Kepa Arrizabalaga turned villain for Chelsea as they lost to Liverpool in the finals of the Carabao Cup on penalty shootout at Wembley on Sunday.
It was one of the most entertaining 0-0 draws that fans will have ever seen as both Chelsea and Liverpool traded blow after blow like a heavyweight boxing match. Edouard Mendy and Caoimhin Kelleher stood tall in their respective goals, repelling everything that came their way for 120 minutes. However, there were a few players who were guilty of poor finishing on the evening.
VAR also added to the drama, chalking out Joel Matip’s strike at one end and ruling out Romelu Lukaku’s at the other for close offside calls. Kai Havertz also saw two goals not given – one late in the second half for offside in the buildup, another in the extra time when he had strayed off. With neither team being able to breach the goal over 120 minutes, the game went into a penalty shootout.
Chelsea turned to their shootout specialist, Kepa Arrizabalaga, subbing him on in the 119th minute. But the Spaniard could not stop a single spot-kick as all ten of Liverpool’s outfield players scored, while Kelleher, too, endured a similar fate. It led to the battle of the goalkeepers from the spot, and the young Liverpool ace made no mistake, whereas Kepa fired his effort into the stands to blow it for the Blues.
It was a top-class match between two teams of the highest quality and ultimately was decided by the finest of margins as Liverpool got their hands on their first trophy of the season, keeping their hopes of a quadruple burning bright. On the other hand, Chelsea will be heartbroken at missing out on the chance of winning their third silverware of the campaign.
Here are our player ratings for both sets of players after a tightly-contested match-up at Wembley Stadium.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Edouard Mendy: 9/10
He got the nod over Kepa in the starting XI and showed why, as he produced a string of top-class stops to keep Liverpool out. A stunning double save to deny Naby Keita and Sadio Mane in the first half was followed by equally impressive stops to keep Luis Diaz, Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk out over the course of the 119 minutes. He almost undid all his good work with a poor clearance in the second half but was bailed out by Thiago Silva.
I know it doesn’t matter now, but I still can’t get over how insane this save is. Mendy is ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/KIOivGe5Ct
— Kamal ⭐️⭐️ (@LumpOfCFC) February 27, 2022
Trevoh Chalobah: 7/10
Brought into the team due to Andreas Christensen’s injury, the Chelsea academy graduate had his hands full with a lively Luis Diaz. The Liverpool forward’s turn of pace caused the youngster plenty of problems, but he stuck at it and made some vital interventions. Strode out of the defence well at times and created the chance for Lukaku’s ruled-out goal. He stepped up to take the tenth penalty under immense pressure and made no mistake.
Thiago Silva: 8/10
Ageing like fine wine, Thiago Silva produced another top defensive display that oozed calmness and composure. The Brazilian, time and again, came up with crucial blocks and clearances, with the one to keep Salah’s effort out from near the goal-line after Mendy’s gaffe being the most standout. His distribution from the back was accurate as well.
Antonio Rudiger: 8/10
The German international was in for a battle against his former AS Roma teammate, Mohamed Salah. And he did his job exceedingly well, keeping the dangerous Egyptian largely quiet for most of the evening. He showed his aggression every now and then with a strong challenge here and there but never lost his composure or discipline.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6.5/10
The Chelsea captain got the nod at right wing-back, with Reece James deemed not ready to start. He looked good in the early exchanges and created a fine chance for Christian Pulisic while he had a shot at the goal, which went close. However, defensively, he was put under pressure by Diaz at times before he was taken off injured in the second half.
N’Golo Kante: 6.5/10
The ultimate big-game player for Chelsea, N’Golo Kante, was not lacking for effort on Sunday at Wembley, but the quality of his performance wasn’t up to the mark. He was outnumbered on occasions in the middle of the park, while his forward passes were not good enough. There were moments in the second period when he lost the ball in dangerous areas leading to chances for the Reds.
