Football

Liverpool player ratings v Chelsea

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Branislav Ivanovic's extra-time header saw Chelsea reach the League Cup final for the first time in seven years after an action packed second-leg semi final against Liverpool on Tuesday.

The pair went into the tie as a stalemate after drawing 1-1 at Anfield last week and could not be separated after 90 minutes.

In the first-half it was Liverpool who had the clearer chances despite the Blues dominating possession, with Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois making smart stops to deny Alberto Moreno and Philippe Coutinho.

Simon Mignolet was equally as impressive in the away side's goal and denied Diego Costa twice after half-time.

Liverpool were resilient throughout the tie against Jose Mourinho's side who looked to bounce back from their shock 4-2 defeat to Bradford City at the weekend however poor marking from Mario Balotelli allowed Ivanovic a free header to send his side to Wembley.

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Player Ratings

Simon Mignolet 8

An excellent performance from the Belgian who has had his critics this season. He was on his toes throughout the tie, getting off his line quickly and reacted to an danger and made two fabulous saves to deny Costa. Helpless for Ivanovic's header.

Emre Can 7

Had the responsibility of marking a fired-up Edin Hazard and kept the Chelsea at bay and used the ball intelligently. However clumsy at times diving into challenges.

Martin Skrtel 7

Involved in a heated battle with Costa and the Slovakian got the upper hand. His close marking forced the Spanish international either to lose the ball or play a basic pass.

Mamadou Sakho 6.5

In conflict with Willian and the Frenchman won most of the battles, especially when they aerially duelled. However, he gave the ball cheaply away at times, once nearly granting a goal to Hazard. Forced off with injury which changed the dynamic of Liverpool's defence.

Lazar Markovic 6.5

Ineffective when going forward and lost the ball and too many occasions. However, was given responsibility to keep close tags with Hazard and the overlapping Filipe Luis which the Serbian international done well.

Lucas 7.5

The Brazilian thrived in the midfield once again in the midfield, not allowing Cesc Fabregas to play at all. He won plenty of challenges in the middle of the park and gave his all into the final whistle.

Jordan Henderson 6.5

Liverpool needed their vice-captain to set-up in the fixture and he failed to do so. Missed a glorious chance for the Reds to equalise which he put well wide. Didn't inflict his pace into the game as usual, however defended well when put on the wing.

Alberto Moreno 6.5

Excelled in the first-half getting up and down the wing and should have finished his effort that was saved by Courtois. Faded in second-half going forward but defended well.

Steven Gerrard 7

An unusual game for the Liverpool captain. His shooting and set-pieces were unusually poor with several of his chances sailing over the bar. However, kept close tags to Nemaja Matic and made plenty of excellent challenges on the Serb. A captain's performance.

Philippe Coutinho 7.5

Another top performance from the Brazilian. He twisted and turned past plenty of Chelsea defenders, creating chances for his side and had one of his own well saved.

Raheem Sterling 6.5

Left exposed at the head of the Liverpool attack and lacked service at times. Should have done better with a chance he had in the first-half.

Substitutes

Glen Johnson 5.5

Replaced Sakho and didn't ever look comfortable keeping out the galloping Willian.

Mario Balotelli 4

Awful performance for the Italian. Gave the ball away cheaply far too often and lost Ivanovic for his goal.

Rickie Lambert 4

Ballooned his late effort over the bar when making the wrong decision late on in extra-time.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Liverpool
Mario Balotelli
Chelsea

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