|Liverpool players celebrate with the trophy after an epic 11-10 penalty shootout win over Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
When they give you a ticket to a cup final, and you experience the type of classic Liverpool and Chelsea offered at Wembley, regardless of the side of the divide you’re on, you’ll feel fulfilled that you witnessed a game like that, it was a spectacle to say the least.
Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties to lift the Carabao Cup at Wembley after a goalless affair in 120 minutes, not for lack of efforts but both goalkeepers wouldn’t let the outfield players shine, although a goalkeeper would later decide it.
Jurgen Klopp took a risk and handed a starting shirt to young goalkeeper Caoimin Kelleher and the kid grabbed the opportunities with both hands with strings of impressive saves to deny Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount in regulation time before saving from Romelu Lukaku late on.
Thomas Tuchel didn’t risk anything; he simply started his best legs including in goal where Edouard Mendy came in for Kepa Arizabalaga. The opening exchanges were pretty even with both sides drivinf forward at every opportunity.
Thomas Tuchel brought on Kepa with just a minute left of the thirty minutes extra time, the goal was to give Chelsea a better chance of winning considering Kepa’s penalty heroics in the past, this reminds us of the 2019 final against Manchester City where Kepa refused to be replaced under Mauricio Sarri.
Tuchel’s penalty tinkering backfired, it was obvious that Chelsea were playing for penalties in the extra time, although Lukaku had a goal rightly disallowed for offside, this particular game would be remembered for the amount of VAR interventions, prompting the commentator to title the game “and the flag is up”.
Every single outfield player that stepped up to take penalties scored, Kelleher stepped up with the eleventh and scored, Kepa blazed over and Liverpool were crowned winners on the day but even the young keeper didn’t know how to react.
"It's a mad one. I got close to a few when it came down to me I didn't even think I had scored the winning penalty. I'd forgotten I'd got the winning one. All the lads were class, I was just happy to score," Kelleher said.
"Football can be a brilliant game and it was a brilliant game, no worries and no regrets," Tuchel said afterward."We gave everything and it was a brilliant match of football. The disallowed goal for Romelu [Lukaku] is a very close call -- there are bad feelings about this call.
"You need a bit of luck, we scored three times, had big chances, they had big chances, It was a fair result all the way to have a draw."