Mateo Kovacic: 7.5/10
Mateo Kovacic’s game by numbers vs Liverpool (105 mins):
83% pass accuracy
80% ground duels won (8/10)
47 passes completed
4 fouls drawn
2 tackles won
2 attempted take-ons
2 successful take-ons
Brought the energy. ?? pic.twitter.com/aS8indROQG
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 27, 2022
He was one of Chelsea’s standout outfield players on the pitch as he constantly tried to play the ball forward while he covered a lot of ground in an attempt to shut off Liverpool. His ability to get out of tight spaces and drive the team ahead was on display regularly, and he was involved in most of the positive things that the Blues conjured up on the evening.
Marcos Alonso: 7/10
It was not easy dealing with the dual threat of Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Still, Alonso coped well defensively to a large extent and got forward at every opportunity possible. He had a shot saved and then created a chance for Romelu Lukaku late in stoppage time. He gave away the free-kick, which led to Matip’s chalked off goal in the second half.
Mason Mount: 5/10
Reinstated into the starting XI after returning from injury earlier in the week, Mount posed a threat with his sharp movement off the ball but was wasteful with his finishing as he spurned two gilt-edged chances on the evening. First, he sent a volleyed effort from 12 yards out wide in the first half and struck the base of the post when he was played through on goal in the second—taken off not long after.
Christian Pulisic: 6/10
The USMNT international had a good chance to put Chelsea ahead early on but fired his effort right at Kelleher. Pulisic forced another save from the Liverpool goalkeeper in the first half. He set Mount up with a fine pass in the second period, but the Englishman missed.
Kai Havertz: 8/10
Preferred over Lukaku for the big game, and Havertz repaid the manager’s faith with a fine display. His movement was sharp and created space for others in the final third while also holding up the ball well. The German fashioned a good chance for Mount late in the first half and then had two goals ruled out for offside in the latter stages of the game.
Kai Havertz is the first player to create 5+ chances in an EFL Cup final since David Silva in 2016, also against Liverpool (5).
Left-foot wands. ? pic.twitter.com/EyazKFKgKW
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 27, 2022
Reece James: 6/10
James returned to action after three months out when he replaced Azpilicueta in the 57th minute. He looked a bit scratchy at the start but grew into the game with time. However, his crossing lacked potency on the evening. But he made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Romelu Lukaku: 7/10
It almost seemed like the stage was set for Lukaku to silence his detractors when he came on for Mount in the 74th minute. He almost won it for Chelsea with a flicked effort that drew a fine save from Kelleher. He then had a goal disallowed by VAR for offside by the finest margins. Set Havertz up for his goal, which was chalked off as well. Took his penalty well.
Timo Werner: 6/10
Sent on for Pulisic in the 74th minute, Werner did not have the same impact as Lukaku. The German had strayed offside before setting Havertz up for the disallowed goal in the second half. His penalty was not entirely convincing but just about squeezed through into the net.
Jorginho came on in the first half of extra time to add fresh legs in midfield. He did his job well and scored from the spot.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 1/10
Chelsea players comfort Kepa after his miss ? pic.twitter.com/xpfwQX51NA
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 27, 2022
Kepa was brought on moments before full-time, particularly for the penalty shootouts, as Tuchel hoped for a similar success story like the UEFA Super Cup earlier in the season. However, it was not to be for the shootout specialist as he let all 11 Liverpool players score past him before skying his own effort to hand his opponents the Carabao Cup trophy.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Caoimhin Kelleher: 9/10
The Irish goalkeeper was picked over Alisson Becker and justified the selection with a match-defining display. Like Mendy at the opposite end, Kelleher made several vital saves over the 120 minutes, denying Pulisic, Havertz, Mount and Lukaku. While he may not have saved any of the penalties, the 23-year-old showed no nerves when stepping up to take his shot and beat Kepa, which eventually proved to be the winning spot-kick.
Caoimhin Kelleher will go down in Liverpool folklore ?
