Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool (AET): Virgil van Dijk nets 118th minute winner in Carabao Cup Final

With Jürgen Klopp set to depart Anfield at the end of this season, Liverpool would be keen to pick up their first trophy of the season on Sunday as they faced Chelsea in the Carabao Cup Final. It wouldn’t be an easy task for the Reds though, with a lengthy injury list forcing Klopp to name a plethora of youth talent on the bench.

CHE: Petrović; Chilwell, Colwill, Disasi, Gusto; Fernández, Caicedo; Sterling, Gallagher, Palmer; Jackson

LIV: Kelleher; Robertson, van Dijk, Konaté, Bradley; Gravenberch, Endo, Mac Allister; Díaz, Gakpo, Elliott

A bright start from Liverpool saw Djordje Petrovic forced into action shortly before the quarter-hour mark under the infamous Wembley Arch, with the Chelsea shotstopper getting down well to palm away a fiercely driven effort from Luis Díaz.

Chelsea would create plenty of their own chances too though, with Caoimhin Kelleher called upon shortly after to produce a sensational save as Cole Palmer attempted to sidefoot home from close range.

Klopp’s already depleted squad would be further weakened before the half-hour mark, as Ryan Gravenberch was forced off on a stretcher following a challenge from Moises Caicedo.

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Liverpool would not waver though, forcing two additional chances before the break – first through Cody Gakpo’s header that struck the woodwork, and then through Conor Bradley, though his strike was blocked well by Levi Colwill.

Virgil van Dijk looked to have handed Liverpool the lead on the hour mark with a bullet header, latching onto a sublime Andy Robertson cross before dispatching past Petrović – but a VAR review found Wataru Endo had interfered with play while in an offside position, and thus the goal was chalked off.

In a match that most definitely did not lack quality, Chelsea struck the post with fifteen minutes remaining as Conor Gallagher found the end of a ball from Cole Palmer – thus becoming the first Carabao Cup Final to see both sides hit the woodwork since 2016.

But with neither side capable of finding the back of the net in ninety minutes, thirty minutes of extra time would ensue – and it was Jayden Danns that looked likeliest to net the opener after four added minutes when he nodded goalward from a van Dijk header. Petrović was equal to his attempt though, tipping his effort over the crossbar.

A plethora of chances for Liverpool would follow in stoppage time, with Harvey Elliott forcing a fine save from Petrović with five minutes remaining. It would be Virgil van Dijk though, with just two minutes remaining, to seal the win for the Reds as he towered above the Chelsea defence to nod home from a Kostas Tsimikas cross.

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Liverpool become the first team to lift the League Cup ten times, and will look to add further silverware to their cabinet before Jürgen Klopp departs this summer. They face Southampton in the Emirates FA Cup in midweek, while a UEFA Europa League round-of-sixteen tie against Sparta Praha awaits in early March.