Liverpool have beaten Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final, winning 11-10 in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout at Wembley.
After neither side could score in normal or extra time, the decisive moment came as Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was brought on in the final minute of extra time, skied his effort from 12 yards.
Every outfield player on the pitch netted their spot-kicks, meaning it was left to the two goalkeepers to step up.
Caoimhin Kelleher, Liverpool’s keeper for the final, smashed his in with huge confidence.
It was then down to Kepa to convert his but the Spaniard blasted the ball well over the bar to send the Liverpool players and fans go wild in celebration.
In what was one of the most entertaining cup finals the ‘new Wembley’ has seen, there were chances from the first to last minutes of the 90 as well as some drama in extra time too.
The first big one fell to Chelsea as Christian Pulisic failed to find the net as he fired the ball straight at Caoimhin Kelleher from close range. Sadio Mane was then guilty of a lack of composure as he got his header all wrong after being picked out by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
On the 30-minute mark, Mane was been wondering how he didn’t give Liverpool the lead. Mane reacted quickest to Edouard Mendy saving Naby Keita’s shot from distance but with the goal at Mane’s mercy the ball was somehow saved onto the crossbar by his Senegal teammate.
It was Chelsea who had their head in their hands just before the break when Mason Mount volleyed Kai Havertz’s neat cross from the right side.
Mount then spurned a glorious chance at the start of the second half as he struck the post despite finding himself in space in the Liverpool box.
Keita was perhaps fortunate to avoid further punishment when he caught Trevoh Chalobah – the offense merely leading to a free-kick to Chelsea.
On 64 minutes, the quiet Mohamed Salah had his big moment as Sadio Mane played a through ball but the Egyptian’s dinked effort lacked that required oomph and was subsequently cleared away.
Liverpool netted moments later as Joel Matip headed home a loose ball following a well-worked free-kick. But VAR chalked off the goal as Virgil van Dijk, who did a subtle block on Reece James in the build-up, was just offside when the free-kick was taken.
The excellent Luis Diaz was then denied by Mendy before Chelsea had the ball in the net through a Kai Havertz header but Timo Werner, who provided the assist, was offside in the build-up.
Both sides could’ve won it in stoppage-time as Mendy pushed away Van Dijk’s header from a corner while Romelu Lukaku’s clever flick was kept out by Kelleher.
Lukaku had the ball in the net in the seventh minute of extra-time but Liverpool were spared by the offside flag – VAR replays showing the call was very, very marginal. Havertz netted early in the second half of extra time, but again, the offside flag came to the Reds’ rescue.
In the final minute of extra time, Tuchel decided to bring on Kepa, three years on from when the goalkeeper refused to come off when Maurizio Sarri tried the same tactic in 2019 final.
The final went to the dreaded penalties but all the outfield players showed their composure as Kelleher and Kepa were unable to keep out any of the spot-kicks.
Irishman Kelleher duly slotted his away but the final was over when Kepa’s effort went well over the crossbar.
The Reds then clinched the trophy at Wembley. It is the club’s first success in the competition for a decade – and the first under Jürgen Klopp – with this latest triumph following previous wins in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1995, 2001, 2003, and 2012.
Liverpool is therefore now the outright most successful team in League Cup history, having been level with Manchester City on eight victories before Sunday’s result.
The Liverpool fans were excited and could not hide their joy believing ‘one trophy down three more to go’ as Wembley goes Red.
Highlights of the penalty shootout, Carabao Cup Final 2022