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Carabao Cup final ratings: Van Dijk, Kelleher are Liverpool’s monsters

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Highlights from the Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool

Liverpool

Caoimhin Kelleher – 9

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher saves a shot from Chelsea's Cole Palmer
Image: Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher saves a shot from Chelsea’s Cole Palmer

Liverpool’s superman. He flew to their rescue when called upon. It started with a world-class save to deny Cole Palmer from point-blank range before he made a supreme block at the feet of Conor Gallagher. He was brilliantly positioned for Christopher Nkunku’s chance in injury time as he was throughout. A performance for the ages.

Andy Robertson – 7

Chelsea's Cole Palmer and Liverpool's Andrew Robertson (right) during the Carabao Cup final
Image: Chelsea’s Cole Palmer and Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson (right) during the Carabao Cup final

Reliable as ever. Almost provided an assist with a lovely cross for Cody Gakpo but that effort struck the post.

Virgil van Dijk – 9

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk roars in celebration after scoring the winning goal in the Carabao Cup final
Image: Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk roars in celebration after scoring the winning goal in the Carabao Cup final

A masterclass. Along with Kelleher, he stepped up. Always in the right spot, hardly putting a foot wrong. Liverpool’s leader is seriously back to his best. Thought he had a match-winning moment until VAR stepped in – but he eventually stole the show late on. A monster.

Ibrahima Konate – 6

Struggled at times. He engaged in a great battle with Nicolas Jackson and came out second best. Fortunate that VAR deemed the Chelsea striker offside when he was a little slow in pushing up. Conceded four fouls and was carded.

Conor Bradley – 6

For someone so inexperienced, the way he adapted to being thrust into the Liverpool front three after Ryan Gravenberch’s injury was seriously impressive on this kind of stage. Did not look out of place, and managed to get under Ben Chilwell’s skin but eventually ran out of gas in the second half.

Ryan Gravenberch – 6

Replaced on 28 minutes, adding to Liverpool’s injury woes, after he was caught late by Moises Caicedo. A shame for the Netherlands midfielder, who had been finding some form in recent weeks after a stop-start beginning to life at Liverpool.

Alexis Mac Allister – 7

Composed and classy on the ball. The big Wembley pitch took its toll on his legs though as he looked tired in the second half following a relentless schedule of late.

Wataru Endo – 8

Set the tone with some early aggressive play in midfield and his block on Jackson after Palmer’s big first half chance was vitally important. The £16.2m Liverpool paid Stuttgart for his services was the shrewdest of business. Never stopped running and fighting.

Harvey Elliott – 7

Liverpool's Harvey Elliott challenges for the ball with Chelsea's Enzo Fernandez (AP)
Image: Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott challenges for the ball with Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez

Full of spark and endeavour on his 101st Liverpool appearance meaning he has become the fourth youngest Liverpool player to reach the 100 landmark behind Michael Owen, Raheem Sterling and Robbie Fowler. This was a mature performance.

Luis Diaz – 7

Saw lots of the ball, with a clear plan to utilise his presence as the senior man in the front three but his performance blew very hot and cold, mostly cold. He became predictable with his play and wild with his finishing. Could not fault his commitment to the cause though – did not stop.

Cody Gakpo – 5

Had scored in every round of the competition this season but misfired at Wembley. A clever header was unlucky to come back off the post but rushed his finish at a key moment when leaning back on 70 minutes after a barnstorming Diaz run. Liverpool needed more from him.

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Liverpool captain and goal scorer Virgil van Dijk praises the young players in the squad following the extra-time win in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea.

Subs

Joe Gomez – 7

His first Wembley appearance for Liverpool having not been selected for the previous two finals, filling in at right-back. Solid stuff as always.

Bobby Clark – 7

Yet to start a game for Liverpool but has a cup final appearance to his name now having only just turned 19 when replacing Bradley. Buzzed around without ever really affecting the game but did not look out of place.

Jayden Danns – 7

Only made his senior debut four days ago but looked confident and composed when thrust onto the big stage. He almost wrote himself into Liverpool folklore in extra-time but his looping header was tipped away by Djordje Petrovic.

James McConnell – 7

Replaced Mac Allister on 87 minutes, making just his seventh senior appearance. Used the ball intelligently.

Jarell Quansah – 7

Played the final 15 minutes of extra-time with Konate running the risk of a second yellow card. Assured.

Kostas Tsimikas – 7

Liverpool lost a bit of impetus down the left when Robertson departed but Tsmikas came to the party in extra-time with a fantastic corner delivered for Van Dijk.

