Liverpool Wins the Carabao Cup After a Dramatic 22-Penalty Shootout Against Chelsea.

Liverpool Wins the Carabao Cup After a Dramatic 22-Penalty Shootout Against Chelsea.

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28 Feb 2022
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For what it’s worth, Tuchel made no mistakes in selecting his starting XI and favoring Mendy. With Arrizabalaga having played the previous rounds, if there was any doubt in his mind, it was undoubtedly cleared on the 30th minute, when his number one made possibly the best stop of the season.

Mendy parried a Naby Keita shot from a good 25 yards out, which was a terrific stop. As the ball returned, Sadio Mane was the quickest to get to it and attempted a second-half finish from close range. Mendy somehow deflected it over the bar, and it was a magnificent save.

In the second half, he did it again, first from Luis Diaz, then from Andrew Robertson. Soon after, another save was made at Diaz’s feet. Klopp preferred Kelleher, Alisson’s shadow, throughout the game, but he was not called upon as frequently as Mendy. Chelsea’s match-winning chances were generally squandered rather than preserved. Mount, in particular, will have the same number of nightmares as Kepa regarding this game.

The difference, arguably, is that Klopp recognizes the importance of keeping Kelleher happy since he knows he will be at Liverpool next season. Tuchel has more leeway to disappoint if Arrizabalaga was on his way out.

Liverpool had the numbers, Chelsea had the quality. They had the ball in the six-yard box three times with only Kelleher to beat, and each time they squandered it. After only six minutes, the first should have given them the lead. Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who is always a threat on the overlap, came down the right flank and picked out Pulisic, who sprinted late into the box. He took it with his left foot, but his shot was aimed squarely at Kelleher. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Then, in the final minute of the first half, Azpilicueta went on another good run, this time more centrally, feeding Kai Havertz, whose cross found Mount in a similar position, but he shot wide. Mount missed the first attack after the halftime break. Pulisic put him through, and Liverpool’s back line was stagnant, allowing him to beat just Kelleher. He slipped the ball past him, only for it to bounce off the post.

Tuchel knelt on the touchline and struck the ground with the palm of his hand, despondent. Liverpool did not have the same number of chances as Chelsea, owing to Chelsea’s tenacious defense. After that, block after block. After every tackle, there’s another. Thiago Silva appeared to have rib damage, but he continued after a few squirts of magic spray.

In the second half, a rare kicking error by Mendy resulted in the ball being returned to Mane, who passed it to Mo Salah, who was suddenly sprinting towards goal. Silva sprinted past two teammates to clear the line after going for a delicate chip. Who knows where he gets his vigor at his age?

Trent Alexander-Arnold fired a free-kick in the 67th minute, which Mane met at the far post. He headed the ball down, but it bounced up, allowing Joel Matip to get in front of Silva and head into an empty net.

Stuart Attwell was called to the sidelines and, upon review, delivered the classic killjoy signal. Van Dijk was just offside and, despite not touching the ball, had obstructed Mane’s progress, allowing him to continue unhindered. There is no goal. Chelsea had a goal disallowed for offside as well, although one required less explanation. Werner, Timo. Enough said.

Could Chelsea have gone on to win in extra time? It appeared to be so. Romelu Lukaku slipped away, checked inside, and struck low past Kelleher after coming on as a 73rd-minute substitute and looking sharper for his break. The offside flag was raised once the ball was in the net.

Havertz scored again in the second session of injury time, although that was certainly offside. Chelsea would have won if Lukaku had scored with a silky flick in the fifth minute of second-half injury time, despite Kelleher’s best efforts. Later, he would employ them in a more traditional manner to exert pressure on Arrizabalaga. He was successful on both ends. Some could claim that this qualifies him as an expert.

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