HomeFootball NewsChelsea 0-1 Liverpool: Van Dijk goal wins 2024 Carabao Cup final in...

Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool: Van Dijk goal wins 2024 Carabao Cup final in extra time as Reds extend EFL Cup record

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Virgil van Dijk’s header in second-half added time gave a hugely inexperienced Liverpool side victory in a breathlessly entertaining 2024 Carabao Cup final which will leave Chelsea regretting missed chances as Mauricio Pochettino’s wait for a trophy in England goes on.

Both sides hit the woodwork and had goals disallowed during regular time, while goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher denied Conor Gallagher in a one-on-one four minutes from the end of the 90 minutes and Chelsea had three attempts cleared off the line in the same attack during second-half added time.

The Reds ended the game with five players aged under 22 on the pitch including teenagers Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Jayden Danns, having started without top scorer Mohamed Salah, striker Darwin Nunez and first-choice goalkeeper Alisson, among a string of injured players.

The result extended Liverpool’s record as the most successful team in the competition to 10 triumphs and guaranteed manager Jurgen Klopp at least one trophy to look back on from his final season at Anfield.

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Liverpool v Chelsea: Carabao Cup final goes to Reds

Chelsea made the nervier start, needing Djordje Petrovic to push Luis Diaz’s shot from inside the box away before Cole Palmer was thwarted from close range by a terrific Kelleher save and Nicolas Jackson was unable to find a way through from the rebound.

The opening period turned on a mistimed challenge by Moises Caicedo on Ryan Gravenberch’s ankle which caused the Netherlands midfielder to be carried off on a stretcher as the most expensive player in British history escaped a booking.

Klopp’s side took some time to rediscover their early momentum once defender Joe Gomez had been sent on for the unfortunate Gravenberch, an offside call coming to their rescue when former Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling scored from Jackson’s pass.

Cody Gakpo hit a post with a header from Andy Robertson’s cross five minutes before half-time, but Petrovic needed to be at his best again to beat Harvey Elliott’s effort away in the first major chance of the second period.

Klopp shook his head when Van Dijk had a goal ruled out for an offside against Wataru Endo, heading in Robertson’s 59th-minute delivery as part of a final with a see-saw feel which continued when Axel Disasi turned a golden opportunity over the target when it looked easier to find the net 10 minutes later.

Gallagher went even closer when he flicked a ball from Cole Palmer against a post with 13 minutes remaining, and the England midfielder should have done better when he broke clear but sent a shot against the advancing Kelleher with full-time looming.

Liverpool held on with a succession of last-gasp clearance to keep Chelsea out, and Danns went close in extra time when Petrovic tipped his finish – set up by a Van Dijk header – over the crossbar.

The youthfulness of Liverpool’s team made it seem that the game was there for the taking for Chelsea, who were bidding to give Pochettino silverware for the first time in his combined 11 years as a manager at three English clubs.

Liverpool won on penalties when the 2022 FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals between these teams finished goalless after extra time. Van Dijk’s goal meant this final was marginally more straightforward, the defender joining Klopp, who announced in January that this will be his final campaign in charge, at the top of Wembley Stadium to raise the trophy aloft.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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