Carabao Cup, Football

Chelsea vs Liverpool: Captain Virgil Van Dijk’s header helps Liverpool to record-breaking 10th League Cup

In an exhilarating clash at Wembley Stadium, Liverpool emerged victorious over Chelsea in the Carabao Cup Final with a 1-0 victory, securing their tenth title in the competition.

This hard-fought victory came courtesy of a late goal by defender Virgil van Dijk in the 118th minute, making it the latest winning goal in a League Cup final since 1981. Despite a scoreless regular play and extra time period, Liverpool demonstrated resilience and ultimately prevailed, denying Chelsea their sixth Carabao Cup triumph.

Leading up to the final, both teams had experienced varying fortunes. Liverpool, having recently beaten Arsenal and secured a 4-1 victory over Chelsea earlier in the month, entered the match confidently. Meanwhile, Chelsea had struggled with consistency, going three consecutive games without a win prior to the final. Both clubs possess strong histories in the tournament; while Liverpool holds the record with nine titles, Chelsea shares the fourth spot with Aston Villa, each boasting five titles.

The match was a topsy-turvy encounter that somehow stayed goalless for nearly the duration, with posts hit at each end, VAR foils for each team, and a string of chances denied. Chelsea had several opportunities to score, but Liverpool’s goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher made some incredible saves to keep his team in the game until extra time. In the end, it was Van Dijk who settled it, rising highest to head in from a corner and seal the Carabao Cup for Liverpool.

Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher commented on the result, saying that it just tells you that football isn’t all about money. It’s about getting the right players and creating a connection between those players, the manager, and the supporters. Liverpool have that in abundance, and there’s no doubt Chelsea have quality but they still haven’t found that connection this season.

Overall, the match was a closely contested affair with both teams having their chances to win. Liverpool ultimately came out on top, securing their 10th Carabao Cup win and increasing their position as the most successful team in the history of the competition ahead of Manchester City.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp after the game:

“What happened here this afternoon is absolutely insane. These things are not possible.

“Besides, we had a team, a squad with an academy full of character. It’s unbelievable what happened here. I’m so proud that I could be part of it. Wow.

“The crazy stuff is, we deserved it. We had lucky moments, they had lucky moments. That’s the game, it was a tough game – it was almost 150 minutes with all the extra-times. The boys showed up, it was so good.

“I’m pretty sure when we were bringing on all the kids that people were thinking: ‘Okay that’s it now, they’ve given up with a game on Wednesday’.

“It was really not the case, we thought we needed fresh legs. They were fresh legs, but very young. They did the job. Dannsy headed the ball on the crossbar, the other one was scrappy. James, Bobby, what they did – unbelievable.”

Klopp added in his victorious post-match press conference:

“I loved it. What we see today is so exceptional. We might never see it again, these things don’t happen in football. Apparently you don’t win trophies with kids, I didn’t know that.

“It is easily the most special trophy I’ve ever won. It’s absolutely exceptional. I wish I could feel pride more often, tonight that’s the overwhelming feeling.

“I couldn’t care less about my legacy, I’m not here to create one. I’m here to do the job. We’ve learned so much in this time. From time to time you need something to really celebrate, this was so special.”

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino:

“If you compare the age of the two groups, it’s similar. I have a good relationship with Gary, I can respect his opinion. We made a few changes for extra time, but we didn’t keep the energy. For sure I feel proud. They made a big effort.

“We have a young team, and nothing to compare with Liverpool because they finished with young players on the pitch. It’s not fair to talk in this way, if he said that. We’re going to keep being strong and believing in this project.”

Pochettino added:

“It’s always difficult when you lose a final because you have the chances. It’s one game.

“We lost in the last minute of the game. So painful. Now we have to take the positive things, keep going, push and use this type of game to learn and do better and only be positive. We really competed. In some periods of the game I think we deserved more. But if you don’t score with the chances we had, five or six big chances, it’s difficult to win the final.

“You need to be clinical in front of the goal. We need to congratulate Liverpool and keep going.”

Chelsea play Leeds in the FA Cup next on Wednesday before travelling to neighbours Brentford on Saturday.

Meanwhile Liverpool play Southampton in the FA Cup on Wednesday as well, before travelling to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.


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