Marco Silva admits Liverpool’s greater composure helped prove the difference as his Fulham side suffered League Cup heartache.
A late equaliser from Issa Diop wasn’t enough as the Londoners were held to a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage in their semi-final second leg on Wednesday evening to lose 3-2 on aggregate.
Fulham had taken the lead in the first game at Anfield a fortnight ago only to lose 2-1, with the Reds now facing Chelsea at Wembley next month in a record 14th League Cup final appearance.
And Silva said: “Overall in the two legs, we had that 15-20 minutes in the second half when we were winning 1-0 and had two or three fantastic counter-attacks which with better decisions we could have scored from.
“Those moments are important. When you play against a team who are so consistent no matter what competition they are playing in, they are top of the league for a reason, those moments count. I felt they were much more calm than us. For them it was another game. For most of our players it was new for them to play in a semi-final.
“The atmosphere in our stadium was brilliant tonight. We need more of these moments as our players will be stronger with this kind of support.”
Of the game, Silva added: “Performance-wise overall the game wasn’t our best performance but with the desire and attitude and commitment from our players, they gave everything from first minute to last minute. We kept the semi-final open until the last minute.
“The first 30 minutes were difficult for us. We were a little too emotional and a little bit more nervous than Liverpool, we couldn’t keep the possession like normal and lost too many balls building our attack.
“Before they scored we had a big chance at the corner, which was something we planned and the movement in the box was good but we should have hit the target. It would have been a different game with that goal, and then the first time Liverpool go up front they score. We should defend it better. It made it more difficult on the night.
“Second half they started better than us but then we needed the goal and the crowd got behind us and when we scored the goal the game became more emotional. We didn’t perform at our best, we weren’t ruthless enough and Liverpool are in the final.”