The cup bore red ribbons as Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties to lift their ninth League Cup trophy. Moreover, Chelsea missed the chance to win their fourth trophy in 13 months under Thomas Tuchel. The final was nothing less of a roller coaster ride for the 120 minutes as well as the penalty shootout. Every outfield player had to take the spot-kick as Liverpool finally won the shootout 11-10. Chelsea player ratings are here from the Blues’ heart-break at Wembley.
Liverpool started the game on the front-foot as the Reds enjoyed majority of the ball in the first-half. Apart from their one goal-scoring chance in the 10th minute, Chelsea provided no attacking threat in the first 45 minutes. Liverpool attacked from all the sides with Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane and Salah combining brilliantly with Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. However, Chelsea defense showed the spine to keep the Liverpool attacks at bay.
Pulisic started a counter-attack and released Havertz in the box who played a perfect pass to Mason Mount. The midfielder had to only slot the ball past Kelleher form point-blank range but instead flashed it wide. Mount was again handed a golden opportunity when Pulisic played a ball over the Liverpool defense which found the England midfielder one-on-one with Kelleher. Once again Mount squandered the opportunity as he hit the inside of the post.
Both Liverpool and Chelsea had a goal ruled offside in the normal 90 minutes as the game went to the extra-time. Chelsea again saw two goals ruled offside and the penalty shootouts arrived, with Kepa coming on for Mendy. The contest went till the 11th player with Kelleher and Kepa both required to take the spot-kicks. Kelleher scored and Kepa missed. And Liverpool extended their record League Cup wins to nine.
Chelsea player ratings: The defense
Edouard Mendy- 9/10
Mendy was just extraordinary on the night. The keeper was the one who kept Liverpool from winning the cup in the 120 minutes. A double save first saw Mendy keeping out Keita’s long range shot, then denying Mane on the rebound who had an open goal to slot-in. The Senegalese pulled-off some truly exceptional saves to take the game to the penalties. Easily the highest rated among Chelsea player ratings.
Trevor Chalobah- 7/10
Chalobah was inducted in the starting eleven against Liverpool after the two sides’ draw in the Premier League last month. The youngster rose to the occasion once again and was solid alongside Thiago Silva.
Thiago Silva- 8/10
No words are left to define Silva’s form. The Brazilian was an absolute rock against Liverpool denying them an easy passage. Silva made a clearance off-the-line from a Salah chip over Mendy to keep the score at 0-0. The center-back made a massive 12 clearances and 3 interceptions, each one of which was quite a crucial one.
Antonio Rudiger- 7/10
Rudiger had the strongest challenge to contain Salah. Though at times he looked a bit lost, Rudiger did a good job keeping out Salah for majority of the game. Rudiger also tracked Mane’s several off-the ball runs to keep the Senegalese from opening the gap.
Wing-backs and Midfield
Cesar Azpilicueta- 6/10
Azpilicueta was handed the right wing-back role which he executed at his best. The captain was a constant threat for Liverpool, creating several half-chances. He almost assisted Pulisic in the 10th minute but the American wasted the chance and could have even scored for himself but his shot just went over the crossbar.
N’Golo Kante- 7/10
Liverpool were all over Chelsea in the first-half of normal time, and so was Kante all over the pitch. He contributed immensely with the defenders, coming in with some important interceptions. Recovered the ball a staggering 13 times and put-in 3 interceptions in the Chelsea box.
Mateo Kovacic- 6/10
Kovacic was constantly looking to break the Liverpool dominance in the first-half with the forward passes. Moreover, he was the only player who was trying to find the gap in that tight Liverpool midfield to feed in Havertz, Pulisic and Mount.
Marcos Alonso- 7/10
Alonso shook-off his dismal performances from last two months to put a solid one here. Though his attacking looked sluggish, defensively Alonso made up for it with some crucial clearances from the Chelsea box. Assisted Lukaku for a 95th minute winner, only for the striker to be ruled off-side.
Christian Pulisic- 7/10
Squandered a clear-cut chance inside the opening 10 minutes. But as the game progressed, Pulisic’s threat increased. He forced Kelleher to pull some important saves and started the counter-attack which could have resulted in a goal. Played an absolute delicious ball to Mount who had only Kelleher to beat. Mount again disappointed as he struck the post.
Kai Havertz- 8/10
Once again given the number-9 role over Lukaku. Havertz justified his selection as he played in some exciting balls in the tight spaces. Played a role in creating that first-half chance for Pulisic, and also played Mount in that point-blank range at Liverpool goal from Pulisic’s counter-attack. Quite unlucky as his two goals were ruled off-side.
Mason Mount- 4/10
Absolutely wasteful. Mount was served with a flurry of clear-cut chances and he just kept on failing to capitalize. Mount only had to direct Havertz’s pass into the goal, instead he put it wide. Pulisic played him one-on-one with Kelleher, Mount hit the post. It was like he refused to keep his mind cool and score the chances. Rather forced his substitution-off with constantly wasting the chances. Lowest rated among Chelsea player ratings.
Reece James- 6/10
Came-on for Cesar Azpilicueta in the 57th minute. Coming on the back of three months missed due to injury, Reece James quickly settled with the pace of the game. Though his crossing didn’t help, James made his presence felt.
Romelu Lukaku- 7/10
Came-on for Mason Mount in the 74th minute. Lukaku did everything after coming on. He ran tirelessly, demanded the ball and scored too, only to be ruled off-side. Lukaku’s near-post flick in stoppage time almost won it for Chelsea. He assisted Havertz too, but again the flag was raised.
Timo Werner- 6/10
Came-on for Christian Pulisic in the 74th minute. Werner was a bit disappointing once again. Didn’t have much of an impact apart from that flick for Havertz who scored it, but was off-side.
Came-on for Mateo Kovacic in the 115th minute. Jorginho also looked like a substitution for the penalty shoot-out along with Kepa. The Italian is one of the best penalty takers when pressure is soaring high. He did his job and scored the spot-kick in the shootout.
Came-on for Edouard Mendy in the 119th minute. The shootout expert was brought on for Mendy who was quite exceptional throughout the game. The plan backfired and Kepa didn’t save any of the spot-kicks and missed his penalty to hand Liverpool their record-extending League Cup.