Seeking to join Chelsea in the 2023/24 Carabao Cup Final, Liverpool and Fulham played out the second leg of their semifinal at Craven Cottage on Wednesday evening. Jurgen Klopp’s side held the advantage ahead of kickoff, having edged out a 2-1 win at Anfield last time out.
FUL: Leno; Robinson, Diop, Adarabioyo, Castagne; Cairney, Palhinha; Willian, Pereira, Decordova-Reid; Jiménez
LIV: Kelleher; Gomez, van Dijk, Quansah, Bradley; Elliott, Mac Allister, Gravenberch; Díaz, Núñez, Gakpo
A rotated Liverpool side looked set to be put under early pressure at Craven Cottage, with Timothy Castagne forcing Caoimhín Kelleher to parry his cross behind for a corner – from which João Palhinha blazed his first-time effort over the crossbar.
Failure to take their chances would quickly come back to bite the Cottagers, who found themselves trailing on the night just four minutes later. Cutting inside from the left flank, Luis Díaz’s curling strike was pushed onto the post by Bernd Leno, but the German was caught out by the angle of the strike, with the ball trickling over the line to extend Liverpool’s aggregate advantage.Embed from Getty Images
That lead could have been doubled before the half-hour mark in West London, as an offside Darwin Núñez saw his volley crash off the woodwork before Díaz arrived on scene to slam the ball over the line – with the assistant referee’s flag being promptly raised.
Kelleher would be put to work as Fulham worked through the gears, denying Raul Jiménez before igniting a rapid counterattack that was brought to an abrupt halt by Tosin Adarabioyo.
Despite the Reds having the advantage at the break, it was Fulham that came close to opening the second-half scoring as Kelleher spilled Willian’s ball into the box – with the goalkeeper left relieved as Andreas Pereira could only pick out the post with his resulting effort.
The Cottagers would finally get the goal they’d been waiting for with less than fifteen minutes of regulation time remaining, as Harry Wilson skipped into the box from the left flank before sliding a ball into the path of Issa Diop – and the Frenchman made no mistake as he bundled over the line from close range.Embed from Getty Images
But a strong Fulham performance in the second half wasn’t enough to force extra time, with the referee’s whistle signalling Liverpool’s progression to the final of the 2023/24 Carabao Cup. The Reds will face Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.