Liverpool managed to win the FA Cup for the first time since 2006 after a dramatic penalty shootout against Chelsea, while the quadruple chasers kept their historic bid on Saturday. Jürgen Klopp’s side won 6-5 on penalties at Wembley, as Greek defender Kostas Tsimikas was the unlikely hero with the decisive kick after Alisson Becker held off Mason Mount’s attempt. A hard-fought final had ended 0-0 after extra time, setting the stage for a nerve-wracking shoot-out with misses from Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta and Sadio Mane, whose shot was saved by Edouard Mendy when he had a chance to take the trophy.
For the second time this season, Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties after already beating them 11-10 after another 0-0 draw in the League Cup final in February.
Liverpool’s triumph keeps them in the hunt to become the first English team to win all four major trophies in one season.
With two trophies already won, the Reds are hoping for a misstep from Premier League leader Manchester City, who are three points ahead of them in the title race with two games left for both teams.
Even if Liverpool are unable to win a second English title in three seasons, they can still close out an astonishing campaign by winning the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris on May 28.
With that ambition in mind, Klopp’s only concern, as he danced cheering for Liverpool supporters amid a seething mist of red smoke, was whether his team will be at full strength against Real.
Liverpool lost Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk to injuries that could exclude them from their last two Premier League games next week and will spark fears over their ability to recover in time for the Champions League final.
Liverpool have won both domestic cups in the same season for the first time since 2000-01, with Klopp getting his hands on the famous old trophy for the first time.
For Chelsea, it was a painful third consecutive defeat in the FA Cup final after previous losses to Leicester and Arsenal.
Liverpool got off to a blistering start as they swarmed forward in a haze of quick passes and relentless pressing.
Diaz should have put Liverpool ahead after accelerating on a superb pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who stroked the ball through the Chelsea defense with the outside of his boot.
Diaz’s tame shot was saved by Mendy, but the ball still rolled toward goal until Trevoh Chalobah scrambled back at the last minute to hack away.
With Tuchel gesturing furiously on the sidelines, Chelsea dug in and eventually the red tide turned.
Mount led their first serious charge and crossed over to Christian Pulisic to cut his shot just wide.
Pulisic led the fight back to Liverpool moments later, slipping his pass to Alonso, who should have scored, but had a poor first touch and sent his shot straight to Alisson Becker.
Diogo Jota lost a golden opportunity to give Liverpool the lead shortly after being introduced as Salah’s replacement, the Portuguese forward who flew over from Andrew Robertson’s cross.
Chelsea were on the offensive after halftime and Pulisic’s attack was well saved by Alisson before Alonso’s free kick was fired at the crossbar.
But Klopp’s self-proclaimed ‘mentality monsters’ haven’t come this close to quadrupling without remarkable steadfastness.
They struggled back the momentum and Diaz snapped the outside of the post before Robertson slammed into the woodwork.
In the spring heat, and with both teams playing at least 60 games in a marathon season, it was no surprise that fatigue became a factor in a tame extra period that never seemed to produce a winner.
Tuchel had sent his penalty-saving specialist Kepa Arrizabalaga for the League Cup final shoot-out in a move that backfired.
Tuchel stayed with Mendy this time, but the result was still the same.
Klopp admitted Liverpool’s remarkable season would be a disappointment if they only ended up with the League Cup, but he doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.
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