It was dramatic and it was tense but Liverpool got the job done with yet another penalty shootout, holding their nerve against Chelsea to win 6-5 on penalties after another stalemate.
Liverpool 0-0 Chelsea (6-5 on pens)
FA Cup Final, Wembley
May 14, 2022
Alisson – 10 (out of 10) – Man of the Match
Early keepie uppies showed the mood Alisson was in, calm and composed.
He wasn’t without work, however, needing clean hands and quick feet – with his close-range save on Marcos Alonso showing his prowess in 1v1 situations, and he took a knock for his efforts.
Had to be switched on at the start of the second and was reliable as always before proving crucial in the penalty shootout. What a man!
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8
Defense-splitting passes that were jaw-drop worthy were mixed with a brilliant goalmouth clearance and touch off the toe of Pulisic, with his recovery speed vital for Liverpool throughout.
Alexander-Arnold was a frequent visitor in-field and grew in importance as the game reached its most pivotal stage – as his penalty showed.
Ibrahima Konate – 8
The clear target for Romelu Lukaku more often than not, Konate was assured and up for the task.
Not shy in the physical battle, Konate was also, importantly, clean in possession to aid in Liverpool’s forward movement.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
A composed figure at the back, Van Dijk was his typical cool self as he kept the Reds’ defensive line disciplined throughout normal time.
Chelsea looked to avoid his side in favour of Konate, despite hints that he was not entirely comfortable, as was proven with his substitution before the start of extra-time for another injury concern.
One can only hope it came as a precaution.
Andy Robertson – 7
After a rest in midweek, the Scot was straight back in for the final and his energy reserves were replenished with a lively performance until it became too much in extra time.
You mightn’t have predicted it from the off but two glorious chances came his way at the back post, one that hit his midriff and another agonisingly hitting the upright. Hopefully, it was only cramp at the death.
Jordan Henderson – 8
Was eager to play balls over the top and exploit the space behind Chelsea through both Mane and Diaz, offering a disciplined line behind them in the process.
Would not be surprised to see he covered every possible blade of grass at Wembley.
Thiago – 8
The man oozes authority, on and off the ball – whether he is looking at his target or not. As part of a midfield trio starting together for the first time, Thiago shone.
Made some important tackles and interventions, some referee Craig Pawson liked and others not so much!
One to be affected by fatigue late on, but that could have been said of almost the entire group but their elite mentality shone again.
Naby Keita – 8
Often the furthest forward midfielder, eager to get stuck in during both phases of play with his pressing a notable feature of his game.
Chances to shoot and set up his teammates came his way thanks to his awareness and positioning, but proved unable to have the golden touch before his withdrawal after 73 minutes.
Mohamed Salah – 7
A match that ended all too soon for the No. 11, with concerns now to come for his chances of returning for the Champions League final in 14 days’ time.
An upper thigh or groin injury looked to be the issue at the half-hour mark, after what was a slow start from Salah in comparison to his teammates. Fingers crossed all will be well.
Luis Diaz – 9
Talk about a menace for the opposition.
Energetic and direct, Diaz was the Reds’ biggest threat and his expert positioning allows his teammates to play instinctive balls into his path.
Looked destined to open the scoring on more than one occasion, but the post was an inch too thick, and he had Anfield South urging him on with every touch.
A performance that had everything but a goal.
Sadio Mane – 8
For Liverpool’s man in form with eight goals in his previous 11 games, it was a quieter outing for Mane at Wembley as he took up his position in the central role once more.
Offered plenty of assistance running the opposite direction while exploiting the half-spaces with the chance to then turn at the other – his touch and final decision-making letting him down at times. A missed penalty? Not to worry.
Diogo Jota (on for Salah, 33′) – 7 – An earlier than expected arrival, Jota was involved in plenty and had a number of chances to get on the scoresheet, missing that final clinical touch.
James Milner (on for Keita, 73′) – 8 – As you’d expect, threw himself straight in and offered another voice from a leader in the middle of the pitch and came in clutch with a penalty, again.
Joel Matip (on for Van Dijk, 91′) – 8 – Not easy to step into a pressurised situation at the start of extra-time, but Matip took it in his stride.
Kostas Tsimikas (on for Robertson, 111′) – 9 – THE HERO. The Greek Scouser will not forget that moment in a hurry, and he shouldn’t, what a penalty.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Gomez, Jones, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 9
The third trip to Wembley this season, Klopp did not offer a surprise selection as he opted for his strongest possible XI against a team that previously proved stubborn opposition.
But he was thrown more than one curveball as Salah, Van Dijk and Robertson were all forced off with injury or cramp, a costly day for his side only two weeks out from the Champions League final.
Those concerns will have to wait for another day, however, as it’s time to celebrate as he is now a domestic cup double winner, having now completed the trophy set with the FA Cup.
What a team he has created, we are so lucky. Drink it in. Appreciate every moment.
I’m so glad that Jurgen is a Red!