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Liverpool Win League Cup Final On Penalties

Liverpool took their first step towards a historical quadruple by beating Chelsea in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in the Carabao Cup final.

Kepa Arrizabalaga, brought on in the closing moments of extra time as a penalty specialist, missed the decisive spot-kick after the game came down to a shoot-out between Chelsea’s keeper and his Liverpool counterpart Caoimhin Kelleher.

Kelleher made it 11 penalties from 11 for Liverpool but Kepa blazed wildly over the top to decide the cup final.

This is final that Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel will be wondering for weeks how they did not win. The European and World Champions had three goals disallowed for offside while Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic missed three big chances between them.

‘We have to accept the quality of the opponent and this is maybe the most dangerous attacking side at the moment in Europe, and full of individual quality and playing such a high rhythm,’ explained Tuchel. ‘So defending like this and playing like this on this level made me very proud today. I saw a brilliant match of football over 120 minutes, we played a huge part in it.

‘I have a feeling that we created a bit more but maybe that’s also subjective. This game could easily have gone either way. You need a bit of luck, you need a bit of momentum to win it. If you look at the line for the goal disallowed by Romelu, it’s a bit of a weird line, where it’s drawn and then to make the decision that this is offside, but that’s it.

‘We cannot have any regrets, I am very proud of the performance of the team, there were a lot of good things. I told the guys we should not lose sleep over this. It was an entertaining match of football full of intensity and I’m very happy to have the chance to be part of this. It was excellent.’

Not to say that this was a final dominated by one team. Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was magnificent, producing a string of outstanding saves in the second half. Liverpool had their own goal ruled out by VAR as Joel Matip goal was ruled out due to an off the ball incident.

“How I said, the start of the game was clearly better from Chelsea but all of a sudden, we were really in the game and then we let them run and we were the clear dominant team” said winning manager Jurgen Klopp.

“I’m not sure 100 per cent but the first half was like 63 or something [per cent] possession – against Chelsea, that’s not that easy so there was a lot of good football stuff obviously. But over 120 minutes you cannot hold them back and away from your goal, so they had their chances and obviously they scored ‘goals’ more than us, but they all were offside. That’s pretty harsh to take for them I can imagine but I’m really happy about the effort and all these kind of things and yes it’s a big one for us because it’s the first time for this group but the ninth time for the club, which is very important as well. ”

One thing that made this cup final so good was the atmosphere, something Klopp commented on afterwards:

“Our fans were obviously quite happy about the whole thing tonight, the atmosphere was outstanding, I really loved it. And after the game it was nice to celebrate with the people after a long time without having any reason to celebrate something, or not the opportunity to celebrate something. So, I’m really happy about the whole thing.”