Liverpool win Carabao Cup final, emerge as champs after thrilling final against Chelsea

Kepa Arrizabalaga turns villain, misses in penalty shootout

Liverpool claimed a penalty shootout victory in the Carabao Cup final after a thriller against Chelsea at Wembley, winning 11-10 on penalties at the end of the final that was goalless after 120 minutes of action.

The build-up to the game was about the managers, both of whom had the chance to win their first Carabao Cup title. Jurgen Klopp already lost the 2016 Carabao Cup final, and Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel reached his first Carabao Cup final since his appointment 13 months ago.

The match started in high octane fashion and Chelsea should arguably have been ahead after only six minutes when Christian Pulisic could only fire his effort from close range straight at Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher after a brilliant low cross from Cesar Azpilicueta.

It was soon Edouard Mendy‘s turn to thwart Liverpool with a terrific double save in the first half. He first got down quickly to deny Naby Keita from range, before returning to his feet just as swiftly to palm countryman Sadio Mane’s effort on the rebound over the bar.

Chelsea’s Mason Mount missed what was arguably the best chance of the first half of the Carabao Cup final when he fired narrowly wide from a Kai Havertz pass with only the goalkeeper to beat.

At the start of the second half, Mount was once again the culprit as he missed a gilt-edged chance when a clipped pass from Pulisic sent him through on goal. The England international struck the upright when one-on-one with Kelleher.

Liverpool continued to ramp up the pressure and thought they had gone ahead when a freekick from Trent Alexander-Arnold was headed across goal by Sadio Mane for Joel Matip to power home a header from close range. The effort was, however, ruled out after Virgil Van Dijk was adjudged to have interfered with play from an offside position.

Both sides had the chance to win the game in extra time, with a Romelu Lukaku effort ruled out for a marginal offside call. Kai Havertz also saw an effort ruled out late in extra time following an offside call.

Chelsea boss Tuchel turned to his bench and brought on shootout specialist Kepa Arrizabalaga in the final minute of extra time with the tie poised to go to penalties.

All 20 outfield players scored their penalty kicks in the shootout, leaving the goalkeepers to take theirs. Liverpool’s Kelleher sent his effort high into the net, but Kepa managed to send his above the bar, ensuring that Liverpool won the Carabao Cup final.

Chelsea have now lost five consecutive domestic cup finals, and Liverpool have gained revenge for their defeat in the 2005 League Cup final at the hands of Chelsea.

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