Liverpool triumph against Chelsea in FA Cup Final Shootout

Kostas Tsimikas was the unlikely hero after 120 cagey minutes.

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties for the second time this season to win their first FA Cup since 2006. With no goals scored in 120 minutes of football, the game went to penalties.

Liverpool’s Kostas Tsimikas scored the decisive spot-kick against Edouard Mendy to win the shootout 6-5 for Jürgen Klopp’s team. Liverpool’s hunt for a historic quadruple remains possible, with the Reds having won the Carabao Cup earlier in the season.

The game got off to a breathless start, with Liverpool beginning the final strongly. Luis Diaz caused Chelsea a number of problems in the first ten minutes of the game, forcing a good save from Mendy and almost setting up the opener.

Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic had a great chance to give Chelsea the lead following a smooth Chelsea move. The American’s shot slid agonisingly wide past Alisson’s post to keep the scores level.

Diogo Jota was unable to prod Liverpool ahead before half time, with his deft touch looping over the bar.

Both sides had big chances to win the game, with Marcos Alonso finding good positions in the second half for Chelsea. The Spaniard’s cross from a free kick evaded Alisson in the Liverpool goal and hit the bar in a good spell of possession for Chelsea.

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

With the game looking set to go to extra time, Diaz and Andrew Robertson hit the woodwork. Robertson ought to have done better to put Liverpool ahead late on, but his shin deflected James Milner’s cross onto the post. Chelsea defender, Trevoh Chalobah, managed to do just enough to put the Scotsman off at the back post.

Following a cagey period of extra time, the game went to penalties, just as it had done in the Carabao Cup final earlier in the season. Liverpool took the advantage in the shootout after César Azpilicueta’s strike cannoned off the post, but Sadio Mané’s tame effort was saved comfortably by his compatriot, Mendy.

The match was decided when Mason Mount’s penalty was saved by Alisson and Tsimikas slotted in Liverpool’s sixth, sending Mendy the wrong way. Klopp’s team of “mentality monsters” proved their resilience and determination once again against a strong Chelsea side.

Former Newcastle and England striker, Alan Shearer, credited Liverpool’s victory and their success this season to Klopp, saying that “it is all down to  him, and what he has brought to Liverpool” and that “it is his approach and the standards he sets that are the key."

Chelsea and Liverpool have played each other four times this season and the result at the end of each of the 90 minutes has been a draw. Losing two finals on penalties is the painful reality for the Chelsea players, who seemed to give everything in the match.

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

Chelsea have become the first team to lose three consecutive FA Cup finals and Thomas Tuchel’s men looked distraught at full time. Against a backdrop of financial and administrative difficulty and with some players set to leave, Tuchel’s attention might well turn to the summer transfer window.

Chelsea’s only solace comes in the form of the women’s side, who beat Manchester City in extra time in the women’s FA Cup final on Sunday

Liverpool’s victory was marred somewhat by injuries to Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk, which could make their remaining three games of the season difficult. This includes a trip to Paris for the Champions League final against Real Madrid in two weeks.

Having played a total of 60 games already this season, it could be that playing the maximum number of games this season is finally taking its toll on the players.

Chelsea and Liverpool will play their penultimate Premier League games of the season this week against Leicester and Southampton respectively. Chelsea’s Champions League position will be secured with a win on Thursday.

Following Manchester City’s 2-2 draw against West Ham on Sunday, Liverpool cannot afford to lose against Southampton if they are to continue their quest for the Premier League title and a historic quadruple.