The match was tied 0-0 after the teams had played 120 minutes, but Liverpool won a penalty shootout 6-5 to lift the FA Cup on the tournament’s 150th anniversary. a penalty to the post from cesar azpilicueta and a weak shot from mason mount that saved alisson were enough for the reds to keep the dream of the quadruple alive. This also makes Chelsea the first club to lose three consecutive FA Cup finals.
mohamed salah was taken off in the 32nd minute due to a groin injury so it’s not all smiles for liverpool but hopefully it was a precaution as this was the 10th game in the last month for reds. The game almost didn’t go into extra time as Luis Diaz was unlucky enough not to score by hitting the post near the end of regulation time before Diogo Jota hit the other post just seconds later. While Liverpool came out of the gate hot, Thomas Tuchel’s adjustments and Thiago Silva’s strong defense kept things close for 120 minutes before another epic shootout between the two teams.
tuchel didn’t mince words, as he had changed goalkeepers at the end of extra time before the last penalty shootout between these two teams, back in the league cup final. edouard mendy stayed between the posts and came out in style stopping sadio mane but in the end it would not be enough. Liverpool secured their second trophy of the season thanks to a brilliant finish from substitute left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas, who secured the win and the trophy.
this fa cup win is liverpool’s first since 2006 and helps cement their special season with a second trophy and the opportunity to add more trophies in the champions league final and in the main league that is yet to come. to arrive they are just three points behind manchester city with two games to go and have real madrid ahead of them in the most important competition in europe.
It took longer than expected to secure things due to the completion of liverpool, but they did when it mattered. the reds took 17 shots during the match only hitting two on target to chelsea’s 10 who also managed two on target. but with thiago silva’s defensive performance directing liverpool’s attackers where he wanted them to shoot, he helped ease goalkeeper edouard mendy’s job ahead of his fine performance in the penalty shootout. but eventually liverpool found a way. It’s also another victory for Jurgen Klopp over Thomas Tuchel, after Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties in the EFL Cup final in February. And it’s also Chelsea’s third consecutive loss in the FA Cup final, a record in the competition’s 150-year history.
here are some takeaways from the match
will the real romelu lukaku stand up?
Just when things seemed to be turning around for lukaku at chelsea with three goals in his last two games, last week couldn’t have gone any worse for him. he first had to distance himself from his agent on friday after comments on transfer rumours, and then only touched the ball 15 times in the fa cup final on saturday. His future is murky with Chelsea and games like this won’t do much to reassure Tuchel that he can do what it takes to succeed in his system.
lukaku only had one shot during the match and although he created chances for christian pulisic by drawing in several defenders, he didn’t do enough on his own when it mattered and was substituted for ruben loftus-cheek in extra time. . while chelsea’s system doesn’t help lukaku, who has had his best seasons, either playing alongside another striker or having the team play directly through him, something will have to change tactically at chelsea or lukaku may well be making a comeback out the door during the summer.
Injury problems due to accumulation of accessories?
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with mohamed salah and virgil van dijk leaving the match for liverpool and fabinho already out until the champions league final, one wonders how klopp will approach southampton on tuesday. so far they’ve done a good job rotating where they can to secure wins whenever possible, but this team seems to be close to breaking point. With Salah’s replacement, it seemed clear that these competitions could be too demanding for the players. After a good start to the match, Liverpool ran out of steam after 60 minutes and if they plan to do everything they can to try and win the top league, the team will need to push a lot of goals past Southampton. they trail city not only by three points, but also by seven on goal difference.
but, with the champions league final being the most likely prize, rotation could be imminent as klopp looks to protect his players. it was surprising not to see van dijk play 120 minutes in the match, so it has to be a thought on klopp’s head.
christian pulisic is still key for chelsea
While Timo Werner’s fitness is one of the reasons Pulisic started, he played a significant role in the left wing of the blues. pulisic was able to cut inside and make things happen. he took two shots and also created two chances in 105 minutes while completing four dribbles. in extra time he had a great chance for joel matip to play perfectly to stop, but in what has been a difficult season for pulisic, he still showed how dangerous he can be in a chelsea shirt.
Tuchel’s best lineup has been fluid this season, but Pulisic has always found himself in the mix, especially in the biggest games. another day, when he is not facing the imposing defense of liverpool, this performance leads to a goal and an assist, which he promises.
See also: Road to the semi-finals