One of the all-time great performances by a goalkeeper in a final. pic.twitter.com/bPHoeKJ50Q
— GOAL (@goal) February 27, 2022
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
The Liverpool right-back had some problems defensively and was culpable for Mount getting through on goal, but luckily for him, Chelsea did not make it count. Going forward, Alexander-Arnold was a positive outlet as always and put in a fine delivery in the lead-up to Matip’s disallowed goal. He played five key passes in total.
Joel Matip: 7/10
The former Cameroonian international held things tight at the back in the first period and made a few crucial interventions, one of which thwarted Mount. However, the Englishman got the better of him early in the second half but couldn’t find the net. Matip sparked wild celebrations not long after when he headed home from close-range, but the referee chalked the goal off as Virgil van Dijk was impeding the game from an offside position.
Virgil van Dijk: 7/10
Like Matip, he held things together at the back after some early Chelsea pressure and his distribution from the back helped Liverpool going forward. Saw a powerful headed effort get saved by Mendy and then, perhaps a tad bit harshly, was penalised for Matip’s ruled-out goal.
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
A frantic start for the Scotsman, but he quickly settled down into his rhythm and made regular forward forays, dovetailing with Diaz to good effect. While his deliveries did not have the usual potency, Robertson still caused some problems and drew a save from Mendy. Took his penalty well.
Jordan Henderson: 6/10
Not the most influential of displays from the Liverpool skipper, but he went about his job without much fuss. Henderson made a few good interceptions and was always progressive with his passing. He was taken off in the second period.
Still thinking about that @_fabinhotavares pen, Reds?
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 28, 2022
A solid showing from the Brazilian who was responsible for keeping things tight in the centre of the park. Read the game well and positioned himself accordingly to cut out threats while his passing was accurate and reliable throughout the 120 minutes. He scored from a brilliant penalty in the shootout.
Naby Keita: 6/10
Thrown into the starting XI at the last moment as Thiago Alcantara pulled up with an injury in the warm-up, the Guinean started a bit slowly but improved with time. He drew a save from Mendy in the first half and worked hard off the ball without really standing out.
Mohamed Salah: 6/10
A quiet outing for the Egyptian, who found himself well-marshalled by ex-Roma teammate Antonio Rudiger on the evening. In the second period, he had a glorious chance on the counter, but his chipped effort lacked the pace, allowing Silva to hack it clear.
Sadio Mane: 6.5/10
Fared better than Salah, if only slightly so. He drew a top save from Mendy in the first half and asked some difficult questions of the Chelsea backline with his movement and physicality. Mane seemed to have gotten the assist for Matip’s goal, but it was ruled out.
Luis Diaz: 8/10
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) February 27, 2022
With Diogo Jota not being fit enough to start, the January signing made his Wembley bow and looked up for it from the word go. Diaz caused plenty of problems to the Chelsea backline with his turn of pace and direct running, constantly getting into the box and trying to centre the ball or having a go at the goal himself.
Some of his decision-making could have been better at times, but it was still a fine performance from the Colombian, who was denied a goal by the brilliant Mendy. Taken off in extra time, and it seemed to affect Liverpool’s game going forward.
Harvey Elliott: 7/10
The youngster wasn’t even in the matchday squad but was drafted in late on after Thiago’s injury. He came on for Henderson in the 79th minute and showed great energy and intensity. Elliott got himself involved in an unnecessary scuffle with a few Chelsea players late on. Took his penalty well.
James Milner: 7/10
He came on in place of Keita in the 80th minute and kept things calm as the game got stretched and tempers began to flare. Always reliable from the spot.
Diogo Jota: 6/10
Replaced Mane in the 80th minute. He had one or two half-chances that he could not connect with. But Jota made no mistake from the spot.
Ibrahima Konate: 6/10
He was thrown on in the latter stages to deal with Lukaku. Konate defended well in his cameo and scored from the spot.
Divock Origi: 6/10
Origi replaced Diaz in the first half of extra time. He showed a few nice touches held up the ball well without posing a goal threat. Scored his penalty.