Liverpool have won their first FA Cup final since 2006, beating Chelsea at Wembley to secure their eighth victory in the competition’s history.
In a repeat of the Carabao Cup final, the game was incredibly tense between two teams very well matched, and went to extra-time after the 90 minutes somehow finished goalless.
Both sides had chances to win the match with Alisson Becker and Edouard Mendy in good form, with the biggest of those opportunities perhaps falling to Andy Robertson from close range after excellent work from James Milner.
But it was Kostas Tsimikas who was the match-winner. Here are the five things Liverpool.com spotted at Wembley as the game unfolded.
Penalties decide outcome again
Just like in the Carabao Cup final, spot kicks were needed to split the teams after an enthralling and incredibly tight encounter.
But this time, it was the second penalty that was missed, with Chelsea club captain César Azpilicueta hitting the post and Mason Mount also missing.
Scorers for Liverpool: James Milner, Thiago, Roberto Firmino, Trent Alexander-Arnold, (Sadio Mané misses), Diogo Jota, Kostas Tsimikas
Scorers for Chelsea: Marcos Alonso, (Azpilicueta misses), Reece James, Ross Barkley, (Mason Mount misses)
Luis Díaz impresses
For the first few minutes of the game, Reece James could not get near Luis Díaz, as the Colombian teased him with his tricky dribbling ability on the left-hand side.
Díaz needs to get more goals from the positions he gets into, but he is exceptionally good at standing up his man and going past him, causing defences headaches every week. At some point, the goals will start to flow.
Alongside Sadio Mané, the pair were electric at Wembley. Their link-up has already come a long way; Liverpool need to tie Mané down to a new deal now so that it can be further extended into the seasons to come.
Thiago proves a point
The last time that Liverpool played Chelsea at Wembley, Thiago Alcântara pulled out of the game in the warm-up. This time, the team in yellow could not stop him from dominating.
His only mistake was being slow to the ball after a Virgil van Dijk pass into him in the first half. Apart from that, he was exceptional, up to and including the penalty shoot-out.
N’Golo Kanté might have been missing, but Mateo Kovačić played. Both have caused Liverpool plenty of issues in the past, but Thiago was on another level to the rest of the midfield players on either side.
Liverpool had never started with a Keïta-Henderson-Thiago midfield trio, but they worked very nicely together, and were complemented well with Milner too when he was introduced.
Milner showed levels of intensity that someone turning 37 on his next birthday should not be able to in the Wembley heat. He was exceptional after being brought on in place of Keïta with around 16 minutes of normal time to play.
Chelsea attacking threat dealt with
Kai Havertz was a constant threat in behind the Liverpool high line the last time the side’s met. While he didn’t manage to score in that fixture, he was able to disrupt the Liverpool defensive line.
Romelu Lukaku is a completely different type of player — equally as hard to play against at his peak — but Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté largely stood strong. When he was replaced by Hakim Ziyech, that was another different kind of threat again, but the Liverpool defence looked good once more.
Like when Liverpool miss Roberto Firmino’s hold-up play at times in games where they come under sustained pressure, Chelsea missed Havertz’s ability to carry them up the pitch and keep them there.
Potential double injury blow
With the Real Madrid revenge mission just a fortnight away, Mohamed Salah lasted about as long in this game before limping off as he did in Kyiv four years ago.
Something was up with the Egyptian’s right leg and Diogo Jota came on in his place, playing on the right-hand side as Salah had been. It has been reported by Bein Sports that it was muscle ‘soreness’; no shock after playing so much football this season.
But the injury worries did not stop there. Virgil van Dijk was taken off for the period of extra-time, with the Dutchman only lasting the 90 minutes. It would seem odd for him to be replaced were it anything other than an injury scare.
Liverpool have plenty of top-class forward options and Joël Matip to call upon, but with the visit to the Stade de France in Paris to come so soon, the Reds will be sweating over a fuller update.
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Publish date : 2022-05-14 18:40:01