Liverpool have won the League Cup for the ninth time. It’s the first time Jürgen Klopp has won a domestic knockout trophy in England and the fifth trophy in his massively successful time with the Reds.
It’s also a victory that brings the club level again with Manchester United on 66 recognised major trophies, a number that they will hope to add to as they remain contenders in three other competitions.
It took the longest of times to get there, though, with the game going 90 minutes without a goal—though not for lack of trying and chances for both sides—before heading to extra time and then penalties.
“Tonight, facing Chelsea, there was like two lions going for each other,” was Klopp’s take on the journey to lift the cup. “It was absolutely crazy. They started better, then we took over and were better.
“Then in the end everybody was tired on the pitch obviously and then you have to get through. Then the penalty shootout, one of the most spectacular I ever saw. Absolutely great to win it like this.”
Each side took eleven shots. Every player on the pitch at the final whistle had a turn, with each and every one of them converting and leaving it to the goalkeepers to each step up and settle the tie.
Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher went first and cooly converted, the Liverpool number two looking every inch a player who’d spent time at striker as a youth player before taking up his goalkeeper gloves.
Then came Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga, brough on in the final minutes for the standout Edouard Mendy. He blazed over, ending what may have been the most thrilling and tense nil-nil final ever played.
“It’s quite a journey from when I saw him the first time, from the boy I saw the first time to the man he is today,” Klopp said of his goalkeeper on the day. “I saw from the first second he is in an incredible talent.
“Alisson Becker is the best goalie in the world for me, but Caoimhin Kelleher is the best number two. We called it the people’s cup but the whole journey was a squad journey and that’s what I love most.”