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The Carabao Cup final went all the way to penalties after ending goalless – and that was Liverpool who won by an 11-10 shootout victory to lift the trophy.
This is the first time Liverpool have won the Carabao Cup under Jurgen Klopp, plus their first piece of silverware since the Premier League title in 2020. They took the long road to get there, but can celebrate again after a shootout success.
Goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher scored the decisive penalty kick to create an 11-10 victory before opponent Kepa Arrizabalaga missed for the opponents.
Both teams went into the Carabao Cup final with decisions on their starting goalkeepers. Each had favored their second-choice shot stoppers in previous rounds. Liverpool stuck with Kelleher instead of number one Alisson Becker, but Chelsea replaced Kepa with Edouard Mendy.
Kelleher was the first goalkeeper to be called to action and made an important save. Kai Havertz spread the game to Cesar Azpilicueta, who put Christian Pulisic up with a low cross. The American tried to push home from close range, but Liverpool’s stopper denied him.
Chelsea had started at a higher pace and shots were blocked for Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic in the same move after a quarter of an hour. Joel Matip got in the way of both efforts.
Liverpool’s first chance came when Trent Alexander-Arnold selected Sadio Mane with a wonderful cross. However, the Senegalese national team player could not test his compatriot Mendy, but instead headed wide while he was outstretched.
Liverpool, however, grew into it. Virgil van Dijk got a shot on target after a corner kick that was nicely executed by a corner.
Mendy then had to make an amazing double save to keep the match goalless. First, he palmed a powerful effort from Naby Keita before reacting remarkably to get his hand to Mane’s follow-up from close range on rebound.
FANTASTIC DOUBLE SAVE !!
Take a buck Mendy 👏 pic.twitter.com/X9FIIj8gtN
– Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 27, 2022
At the other end, Kelleher had a more routine save when he knocked a Pulisic effort away.
He may have had concerns as Azpilicueta scores from the edge of the box after being set up by Havertz. However, the Chelsea captain’s attack went unnoticed.
Mount misses great chances on both sides of the break
Chelsea should no doubt have taken the lead just before the break. Pulisic slipped Havertz in, who picked Mount out in good space well inside the box. However, the English national team player hit the ball just past.
Mount again burned a great chance early in the second half. A forward pass from Pulisic picked him up in the box, leaving him one on one with Kelleher. This time he hits the post.
Seven talented South American youths who could make it to the Premier League
Kelleher later had to make a save from Mount after a one-two with Havertz putting a shot from wide angle. It was comfortable for the Liverpool goalkeeper.
After the hour mark, there was a great chance for Liverpool as Mendy played a clearing directly to the opponent around the halfway line. Mane then selected Mohamed Salah, who tried to lower it over the Chelsea goalkeeper, only for Thiago Silva to recover and clear it away.
Liverpool were first rejected by VAR
Shortly after, Liverpool thought they had the lead. A free kick from Alexander-Arnold found Mane, who headed back across the six-yard field, so Matip came and nodded in.
However, it was rejected after a VAR check because van Dijk was offside when he blocked a defender when the ball was played.
Joël Matip is * almost * Liverpool’s unlikely hero 👀
The joy of the Reds is short-lived, as their goal is excluded by VAR 📺 pic.twitter.com/cACBhQUfUc
– Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 27, 2022
By keeping the pressure on for Liverpool, Luis Diaz then sent a cross into the Keita, but Silva managed it over time.
Mendy then denied Diaz with a low effort from an angle as the match went into the final 15 minutes.
Next, it was Chelsea’s turn to get a goal ruled out. Timo Werner reluctantly made way for Havertz on the pitch. Alas, the assistant was offside when he received the ball.
In the last five minutes, there was a shot from a Liverpool corner, but no member of Jurgen Klopp’s team could return the ball home.
When six minutes of extra time began, another corner kick created danger for Chelsea. Mendy had to make a strong save to keep a header out of van Dijk.
At the other end, Kelleher held on tight to prevent substitute Romelu Lukaku from catching him at the nearest post and saving with his feet. Therefore, the Carabao Cup final went to extended playing time.
Another attacking Chelsea sub, Werner, tried to find the top corner with a curly effort. However, it was not in goal.
Midway through the first half of extra time, Lukaku burned home, but the linebacker set his flag up for offside. VAR checked it, and even though it was closer than it first looked, the target was still rejected.
Carabao Cup final settled with penalty kick
In the second half of extra time, Chelsea had the ball in the net again when Havertz darted into the bottom corner. Once again, however, it was ruled out for offside.
With the penalty kick on the way, Chelsea took out Mendy to bring Kepa on to the penalty kick.
The Spaniard was the first to get a penalty kick. James Milner feels he is the wrong way to bring Liverpool to the forefront. Marcos Alonso responded by pushing his effort past Kelleher, who diverged the right way.
Next, Fabinho coolly threw the ball down the middle while Kepa dived away. Lukaku kept Chelsea on par by sending Kelleher the wrong way.
Van Dijk then put Liverpool’s third attempt in Kepa’s top corner. Chelsea remained on the same terms when Havertz came on.
Alexander-Arnold made it 4-3 with a powerful effort in the left corner. English right-back Reece James, who returned from an injury, almost produced a copy to make it 4-4.
Ex-Chelsea striker Salah then put Liverpool on the brink of victory by finding the top right corner. That meant Jorginho had to score to keep Chelsea in it and he did what it took to send it to a sudden death.
Kepa misses in a sudden death
Diogo Jota slammed his attempt down the middle to keep the pressure on Chelsea. Antonio Rudiger made no mistake, however.
It became 7-6 to Liverpool when Divock Origi finished. N’Golo Kante ensured it was 7-7 by sticking in.
Andy Robertson calmly kept Liverpool’s record of 100% from the spot. Werner then aimed just out of Kelleher’s reach to do the same for Chelsea.
The young Harvey Elliott was the next to score for Liverpool. Veteran Silva followed it up for Chelsea.
The last fielder to take one for Liverpool was Ibrahima Konate. He scored, despite Kepa getting a hand for it. Chelsea’s last outfield taker was Trevoh Chalobah, who, like everything that had gone before him, also found the net.
With that, it was over to the goalkeepers. Kelleher finished as a striker for Liverpool and put the spotlight back on Kepa. He was brought in to win the shootout for them, and he eventually lost it – with his effort over the crossbar.
Therefore, Liverpool were the winners, getting their fingers in the trophy for the first time in a decade.
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