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Liverpool beats Chelsea on penalties to win League Cup

Liverpool earned the Carabao Cup final after defeating Chelsea 11-10 in an extraordinary penalty shootout at Wembley.

After a brilliant match somehow finished goalless, the first 21 penalties were all converted successfully. Then Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was brought on at the end of extra-time, launched his penalty over the bar.

Until then, the match had been a story of two other goalkeepers: Caiomhin Kelleher and Edouard Mendy, who made a series of outstanding saves to keep the score at 0-0.

A pulsating game ebbed and flowed throughout. There was some outstanding attacking play on both sides, with Kai Havertz and Luis Diaz especially impressive.

Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount missed excellent first-half opportunities for Chelsea, while Mendy made an astonishing reaction save from Sadio Mane.

Joel Matip thought he had headed Liverpool into the lead in the second half, but VAR intervened and the goal was disallowed for an offside against Virgil van Dijk in the build-up.

Chelsea then had three goals of their own disallowed for offside – two by Havertz and one for an extremely tight decision against Romelu Lukaku.

Despite all the opportunities, the match drifted towards penalties.

Thomas Tuchel brought Kepa on to be the hero, just as he was in the Super Cup win over Villarreal earlier in the season. Instead, in a twist that nobody could have foreseen, he was the villain.

Despite the win, today’s victory has only netted the Anfield side a slender financial boost.

While most cup finals usually see the winners walk away with millions in prize money, the Carabao Cup offers a significantly reduced boost to the winning club’s coffers.

The total pot for the entire tournament stands at just £200,000 – but that is only dished out to those four teams who make it to the semi-finals or further.

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, who both exited the competition at the semi-final stages, have each received £25,000 each for their share.

The runners-up at Wembley land themselves £50,000 while winners Liverpool will walk away with £100,000. It is stark contrast to the FA Cup which offers prize money that increases round by round, with this season’s winners guaranteed a minimum of £3.4m in prize money.

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