Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool (10-11 on pens)
League Cup Final, Wembley
February 27, 2022
Caoimhin Kelleher – 9 (out of 10) – Man of the Match
Good save early on to deny Christian Pulisic from close range.
Held on well from a Mason Mount shot which, if spilt, would have been tapped home by a lurking Pulisic.
Eager to leave his area to sweep up and is good when he does.
In previous squads, he may be Liverpool’s No. 1 by now, but he has Alisson ahead of him.
And what about that winning penalty, he called it a “hit and hope” but it was hit clean and true.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
Though the goal was disallowed, it’s still worth mentioning the perfect delivery to find Mane at the far post.
Hadn’t been at his most effective up to that point, and may have been partly culpable when Mount found his way in behind Matip.
But went on to play one of the passes of the game to send Diaz through on goal. Finished the game with five key passes and a well-taken penalty.
Joel Matip – 7
Important block on a Mason Mount shot early on, but in the second half was drawn inside as Mount ran free behind the defence. Luckily it didn’t result in a goal.
Found the back of the net for the second game in a row but it was ruled out as Van Dijk was offside earlier in the move, replaced for extra-time for fresh legs.
Virgil van Dijk – 8
Had a header from a Trent corner well saved by Mendy before being the one to be called into question for Matip’s goal that was not to be.
Was untroubled at the back and looks back to his imperious best.
Andy Robertson – 7
Pressed hard throughout and was always a reliable outlet down the left.
Good drive with the ball if not always the delivery, though he did play one good ball in for Jota in extra time.
Fabinho – 8
Was the tidiest passer on the team and defended well when called upon. Held the midfield together through all its variations, another supreme outing from the Brazilian.
And what about the Panenka penalty?! The confidence.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Developing an unhelpful habit of shouting at teammates after he makes an error.
Didn’t have much an effect on the game before being subbed for his vice-captain, perhaps culpable of allowing the right-side to be too exposed.
But that Henderson shuffle, no fault in that! Glorious.
Naby Keita – 7
A late call-up to the starting XI after Thiago was injured in the warm-up. Meant he didn’t get the full warm-up himself with the starters but settled quickly.
Let off a really good strike from distance which was spilt by Edouard Mendy — one of the best attempts of the first half. But lost the ball in midfield leading to one of Chelsea‘s best chances of the game.
Mohamed Salah – 7
Struggled against the strength and aggression of Rudiger, but had some joy against Alonso.
Managed to chip Mendy when put through by Mane but there wasn’t enough on the shot, though he timed his run perfectly.
Worked his way into some good positions but couldn’t manage to make anything of them, holding onto the ball too long with the chance then going begging. Reliable from the spot, as expected.
Sadio Mane – 7
Nice move to get past Cholobah before squaring to Diaz, and got the better of the Chelsea defender on a number of occasions.
Dropped deep to link up play and should have scored from the rebound from Keita’s shot, but gave his international teammate a chance to make a good save.
Lively and involved and did his best to link the midfield with the attack. Didn’t look happy when subbed off.
Luis Diaz – 9
Some really neat touches and worried the Chelsea defence with his speed and unpredictability.
Put his own team in trouble on a couple of occasions, which both led to good chances for Chelsea, but was generally one of Liverpool’s bright sparks.
May have to accept the occasional poor decision as part of his brilliance, which shone brightly on the big stage having taken to life as a Red quicker than any would have hoped for.
Harvey Elliott (on for Hednerson, 79′) – 7
Was the player added to the bench once Thiago was ruled out. Had a fairly intense half-time warm-up and showed some nice touches on entering, even if he couldn’t get fully into the game.
Made sure he got involved in the scuffle in extra time and handled the pressure for his penalty.
James Milner (on for Keita, 80′) – 7
Played a leadership role in extra time and was good in moments. And can always count on him from the spot!
Diogo Jota (on for Mane, 80′) – 7
Straight into the action with a shot following a 1-2 with Salah. Couldn’t connect with a good Robertson cross, which summed up his cameo.
Ibrahima Konate (on for Matip, 91′) – 7
Brought on to deal with Romelu Lukaku, and there was no clear winner in the battle. Interesting run-up for a well-executed penalty.
Divock Origi (on for Diaz, 97′) – 7
Offered a focal point but didn’t get any chances in front of goal.
Subs not used: Alisson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Tsimikas
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Having already had to leave some players out of the squad completely, Klopp then had to make more difficult decisions when Thiago was ruled out due to injury in the warm-up.
The second-half subs didn’t really work, but Konate was a useful addition.
But after a battle of attrition, it was his side that came out on top for what will prove to be a huge boost for Liverpool heading into the final months of the season.
That’s the fifth trophy of his tenure and his first domestic cup, in a competition many said he did not care about…his celebrations said otherwise!