Liverpool 0 Chelsea 0
(Liverpool win 11-10 on penalties)
IRELAND’S CAOIMHIN KELLEHER gained the battle of the second-choice goalkeepers in opposition to Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga as Liverpool gained a document ninth League Cup after an unbelievable penalty shoot-out.
Kelleher scored the decisive kick, along with his reverse quantity – despatched on particularly for the shoot-out with two minutes of additional time remaining – blazing over because the spot-kicks completed 11-10 after 21 of twenty-two efforts have been completely dispatched.
In an exciting and absorbing Carabao Cup remaining at Wembley each side had targets dominated out for offside in regular time, Joel Matip falling foul of Virgil Van Dijk’s transgression and substitute Romelu Lukaku marginally straying forward.
Extra time couldn’t settle it and it finally got here right down to the goalkeepers, however not in the way in which normally imagined in a shoot-out, as Kelleher – who began after supervisor Jurgen Klopp saved religion with him for cup competitions – was profitable from the spot and Kepa, who had barely touched the ball after approaching, was not.
Kelleher had performed in each Carabao Cup recreation bar one this season, after which solely as a result of first-choice Alisson Becker wanted recreation time after Covid-19, and was the hero within the quarter-final penalty shoot-out in opposition to Leicester.
Kepa had related outings within the cup competitions however his ‘live’ recreation time within the remaining amounted to lower than three minutes as Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel adopted the coverage he had finished within the UEFA Super Cup remaining in August by swapping the in any other case glorious Edouard Mendy for the Spaniard, who famously refused to come back off within the 2019 League Cup remaining.
It barely affected his shot-stopping as just about all of the penalties taken have been unstoppable however can not have helped his rhythm or really feel for the event.
Penalties have been nearly inevitable after two of the Premier League’s prime three sides went blow-for-blow over 120 minutes with disallowed targets and the odd on-pitch confrontation including to the event.
Mohamed Salah was making solely his third League Cup look for the membership in almost 5 years, having misplaced his earlier two appearances in opposition to Chelsea in September 2018 and Arsenal in October 2020.
It was additionally third time fortunate for Klopp, who had misplaced his final two Wembley appearances within the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool within the 2016 League Cup remaining, once they have been crushed by Manchester City on penalties.
As anticipated Chelsea began with out Romelu Lukaku, though the withdrawal of midfielder Thiago Alcantara after harm within the heat up was a big blow to Liverpool with the midfielder, in tears on the bench, having to be consoled by team-mate Alisson at kick-off.
The late change unsurprisingly affected Klopp’s facet who, for quarter-hour, appeared to battle with Chelsea’s entrance three and left wing-back Cesar Azpilicueta pushing on.
Just six minutes in Kelleher justified his supervisor’s religion by producing an excellent response close-range save from Christian Pulisic.
Liverpool’s first sight at aim noticed Sadio Mane comically misjudge Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross and head effectively off beam, with Salah slicing a free-kick vast.
Having bought their act collectively Klopp’s facet started to dominate possession – that they had a 10-minute spell the place that they had the ball 87 per cent of the time – and Mendy bought down low to dam Naby Keita’s shot earlier than brilliantly getting as much as deny Mane’s close-range follow-up.
Salah headed vast on the far submit from Andy Robertson’s cross however Chelsea continued to create the very best possibilities with Kelleher saving from Pulisic as Liverpool waited for one more delayed offside flag which by no means got here earlier than Mason Mount bundled vast with solely the goalkeeper to beat.
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Pulisic, sliding in on the far submit, failed to attach with a Kai Havertz cross early within the second half however essentially the most obtrusive miss got here from Mount who appeared to get the ball caught beneath his ft having been clear by way of and stabbed a shot in opposition to a submit.
In the technical space Tuchel sank to his knees and beat the turf along with his hand.
Injury to Azpilicueta noticed Reece James make his first look since late December confronted with the livewire Luis Diaz, considered one of Liverpool’s higher gamers on the afternoon.
Thiago Silva belied his 37 years to race again and clear Salah’s goal-bound dink over Mendy after the goalkeeper had scuffed a clearance.
Liverpool thought that they had taken the lead when Matip nodded house from Mane’s header however VAR prompt referee Stuart Atwell take a look at the monitor and it was chalked off for an offside in opposition to Van Dijk, who had blocked Toni Rudiger’s run.
It was the signal for Tuchel to ship on Lukaku and Timo Werner, for Mount and Pulisic, with Werner the subsequent to be flagged offside as Havertz headed house.
Liverpool’s triple substitution noticed Diogo Jota, James Milner and Harvey Elliott launched however it was the spectacular Diaz after which Van Dijk who compelled Mendy into two saves, earlier than Kelleher denied Lukaku with just about the final kick of added time.
Lukaku had a aim dominated out within the first additional interval on a tight-looking offside name and Havertz for one much less so within the second.
A collection of impeccable penalties adopted earlier than Kelleher introduced house Liverpool’s first home cup in a decade in unlikely circumstances.