Liverpool on Sunday evening had to do overtime along with Chelsea, but they will be definitely the happier of the two sides leaving the Wembley stadium.
That is because Klopp and Liverpool won the first trophy of this season against the Blues. After 5 years the EFL Cup has a different name on the trophy than Manchester City, who won it 4 times in a row until West Ham knocked them out earlier in the competition.
Liverpool now have won the EFL cup a record 9th time, which now means they are one ahead than Manchester City who have won it 8 times.
It’s always these two fighting and battling, isn’t it?
Liverpool and Chelsea fought right down to the wire in this contest. The match finished at 0-0 after the 90 min, and extra time had to be called.
Even after extra time and both teams had taken ten penalties each, the teams remained inseparable!
After 20 spotless penalties it was time for the keepers to step up. Not Alisson but Caoimhin Kelleher stepped up to take the penalty, and the second-choice keeper did not disappoint.
A confident, powerful strike in sudden death meant Chelsea had to score the next.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was brought on by Chelsea in the last min of extra time because he is the penalty saving specialist.
But on the contrary, Kepa managed to save none and now had to score to keep the game alive. Kepa took his shot which flew over the cross bar sending the Liverpool crowd at the Wembley Stadium in absolute Euphoria.
21 pristine spot kicks later, Kepa had finally faltered and Liverpool won the EFL Cup by the thinnest of margins!
So, let’s take a closer look at this thrilling contest and churn out a few talking points that need to be discussed!
The game ended at 0-0 but if it was 3-3, no one would have been surprised. The quantity and quality of chances that both the teams created, and the fact there was not a single goal at the end of it was really astonishing.
It was a proper contest, an end-to-end delight from the first minute to the very last!
If it weren’t for the keepers this should have really translated into a cricket score. Yes, they were that good.
A total of 31 shots were taken by both the teams in the match, and 10 of them were on target. We assure you those 10 chances were really good chances!
The save that stood out was Edouard Mendy’s amazing double save against Sadio Mane, which left the Senegalese’s football player in absolute disbelief and shook.
Offside, Offside and Offside
For all the incredible saves that both the keepers pulled off, the ball did find the back of the net on four occasions, but, illegally.
For Liverpool, Joel Matip had a goal disallowed through VAR intervention, though it was rather controversial, before the offside flag denied Kai Havertz twice and also ruled out a Romelu Lukaku strike.
The match was an end-to-end affair with remarkable saves, frustrating offsides and multiple goal scoring chances.
It was a final and it really felt like a final!
Kepa was brought on in the 119th min of the game by Chelsea for the penalty shootout. Kepa the penalty saving specialised couldn’t grab the opportunity as he saved none of the 11.
To make matters worse he missed his penalty which gave Liverpool the win.
Kepa who already has a bad history when it comes to the EFL Cup finals, found himself on the wrong end, yet again.
One can really ponder, that if Mendy had stayed on, maybe the result could have been different.
Mendy made exceptional saves throughout the match and it is a possibility that he could have translated this momentum into the shootout as well.
But without going into the ifs and buts lets stick to the reality and the reality is, saving penalties is a very difficult task even if you are some sort of a specialist.
Kepa just did not have his day and Liverpool won by the thinnest of margin possible.
All is not lost though; Chelsea is still in the FA Cup and the Champions League and look probably to finish in the top 4.
Chelsea still has a lot to play for, as we head into the business end of the season and Kepa will live to fight another day!
Liverpool on the other hand, will celebrate their victory but I assure you the celebration won’t go on for too long.
They will continue their relentless pursuit of the Premier League title, and look to pounce at any Manchester City slip up!