Liverpool’s dream of winning four trophies for a reason remains alive after overtaking Chelsea in a thrilling penalty shootout.
Liverpool kept their composure to win the FA Cup for the first time since 2006 after a dramatic penalty shootout against Chelsea as the four-time chasers maintained their historic bid on Sunday (AEST).
Jurgen Klopp’s side won 6-5 on penalties at Wembley as Greece defender Kostas Tsimikas was the unlikely hero with the decisive spot-kick after Alisson Becker prevented Mason Mount’s effort.
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A hard-fought final ended a 0-0 draw after extra time, setting the stage for a nervy shoot-out that featured misses from Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, whose shot was saved by Edouard Mendy when he had a chance to win the trophy.
For the second time this season, Liverpool emerged victorious over Chelsea on penalties, having already beaten them 11-10 following another 0-0 draw in the League Cup final in February.
Liverpool’s triumph keeps them in the hunt to become the first English side to win all four major trophies in a single season.
With two awards already won, the Reds are hoping for a slip from Premier League leaders Manchester City, who are three points clear of them in the title race with two games remaining for both sides.
Even if Liverpool are unable to win a second English title in three seasons, they could still cap off a stunning campaign by winning the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris on May 28.
With that ambition in mind, Klopp’s only concern as he danced gleefully past Liverpool supporters amid a swirling haze of red smoke was whether his side would be at full strength against Real.
Liverpool have lost Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk to injuries which could rule them out of their final two Premier League games next week and will spark fears over their ability to recover in time for the Champions League final.
Liverpool won both domestic cups in the same season for the first time since 2000-01, with Klopp getting his hands on the famous old trophy for the first time.
For Chelsea, it was a painful third straight FA Cup final defeat after previous losses to Leicester and Arsenal.
Liverpool got off to a flying start as they raced forward in a haze of quick passes and relentless pressure.
Diaz should have given Liverpool the lead after accelerating on a sublime pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who stroked the ball through the Chelsea defense with the outside of his boot.
Diaz’s tame shot was saved by Mendy, but the ball was still rolling towards goal until Trevoh Chalobah rushed to clear at the last moment.
As Tuchel gesticulated furiously on the touchline, Chelsea dug in and eventually reversed the red tide.
Mount led their first serious raid, crossing for Christian Pulisic to cut his shot just wide.
Pulisic took the fight to Liverpool again moments later, slipping his pass to Alonso, who should have scored but took a bad first touch and scuffed his shot directly at Alisson Becker.
Diogo Jota squandered a golden chance to put Liverpool ahead shortly after his introduction as a substitute for Salah, with the Portuguese forward volleying past Andrew Robertson’s cross.
Chelsea were on the attack after the break and Pulisic’s strike was well saved by Alisson before Alonso’s free-kick was fired over the bar.
But Klopp’s self-proclaimed ‘mentality monsters’ didn’t come close to a quadruple without remarkable courage.
They struggled with momentum and Diaz clipped the outside of the post before Robertson flew into the woodwork.
In the spring heat, and with both teams having played at least 60 games in a marathon season, it was no surprise that fatigue became a factor in a tame extra period that never seemed to produce a winner.
Tuchel had sent in his shot-stopping specialist goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga ahead of the League Cup final shootout in a move that backfired.
Tuchel stayed with Mendy this time, but the result was always the same. Klopp admitted Liverpool’s remarkable season would be a disappointment if they only finished with the League Cup, but he need not worry about that anymore.
Originally published as Liverpool broke Chelsea’s hearts again in FA Cup final after thrilling penalty shoot-out