Virgil van Dijk is mobbed by team-mates after scoring an extra-time winner for Liverpool
Image: Virgil van Dijk is mobbed by team-mates after scoring an extra-time winner for Liverpool

Chelsea

Djordje Petrovic – 7

Was let off the hook by Liverpool’s injury-ravaged selection. Regardless, commanded his box well and swept up behind Axel Disasi and Levi Colwill, as well as producing a superb save to deny Elliott in the dying embers of extra-time. Needed better from the defenders in front of him as Van Dijk ghosted in to settle the game – nothing he could do.

Axel Disasi – 5

Disasi is the only player to start all six League Cup games on Chelsea’s run to the final, and like Colwill, benefitted from the fact Liverpool were lacking firepower. Fairly robust performance, until… he let Van Dijk run off him for the winner. Started extra-time with a seven, and ended it with a five.

Malo Gusto – 7

Registered Chelsea’s first shot in target in the opening half – a volleyed effort that did not particularly trouble Kelleher. Dealt with the direct running of Diaz well, without too much help from Disasi, and was a willing runner in the opposite direction. Dug Chelsea out of trouble a few times in extra-time, as legs were tiring.

Levi Colwill – 7

Could have been booked after six minutes for a horrible lunging tackle on Mac Allister but proved to be solid after that rash opening. Handled the threat of Gakpo well – you can only play the player in front of you, but there is every chance he would have been far less comfortable with the presence of Darwin Nunez, should the Uruguay forward been fit enough to feature.

Ben Chilwell – 6

Out-jumped for Van Dijk’s opener, which was then chalked off – somewhat harshly – by VAR. Manages and reads the game really well, particularly in the absence of Thiago Silva, who often acts as Chelsea’s regular orchestrator at the back. Liverpool scored their winner minutes after he was taken off.

Moises Caideco – 4

Chelsea's Moises Caicedo tackles Liverpool's Bobby Clark battle for the ball
Image: Chelsea’s Moises Caicedo tackles Liverpool’s Bobby Clark battle for the ball

Wild challenge on Gravenberch in the first half, who was then forced off injured. Untidy in possession and even scruffier out of it. Looks like half the player he was at Brighton and in need of a serious reboot.

Enzo Fernandez – 5

Completely fluffed a chance early in the second half when set up by Gallagher and looked shaky in possession. Regained a bit of composure in the second half, and was typically combative, but questions remain as to whether the expensively assembled Enzo-Caicedo pairing in midfield is working for Chelsea. Jury is out.

Conor Gallagher – 7

All-action display, particularly second half. At times he glided past players as if they were not there and showed purpose and drive to affect the game. Hit the post, and blasted a couple of further chances off target. Alongside Palmer, Chelsea’s most industrious performer, before being withdrawn in extra-time

Raheem Sterling – 5

Had the ball in the net first half, which was cruelly ruled out, but couldn’t affect much beyond that. Replaced by Christopher Nkunku midway through the second period, who injected more energy.

Cole Palmer – 7

Missed the chance to put Chelsea ahead inside 20 minutes, forcing Kelleher into a world-class save, but was Chelsea’s biggest threat throughout. Carried the ball well, and teed Gallagher up as he struck the post second half. Good vision too. He’s the one who makes Chelsea tick in possession, albeit did not have his brightest game in a Blues shirt.

Nicolas Jackson – 6

Huffed and puffed but was outfought by Van Dijk in almost every department. There is no striker in the land who wins consistent headers against him, so the ploy to go high and long into Jackson seemed futile from the off. When he received the ball into feet, which was not often enough, he looked a threat.

Subs

Christopher Nkunku – 7

Bright and a willing runner in behind. Did miss the golden chance when firing straight at the excellent Kelleher.

Noni Madueke – 5

Wasteful. Had two opportunities inside the box down the right to provide a match-winning moment but fluffed his final ball.

Mykhailo Mudryk – 4

With tiring limbs against him, you would assume his searing pace would provide a weapon for Chelsea. It didn’t. In fact, he was barely noticeable until he was outjumped for Van Dijk’s winner. He epitomises where it is all going wrong for Chelsea in terms of their recruitment.

Trevoh Chalobah – 6

Replaced Chilwell with 10 minutes to go.

What’s next?

Liverpool host Southampton in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday at 8pm. Jurgen Klopp’s side visit Nottingham Forest in the Premier League next Saturday at 3pm.

Brentford host Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday; kick off 3pm.

Sky News
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