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Van Dijk hails next generation as Reds reach final
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William Furness
Virgil van Dijk could lift another trophy with Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk could lift another trophy with Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk was bursting with pride after two young defenders helped Liverpool down Fulham 3-2 on aggregate to reach the Carabao Cup final. 

Jurgen Klopp's side sealed the draw they needed on the night to set up a clash with Chelsea after Luis Diaz's first-half strike was cancelled out by Issa Diop's late consolation.

Conor Bradley and Jarell Quansah, both aged 20, impressed at the back for the Reds and were praised by captain Van Dijk in the aftermath.

The Dutchman, 32, told Sky Sports: "Obviously the right-hand side was not maybe the most experienced side today but they did very well. 

"The whole season already I'm proud of these guys. It's only a beginning for them and they must feel it that way as well. 

"But to be going to the final with this performance is a very good thing and only shows what kind of progress they have made. Hopefully they can keep going."

The all-important opener was scored by Diaz but was sourced through Quansah's diagonal ball. 

The young defender has stepped in and provided good depth behind Ibrahima Konate when called upon this term.

Quansah could not hide his delight at the result and how special it was to play alongside Bradley, who has also filled in well during Trent Alexander-Arnold's absence. 

He said: "It is special, unbelievable. I can't ask for much more really. 

"We had to dig in tonight. It is my first season here and I'm so happy to get to a final. 

"It is all about rhythm, you have to keep playing. I felt a little rusty as I've not played recently. 

"Doing this with Conor [Bradley] is special for me because we have played together for 10 years in the academy."

Chelsea booked their place at Wembley on Tuesday with a destructive 6-1 win over Middlesbrough, who had won the first leg 1-0.

The final will take place on the Sunday, February 25 and is a repeat of the 2021-22 Carabao Cup showpiece, which Liverpool won on penalties. 


LiverpoolVirgil van DijkEFL CupJarell QuansahConor Bradley
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