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Five Carabao Cup final stats you might have missed

Liverpool lifted the Carabao Cup on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Chelsea.

Virgil van Dijk headed a 118th-minute winner at Wembley, guaranteeing Jurgen Klopp at least one piece of silverware for the club in his swansong season, but it took a long time to get there in a topsy-turvy encounter that somehow stayed goalless for nearly the duration at Wembley.

Here are five stats from the game you might have missed…

Contrasting fortunes

Liverpool have won the League Cup for the 10th time – the most by any team in the history of the competition. Two of those have come under current manager Jurgen Klopp, with only Bob Paisley (three) winning it more often in charge of the Reds.
Chelsea have lost in each of their last three League Cup finals (2019, 2022 and 2024) – this after only losing two of their first seven finals in the competition between 1965 and 2015.

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Highlights from the Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool

Klopp’s new kids

All the talk has been about Liverpool 2.0 and, amid an injury crisis, Klopp fielded Jayden Danns (18), Bobby Clark and James McConnell (both 19) – the most teenagers to appear in a League Cup final team for 17 years.

Indeed, Danns – at 18 years and 40 days – became the youngest player to appear for Liverpool in a League Cup final.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and captain Virgil Van Dijk lift the Carabao Cup trophy following their 1-0 win over Chelsea at Wembley

In terms of starters, Liverpool handed berths to Conor Bradley, Harvey Elliott (both 20) and Ryan Gravenberch (21) – the first time Liverpool have started three U21 players in a major cup final in the club’s history.

Despite that, several experienced players such as Van Dijk (32), Wataru Endo (31) and Andy Roberston (30) raised the Reds’ average age to 25 years and 308 days – two years older than that of Chelsea’s starting XI.

The Blues did not start a single teenager, but only Raheem Sterling (29) and Ben Chilwell (27) were aged 25 or over – meaning Mauricio Pochettino’s side weighed in with an average of just 23 years and 321 days.

How many chances?

“Oh my goodness me – there is someone looking down on Liverpool who has kept this 0-0!” Those were the words of Gary Neville on commentary during the game.

Indeed, the match should have produced 4.06 goals, according to expected goals (xG). Broken down, Chelsea recorded the lion’s share of that total with 2.28 xG, which is the highest in a Carabao Cup final since our League Cup xG stats began in 2018.

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Chelsea somehow miss four golden chances in quick succession at Wembley

The second team on that list? It’s Chelsea, again, when they clocked 1.83 xG against Klopp’s side in the 2022 Carabao Cup final – a game that finished in a goalless stalemate after extra-time with the Reds winning 11-10 on penalties.

Liverpool clocked 24 shots, which is the second-highest tally in a League Cup final since our records began in 2011. The only team to surpass that figure? Liverpool against Cardiff in 2012.

Chelsea clocked 19 attempts without a goal. The only finalist to have that many shots or more and failed to score since 2011? Liverpool, against the Blues two years ago.

It was the 11th time this season Chelsea have gone in at half-time with a 0-0 scoreline – among all Premier League sides, only Everton (14) have had more goalless first halves across all competitions.

Leaving it late

Liverpool have gone to extra-time in each of their last five League Cup finals (2005, 2012, 2016, 2022 and 2024), as well as in nine of their 11 final matches in the competition played at Wembley.
Liverpool’s winner – scored by Virgil Van Dijk in the 118th minute – was the latest winning goal scored in a League Cup final since Aston Villa’s Brian Little in the 1977 final (119th minute vs Everton).

How much?

Chelsea have spent over £1bn on transfers since Todd Boehly bought the club in the summer of 2022 – smashing the all-time spending record in three windows running.

In terms of the starting line-ups on Sunday, the Blues weighed in at £472.9m, which included two nine-figure players in Moises Caicedo (£115m) and Enzo Fernandez (£106.8m) – considerably more than Liverpool’s £323.2m price tag.

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The Reds’ most expensive starter was Van Dijk (£75m), followed by Alex Mac Allister (£55m), Luis Diaz (£49m) and Cody Gakpo (£45m).

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The Liverpool team and staff joined with fans in an emotional rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, following their Carabao Cup final win at Wembley

Blues lose possession

Liverpool attempted 689 passes, compared with Chelsea’s 587, but Klopp’s side were notably more careful with the ball – with a passing accuracy of 84 per cent, compared to Chelsea’s 79.7 per cent.

Breaking that down to recognised midfielders, Liverpool were again more precise – with a passing accuracy of 87.9 per cent, compared to Chelsea’s 84.7 per cent.

The contrast between Enzo Fernandez’s accuracy (76.7 per cent) and Wataru Endo’s (91.2 per cent) is notably stark – albeit the former attempted 90 passes, which was 22 more than the Japan international.

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The Liverpool players were breaking out the dance moves as they kicked off their celebrations in the dressing room following their Carabao Cup final win

A game of few cards

“(Moises) Caicedo is incredibly clumsy with a lot of the challenges he puts in,” said Neville on co-comms during the final – but the Ecuadorian escaped any punishment from referee Chris Kavanagh.

The Chelsea midfielder appeared to get off lightly after making three fouls without a booking, with two players from both sides receiving a yellow for their only foul of the game, while Liverpool duo Mac Allister and Joe Gomez both received one yellow from two fouls.

Liverpool ended the game with five bookings from 21 fouls, compared with Chelsea’s two yellows from 14 fouls.

Those numbers for Chelsea contrast greatly against their campaign to date, having picked up 91 bookings across all competitions – only Aston Villa (93) have received more yellows among Premier League sides.

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Jurgen Klopp avoids shaking the hand of referee Chris Kavanagh saying he was not at the level of the game during Liverpool’s Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea

Gary Neville described Chelsea as “blue billion-pound bottlejobs” after the game.

“In extra-time it’s been Klopp’s kids against the blue, billion-pound bottlejobs,” said Neville.

Already deprived of Trent-Alexander Arnold, Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez, Liverpool won the final with a host of youngsters on the pitch after 19-year-olds James McConnell and Bobby Clark as well as Harvey Elliott (20) and Jarell Quansah (21) were thrown into the fray. Conor Bradley (20) had started the final in defence.

In contrast, Chelsea fielded Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo – both of whom cost over £100m – in the centre of their midfield. Raheem Sterling (£50m) was in attack, while Mykhailo Mudryk, who cost £88.5m, and £52m Christopher Nkunku stepped off the bench.

Todd Boehly has spent over £1bn on players since taking charge of the club in the summer of 2022.

“Liverpool have been absolutely sensational,” added Neville. “Those young players have been incredible. Klopp must be so proud.

“However, for Chelsea, I have no sympathy for them whatsoever. Mauricio Pochettino’s players have shrunk. They have shrunk right in front of our eyes and in front of their fans.”

Sky News
(c) Sky Sports 2024:Source