Liverpool beat Chelsea 11-10 on penalties in Carabao Cup final
Liverpool keeper Caoimhin Kelleher scored the winning penalty as Liverpool beat Chelsea 11-10 in a penalty shoot-out following a goalless Carabao Cup final.
The Reds required 120 minutes and penalty conversions from their entire outfield team to edge the Champions League holders and win their ninth League Cup in what was an entertaining and end-to-end game.
The two sides could not be separated in open play, despite a plethora of chances for both teams throughout regular time.
A game of ruled-out goals
Chelsea almost broke the deadlock in the opening minutes. Kai Havertz found Christian Pulisic in the 6-yard area, only for the American to blast his shot directly at Kelleher from close range.
Following this near goal, Liverpool responded by piling the pressure on offensively. They wracked up their corner and shot counts whilst Chelsea defended desperately. But despite this domination, the Reds were unable to get past Edouard Mendy between the posts. The AFCON winner also made a spectacular double save to deny Sadio Mané before half-time.
The second half was a much more even affair, with each side suffering from ruled out goals. Joel Matip’s goal was reversed after VAR deemed Virgil Van Dijk was in an offside position blocking a defender in the build-up, whilst Timo Werner wandered offside before setting up Havertz’s headed effort.
Despite numerous chances throughout the second half, the game remained goalless at full-time and thus went to extra time.
Chelsea took control in a slower and grittier first half of extra time; Werner curling narrowly over whilst substitute Romelu Lukaku found the back of the net only for his goal to be ruled out by VAR for an extremely tight offside.
The second half of extra time slowed down further as the game neared penalties. Havertz was flagged for offside after scoring early on, but Liverpool came closest to sealing the game when the ball fell to Diogo Jota in the box, only for the Portuguese international to scuff his shot. Once more, neither side could break the deadlock and it fell to penalties to decide the competition.
Kepa versus keeper
Chelsea brought on Kepa Arrizabalaga in the final minute of added time, hoping the keeper could win the shoot-out for the Blues as he did in the UEFA Super Cup last summer. However, Thomas Tuchel’s plan backfired as neither keeper made a single save and it came down to the two shot-stoppers to settle the contest.
Kelleher’s confident finish put the pressure on substitute Kepa, who blasted the ball high over the crossbar to send Liverpool fans wild at Wembley. An argument could be made that had Tuchel kept faith in his No.1 keeper Mendy, who impressed throughout the game, then the outcome may have fallen in Chelsea’s favor. But it was 23-year-old Kelleher who was cheered and carried away as the game came to an end.
It was a fierce contest between two Premier League rivals, which truly could have gone either way given missed chances and narrow offside rulings. But Liverpool deserved the win on the day due to their attacking prowess. The Reds managed 20 shots against the Blues’ 11, whilst dominating possession as well.
Liverpool turn their attention back to the Premier League, where they are just 6 points off leaders Manchester City with a game in hand. Meanwhile Chelsea will hope to achieve silverware elsewhere this season as they compete in both the FA Cup and the Champions League.
Chelsea | Mendy (120’ Kepa), Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Rudiger, Azpilicueta (57’ James), Kante, Kovacic (15’ Jorginho), Alonso, Mount (74’ Lukaku), Havertz, Pulisic (74’ Werner)
Unused Subs | Sarr, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, Hudson-Odoi
Liverpool | Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Matip (90’ Konate), Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson (79’ Elliott), Fabinho, Keita (80’ Milner), Salah, Mane (80’ Jota), Diaz (97’ Origi)
Unused Subs | Alisson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Tsimikas