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Featured Image Credit: @GeirJordet/Twitter
The hopes of an unprecedented quadruple are still alive for the Reds, who lifted the FA Cup trophy for the eighth time in their history after Kostas Tsimikas scored the winning penalty to seal a 6-5 shoot-out victory against Chelsea.
It was a tightly-contested clash at Wembley but after both teams couldn't be seperated in normal time, Jurgen Klopp's 'mentality monsters' came out on top again.
For the second time this season, Liverpool beat the European champions in a shoot-out and after the final whistle, a delighted Jurgen Klopp praised neuroscientists for the role they played.
“In the end we all know penalty shoot-out is a lottery, that’s how it is; but we did it again,” said Klopp. "We work together with the company Neuro11, four guys from Germany.
“They got in contact with us a few years ago. They are neuroscientists and they said ‘we can train penalty shooting’.
“We said ‘really? That sounds interesting, come over’. And so this trophy is for them, just like the Carabao Cup was.”
Jurgen Klopp on penalties:— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) May 15, 2022
“We did it again, we worked together with a company, four guys, their name is Neuro11. We got in contact with them a few years ago, and one of them is a neuroscientist and said we could train penalty shooting.” #awlive [football london] pic.twitter.com/0KI3lknoZi
A fascinating Twitter thread by @GeirJordet, who is a football psychology researcher, highlights how Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel communicated with their team ahead of the tense moment.
It appears both managers spent those five minutes before the shoot-out with different ideas.
Check out the thread below.
Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties in the FA Cup final. A penalty shootout is a psychological game starting with how the manager communicates with his players after the final whistle. Klopp & Tuchel spent those 5 minutes very differently. Here are the events chronologically. 1/9 pic.twitter.com/wUN34Cx94t— Geir Jordet (@GeirJordet) May 15, 2022
At around 60 seconds after the final whistle, Klopp already has made his selection and approaches each penalty taker to tell/ask him what shot to take. He does this one-on-one and often cements his ask with his trademark HUG. The asking process is intimate, safe, and loving. 2/9 pic.twitter.com/2tmmudjmCm— Geir Jordet (@GeirJordet) May 15, 2022
At 1.30 min, Klopp is done with his rounds, the team is gathered in a huddle, and he gives a short but passionate speech. At 1.45, he finishes and the team breaks up the huddle.— Geir Jordet (@GeirJordet) May 15, 2022
At 1.50 min, Tuchel is still revising his notes, and eventually making his way into the huddle. 3/9 pic.twitter.com/sRvBwQlSWF
Tuchel spent the first 1-2 minutes seemingly revising his selection, and (probably) from the corner of his eye sees that Liverpool has already finished their huddle before Chelsea has even started it. He then moves to the middle of the circle BEFORE he is done with the plan. 4/9 pic.twitter.com/Num9JhEe5o— Geir Jordet (@GeirJordet) May 15, 2022
Entering the circle of players before you've completed the selection is what happened to Gareth Southgate in the 2021 Euros final – you’re late, not ready, become reactive, and what could have been a smooth final reminder to the team becomes erratic, rushed & stressed. 5/9 pic.twitter.com/LsxS0QwoY2— Geir Jordet (@GeirJordet) May 15, 2022
In the huddle, Tuchel then asks players about the shots, publicly in front of the whole team. There's plenty of group pressure when done in this way, the chance of honest responses from the players drops, and it creates further stress that carries on to the shootout itself. 6/9 pic.twitter.com/ykhi6UMjeR— Geir Jordet (@GeirJordet) May 15, 2022
While Tuchel is still in the process of selecting and asking his players, Klopp has finished all his administrative duties and spends his time spreading warmth, love and good energy; even taking a moment to have a laugh with van Dijk. 7/9 pic.twitter.com/XpXIW5NoB3— Geir Jordet (@GeirJordet) May 15, 2022
Because Liverpool finished their huddle early, they step into the mid circle first, and get to pick position. They pick the side closest to their bench, which enables staff to give further instructions during the shootout & maintains closeness to the warmth of the manager. 8/9 pic.twitter.com/d04al7N6g0— Geir Jordet (@GeirJordet) May 15, 2022
Jürgen Klopp’s Monsters of mentality are not born, they’re made. Proactive preparation, composed execution, and warm/loving communication tend to give the best possible foundation for performance under extreme pressure. Liverpool was up 1-0 before the shootout had even begun. 9/9 pic.twitter.com/95IwiodGdP— Geir Jordet (@GeirJordet) May 15, 2022
Jurgen Klopp also applauded the "incredible" work of neuroscientists following their Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out win against Tuchel's Chelsea back in February.
When asked about the work of Neuro11, he told reporters: “Incredible impact. It’s actually a nice story. A few years ago I got in contact with them because I found their ideas interesting, and now they are a fixed part of our coaching staff.
“They are not here all the time, they are in Germany obviously, but they come over quite frequently. They were here for the last week, and before that they were here for five days.
“All the players are really excited about it. It’s about bringing specific players before a set-piece in the right mindset by doing the stuff we do on the pitch.
“Everything gets measured. They are neuroscientists, and it’s incredibly interesting and incredibly important to us.
“[It is] a very interesting new chapter for us because it’s not only penalties - although in the last week it was a lot about penalties because of the upcoming final. It’s about free-kicks, all kinds of [other] set-pieces as well."
Thoughts on the penalty win on Saturday? Can Liverpool do the quadruple?
Let us know in the comments.