After all it was penalties. It was by no means not going to be penalties.
Thomas Tuchel selected to not bathe the sport in narrative and left Kepa Arrizabalaga on the bench this time, however it was one other substitute who stepped as much as deal Chelsea their second shoot-out agony towards Liverpool this season.
The unlikely hero was Kostas Tsimikas, who stepped as much as slot residence the profitable penalty and provides the Reds their second trophy of 2021-22.
It meant that Jurgen Klopp grew to become solely the second supervisor to win the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and EFL Cup all with one English membership, after Alex Ferguson.
He’s additionally the primary German to win the FA Cup and simply the second Liverpool supervisor to take cost of the membership within the last of 4 main home/European competitions (EFL Cup, Europa League, Champions League and FA Cup), after the good Bob Paisley. That is one other golden period for the Merseysiders, little question about it.
Because the solar shone down on Wembley Stadium, awash in a sea of blue and crimson and with a noise that would make the arch quiver, Chelsea and Liverpool performed out their newest version of “No, my German coach is best!”
Each groups had already contested three stunningly shut encounters this season, drawing in each league video games and with the EFL Cup last having to be determined by the twenty second penalty of a shoot-out.
Why did we ever assume this assembly could be completely different?
The FA Cup last is without doubt one of the most conventional days within the soccer calendar, with ‘Abide with Me’, the nationwide anthem and a royal presence on present.
Custom was lacking from the touchline although as each Tuchel and Klopp arrived wearing tracksuits and baseball caps, whereas Chelsea for some purpose determined to play of their modified equipment of all yellow, maybe making an attempt to evoke recollections for Liverpool of their first-half scare within the latest Champions League semi-final towards Villarreal.
The apparel could have been informal, however the begin from Liverpool was something however.
It was a case of solar’s out, weapons out for the Reds as they set about attacking Chelsea from the off, displaying extra of the extraordinary counter-pressing that noticed them via their semi-final with Manchester Metropolis a number of weeks in the past.
As within the EFL Cup last, Luis Diaz was a nuisance on the left, placing two balls into the field that very almost discovered team-mates, earlier than the Colombian was denied by Edouard Mendy when put via one-on-one by a luxurious Trent Alexander-Arnold cross.
However Chelsea had good probabilities of their very own, with Christian Pulisic placing an effort large whereas Marcos Alonso was thwarted by Alisson.
It was troublesome for a lot momentum to be gained with 4 prolonged stoppages for accidents, together with Mohamed Salah reliving his expertise from the 2018 Champions League last and having to return off within the first half.
Salah’s alternative Diogo Jota fired over from an Andrew Robertson cross, whereas Romelu Lukaku did the identical as he tried to outmuscle Virgil van Dijk. Liverpool managed 9 photographs to Chelsea’s three within the opening 45 minutes, with 42 last third entries to their opponents’ 18.
Regardless of that, a well-organised defence from the Blues noticed the rating stay stage, and also you questioned simply what would it not take to separate these two seemingly inseparable entities?
It was Chelsea’s flip to begin brightly after the break – Alonso and Pulisic going shut once more. Extra possibilities spurned.
As was the case with Liverpool, that preliminary burst died down, permitting the Reds to have a few photographs narrowly miss the goal via Diaz and Jota.
The woodwork was struck thrice within the second half as each groups continued to attempt, and continued to fail.
Van Dijk going off, and he was later seen to be hobbling, introduced one other damage concern for Liverpool heading into extra-time and Chelsea tried to present Joel Matip a blistering welcome. But Liverpool stood agency.
Diaz acquired a standing ovation as he left the sector, his second wonderful efficiency in a Wembley last for the membership, and he solely joined on the final day of January.
The previous Porto man was the primary participant to have six photographs in an FA Cup last since Anthony Martial for Manchester United in 2016, who additionally didn’t rating.
A giant rendition of You will By no means Stroll Alone went up from the Liverpool finish at half-time in further time whereas Chelsea followers waved their flags, one final effort to present their groups the slimmest of edges. However this one was destined for spot-kicks.
An early miss from Cesar Azpilicueta meant it seemed like an extra-time substitute was going to but once more be his group’s downfall, just for the Spaniard to be given a reprieve when Sadio Mane drilled at compatriot Mendy. Sudden dying.
However Alisson had a save in his locker, too, getting right down to his left to maintain out Mason Mount’s timid effort, setting the stage for Tsimikas, who had changed Andrew Robertson, to ship Mendy the improper manner and spark celebrations and smoke bombs aplenty within the Liverpool finish.
It was but extra home cup heartbreak for Chelsea, who having appeared in 5 of the final six FA Cup finals, have solely gained one in all them.
Liverpool’s latest FA Cup document, nonetheless, was considerably worse. Klopp had solely made it so far as the fifth spherical on one event in six makes an attempt, going out within the fourth spherical 4 occasions and the third spherical as soon as.
In equity to Chelsea, very similar to the EFL Cup last, this one may have gone both manner, and it should be remembered that having been answerable for Chelsea for only one 12 months and 108 days, Tuchel has already overseen 4 main finals, matching Jose Mourinho.
Because it was in February, this was Liverpool’s day, discovering these high quality margins and getting over the road to do the EFL Cup and FA Cup double. Not dangerous for a group that supposedly did not care in regards to the cups.
A quadruple would possibly now look unlikely given Metropolis’s league type, however one other last, an opportunity for a 3rd trophy this time period, awaits on Could 28 in Paris – Actual Madrid the opponents.
You’d not guess towards that one going to penalties, both.