Liverpool won their first domestic final in a decade by beating Chelsea 11-10 on penalties to clinch the League Cup 2021-22 on Sunday. (More Football News)
All 10 penalties had been scored before it was down to the goalkeepers to take their turn and Kepa Arrizabalaga missed after Liverpool counterpart Caoimhin Kelleher had netted.
Kepa had been brought off the bench as a penalties specialist just as the clock hit 120 minutes at the end of extra time, replacing Edouard Mendy whose saves had kept the final locked at 0-0.
The move paid off for manager Thomas Tuchel in the UEFA Super Cup in August but this time there was no trophy for Chelsea to add to the Champions League and Club World Cup titles won in the last year.
Unlike Chelsea, Liverpool did allow the 23-year-old Kelleher to keep his place as goalkeeper in the cup competitions rather than inserting the first-choice Alisson Becker for the final.
“In professional football there should be space for sentiment,” Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said. “He is a young boy, we ask him to do a lot, he starts playing in the competition and then we get to the final and I tell him he cannot play?
“I am two things, a football manager and a human being, and the human being won this time and it is so nice that it paid off. He deserves it.”
Liverpool’s last domestic cup final success was the 2012 League Cup under Kenny Dalglish. Liverpool has won the Champions League in 2019 and Premier League in 2020 under Klopp.
The game opened with a pre-match show of solidarity to the people of Ukraine after the invasion by Russia, with applause around Wembley as the blue and yellow of Ukraine appeared on stadium screens.
“Some of the videos and clips you see are frightening but hopefully it will end soon and we can all have peace,” said Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson. “We stand together for Ukraine because what is happening is awful.”
The war has put a sharp spotlight on Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich, whose ongoing ownership of the west London club has been criticized by British politicians.
PREMIER LEAGUE GAME
In the day’s only Premier League game, Tomas Soucek boosted West Ham’s push for a Champions League spot by clinching a 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton.
West Ham had slipped down to sixth in the league before the game, having taken just five points from its previous five matches, but bounced back against Bruno Lage’s side to move above Arsenal into fifth place.
Manchester United are only two points ahead in the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot. Wolves are five points behind West Ham in eighth place.