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Rating Liverpool’s Penalty Kicks Against Chelsea

The Reds went 11 for 11 from the spot to win the League Cup. We rate each of the penalties, taking into account the pizzaz and pucker factor.

Chelsea v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Final Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Anyone else out there still buzzing after winning the League Cup over Chelsea yesterday? It was about as fun as you could hope for from a 0-0 match, with Liverpool again showing themselves to be mentality monsters yet again as they weathered a pre-match injury to Thiago, overturned goals, and keeper penalties to earn their 9th league cup!

While our hearts may have been in our mouths during the shootout, the Liverpool players, for their part, were cool, calm, and collected as each individual stepped up to the spot. One interesting tidbit that resurfaced after the shootout was Jurgen Klopp, who is always looking for those marginal gains, had his squad work with a company called Neuro 11 to improve their mental strength during penalties and other set piece situations.

In the end, Liverpool were a perfect 11 of 11 from the spot against the “penalty specialist” Kepa Arrizabalaga. There were some sensational penalties among the bunch, so let’s walk through and rate them one by one. After you get a chance to watch them one more time.

James Milner

Stepping up to take the first kick was the ageless one, James Milner. Kepa pulled out all of the stops to delay the kick and put Milner off. The Yorkshireman calmly stood just outside the box, completely unruffled while he waited for the referee to tell Kepa to get on his line. To be honest, Milner was probably thinking about folding his laundry else along those lines that soothes him. When he finally stepped up to take the kick, it was a classic take on the penalty. A smooth run up followed by a strong, assured strike along the ground that tucked just inside the post. Even if Kepa had dove the right way, there would have been no saving it. Absolutely classic, absolutely James Milner.

Pizazz: 2/10

Pucker Factor: 0/10

Final Rating: 8/10


While Milner was all about the classics, Fabinho was all about the panache. A little hop followed by a little stutter, he saw Kepa starting to lean, and just coolly hit a panenka right down the middle. Cold as ice, like.

Pizzaz: 10/10

Pucker Factor: 6/10

Final Rating: 10/10

Virgil van Dijk

Kepa again thought to play mind games, this time with the best center back in the world. Kepa set himself a couple of paces over towards his right post, taunting VvD to try that side. So what did Virgil do? He takes a two step approach and just lathers the ball past Kepa on that side, putting it in the top corner. Calm as you like, he’s Virgil van Dijk! Virgil then stares down Kepa as he turns and walks away for having the audacity to try and mess with him. You might want to pick your battles more wisely there, Kepa.

Pizazz: 10/10

Pucker Factor: 7/10

Final Rating: 10/10

Trent Alexander-Arnold

The Scouser in the team is know for his dead ball deliveries, and he did not disappoint. A slight chop to start his run up, then a smooth stride before perfectly placing a rocket just inside the post. Kepa guessed the right way, but never came close to the ball. A nice fist pump to the traveling Kop behind the net to finish things off was a nice touch as well.

Pizazz: 5/10

Pucker Factor: 2/10

Final Rating: 8/10

Mohamed Salah

Just a few weeks removed from not even getting to attempt a penalty as the 5th taker for Egypt in the finals of the African Cup of Nations, Mo got his chance against Chelsea. Salah’s style on penalties up until earlier this year was to take a long sprinting run up and just smash the ball into the net, with placement being a secondary consideration as long as it was on target. It was surprisingly effective, if not very pretty to watch. More recently, Mo has taken a more traditional approach. He lined up just a few strides from the ball, ran forward at a good clip and still managed to smash it into the corner. Another unsaveable penalty, even if Kepa goes the right way.

Pizazz: 6/10

Pucker Factor: 4/10

Final Rating: 8/10

Diogo Jota

Now we’re into the sudden death penalties, where a miss or a saved kick likely means game over. Jota was the penalty hero earlier in the season against Wolves, and has a knack for finding the back of the net. Like Salah, he took a pretty straight on run up and smashed the ball down the middle. Kepa left early, but it certainly looked close to being saved by his feet as he dove to Jota’s left, but there was enough pace on it that ball may have still went in.

Pizazz: 4/10

Pucker Factor: 7/10

Final Rating: 5/10

Divock Origi

A big moment in a big game? Check. Divock Origi? Check. Guaranteed goal? Check. Origi is one of the most chill personalities, perfect for a high pressure situation like this one. A little shuffle to his left, a couple quick strides to approach the ball, see’s Kepa starting to dive and calmly puts it down the middle. No drama, no fuss, just expected.

Pizazz: 6/10

Pucker Factor: 2/10

Final Rating: 8/10

Andy Robertson

The hard-charging Scottish left back isn’t known for his subtlety, and his penalty matched his personality. A quick sprint up and a good, hard, left footed shot to his left as Kepa dove the wrong way. Of course Robbo got a good scream in to rev the crowd up after.

Pizazz: 6/10

Pucker Factor: 4/10

Final Rating: 7/10

Harvey Elliott

The young midfielder wasn’t even expected to be in the side at kick off. With Thiago being injured during warm-ups, Elliott was handed a spot on the bench at the last minute. Despite only being 18 years old, Elliott has a self-assured calm about him. You just trust him to get it done. Kepa finally thought he had someone he could win a mind game with, and pointed to his right as Elliott set himself, daring him to go there. Young Harvey didn’t hesitate, and much like Virgil van Dijk went right where Kepa dared him to go, placing a perfect ball into the top corner. Harvey, ever the Red, stalked away beating his fist against the Liverbird on his kit. Top shelf stuff!

Pizazz: 9/10

Pucker Factor: 3/10

Final Rating: 9/10

Ibrahima Konate

The young center back only came on as a sub at the start of extra time, but fared well. He certainly knows how to deliver a nice pass in open play, but his penalty brought the highest pucker factor of them all. He started with a slow step, then sprung into a quick sprint to try and catch Kepa napping before side footing the ball to his right. It honestly was a nice run up, but the shot placement left much to be desired. Kepa dove the right way, and even got a hand to it with the ball being mid-height in the goal. Kepa actually went past the ball, which ended up a good yard and a half inside the post, and that was what saved Ibou.

Pizazz: 5/10

Pucker Factor: 9/10

Final Rating: 4/10

Caoimhin Kelleher

Keeper pen? KEEPER PEN!!! The man from Cork, who Jurgen Klopp put all of his faith in, stepped up for the 11th kick against the keeper brought in just for the penalty shootout. Kelleher didn’t dally, but quickly approached the ball and drove it high to his left, putting it comfortably under the crossbar with a good bit of power on it. He also sent Kepa the wrong way, not like it would have mattered. Of course, we know what happened next as Kepa stepped up and sent his attempt into orbit alongside the ball from Charlie Adam all those years ago. Talk about a narrative!

Pizazz: Yes

Pucker Factor: Yes

Final Rating: 19/10 (10/10 for the kick, 9 for Liverpool’s 9th League Cup)

How did you rate the spot kicks? Did you have a favorite of the bunch?

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