Chelsea vs Liverpool. Carabao Cup Final.
Report and free match highlights from the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium between Chelsea and Liverpool as Kepa Arrizabalaga misses the decisive penalty as the Reds prevail 11-10 in the shootout to claim victory
Monday 28 February 2022 13:27, UK
Liverpool triumphed over Chelsea to win the Carabao Cup after Kepa Arrizabalaga missed the decisive penalty in a marathon 11-10 shootout at Wembley.
Brought on by Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel for the shootout in the final minute of extra-time, as he was in August's Super Cup, Kepa failed to save a single penalty, before blazing his own effort over the bar to hand Liverpool victory after a goalless 120 minutes.
It was a remarkable moment that came three years after the previous defining incident in Kepa's Chelsea career, when he refused Maurizio Sarri's instructions for him to be removed ahead of their shootout defeat to Manchester City in the 2019 final.
For Liverpool it was a first Carabao Cup win since 2012, taking them ahead of Manchester City again to become the outright most successful side in the history of the competition with nine wins. It also ended Jurgen Klopp's wait for a first domestic cup trophy with the club.
Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp:
"I hope it puts to bed the idea of bringing on goalkeepers on for shootouts. Mendy's one of the world's best goalkeepers, and then you bring on Kepa instead, ridiculous.
"I didn't like his behaviour when the penalties were being taken, and then he took one of the worst penalties you'll ever see. I don't understand why you'd do it."
Sky Sports' Gary Neville:
"I don't like it [subbing goalkeepers on for shootouts]. It's not the time to analyse that, it could've paid off. They obviously know Kepa's got an excellent penalty-saving record, but I still don't understand it.
"Mendy's been outstanding and made saves all the way through the game, he's got the atmosphere, the feeling, he's warmed up."
|Period||Penalties faced||Penalties saved|
|Normal time/ extra-time||8||3|
Liverpool were dominating the ball but Chelsea were creating the clear openings. They had three massive opportunities to take the lead, but Christian Pulisic was denied by Caoimhin Kelleher early on, then Mason Mount either side of half-time lacked the composure to find the back of the net when presented with glorious opportunities.
They were the type of moments that should have been gobbled up by an elite striker, but Romelu Lukaku was again named on the bench by Tuchel.
Chelsea: Mendy (9), Chalobah (7), Thiago Silva (8), Rudiger (8), Azpilicueta (6), Kante (6), Kovacic (6), Alonso (7), Mount (5), Havertz (8), Pulisic (6)
Subs used: Kepa (0), James (7), Jorginho (7), Lukaku (7), Werner (6)
Liverpool: Kelleher (8), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (7), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (7), Henderson (6), Fabinho (7), Keita (6), Salah (6), Mane (6), Diaz (8)
Subs used: Elliott (7), Konate (6), Milner (6), Jota (6), Origi (6)
Man of the match: Edouard Mendy
Liverpool also had a huge chance of their own on the half-hour mark, only to be denied by Eduoard Mendy's remarkable double save.
First he got down low to deny Naby Keita's shot from the edge of the box, before reacting with incredible speed to push Sadio Mane's follow-up effort over the bar from point-blank range.
He did, however, nearly cost his side on 65 minutes with a poor clearance that allowed Mane to play in Mohamed Salah. But even the Premier League's most clinical finisher was found wanting as his attempted dink was cleared away from the line by Thiago Silva.
Moments later Liverpool thought they had taken the lead as a smart free-kick routine led to Mane heading across for Joel Matip to convert from a couple of yards out, but after a lengthy VAR check it was ruled out. Virgil van Dijk the man responsible, as he was deemed to be impeding Reece James in the build-up from an offside position.
Eventually Lukaku was introduced and for a split second early in extra-time he thought he had given Chelsea the lead. But VAR showed the striker was fractions offside as he raced in behind onto a Trevoh Chalobah pass before finishing past Kelleher.
Chelsea had the ball in the back of the net again in the second half of extra-time as Kai Havertz turned and finished, but once again the Blues were thwarted by the flag, with the Germany international narrowly offside.
Eventually the game went to penalties as Kepa was introduced, but he failed to save a single penalty before sending his over the bar to hand Liverpool victory.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said: "We feel bad for him [Kepa], of course. It was a bit harsh that he was the guy to miss the one and only penalty but there is no blame.
"I take the decisions when I take the decisions and I can't re-judge them when I know the outcome. We don't know what would've happened if we left Mendy on the pitch. No blame on Kepa. Blame on me as I'm the guy who takes the decisions. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. This is life as a football coach."
He told Sky Sports: "We did it before, and Kepa is slightly better in penalty saving. That's why that was the decision. It's pretty unusual that all 11 players need to shoot, he took it a bit too quick, sometimes these things can turn around against you. We take the decisions when the decisions need to be made, and not after when everyone can judge. We have reasons to do it, and nobody, I just said in the dressing room, I hope no one loses a night of sleep because it's not necessary and certainly not Kepa. It's how a final is, one team has to lose - and we were part of a brilliant football match."
"Alisson Becker is the best goalkeeper in the world for me, but Kelleher is the best No 2 in the world, especially for the way we play. He had an incredible game.
"The life of a No 2 goalkeeper is you have to be ready when called. I can remember at least two incredible saves, probably a few more. He proved that the decision to play him was absolutely right, and then in a spectacular shoot-out he showed the whole range of his skill-set. He was top class."
He told Sky Sports: "Even in professional football, there should be space for some sentiment. So when it's a young boy, we ask him to do a lot, he gets the competition, he plays and then I say for the final, no, you don't play.
"I am two things - a professional football manager, and a human being. And a human being first. It's so nice, he deserves it. At the training centre we have a wall with the goalkeepers listed who won something - and I told him, if we won tonight, it meant putting him on as well. It's exactly how it should be."
Luton are next up for Chelsea on Wednesday in the FA Cup. Liverpool host Norwich in the FA Cup last 16 on Wednesday before returning to Premier League duties on Saturday at home to West Ham, a game live on Sky Sports.