Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties to win FA Cup title


Former Premier League winners Liverpool got their hands back on the FA Cup trophy for the first time in 16 years by beating Chelsea 6-5 on penalties following a goalless draw in the 2022 final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Jordan Henderson (front R) holds the trophy | AFP

London: Former Premier League winners Liverpool got their hands back on the FA Cup trophy for the first time in 16 years by beating Chelsea 6-5 on penalties following a goalless draw in the 2022 final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Substitute Kostas Tsimikas tucked home the winning kick after Alisson Becker had saved from Mason Mount to clinch the cup for J�rgen Klopp's men. This was the eighth time that the Reds bagged the FA Cup title.

Victory in the FA Cup final secured Liverpool's second piece of silverware this season following their Carabao Cup success - also against Chelsea - in February.

Klopp's side, also in contention for the Premier League title and have also reached the Champions League final against Real Madrid, thus kept alive their hopes of quadruple titles.

Nothing could separate the two teams after a tense and goalless 120 minutes of action in the capital.

But Klopp's men emerged victorious in the shootout - as they did in the Carabao Cup final against the same opponents - to lift the trophy for the eighth time in the club's history, said a report on Liverpool's official website.

Liverpool created a trio of goal-scoring opportunities in the opening nine minutes, all of which involved the lively Luis Diaz.

First, the No.23's drilled the ball across the face of the goal but it was just inches away from the outstretched boot of Thiago. In a similar situation moments later, Salah was unable to connect with Diaz's cut-back, the report said.

The Reds' best chance of the half saw Diaz sent through on goal by a brilliant outside-of-the-boot pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Edouard Mendy could only half-save the forward's resulting finish, though Trevoh Chalobah was on hand to clear before the ball trickled over the line. Naby Keita then pounced on the loose ball but fired wide.

Then it was Chelsea's turn to attack. Christian Pulisic glanced a shot just past the far post, as Alisson then bravely saved from Marcos Alonso's charge into the box.

Salah injured
Liverpool were then dealt a blow when Salah fell to the turf and was unable to continue. His replacement, Diogo Jota, nearly flicked in from close range off Robertson's cross before the end of the half.

Chelsea flew out of the blocks following the interval. Alonso went close twice, dragging a shot wide and striking the crossbar with a whipped free-kick from a tight angle. In between those efforts was a vital save from Alisson to deny Pulisic.

At the other end, Robertson couldn't adjust to send Alexander-Arnold's cross towards goal and Diaz fired fractionally wide, as the Reds responded. The two teams just continued to trade blows, with Jota, Naby Keita, Pulisic, and Diaz unsuccessful with efforts in quick succession.

The trend continued in the extra time also as Liverpool played the additional 30 minutes without Virgil van Dijk, who was replaced by Joel Matip.

It was a tense opening 15 minutes, with only Mount producing the sole shot of the first half.

And a similar story in the second ensured the destination of the trophy would be determined via spot-kicks. Cesar Azpilicueta was the first to miss in the shootout, but then Mendy kept out Sadio Mane's effort to keep Chelsea in it.

However, after Alisson's strong palm kept out Mount's hit, Tsimikas calmly stepped up and sent the Chelsea goalkeeper the wrong way to spark jubilant scenes among players, staff and supporters.

Liverpool had earlier won the FA Cup in 1965, 1974, 1986, 1989, 1992, 2001 and 2006. IANS

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