LONDON – I clinched the first trophy of the English season on Sunday, and somehow, Chelsea and Liverpool played the all-time Carabao Cup Final at Wembley. (Stream replay on ESPN +). The parties came together to put the ball into the back of the net on four occasions, only for the offside flag to go up after each case. However, despite the theatrical performances, 120 minutes passed without goals.
Edward Mendy And the Caoimhin Kelleher Pretty much the reason behind it. They were nothing short of brilliant, each having kept their team in the competition multiple times. And in fact, the guards will determine this final.
Kepa Arizabalaga He was submitted to a penalty shootout, replacing Mendy in the last moments of extra time. He and Keeler failed to stop any of the first 20 penalty attempts, and the Liverpool goalkeeper tried not to. In 21st place, only penalty shootout specialist Kepa accelerated his effort over the bar to see the Reds win on penalties 11-10.
So, what can we take away from Sunday’s truly epic match? Mark Ogden (Liverpool) and James Ole (Chelsea) have broken up the competition from both sides.
Jurgen Klopp has now won five trophies as Liverpool coach. In three months, they could add three more and create history at the same time by becoming the first English team to achieve four times the Carabao Cup, FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League.
At this juncture, with so many matches still to go, achieving a clean sweep of competitions appears to be a huge challenge, but the Carabao Cup’s penalty shootout win against Chelsea means Liverpool are already a quarter of the way towards an unprecedented achievement.
Manchester United’s triple success in 1999, when Sir Alex Ferguson’s side won the League, FA Cup and Champions League, still represents the highest level in the English game. Liverpool managed to achieve a hat-trick in the cup in 2001 by winning the domestic cups and the UEFA Cup, and Manchester City won all three domestic titles in 2019, but no one came close to four.
But Liverpool now have a chance to do so after beating Chelsea to win the Carabao Cup for the record ninth time.
In this match, Liverpool’s luck, no doubt. Christian Pulisic And the Mason Mount Both missed clear first-half chances to score for Chelsea before Mount hit the post early in the second half. Kai Havertz Then two goals were disallowed for offside while Romelu Lukaku He scored another goal although the Chelsea striker initially looked ahead in the video replay.
Despite the chances Chelsea created, and their failure to create enough chances, Liverpool still found a way to grab the trophy. What about the other three competitions they can still win?
The Premier League appears to be the biggest mountain to climb in the coming weeks, but after being 12 points behind City earlier this month, Liverpool are now just six points behind, with a game in hand and a trip to the Etihad still to come in April. . Liverpool have little margin for error in the league, but at least they’ve re-established themselves strongly in the race.
As for the FA Cup, Klopp’s team faces bottom club Norwich City in the English Premier League at Anfield in the fifth round on Wednesday. (3 pm ET, Live broadcast on ESPN +). Win that and they will rack up three wins from their first cup since 2006.
Then there is the Champions League, a competition that Liverpool has won – six times – more than any English club. They will face Inter at Anfield in the second leg of the Round of 16 on March 8 with a 2-0 margin on aggregate, knowing that they will have no fear of any of the remaining clubs in the quarter-final draw. Liverpool know how to progress and succeed in the Champions League, so they think they can win it again this season.
Winning all four trophies requires luck, though, in terms of results and the fitness of the key players. Liverpool have been lucky in that regard this season. They’ve had quite a few disruptive injuries and added a wing Luis Diaz team in January.
Liverpool has the depth to drive all four cups. It may be up to City getting in the way of everything they still want to win, but after taking the Carabao Cup, they have three months to win three more titles and make history.
– Mark Ogden
The best that can be said about Kepa here is that at least he continued his penalty shootout habit.
Kepa’s intervention – dropping the last 22nd hit on the crossbar to give Liverpool an 11-10 win – was not in Chelsea’s favour, the product of a decision that, although grounded in statistical reasoning, was clearly at odds with what came before. Mendy has saved Liverpool in the previous 120 minutes to the point where he was a strong contender for their Man of the Match pick, and he did the most to earn his spot in Chelsea’s penalty shootout goal.
Kiba’s tactic has worked before. In the European Super Cup final in August, Tuchel made the same change and Kepa saved two penalties to defeat Villarreal 6-5 in a penalty shootout.
No one in Chelsea’s history has saved more penalty shootouts than Kepa – 10 in total, eight in penalty shootouts including in the Carabao Cup last 16 this season against Southampton. The club’s internal data simply shows that Kepa is Mendy’s best penalty shootout goalkeeper, even if No. 1 Senegal recently proved his own skills by saving a penalty in the Africa Cup of Nations final against Egypt.
However, the change felt counterproductive here. This highly entertaining final was denied a single goal within two hours of play due to several factors: a faulty finish, the harshest offside VAR decisions that denied Lukaku and Kelleher an impressive Liverpool performance. However, it could be argued that Mendy had the most influence on this finale, justifying his choice over Kiba from the start.
Kepa has played every game at Wembley Road, and the club has been impressed by the improvements he has made to their game in recent months, shown in a series of consistent performances during Mendy’s Africa Cup of Nations participation last month. However, sources have told ESPN that Chelsea will be listening to Kepa’s offers and if there is any doubt about whether the 27-year-old will be encouraged to leave this summer, that tournament at Wembley has removed her.
This comes three years after Kepa refused to be substituted in the final minutes of the 2019 Carabao Cup before the penalty shootout. If Kepa leaves England at the end of the season, he won’t miss this competition at all.
This grueling story has proven to be a temporary distraction from the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a situation he feels uncomfortably close to Chelsea after Russian owner Roman Abramovich announced his intention to transfer stewardship of the Blues to the club’s trustees on Saturday night. Ukraine flags decorated the end of Liverpool, as fans booed the English national anthem before kick-off, but by the end of a thrilling competition, Kepa’s ordeal provided a sporting respite from a tense political backdrop.
Oddly enough, Kepa started the match, Chelsea may not have been subjected to a penalty shootout, but if Mendy had finished the match, he might have won it in a penalty shootout.
Kepa never seemed to save any of Liverpool’s 11 penalties. So standing to the left of the center like Virgil van Dijk Line up the penalty kick did not prevent the Dutchman from making an effort to this side of the goal, easily beating his opponent. Kepa wasn’t brought in to receive a penalty, of course, but after 20 successful conversions he couldn’t match the seemingly more mature way Keeler had the ball at his feet.
It’s tempting to conclude that Tuchel thought so.
“I feel bad for him, but of course I can’t blame,” Tuchel said of Kepa. “Kepa simply has more time in the training ground [for penalties] From Edu, who plays much more.
“No regrets, I take the blame absolutely. I take responsibility, of course.”
As soon as Liverpool lifted the trophy, Chelsea players began to go to the dressing room. He was the last to leave Mindy. If he was allowed to roam a little longer in the same game, the outcome could be completely different.
– James Ole
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