15 May 2022 | 08:04
Alisson Becker was the penalty-kicking hero as Liverpool clinched another penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea to win the FA Cup and continue their unprecedented treble action.
Alisson Becker was the penalty-kicking hero as Liverpool clinched another penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea to win the FA Cup and continue their quest for an unprecedented treble.
Just 76 days after the Reds overcame Thomas Tuchel’s men on penalties following a scoreless Carabao Cup final, Wembley saw another intriguing clash between two teams that went into the ropes. .
Nothing could separate them after 90 minutes and extra time, with Alisson ace in the penalty shootout as Liverpool won their first FA Cup since 2006.
Edouard Mendy stopped Sadio Mane’s header from scoring after Cesar Azpilicueta hit the post, only for the Brazilian goalkeeper to deny Mason Mount before Kostas Tsimikas finished to seal the victory 6-5.
While the final quartet may look far from Manchester City’s Premier League advantage, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds still have a chance to win Champions League glory as a superb season heads towards a memorable end. .
Wembley was rocking to the beat of Liverpool full-time, just as it was in the first minutes when they crossed the blocks.
But Chelsea recognized the storm early and began questioning the other end in the first half as Reds star Mohamed Salah hobbled through injury.
Marcos Alonso’s daring free-kick hit the crossbar in a difficult Chelsea start in a tumultuous second period, which ended with Luis Diaz and Andrew Robertson heading into the post for Liverpool.
That tumultuous half gave way to a brief period of extra time between the exhausted sides consecrating themselves for the penalty, ending with red smoke and Liverpool cheers filling the air. .
It was the third FA Cup final defeat in as many years for Chelsea, who have been denied the 22nd and final trophy of the Roman Abramovich era in gut-wrenching fashion.
West London was fortunate not to fall behind in the early stages, when Diaz acted as the main tormentor.
After making some threatening crosses, he was overtaken by an ecstatic cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold only for a mixture of Mendy and Trevoh Chalobah to deny him.
Thiago Silva was hurt when Chalobah cleared the ball and the break gave Liverpool a better start, allowing Chelsea to progress to the final and start posing problems on the other end.
Christian Pulisic directed a narrow cross from Mount and through Alonso as Chelsea returned to attack, only a poor touch for Alisson to finish.
The Liverpool goalkeeper needed attention after his collision with the Spaniard but could continue after treatment unlike Salah, who had to be replaced by Diogo Jota in the 33rd minute.
Egypt’s substitute squandered a delicious opportunity to open the scoring at half-time, following Robertson’s pass with a careless touch.
Chelsea flew out of the blocks in the second half, with Alonso coming close within 40 seconds of the restart before Pulisic tested Alisson.
The Blues were again close in the 48th minute when Alonso scored a free kick from an extremely dangerous angle into the wood.
Momentum turned Liverpool’s way around for a while as Diaz turned around and narrowly drove away, with Jota coming close in a superb effort of his own.
Mendy refused Naby Keita and Pulisic to direct widely, before Diaz unleashed a heart-stopping shot as the two sides switched without hitting the target.
Liverpool came closest to finding a knockout in normal time.
Diaz finished outside the right post from a difficult angle in the 83rd minute and just a minute later Robertson missed the post when he picked up a James Milner pass from close range.
The entire Wembley Stadium held their breath as Diaz shortened the announced stoppage time, only to deliver his shot just over the post as the game entered extra time.
The first period was much more difficult than the previous 90 minutes, with Mount flashing in the distance as the players grew weary and opportunities dried up.
Hakim Ziyech watched the penalties wave and Alexander-Arnold make a threatening cross as the game turned to penalties.
Alonso and Milner scored before Azpilicueta shot from the right.
Every other player found the net and Mane knew Liverpool would win if he beat Mendy, only for the Blues keeper to thwart his Senegal team-mate’s effort in his left corner.
However, Chelsea’s hopes were exhausted. After Ziyech and Jota scored, Alisson denied Mount before Tsimikas scored the winner.