Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (Feb 25, 2024) Game Analysis

Liverpool ensured that Jurgen Klopp’s final season will end with silverware after Virgil Van Dijk‘s extra-time goal gave them a 1-0 win over Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday. 

A frenetic final, which saw both teams denied goals by VAR, was scoreless after 90 minutes, before eventually being decided in the 28th minute of extra time by the Liverpool captain’s glancing header off a corner.

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Liverpool entered the final with 10 first-team players, including Mohamed Salah and Darwin Núñez, missing through injury. But roared on by their raucous supporters, they competed bravely to see off Chelsea. 

The win kept Liverpool’s hopes of an unlikely quadruple alive and saw them lift the Carabao Cup for a record-extending 10th time.

Chelsea’s run to the final had emerged as a silver lining for coach Mauricio Pochettino in what has been a bleak first season in charge of the west London side, but with Sunday’s defeat, the former Tottenham boss still has yet to win a trophy in England. 

Pochettino’s team made a shaky start to the final but almost took the lead through Cole Palmer in the 21st minute, whose shot from close range was spectacularly saved by Caoimhin Kelleher.

Liverpool’s already depleted squad took a further hit after Ryan Gravenberch took a hard challenge from Moisés Caicedo and had to be replaced by Joe Gomez in the 28th minute.

Liverpool’s victory over Chelsea saw them lift the Carabao Cup for a record-extending 10th time.

Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images

Raheem Sterling thought he’d given Chelsea the lead in the 31st minute, but the assistant referee correctly recognised that Nicolas Jackson had strayed offside moments earlier when he’d broken free to cross for the England forward.

At the other end, it was the post that denied Liverpool an opener, after Cody Gakpo‘s header from Andy Robertson‘s cross left Djordje Petrović rooted to the spot but struck the far upright.

Van Dijk’s powerful header from a Robertson free kick at the hour mark sparked frantic celebrations in the red half of Wembley, but the goal was ruled out after a prolonged VAR check saw Wataru Endo adjudged offside.

The reprieve appeared to strengthen Chelsea’s resolve, who almost took the lead in the 77th minute, after Conor Gallagher‘s shot from Palmer’s pass hit the far post.

The duo combined to create another gilt-edged chance in the 85th minute, only for Gallagher to be scuppered by another superb save from Kelleher.

Klopp’s dearth of options on the bench were laid bare by his substitutions late on, with teenagers James McConnell and Jayden Danns coming on in place of Alexis Mac Allister and Gakpo, respectively.

Danns, who made his Liverpool debut against Luton Town last week, came close to scoring in extra time but had his header tipped over the bar by Djordje Petrovic.

Liverpool continued to press for a goal as Chelsea eased off, and Harvey Elliott almost came close, but his far-post header was parried well by Petrovic.

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