Thiago Alcantara is “excited” about participating in the FA Cup final against Chelsea after nearly missing out on playing in Liverpool’s previous big game this season.
The Spain international was nominated to the starting lineup for the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea in February, but he had to withdraw after hurting his hamstring in the warm-up.
Thiago was seen in tears on the replacements’ bench, but he was in a better mood later on when he saw his teammates win 11-10 on penalties at Wembley Stadium.
Speaking to Liverpool’s official website before of Saturday’s match, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich playmaker described why he became emotional that day, as well as what it meant to the players to raise a trophy after such a long time.
He said: “We fought a lot to arrive in that moment, that you can play in a final, and then suddenly because I had a bad thing, a bad neck problem and it caused just like a chain of movement that in the end caused me an injury in the hamstring.
“It’s a moment where you are just frustrated. You just calm down a bit, you try to be cold enough to face the final. It was as it was.
“We won it and, for sure, it’s bittersweet that you don’t play that game, but you’re happy for the team.
“Lifting a trophy is a special moment but it was more for the frustrating situation that everybody had the last few years. It was because of what we have been through and was a kind of celebration of overcoming that situation.”
Liverpool has not won the FA Cup since 2006, and this will be their first final since losing 2-1 to Chelsea in 2012.
Thiago is looking forward to the event, which will be the 150th FA Cup final, and despite having played in the semi-final victory over Manchester City at Wembley, the 31-year-old is pleased to finally be able to play in a final at the world-famous venue.
“We came from other nations – not just me, but other players – and just met this incredible competition, the oldest in the world,” he added.
“We are really excited to play – not just the competition itself but a final. We’re ready for it.
“It doesn’t matter if we didn’t win [it] before or for a long time. It’s just about a trophy that we can win and we add in our backpack this new challenge. We’re looking forward to it.
“Wembley is an amazing stadium. It’s special itself but then you know that Wembley is used for special moments. There’s different context and we’re ready to go to London.”