Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool: Carabao Cup final player ratings as Edouard Mendy shines and Kepa Arrizabalaga blows it – Sky Sports

Football
Liverpool won the Carabao Cup final on penalties after a 0-0 draw with Chelsea over 120 minutes at Wembley. All 22 players took spot-kicks and only goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga missed – a late substitute brought on to save them…
Sunday 27 February 2022 21:17, UK
No goals at Wembley in 120 minutes but lots of drama as Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga took the headlines for the wrong reasons by coming on to save penalties and ballooning one of his own to hand the Carabao Cup to Liverpool. Check out our player ratings here…
A surprise selection ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga, Mendy more than justified that with his extraordinary double save after half an hour at Wembley. The second stop, scrambling to divert Sadio Mane’s close-range shot away from goal was truly remarkable. Almost ruined it with a poor kick in the second half but got away with that and then saved one-on-one from Luis Diaz. Stoppage-time save from Virgil van Dijk for good measure.
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One of the bigger occasions of the young defender’s career and a real examination of his ability with the enterprising Luis Diaz running at him. Stood up to that challenge well and managed the occasional foray forward of his own. Tenth penalty taker, huge pressure, and he scored.
His distribution has been so good for so long and though there was an early knock to cause him some discomfort, the Brazilian remains calmness personified at the back. Fine clearance from near the goal-line after Mohamed Salah had beaten Mendy.
With Salah operating in his channel, Rudiger had to remain vigilant throughout. There was the odd hint of his desire to impose himself – one two-footed challenge exemplified that aspect of his game. But primarily stuck to the task, becoming ever more dominant as it went on. Calm when scoring his penalty.
Given that right wing-back role, Azpilicueta had an impact in the opposition half even as Liverpool threatened themselves. Appeared to have assisted the opening goal of the game only to see Christian Pulisic’s shot saved and had a sharp shot of his own too before going off injured.
One of Chelsea’s big-game players, Kante has so often been decisive in seizing the initiative but he did not have it all his own way at Wembley. Found himself outnumbered in the middle of the pitch and was up against it when trying to impose himself. Far from at his best but scored from the spot.
Kovacic is so good in tight spaces and that is all he had to work with given Liverpool’s appetite to close down. The skilful midfielder is able to mix it too but he was swamped at times.
Got forward typically well in the early stages but was pushed back thereafter. Sometimes can appear sluggish, needing a moment longer on the ball than is ideal. His foul led to Joel Matip’s disallowed goal, but then did well to set up Romelu Lukaku for what would have been a 95th-minute winner. Scored in the shootout.
Had a wonderful chance to score the opening goal of the game but struck the goalkeeper with his shot when it seemed easier to miss him and score. Forced another save late in the first half and played Mason Mount in early in the second.
Preferred to Romelu Lukaku and justified that with his ability to pick up space and play in others. Involved in creating the opening for Pulisic and laid on another excellent opportunity for Mason Mount in the final minute of the first half. Goal disallowed for offside in the build-up late in normal time and another ruled out in extra time. Good performance and a nerveless penalty.
His off-the-ball movement caused all sorts of problems but he could not find the goal. Spurned a volleyed chance late in the first half and struck the post when put clean through on goal minutes into the second. Wasteful.
Thomas Tuchel said he was tempted to select James, who has been out for some time with injury, and while he had to settle for a place on the bench, the England international was called upon before the hour mark. A difficult game to come into but adjusted well and scored his penalty.
The omission of Lukaku and his ongoing struggles at Chelsea had been a major story in the build-up to this final. He twice almost had the final say, his near-post flick in stoppage time being well saved before having a fine goal disallowed for offside. Denied an assist for Havertz too but scored his penalty in the shootout.
A player who has earned an unwanted reputation for squandering chances entered a game where that had been the overriding feature. Half the ground thought he had an assist but was rightly adjudged offside. Took the eighth penalty and – just about – put it away.
Chelsea’s penalty specialist was always going to come on. Though he had his kick saved at Wembley in the Euro 2020 final, he finished this one impeccably.
After the episode in which he appeared to refuse to be substituted by Maurizio Sarri in 2019, the saga goes on. Kepa did come on to help Chelsea win the Super Cup earlier this season and was introduced moments before the end to do the same job here. He did not. Every Liverpool player scored past him and he skied his own attempt. What is it with this goalkeeper and the Carabao Cup final? He would have thought he could only be the hero…
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The hero in the end. Not many goalkeepers achieve that after not saving a single spot kick but Kepa helpfully blazed his over with the young Irishman holding his nerve to score moments before. There was some big stops from Pulisic and others to keep his clean sheet too. What a day for him.
Was caught out a few times defensively and it could have been costly for Liverpool had Chelsea taken their chances. But the delivery was on point as usual – only the offside flag denied him a role in a goal – and he converted expertly from the spot.
It looked like this would be Matip’s moment when he nodded in from close range to score, sparking wild celebrations. It was not to be because of an offside against his centre-back partner and Matip had been substituted by the time the match reached its dramatic conclusion.
Amusing penalty as Kepa stood in one half of the goal and the big Dutchman blasted it in that direction past him anyway. The Liverpool defence did not look as assured as it sometimes can with him at its heart but it was a clean sheet and a trophy for Van Dijk when it was all over.
Seemed to enjoy his penalty more than others with an exuberant celebration. In the match itself, Robertson did not have the influence in the final third that he often can but that tireless energy got him through two hours of football without flagging. Strong as ever.
A dominant force in midfield, with the help of those around him, he had the better of it against his Chelsea counterparts. When it was time for the penalties, Fabinho has long been an expert, and made Kepa look foolish by deftly wedging it down the middle. Delicious.
Playing in that slightly advanced role with Fabinho behind him for cover, the tempo was fast early on and it took a while for Henderson to get his team into it. Was substituted with the game still in the balance but was the one raising the cup at the end. Another trophy for the remarkable Jordan Henderson.
It would have been tricky for Keita, drafting into the team at short notice following an injury to Thiago Alcantara. It did not show in his performance as he put himself about and swarmed all over the Chelsea midfield. Substituted after 80 minutes.
Quiet day for the main man. His penalty was utterly emphatic but he did not have the room in which to weave his magic for much of the previous two hours. Rudiger marshalled him well.
Frustrated by his substitution. Probably felt that the game could have gone very differently given that he was denied from close range by Mendy when a goal seemed inevitable and thought he had an assist for Matip only to be denied by VAR.
The brightest of the Liverpool forwards, Liverpool’s influence dipped when he was substituted after 97 minutes. The Colombian has made such a quick impact since his January move. Impressive.
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He was not even supposed to be in the Liverpool squad but Thiago’s injury presented him with an opportunity – and he seized it. Full of enthusiasm on the pitch, he scored his penalty and celebrated joyously.
Brought some experience to midfield moments after Elliott had come on and took the first penalty of the shootout. No surprise that Milner scored it.
An air kick in the box and a few loose touches, Jota might not have been feeling too great about his cameo when he stood over his penalty but he managed to dispatch it nevertheless. A first trophy as a Liverpool player.
Did not look completely comfortable over his penalty but Kepa dived the wrong way and Konate breathed easy. Helped deal with Lukaku thanks to his physicality.
There is always a thought when the big man comes on that he might make the difference and be the hero. Did not have his own big moment this time but converted from the spot.
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