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Liverpool win the Carabao Cup for the 10th time

Copa da Liga Inglesa chelsea liverpool

In a simply thrilling match, Liverpool and Chelsea contested the Carabao Cup title at Wembley.

Let’s see what happened in this historic game.

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Teams’ situation

On one side, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Premier League leaders, finalists of the Carabao Cup, qualified for the Europa League round of 16, and into the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Despite this favourable scenario, not everything is rosy. The Reds have a crowded medical department, with many of their key players sidelined. Here’s the list:

  • Salah  
  • Alisson
  • Alexander-Arnold  
  • Thiago  
  • Diogo Jota  
  • Darwin Núñez  
  • Matip  
  • Curtis Jones  
  • Bajcetic  
  • Szoboszlai

On the other hand, with Chelsea, the situation is different.

The London team is not performing well in the Premier League, currently sitting in 11th place.

Moreover, considering their poor performance last season, the London side, after a long time, missed out on European competitions.

Nevertheless, they are in the fifth round of the FA Cup and in the Carabao Cup final.

The low performance of Mauricio Pochettino’s team is largely due to the rebuilding process forced by the new management of the Blues.

With a very young squad, the players have been feeling the pressure and struggling to establish themselves, especially in moments of adversity.

As if that wasn’t enough, Chelsea is also dealing with injuries, leading Pochettino to be without the following players:

  • Badiashile
  • Reece James
  • Wesley Fofana
  • Chukwuemeka
  • Ugochukwu
  • Romeo Lavia
  • Cucurella
  • Thiago Silva

However, this doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom. Pochettino’s men have been putting in good performances, with the latest one against Liverpool being a fine example.

Liverpool 1 x 0 Chelsea – Carabao Cup final

Watching the match, it would be impossible to say it ended 0-0 in regular time.

There were countless chances for both sides. The ball simply refused to go in. Both teams hit the woodwork, and both had goals disallowed by VAR, one of which was highly contentious.

As mentioned earlier, both Klopp and Pochettino have their medical departments full. In this final, the solution was to use several young players to cover the absences.

Therefore, the Blues lined up with: Petrovic, Malo Gusto, Disasi, Colwill, Chilwell (Chalobah), Moisés Caicedo, Enzo Fernández, Gallagher (Madueke), Palmer, Sterling (Nkunku), and Nicolas Jackson (Mudryk). *(substitutions)

Liverpool, on the other hand, took to the field with: Kelleher, Bradley (Clark), Konaté (Quansah), Van Dijk, Robertso (Tsimikas), Endo, Mac Allister (McConnell), Gravenberch (Joe Gomez), Elliott, Gakpo (Jayden Danns), and Luis Díaz.

Despite the differing moments, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Chelsea was slightly superior to Liverpool, overall, in the game.

Anyway, any score would have been acceptable given the number of chances created by both teams.

The first dangerous moment, at 20′, was astounding. Palmer had the ball inside Liverpool’s area. The player struck the ball from a meter out of the six-yard box, expecting to bulge the net and open the scoring. However, he didn’t count on Kelleher’s phenomenal save. Alison’s substitute threw himself and blocked the shot, becoming one of the key figures of the final.

Carabao Cup final report: Chelsea 0-1 (aet) Liverpool | News | Official Site | Chelsea Football Club

Image: ChelseaFC Reproduction

Ten minutes later, the Blues had another chance to open the scoring. Jackson was played in behind and with just one touch, he set up Sterling, who tapped it into the back of the net.

Upon review, VAR found Jackson to be offside at the moment of the pass. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the offside position was flagged by a matter of centimeters, or even millimeters. Very tight.

From there, the Reds began to respond. In a Robertson cross, Gakpo headed towards the ground and hit the woodwork.

That was just the first half.

In the second half, Liverpool started to impose their rhythm more, eventually leading to Van Djik’s opening goal.

From a free-kick, Robertson, once again, delivered a superb cross to the Dutch defender, who headed forcefully to open the scoring.

However, VAR reviewed the play and flagged Gakpo offside.

However, we couldn’t perceive what the striker’s interference would have been in the play. Both the ball and the players marking the goal scorer were meters away from Gakpo. It’s hard to understand what the referee saw in this play.

At 75′, it was Chelsea’s turn to hit the woodwork for the first time. Palmer crossed to Gallagher, who, inside the box, struck a bit awkwardly. The shot hit the post and didn’t go in.

The chances kept coming. Once again, the Palmer-Gallagher duo worked. Just like in the previous chance, Palmer set up Gallagher, who found himself one-on-one with Kelleher. The goalkeeper came out well, closed the angles, and prevented the Blues from opening the scoring.

It was truly Kelleher’s day. In the last action of regular time, Palmer had the ball near the six-yard box. He shot, and Kelleher made a beautiful save with his feet. On the rebound, there was a scramble inside the box. Nkuku tried to finish, but it went straight into the hands of the Reds’ goalkeeper.

Extra time began, and Liverpool had great chances again. Chelsea relied on great saves from Petrovic. One, on Dann’s header high up, and another on Elliott’s low corner header.

Despite Petrovic’s efforts, he wouldn’t leave the game without conceding. Tsimikas took a corner at 118′, and Van Djik darted in like an arrow to head it across goal and finally put the ball into the back of the net.

Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea: Van Dijk brings home the League Cup! - Liverpool FC - This Is Anfield

Image: This is Anfield Reproduction

This time, VAR did nothing, and the goal was validated.

In the end, there was no time for more excitement, and Liverpool won the Carabao Cup for the 10th time in its history.

An important milestone for the year, as Jurgen Klopp won’t bid farewell without trophies. He will still pursue three more, where he is very much alive and with good chances of victory.

The feeling of victory was so great that he declared:

“What we saw here was so exceptional that we may never see it again. Not because I was on the sideline, but because these things don’t happen in football. There are bigger careers than mine, but in these over 20 years, it’s the most special title I’ve ever won. Absolutely exceptional.”

And you? Do you believe Liverpool will lift more trophies in the 2023/24 season?

Liverpool's mentality monsters are back! Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea proves Jurgen Klopp's farewell tour could end in a quadruple | Kenya

Image: Getty Images

Written by Vitor F L Miller.

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