Kelleher stars as Liverpool defeat Chelsea to win Carabao Cup

02/03/2022; 8:13 AM By : Steven D. Thompson

The Carabao Cup final delivered a spectacle that will remain in the annals of the competition for a long time. Liverpool and Chelsea did not hold back as the two top English teams went for the jugular as they sought to add yet more silverware to their trophy-laden cabinet.

A few days ago, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich handed over management to the Chelsea Foundation. The Russian oligarch will no longer be involved in the day-to-day running of the club.

The decision could have left a cloud over the match, but it turned out to be the opposite as the two sides did not disappoint their fans. Liverpool was the victorious side in the spectacular game.

A spectacle in Wembley

The Wembley stadium was host to Chelsea and Liverpool as the two teams drew swords for the Carabao Cup.

The Carabao Cup is the smallest of the trophies on offer in England by worth, but its importance in the scheme of things was not on display. The football displayed by both sides bellied the importance of the trophy.

The Carabao Cup final was exciting as it was entertaining. The game produced four goals that were disallowed and eventually decided via penalties. Odds from bookmakers showed no one probably saw that coming.

Liverpool were more organised offensively and had more possession, but the defensive solidity of the Chelsea side put their attack to nought. The Blues also had the better chances and should have wrapped the game up within regulation time.

During the warm-up, Thiago Alcantara injured himself and was removed from the lineup. The absence of Thiago did little to take away from the attacking potency of Liverpool. Caoimhin Kelleherd ahead of Allison, while Kai Havertz retained his position ahead of Lukaku. Edouard Mendy was in goal for the game. It was his third final in four matches, and he justified the faith reposed in him by Thomas Tuchel.

A final for the collection

The first half saw Liverpool with a chance to score. Sadio Mane came face to face with his Senegalese colleague, but the goalkeeper came out tops with a double save to deny Liverpool a goal.

Pulisic saw his chance to put Chelsea in the lead also denied by Kelleher when he could have scored.

Chances also fell to Mason Mount and Kai Havertz, with both spurning the chances. Chelsea had the better opportunities to score but frittered them away.

The game was not without controversies. Perhaps Naby Keita should have been sent off for an elbow on the mouth, but the referee decided it was just a foul. Keita was involved in another incident that was more justifiable for a red. The Guinean midfielder caught Trevoh Chalobah high on the thigh with his studs. Once again, the referee didn’t think much of it.

Disallowed goals

A few minutes after Thiago Silva cleared a goal-bound Salah shot off the line, Liverpool put the ball in the net but was correctly ruled offside as VAR noticed that Virgil van Dijk was in an offside position. He was also impeding Reece James from getting to the ball.

Havertz also got on the scoring act but was correctly ruled offside. Perhaps the most controversial of the disallowed goals was Romelu Lukaku’s effort. They seemed to have beaten the offside trap to slot past Kelleher, only for it to be chucked off, for offside.

Chelsea had way more chances to win, but Kelleher stood tall and made crucial saves to keep his side in the game. It was no surprise he was handed the man-of-the-match award afterwards.

Mendy was substituted for Kepa as the game went to penalties, but the Spanish goalkeeper was the villain as he blew Chelsea’s 11th penalty over the bar.

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