Liverpool wins Carabao Cup by beating Chelsea 11-10 in penalty shootout
Liverpool held their composure to win an incredible penalty shootout 11-10 and beat Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final after a thrilling match ended 0-0 after extra time at Wembley.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga missed the deciding penalty after Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher had scored following 120 minutes of frantic action at Wembley Stadium.
Several goals had been ruled out during the game, and there was very little separating two admirable teams.
However, after a series of brilliant penalty kicks, with no players missing and neither goalkeeper making a save, Arrizabalaga – who had been substituted shortly before the final whistle because of his penalty shootout expertise – blasted the game-winning shot over the bar.
Jurgen Klopp’s first domestic cup triumph since joining Liverpool in 2015 is the Carabao Cup victory.
The European champions got off to a flying start, with American attacker Christian Pulisic firing a close-range shot straight at Kelleher in the Liverpool goal inside the first ten minutes.
But, following a quick start from Chelsea, Liverpool clawed its way back into the game, dominating possession and the ball while battling to break down a tenacious and determined defence.
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy made a fantastic double save at the half-hour mark, first blocking Naby Keita’s powerful attempt and then denying Sadio Mane from close range when it appeared easier to score.
Mason Mount had a fantastic chance to open the score just before halftime, but his close-range volley sailed just past Kelleher’s post.
After being superbly sent through by Pulisic, the England international had another golden chance to score minutes into the second half but instead struck the post.
Mohamed Salah had a golden chance to break the deadlock despite Chelsea’s pressure, but a diving Thiago Silva cleared his chip off the line.
After what appeared to be a well-worked freekick, Liverpool thought it had finally taken the lead when Joel Matip headed home from close range. After a VAR review determined that Virgil van Dijk had been interfering with play from an offside position throughout the buildup, the goal was ruled out.
Luis Daz, Liverpool’s January signing from Porto, could only fire straight at Mendy minutes later.
In the 77th minute, Chelsea’s own goal was ruled out for offside when second-half substitute Timo Werner crossed for fellow German international Kai Havertz to head home.
Van Dijk’s header from a corner kick in stoppage time appeared like it might win the game after some tense minutes, only for Mendy to claw it back.
Romelu Lukaku nearly scored the game’s winner with the game’s final kick, but Kelleher saved his close-range shot.
In the first few minutes of extra time, the Belgian striker felt he’d handed his team a crucial lead, but he’d drifted offside.
Havertz once again had the ball in the nett, but the offside flag ruled it out.
The drama was heightened even more just seconds before the game headed to a penalty shootout when Chelsea’s great goalkeeper Mendy was substituted for Kepa Arrizabalaga in an attempt to provide a winning edge.
Due to their high standards, both Arrizabalaga and Kelleher had little chance to save penalties.
After both teams’ 11 players scored, it came down to the goalkeepers.
Kelleher, 23, hammered home before Arrizabalaga’s effort went over the bar, sealing Liverpool’s triumph.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel failed to win his fourth trophy – Carabao Cup
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel’s aspirations of winning a fourth trophy in less than a year at Stamford Bridge were dashed.
While Chelsea was vying for their sixth League Cup, he won the Champions League last season and the European SuperCup and FIFA Club World Cup.
After having arguably the better chances, his team may feel disgruntled.
Two extra-time goals were disallowed, the first by Romelo Lukaku, who cut in from the right and blasted a drive past Kelleher but was assessed barely offside.
Tuchel lauded his team for maintaining a clean sheet for 120 minutes against what he described as “arguably Europe’s finest attacking side” but lamented “a bit of a strange line” with the Lukaku decision.
Tuchel also justified his decision to substitute goalkeeper Arrizabalaga for Mendy late in extra time.
The plan was to take advantage of the Spaniard’s penalty-saving abilities, but he failed to save any of Liverpool’s 11 spot-kicks and subsequently missed his chance to strike from 12 metres.
Chelsea Russian boss Roman Abramovich handed stewardship
The Carabao Cup final occurred a day after Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich handed over “stewardship and care” of the London club after allegations regarding his apparent ties to the Russian state.
Both Liverpool and Chelsea joined the Wembley crowd before the game to “express sympathy with the people of Ukraine and all those affected by the ongoing conflict.”
Tuchel stated that Abramovich’s decision would not affect how he handled the team.
In response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine, there are mounting calls for the British government to seize Abramovich’s club ownership.
Tuchel stated that he had worked closely with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech, the club’s technical and performance adviser. He does not expect it to alter in the future.
Meanwhile, Russia has been stripped of hosting the Champions League final by UEFA, with St Petersburg replaced by Paris after Russia invaded Ukraine.