FA Cup final ratings: Liverpool man dominates as Reds sink Chelsea on penalties again to do cup double and complete Jurgen Klopp set

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Liverpool left-back Kostas Tsimikas Credit: PA Images
Liverpool left-back Kostas Tsimikas Credit: PA Images

Liverpool won the FA Cup for the first time in 16 years as they beat Chelsea on penalties again, as they did in the Carabao Cup final, after a 0-0 draw after extra-time at Wembley.

An entertaining game failed to muster a single goal, despite numerous chances coming and going, and the showpiece clash went to penalties – where Liverpool came out on top in dramatic fashion.

Misses from Cesar Azpilicueta and Mason Mount ultimately cost the Blues, as Kostas Tsimikas stepped up to dispatch the winning spot-kick in sudden death to hand Jurgen Klopp the only trophy he has not won as Anfield chief.

However, there will be some big concerns coming out of the game for the Reds ahead of the Champions League final, with Mo Salah limping off in the first half and Virgil van Dijk failing to re-appear for the extra-time period.

An incredibly open first-half somehow ended goalless, with Edouard Mendy and Alisson both producing excellent one-on-one stops to deny the brilliant Luis Diaz and Marcos Alonso respectively.

Christian Pulisic also dragged an effort wide while Diogo Jota, on for an injured Salah, flicked over the bar after being teed up by Andy Robertson’s cross.

Topsy-turvy clash high on drama

It was Chelsea’s turn to start fast in the second period as Alonso volleyed an effort wide and then Pulisic forced Alisson into a fine stop.

The woodwork was struck in the 48th minute when Alonso’s curling free-kick to the far post thundered off the crossbar.

Liverpool responded though, with Jota drilling an effort wide and the lively Diaz curling over.

Jurgen Klopp’s men hit the woodwork twice in the space of a minute late in the game when Diaz crashed an effort against the near post and then James Milner shinned one against the far.

Diaz tried his luck again in stoppage-time but his curling effort drifted just wide and the game went to extra-time.

Liverpool appeared to suffer more injury woe whenvan Dijk did not appear for the extra-time period. And his absence gave Chelsea the impetuous they needed to get on the front foot.

However, neither side failed to muster another chance in the added period and an enthralling final went to penalties – with the Reds prevailing once again.

Chelsea (3-4-2-1)

Edouard Mendy: A couple of slack clearances early on almost cost his side but he made a great stop to deny Luis Diaz as Liverpool started like a train. Was kept busy by Diaz’s shoot on site policy but thankfully for him not many of them were on target. 7

Trevor Chalobah: Had his hands full with the outstanding Luis Diaz and did not always look comfortable. Subbed. 6

Thiago Silva: Suffered a worry-looking injury early on but was able to continue and showed his class and composure throughout. 7

Antonio Rudiger: Produced another powerhouse display but would have been delighted to see the back of Salah so early in the game. 7

Reece James: Spent the majority of the first half in his own half as Liverpool started fast. However, he grew into the game and was able to get forward more. Cool head to score in the shootout. 7

Mateo Kovacic: Did not look fit after picking up an injury at Leeds in midweek and was missing his normal energy. Replaced by Kante midway through the second period. 5

Jorginho: Was overwhelmed early on but began to get a foothold as Chelsea grew into the game. Kept his calm to dispatch his spot-kick. 6

Marcos Alonso: A poor touch cost him the chance to give Chelsea the lead and allowed Alisson to make a brave save. Was heavily involved early in the second period when he volleyed wide and then curled a free-kick against the crossbar. Great penalty in the shootout and probably Chelsea’s best player on the day. 8

Mount penalty miss proves costly

Mason Mount: Hardly had a touch in the opening exchanges but started to find pockets of space in between Liverpool’s midfield press. Kept probing and showed a great engine but saw his penalty saved in the shootout. 7

Christian Pulisic: Dragged Chelsea’s first real chance of the game wide when he should have done better and tested Alisson with another effort in the second period. Subbed in extra-time. 6

