Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool (10-11 pens): Kepa misses decisive penalty
It was a brilliant 120 minutes at Wembley despite the scoreboard not being troubled, with both sides missing huge chances and having goals ruled out. Romelu Lukaku had his turn to have a strike ruled for offside in extra-time, before Kai Havertz found the back of the net for a second time but was once again greeted by the linesman’s flag.
Kepa was brought on right at the end of extra-time for his shootout expertise, but he saw 11 Liverpool penalties get dispatched past him before the Chelsea goalkeeper stepped up himself and blazed his effort miles over the bar.
The shootout took place in front of the Liverpool fans, who celebrated deliriously and their attention will now turn to hunting Man City down in the Premier League.
Both sides showed their support for Ukraine ahead of kick-off, with the players joining together for a pre-match photograph.
Liverpool suffered a late blow to their preparations as Thiago Thiago Alcantara was injured in the warm-ups, leaving the midfielder in tears on the bench as Alisson Becker tried to comfort his teammate.
It wasn’t much better once the match got underway for the Reds, who started slowly at Wembley. Chelsea should have taken the lead after six minutes as Cesar Azpilicueta played a great ball into the path of Christian Pulisic, who from close-range he was denied by Caoimhin Kelleher.
Liverpool gradually grew into it though, with Sadio Mane particularly bright. Trent-Alexander Arnold whipped in a superb cross, but Mane’s header proved to be more of a clearance than anything that troubled Edouard Mendy,
The Chelsea goalkeeper had far more to do shortly after, and he did it wonderfully. Naby Keita’s shot from the edge of the box was parried out by Mendy, who then somehow got up in time to tip Mane’s follow-up over the bar from six yards.
The Reds were well on top but the half finished as it started, with a massive chance missed by Chelsea. Kai Havertz lifted a perfect pass to Mason Mount, who was completely free ten yards out but blazed his volley wide of goal.
Mount had an even better chance four minutes after the break, but once again couldn’t deliver. Pulisic played him clean through with a great pass and Mount’s effort beat Kelleher but bounced off the inside of the post and rolled away to safety, leaving Thomas Tuchel on his knees punching the ground.
With just over an hour played, Liverpool had their biggest chance of the match. Mendy sent a dreadful clearance straight to a Liverpool shirt, and Mane opted not to shoot with the goalkeeper off his line but instead played in Salah. The Egyptian dinked a great effort over Mendy, but Thiago Silva did superbly to get back and hack it away on the line.
Liverpool thought they had the opening goal midway through the second-half, but VAR came to Chelsea’s rescue. Mane headed a free-kick back across the face of goal and Matip was on hand to turn it home from close range, sparking wild celebrations in the Liverpool end.
But as the red flares were still being set off in delight, the referee returned from the pitchside monitor to disallow the goal, judging Van Dijk to have been interfering from an offside position.
That did little to slow Liverpool’s momentum though, as Luiz Diaz found himself in a great position but was denied by Mendy.
It was levelled on the premature celebrations front, though on this occasion the decision came much quicker. Werner lifted a ball to the back post, Havertz’s header had enough power to beat Kelleher but as he wheeled away, the flag was raised for offside.
Van Dijk’s header was well saved by Mendy, before Keller reacted to keep out Romelu Lukaku’s flick deep in stoppage time, as it finished goalless after 90 minutes.
It seemed like Lukaku was going to be the hero in extra-time, as he cut inside and finished emphatically at the near post, but once again the offside flag was raised. Replays showed it was incredibly tight, but Liverpool survived the scare.
In the second period of extra-time, Havertz found space in the box and drilled a strike past Kelleher. But the man who won Chelsea the Champions League and the Club World Cup looked up to see the linesman had denied him for a second. Four times the ball had found the back of the net but it remained goalless.
There was no late winner from either side, Tuchel turning his attention to the shootout and bringing Kepa on in the last seconds of extra-time.
It would be fair to say the decision did not work out. The shootout proved to be of an incredible quality, as player after player stepped up and found the back of the net.
With it locked at 10-10, up stepped the goalkeepers. Kelleher whipped his penalty into the top corner, but Kepa couldn’t do the same as he ballooned his effort over the bar to bring an end to a truly memorable final.