Liverpool hold nerve to win FA Cup on penalties against Chelsea to keep quadruple dream alive with Wembley win
Jurgen Klopp lifted the FA Cup trophy for the first time as Liverpool manager as his side emerged victorious at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon after a 6-5 win over Chelsea on penalties in what was an entertaining contest. The Reds remain in with a chance of sealing a historic quadruple if they can win the Premier League and Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool winning “special” FA Cup final
The 150th edition of the FA Cup final delivered as Liverpool celebrated their first triumph in the competition since 2006, as Konstantinos Tsimikas slotted home the vital spot-kick to help his side defeat Chelsea 6-5 on penalties at Wembley Stadium.
Liverpool made a bright start, and were comfortably on top in the early part of the game. The pressure resulted in a good chance to take the lead after just eight minutes.
A sublime outside of the foot through ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold put Luis Diaz in on goal, but the Colombian’s effort was saved by an onrushing Edouard Mendy. Naby Keita then put the rebound wide of the far post.
Chelsea weathered the storm and then had a big chance of their own after 22 minutes, but Christian Pulisic was unable to turn in Mason Mount’s low cross, as it trickled wide of the far post.
Liverpool were then dealt a huge blow on the injury front, as Mohamed Salah could not continue and had to be replaced by Diogo Jota after just 32 minutes, with Jurgen Klopp no doubt sweating on the fitness of his star man.
Chelsea came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half, and had a huge chance to take the lead just two minutes after the restart, as Marcos Alonso’s free-kick from the edge of the box smacked against the crossbar.
Liverpool then hit the woodwork twice in the last ten minutes of the game, with Andy Robertson going closest, but the full-back’s effort on the stretch at the far post from James Milner’s cross cannoned back off the upright.
The sides could not be separated after extra-time and had to settle for a penalty shootout to decide a domestic final for the second time this season.
After misses by Cesar Azpilicueta, Sadio Mane and Mason Mount for either side, Kostas Tsimikas was the unlikely hero and scored the vital spot-kick for Liverpool to send their fans into raptures and condemn Chelsea to their third successive FA Cup final defeat.
TALKING POINT - Another dramatic penalty shootout settles a final between these sides
Despite no goals in 120 minutes of football for either side, this was a very entertaining game, with many big chances being created. The woodwork was hit a total of three times. In the end, there was a sense of déjà vu, as Liverpool sealed their first FA Cup trophy in sixteen years courtesy of a penalty shootout victory - their second this season over Chelsea in a domestic cup final.
The shootout was typically nerve-wracking, with its usual twists and turns. To start off with, it was advantage Liverpool, as Cesar Azpilicueta's penalty hit the post. Liverpool then had the chance to win it courtesy of Sadio Mane, but the Senegalese forward could not replicate his Africa Cup of Nations exploits, as his spot-kick was well saved by his international team-mate Edouard Mendy.
It gave Chelsea a lifeline in the shootout, but they were once again the team to buckle under pressure, as Mason Mount had his penalty saved by Alisson.
In the end, Kostas Tsimikas stepped up to calmly slot home his penalty to Mendy's right as the Liverpool fans celebrated yet another major trophy under Jurgen Klopp.
Kostas Tsimikas of Liverpool celebrates following their team's victory in the penalty shoot out during The FA Cup Final match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on May 14, 2022 in London, England
Image credit: Getty Images
PLAYER OF THE MATCH - Trent Alexander-Arnold
Image credit: Getty Images
Liverpool's right-back silenced some of his critics this afternoon, as he showed that he is more than capable of being solid defensively in addition to his attacking mindedness. An all-round fantastic showing by the 23-year-old.
One of his highlights of the game was the beautiful outside of the foot pass he played in the eighth minute, that put Luis Diaz through on goal. Although no goal came from the move, it demonstrated his eye for a defence-splitting through ball.
However, it was his defensive solidity that proved critical, making many key blocks and interceptions that prevented certain goal-scoring opportunities for Chelsea.
In total, Alexander-Arnold made four clearances, three successful tackles and four key passes.
Liverpool: Alisson 6, Robertson 7, van Dijk 6, Konate 6, Alexander-Arnold 8, Thiago 6, Henderson 6, Keita 7, Diaz 7, Mane 6, Salah 6. Subs: Jota 6, Matip 7, Firmino 6, Tsimikas 7, Milner 6.
8’ - TWO BIG CHANCES FOR LIVERPOOL! - A beautiful pass from Alexander-Arnold with the outside of his foot from central midfield releases Diaz through on goal, but Mendy gets down low to make a crucial save! The ball is then hacked off the line by Chalobah! The rebound falls to Keita, who goes for goal from the edge of the box, but his effort is narrowly wide of the post!
22’ - CONNECTION NOT THERE! - It should be 1-0 to Chelsea! A brilliant move down the right sees James and Mount combine well down the flank, with the latter putting a low cross into the box for Pulisic to attack. The attacker gets to it before Konate, but his effort trickles narrowly wide of the far post!
31’ - SALAH IS DOWN - A major concern for Liverpool as Mo Salah takes a seat on the turf off the ball, and he requires treatment. Diego Jota is getting stripped on the touchline. Salah looks like he cannot continue, but with the Champions League final on the horizon, this will be a big worry for the Reds.
47’ - OFF THE BAR! - Chelsea win a free-kick on the edge of the box on the right-hand side, as Reece James is fouled. Alonso opts to strike it rather than deliver in a cross, and his effort smacks the top of the crossbar! Alisson was beaten!
83’ - OFF THE POST! - The Reds are denied by the upright yet again! This time, Milner crosses for Robertson a the far post from the right hand byline. The full-back stretches for the ball and connects, but his effort can only cannon back off the frame of the goal!
LIVERPOOL WIN THE SHOOTOUT! - Kostas Tsimikas steps up and tucks his penalty away to become the unlikely hero for Liverpool as the Reds have won the shootout!
"The quadruple thing. It's absolutely outstanding that we can talk about it," - Klopp after winning
This is the first FA Cup final to go to extra-time without a goal after 90 minutes since the 2007 edition of the competition, when Didier Drogba would ultimately seal the trophy for Chelsea (v Man Utd) in the 116th minute.
Chelsea have become the first side since Newcastle United (1974, 1998 & 1999) to lose on three consecutive FA Cup final appearances, having now lost in 2019-20 (v Arsenal), 2020-21 (v Leicester) and tonight v Liverpool.
Jürgen Klopp has become only the second manager to win the European Cup/Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup and the English top-flight title all with the same English club, along with Sir Alex Ferguson (with Man Utd).