Romelu Lukaku: Clearly playing to try and pin Liverpool’s centre-backs and create space for others, which almost worked in the first half as Pulisic and Alonso squandered good Chelsea chances. He also blazed an effort of his own over the bar. 6

Substitutes:

N’Golo Kante (on for Kovacic, 66): Not fully fit himself after replacing the struggling Kovavic, but you would not have known it as he gave Chelsea’s midfield more bite. 7

Hakim Ziyech (on for Lukaku, 85): Failed to really get involved despite Chelsea largely being on the front foot after his arrival. Took his penalty well under extreme pressure. 6

Cesar Azpilicueta (on for Chalobah, 105): Solid as usual after entering the fray but sent his penalty in the shootout thudding against the post. 5

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (on for Pulisic, 105): Brought on to make an impact and hauled off 14 minutes later as he can’t have been one of Tuchel’s penalty-takers. 5

Ross Barkley (on for Loftus-Cheek, 119): Brought on to take a spot-kick in the shootout and held his nerve to do his bit. 6

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Liverpool (4-3-3)

Alisson: Made a brave stop to deny Alonso in a one-on-one and another smart save to keep out Pulisic. In a game of many chances he wasn’t really worked that often until becoming the hero when he produced a great stop to deny Mount in the shootout. 8

Trent Alexander-Arnold: Outrageous pass almost led to a Liverpool opener but Luis Diaz was denied by Mendy. Made some outstanding last-ditch defensive clearances as Chelsea pushed for an opener. Great penalty in the shootout as well. 8

Virgil van Dijk: Struggled at times with Lukaku’s power but composed otherwise. Taken off just before the start of extra-time with another worrying injury for the Reds ahead of the Champions League final at the end of the month. 7

Ibrahima Konate: Was likely handed the start due to Lukaku’s resurgence in form and physical threat but coped well. 7

Andrew Robertson: Provided a great cross that Jota flicked over in the first half and got forward at will. Subbed. 7

Thiago: Some of his passing in the first half was sublime but drifted in and out of the game too often. Did well to last the 120 minutes and took a superb penalty in the shootout. 6

Jordan Henderson: Was dominant early on as Liverpool started fast and showed a tremendous engine to keep going in a gruelling contest. 7

Naby Keita: Handed a start due to Fabinho’s injury and although he started brightly he faded and it was no surprise when he was replaced by James Milner with 17 minutes to go. 5

Huge Salah worry for Liverpool

Mo Salah: Not really involved, despite the Reds dominating in the first 20 minutes, and picked up a worrying injury that forced him off just after the half-hour mark. 6

Liverpool forward Mo Salah Credit: PA Images
Liverpool forward Mo Salah Credit: PA Images

Sadio Mane: Lively presence early on but seemed to lose some of his spark when Salah limped off in the opening period. Had the chance to win it in the shootout but his weak penalty was saved by compatriot Mendy. 6

Luis Diaz: Liverpool’s brightest spark and ran Chelsea ragged for the majority of the game. Did miss a one-on-one with Mendy, but was such a threat and was the talisman for the Reds’ attack before being taken off in extra-time. 9

Substitutes:

Diogo Jota (on for Salah, 33): Missed a great chance in the first half when he flicked Robertson’s cross over the bar. Kept his nerve in the shootout to lash home. 7

James Milner (on for Keita, 74): Shinned an effort against the post late on when he should have hit the target. Great penalty in the shootout. 7

Joel Matip (on for Van Dijk, 90): Made a great intervention early in extra-time to stop a dangerous Chelsea attack. 6

Roberto Firmino (on for Diaz, 98): Hardly involved as Chelsea spent the majority of extra-time on the front foot. Thundered home his spot-kick in the shootout though. 7

Kostas Tsimikas (on for Robertson,111): Notched the winning penalty in the shootout to secure Liverpool a famous win. 7

The article FA Cup final ratings: Liverpool man dominates as Reds sink Chelsea on penalties again to do cup double and complete Jurgen Klopp set appeared first on Teamtalk.com.

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