Liverpool wins Carabao Cup due to Kepa Arrizabalaga’s costly miss

In a contest featuring explosive attacking talent, pedigreed defenders, and at least three midfielders that can be filed among the best in the world, naturally the League Cup final was framed by the goalkeepers involved.

And that was long before a penalty shoot-out decided the showpiece in Liverpool’s favour, which saw Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga spring off the bench and into spot-kick action in a narrative-fuelled twist that ordained he wildly skied his effort over the bar after a sensational series of takes.

Perhaps it was a touch of destiny given the pre-match attention on who would be selected in-between the sticks at Wembley. Jurgen Klopp had declared early that Caoimhin Kelleher would keep the gloves in this competition with the 23-year-old proving a mature, assured back-up for Alisson.

It was a lovely reward for the Republic of Ireland international, especially considering his steel when called upon to protect Liverpool’s goal last season amid a severe injury crisis that saw him stationed behind a midfielder as centre-back, or the Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams experiments.

Still, it was a ballsy call from Klopp – without a domestic trophy to his name in England and with this great Liverpool side knowing they haven’t amassed enough silverware.Caoimhin Kelleher was Liverpool’s hero (Getty Images)Caoimhin Kelleher was Liverpool’s hero

Unlike his counterpart and countryman, Thomas Tuchel swerved sentiment and plumped for Edouard Mendy over Arrizabalaga, who had played in every round so far.

“I have to do what in the end is, in my opinion, the very best solution for the team,” the German explained of his decision to revert to one of the finest keepers in the game.

Tuchel had also believed Chelsea’s best chance at shoot-out success was with Arrizabalaga being the man tasked with saving them. He probably didn’t bank on the keeper needing to take one himself.Kepa skied his penalty over the bar after being brought on to win the shoot-out (AFP via Getty Images)Kepa skied his penalty over the bar after being brought on to win the shoot-out

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