Five things we learned from Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool Carabao Cup Final 

Virgil van Dijk headed in a 118th-minute winner to clinch the Carabao Cup for Liverpool with a 1-0 win over Chelsea.  

Jurgen Klopp will take joy in the fact that his youthful side were able to get over the line whereas Mauricio Pochettino will be disappointed his team did not act on Liverpool’s injuries and take initiative.  

Here are the five things we learned from Liverpool’s narrow win over Chelsea. 

A captain’s goal for Van Dijk 

After being below par last season, Van Dijk has relished wearing the captain’s armband for Liverpool and has looked back to his best. 

He was solid at the back and organised the team when Jurgen Klopp was forced to introduce youngsters such as Bobby Clark, Jayden Danns and James McConnell. He led by example and ensured Liverpool’s makeshift eleven got through the second half and 118 minutes of extra-time. 

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool always looked like a threat from set-pieces and late into the game Van Dijk’s smart header snatched an unlikely win- capping a player of the match performance from the Dutchman. 

Chelsea fall short again 

Chelsea now have the unwanted record of six cup final defeats in a row. Upon initial reading, that statistic seems damning, but in the last three finals- all against Liverpool- Chelsea have been desperately unlucky and the games have been decided by the flip of a coin.  

With Liverpool’s side hampered by injuries before and during the game, there was a sense that Chelsea should have taken the opportunity against their dejected opposition. Mauricio Pochettino will argue that Chelsea had injuries of their own, but his side had more than enough quality on the pitch to overwhelm Liverpool in extra-time.

Embed from Getty Images

The regret will be there and Chelsea’s inexperience showed again as Pochettino’s wait for a first trophy in England continues. 

VAR drama denies both sides

Nicolas Jackson was adjudged to have gone too early after he ran through to square the ball for Raheem Sterling to tap home, but replays showed just how tight it was, with the infamous lines being drawn to indicate Jackson was off by the finest of margins. 

Virgil Van Dijk’s header from a free-kick in the 62nd minute also caused confusion. The Dutchman headed in from Andrew Roberton’s delivery, but the goal was chalked off after a lengthy VAR review as Wataru Endo was offside and seemingly interfering with play, blocking the run of Levi Colwill. 

VAR has featured heavily in games between Chelsea and Liverpool in previous finals and it played a big part once again, making two very controversial decisions. 

More injury concerns for Klopp 

With several first-team players already absent, Liverpool can now add Ryan Gravenberch to their growing list of absentees. Midway through the first-half the Dutchman was caught late by Moises Caicedo, who was rather fortunate to avoid a booking. 

The sight of Gravenberch being brought off on a stretcher suggests the injury was a bad one. As a result, Klopp was forced to restructure his side as Joe Gomez came on at right-back, Harvey Elliot moved into midfield and Conor Bradley went to right wing.  

Embed from Getty Images

For all the plaudits being given to Bradley for his emergence this season, he was playing in an unnatural position, and it certainly hindered Liverpool’s attacking threat throughout the game.

Mohamed Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Darwin Nunez should all be back for the midweek visit of Southampton in the FA Cup, but this game will have taken it’s toll on Liverpool who have already been badly affected by injuries.

Another low-scoring Chelsea vs Liverpool final

As was the case in the last two finals between these sides at Wembley, both teams created an enumerable number of chances but could not open the scoring in normal time. 

Cody Gakpo’s glancing header could not beat the post in the first half and likewise for Conor Gallagher, who saw his flicked effort also crash back off the woodwork. They were the most notable chances of a dozen that both sides created.  

The game looked destined for penalties once again between these two sides, but Van Dijk’s last-gasp header made it three consecutive cup final wins for Jurgen Klopp against Chelsea. 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Latest

To Top