Liverpool’s dream of collecting four trophies for a reason remains alive after beating Chelsea in a thrilling penalty shoot-out.
Liverpool held their nerve to win the FA Cup for the first time since 2006 following dramatic penalties against Chelsea, when the quadruple pursuers kept their story alive on Sunday (AEST).
Jurgen Klopp’s side won 6-5 on penalties at Wembley when Greek defender Kostas Tsimikas was the unlikely hero with decisive football after Alisson Becker kept Mason Mount’s shot at bay.
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A hard-fought final ended in a 0-0 draw in extra time, setting the stage for a nerve-wracking shootout that saw the mistakes of Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, whose shot was saved by Edouard Mendy when he had a opportunity to win the trophy.
For the second time this season, Liverpool came out victorious against Chelsea on penalties, having already beaten them 11-10 after another 0-0 in the League Cup final in February.
Liverpool’s triumph keeps them on the hunt to become the first English team to win all four major trophies in a single season.
With two prizes already secured, the Reds are hoping for a crash from Premier League leaders Manchester City, who have a three-point lead in the title race with two games left for both sides.
Even if Liverpool are unable to win a second English title in three seasons, they could still cap off a surprising campaign by winning the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris on 28 May.
With that ambition in mind, Klopp’s only concern as he jubilantly danced in front of Liverpool fans amidst a swirling haze of red smoke was whether his side will be at full strength against Real.
Liverpool have lost Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk to injuries that could exclude them from their last two Premier League games next week and will raise concerns about their ability to recover in time for the Champions League final.
Liverpool won both domestic cups in the same season for the first time since 2000-2001, with Klopp getting his hands on the famous old trophy for the first time.
For Chelsea, it was a painful third consecutive defeat in the FA Cup final after previous losses to Leicester and Arsenal.
Liverpool got off to a great start as they swarmed forward in a myriad of quick and pressing relentless passes.
Diaz should have given Liverpool the lead after speeding up a sublime pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who stroked the ball through Chelsea’s defense with the outside of his boot.
Diaz’s tame shot was saved by Mendy, but the ball was still rolling towards the goal until Trevoh Chalobah got up to free at the last moment.
With Tuchel gesturing furiously on the sideline, Chelsea dug in and eventually turned the red tide upside down.
Mount led their first serious raid, crossing for Christian Pulisic to cut his shot just wide.
Pulisic took the fight back to Liverpool moments later, slipping his pass to Alonso, who should have scored but took a poor first touch and scored his straight shot at Alisson Becker.
Diogo Jota wasted a golden opportunity to give Liverpool the lead shortly after his introduction as a replacement for Salah, the Portuguese forward flew from Andrew Robertson’s cross.
Chelsea are on the attack after half-time and Pulisic’s shot was well saved by Alisson before an Alonso free-kick was sent off the crossbar.
But Klopp’s self-proclaimed “monsters of mind” didn’t come that close to a quadruple without considerable fortitude.
They fought back with momentum and Diaz cut the outside of the post before Robertson flew into the wood.
In the spring heat, and with both teams playing at least 60 games in a marathon season, it was no surprise that fatigue became a tame overtime factor that never seemed to produce a winner.
Tuchel had his penalty-saving goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga out before the League Cup final on penalties with a move that backfired.
Tuchel stayed with Mendy this time, but the result was always the same. Klopp has admitted that Liverpool’s extraordinary season would have been a disappointment if they had only finished with the League Cup, but he needn’t worry about it anymore.
Originally published as Liverpool broke Chelsea’s hearts again in the FA Cup final after thrilling penalties