Liverpool have won the FA Cup to keep their quadruple dreams alive after a dramatic penalty shootout vs Chelsea.
For the second time this season, the two giants of English football locked horns under the Wembley arch having already contested an engrossing Carabao Cup final earlier in the campaign.
On that occasion, the Blues and Reds were practically inseparable as they went all the way to penalties on the back of 120 minutes stacked full of disallowed goals.
A chess match at Wembley
There was also a familiar feeling to just how gripping the match proved to be with Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel intricately contesting a chess match for millions of viewers to enjoy around the world.
Luis Diaz comes close
Nevertheless, in the early exchanges, it was Liverpool who took control with the Champions League finalists coming a matter of inches away from opening the scoring in north London.
A pair of stunning passes from Alisson Becker and Trent Alexander-Arnold created a great chance for Luis Diaz that left Chelsea’s back-line scrambling to get the ball clear of their goal mouth.
Chelsea knock on the door
However, Chelsea were just as game as they were in the Carabao Cup final, carving out plenty of opportunities of their own as they started the second-half with an unmissable rush of endeavour.
Both the crossbar and Alisson were required to prevent Marcos Alonso from breaking the deadlock as Liverpool weathered the storm, propelling the contest towards yet another low-scoring battle of whits.
The post denies Liverpool… twice
In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking that both sides were simply cursed when it came to goalscoring as Liverpool struck the post twice(!!!) during the dying minutes of regulation time.
Edouard Mendy’s goal really was living a charmed life as Diaz once again flirted with opening the scoring by hitting the outside of the post, before Andrew Robertson thumped the woodwork from mere yards out.
And when yet another fine effort from Diaz finished inches shy of its intended target in stoppage time, Wembley had to brace itself for an additional 30 minutes between Chelsea and Liverpool all over again.
A goalless 30 minutes
However, that encroaching feeling of deja vu that drew so many comparisons between this season’s Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals once again held true with the extra half-hour proving futile in separating the two teams.
With a noticeable drop off in intensity compared to regulation time, goalscoring opportunities were few and far between with attention quickly turning to the possibility of another penalty shootout.
And that’s exactly what happened with Tuchel deciding this time around that Kepa Arrizabalaga – who missed the deciding penalty and saved none last time out – would not be coming on for Mendy.
So, just in case Chelsea and Liverpool fans hadn’t had their nerves shredded enough across two hours of tension-filled football, they prepared for yet another Wembley shootout against each other.
And here’s exactly how the spot-kicks unfolded when the chips were down at the home of football…
- Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso scores (1-0)
- Liverpool’s James Milner scores (1-1)
- Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta misses (1-1)
- Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara scores (1-2)
- Chelsea’s Reece James scores (2-2)
- Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino scores (2-3)
- Chelsea’s Ross Barkley scores (3-3)
- Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold scores (3-4)
- Chelsea’s Jorginho scores (4-4)
- Liverpool’s Sadio Mane misses (4-4)
- Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech scores (5-4)
- Liverpool’s Diogo Jota scores (5-5)
- Chelsea’s Mason Mount misses (5-5)
- Liverpool’s Kostas Tsimikas scores (5-6)
The decisive moment 🏆 🔴 pic.twitter.com/rKs0OvGnce— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) May 14, 2022
Tsimikas scores the winning spot-kick
Talk about a dramatic shootout! It all looked as though the two Premier League giants were going to maintain their near-perfect record from 12 yards until Cesar Azpilicueta stepped up to the spot.
The Blues skipper saw his effort strike the upright in a costly miss that gave Sadio Mane the chance to replicate his Africa Cup of Nations heroics by scoring his team’s fifth and deciding penalty.
But the carnage didn’t end there with Mendy proving the Senegalese player to reproduce his AFCON brilliance by denying his compatriot and ensuring that the shootout went all the way to sudden death.
Liverpool 0-0 Chelsea (6-5) Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
However, Liverpool needn’t have feared a moment akin to John Terry’s slip in Moscow as they still ended up taking the silverware courtesy of Alisson Becker superbly denying Mason Mount.
And of all players, it was the unlikely hero of Kostas Tsimikas who stepped up to keep the Reds’ quadruple dreams alive and boy did he achieve that, finding the net to spark wild scenes at Wembley.
For the second time in the 2021/22 campaign, Liverpool defeated Chelsea on penalties at Wembley after a 0-0 draw to win a major domestic trophy. Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice?