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Kepa’s penalty miss gives Liverpool Carabao Cup

Liverpool won the EFL Cup by beating Chelsea on penalties following a goalless draw at Wembley Stadium yesterday, with Kepa Arrizabalaga missing the 22nd kick of the shoot-out.

Chelsea’s Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga misses his penalty to lose the English League Cup final football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium, north-west London on February 27, 2022. – Liverpool won the match 11-10 on penalties after extra time. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

Liverpool won the EFL Cup by beating Chelsea on penalties following a goalless draw at Wembley Stadium yesterday, with Kepa Arrizabalaga missing the 22nd kick of the shoot-out.

A tight encounter saw several big chances missed and four goals disallowed in all before Kepa – who was brought on specifically for the shoot-out – missed the decisive penalty.

The remarkable finish means Liverpool have now won a record nine EFL Cups – one more than Manchester City – with this Jurgen Klopp’s first domestic cup since arriving at Anfield in 2015.

European and world champions Chelsea will rue their wasted opportunities even before the spot-kicks in their fourth consecutive domestic final defeat.

Klopp had been dealt a blow before kick-off when Thiago Alcantara sustained an injury in the warm-up, and it was Chelsea who created the first clear-cut chance as Cesar Azpilicueta squared for Christian Pulisic, who hit his shot straight at Caoimhin Kelleher.

Liverpool controlled much of the first half and should have taken the lead just before the half-hour mark when Edouard Mendy made a stunning double-save from Naby Keita and Sadio Mane.

Chelsea missed another glorious chance on the stroke of half-time as a counter-attack saw Kai Havertz set up Mason Mount, who somehow missed the target from point-blank range, before hitting the post when in again early in the second half.

Liverpool thought they had taken the lead when Joel Matip bundled in, but a VAR review ruled it out after Virgil van Dijk was shown to have blocked Reece James from an offside position, and Havertz later also had a goal disallowed for offside.

Mendy and Kelleher were both called into action before the end of normal time, saving efforts from Van Dijk and substitute Romelu Lukaku respectively, and in extra time the Belgium striker and Havertz each had the ball in the net only to again see the flag go up, sending the game went to penalties – but only after Mendy was replaced by Kepa.

Neither he nor Kelleher could save any of the first 21 successful strikes before Kepa failed to follow his opposite number in finding the net and fired over the crossbar.