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

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 VAR deny goals for both sides, was scoreless in 90 minutes and eventually decided deep in extra-time by Liverpool captain Virgil Van Dijk’s glancing header.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

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

The win keeps alive Liverpool’s hopes of an unlikely quadruple, who remain in the hunt for the Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup. 

Chelsea made a shaky start to the showpiece final but nearly 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 had to be replaced by Joe Gomez in the 28th minute following a hard challenge on the German international by Moisés Caicedo.

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

Down the other end, it was the post that denied Liverpool an opener, after Gakpo’s header from Andy Robertson’s cross left Petrovic rooted to the spot but struck the far upright.

Van Dijk’s powerful header from a Robertson free-kick at the hour-mark cued frantic celebrations in the red end 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 went close to taking the lead in the 77th minute, after Connor 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 teenage tyros 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 Petrović.

Liverpool continued to press for a goal as Chelsea eased off in extra-time, and Harvey Elliott almost came close to putting the ball in the back of the net but his far-post header was parried well by Petrović.

The winner eventually came through Van Dijk, whose powerful header from a corner deep in extra-time secured glory for Liverpool.

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