa, Brendan Rodgers was in charge; on the bench, Brad Jones, Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini. On the pitch, abject disappointment, and disappointment at just how abject Liverpool could be.

In a sense, that FA Cup semi-final defeat was the beginning of the end for Rodgers. It was certainly the end of that team. No trophy, no real direction, no real confidence of reversing the slump.

Most damning of that Villa loss was how it felt. It was a meek surrender, a white flag waved and then placed at half mast in mourning of Liverpool’s proud tradition. Even in defeat in big games did the Reds look so poor.

No more. This was gallant, brave. This was the Liverpool the supporters remember fondly, the Liverpool whose return they crave. With a back four comprised of a midfielder, a 34-year-old veteran and James Milner, they took the game into extra time.

There was an obvious plan from kick off; the confidence evident from the first few touches. In the face of potential bedlam, with a change at centre back, the players remained calm; so, too, when chasing for the equaliser.

This was a team who knew what was expected of them, from both their manager and supporters. This, in some part, was the first step towards Liverpool realigning the weight its name carries with performances in the spotlight.

A lot will be written of Klopp’s influence; his tactics, his demeanour. This was just one afternoon, 120 minutes long, that ended in a shoot-out. It ended in torturous heartbreak, but it does not make or break an era.

But this was the first sign of Klopp doing what he was brought here to do. Make the people happy. Now, he must!