The Carabao Cup final went all the way to penalties after ending goalless – and it was Liverpool who prevailed with an 11-10 shootout win to lift the trophy.
It is the first time Liverpool have won the Carabao Cup under Jurgen Klopp, plus their first piece of silverware since the Premier League title of 2020. They took the long route to get there, but can celebrate again after a shootout success.
Goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher scored the decisive penalty to set up an 11-10 win before counterpart Kepa Arrizabalaga missed for the opponents.
Both teams went into the Carabao Cup final with decisions to make about their starting goalkeepers. Each had favoured their second-choice shot-stoppers in previous rounds. Liverpool stuck with Kelleher instead of number one Alisson Becker, but Chelsea swapped out Kepa for Edouard Mendy.
Kelleher was the first goalkeeper called into action, making an important save. Kai Havertz spread the play to Cesar Azpilicueta, who set up Christian Pulisic with a low cross. The American tried to tap home from close range, but the Liverpool shot-stopper denied him.
Chelsea had started with a higher tempo and there were blocked shots for Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic in the same move after a quarter of an hour. Joel Matip got in the way of both efforts.
Liverpool’s first chance came when Trent Alexander-Arnold picked out Sadio Mane with a wonderful cross. However, the Senegal international could not test his compatriot Mendy, instead heading wide while outstretched.
Liverpool were growing into it, though. Virgil van Dijk had a shot blocked after a development from a corner, for example, which looked like it could have been on target.
Mendy then had to make an astonishing double save to keep the game goalless. First, he palmed away a powerful effort from Naby Keita before remarkably reacting to get his hand to Mane’s follow-up from close range on the rebound.
AMAZING DOUBLE SAVE!!
Take a bow Mendy 👏 pic.twitter.com/X9FIIj8gtN
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 27, 2022
At the other end, Kelleher had a more routine save to make when beating away a Pulisic effort.
He could have had concerns when Azpilicueta took aim from the edge of the box after being set up by Havertz. However, the Chelsea captain’s strike went wide.
Mount misses big chances either side of half-time
Chelsea arguably should have taken the lead just before half-time. Pulisic slid in Havertz, who picked out Mount in plenty of space well inside the box. The England international hit the ball just wide, though.
Mount again missed a big chance early in the second half. A forward pass from Pulisic picked him out in the box, leaving him one on one with Kelleher. This time, he hit the post.
Kelleher later had to make a save from Mount after a one-two with Havertz set up a shot from a wide angle. It was comfortable for the Liverpool keeper.
After the hour mark, there was a big chance for Liverpool when Mendy played a clearance straight to the opposition around the halfway line. Mane then picked out Mohamed Salah, who tried to dink it over the Chelsea goalie, only for Thiago Silva to recover and clear it away.
Liverpool first to be denied by VAR
Soon after, Liverpool thought they had the lead. A free kick from Alexander-Arnold found Mane, who headed back across the six-yard box for Matip to arrive and nod in.
However, it was disallowed after a VAR check due to van Dijk being offside when blocking a defender as the ball was played.
Joël Matip is *almost* Liverpool's unlikely hero 👀
The Reds' joy is short-lived as their goal is ruled out by VAR 📺 pic.twitter.com/cACBhQUfUc
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 27, 2022
Keeping the pressure on for Liverpool, Luis Diaz then sent in a cross for Keita, but Silva cleared it in the nick of time.
Mendy then denied Diaz with a low effort from an angle as the game entered its final 15 minutes.
Next it was Chelsea’s turn to have a goal ruled out. Timo Werner crossed for Havertz, whose header Kelleher got a hand to but couldn’t keep out. Alas, the assister was offside when he received the ball.
In the final five minutes, there was a goalmouth scramble from a Liverpool corner, but no member of Jurgen Klopp’s team could turn the ball home.
As six minutes of added time began, another corner caused danger for Chelsea. Mendy had to make a strong save to keep out a header from van Dijk.
At the other end, Kelleher held firm to prevent substitute Romelu Lukaku catching him out at the near post, saving with his feet. Therefore, the Carabao Cup final went to extra time.
Another attacking Chelsea sub, Werner, tried to find the top corner with one curled effort. It was not on target though.
Midway through the first half of extra time, Lukaku fired home, but the linesman put his flag up for offside. VAR checked it, and although it was closer than it first appeared, the goal was still disallowed.
Carabao Cup final decided by penalties
In the second half of extra time, Chelsea again had the ball in the net when Havertz arrowed into the bottom corner. Once again, though, it was ruled out for offside.
With penalties looming, Chelsea took off Mendy to bring Kepa on for the shootout.
The Spaniard was the first to face a penalty. James Milner sent him the wrong way to put Liverpool in front. Marcos Alonso responded by squeezing his effort past Kelleher, who dived the right way.
Next, Fabinho coolly dinked the ball down the middle while Kepa dived away. Lukaku kept Chelsea level by sending Kelleher the wrong way.
Van Dijk then powered Liverpool’s third attempt into Kepa’s top corner. Chelsea remained on the same terms when Havertz slotted home.
Alexander-Arnold made it 4-3 with a powerful effort to the left corner. Fellow England right-back Reece James, returning from injury, virtually produced a carbon copy to make it 4-4.
Ex-Chelsea forward Salah then put Liverpool on the verge of victory by finding the top right corner. It meant Jorginho had to score to keep Chelsea in it, and he did what was required to send it to sudden death.
Kepa misses in sudden death
Diogo Jota slammed his attempt down the middle to keep the pressure on Chelsea. Antonio Rudiger made no mistake in response though.
It became 7-6 to Liverpool when Divock Origi finished. N’Golo Kante ensured it went to 7-7 by slotting in.
Andy Robertson calmly kept up Liverpool’s 100% record from the spot. Werner then aimed just beyond Kelleher’s reach to do the same for Chelsea.
Youngster Harvey Elliott was the next to score for Liverpool. Veteran Silva followed it up for Chelsea.
The last outfield player to take one for Liverpool was Ibrahima Konate. He scored, despite Kepa getting a hand to it. Chelsea’s last outfield taker was Trevoh Chalobah, who like all that had gone before him also found the net.
Thus, it was over to the goalkeepers. Kelleher finished like a striker for Liverpool, putting the limelight back on Kepa. Brought on to win the shootout for them, he ultimately lost it – blazing his effort over the bar.
Hence, Liverpool were the winners, getting their hands on the trophy for the first time in a decade.