Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool (AET): Player ratings as Van Dijk settles Carabao Cup final in extra-time

  • Liverpool win Carabao Cup with final victory against Chelsea
  • Virgil van Dijk with winner for the Reds
  • Raheem Sterling and Van Dijk had earlier goals ruled out

Van Dijk was the hero
Van Dijk was the hero / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

FROM WEMBLEY STADIUM - Liverpool beat Chelsea 1-0 in the Carabao Cup final thanks to an extra-time winner from Virgil van Dijk.

The Reds and the Blues seemed destined to draw a third successive domestic cup final without any goals before the Dutchman headed home from the latest of corners at Wembley.

Jurgen Klopp's side finished the match with plenty of young academy graduates on the pitch and they did incredibly well to outlast Chelsea, who are still looking for their first trophy in the BlueCo era.

How the game unfolded

The first half chance of the game fell Liverpool's way when Axel Disasi slipped while in poossession, surrendering the ball to Cody Gakpo. He teed up Luis Diaz just inside the penalty area, but he was only able to bring a low save out of Djordje Petrovic.

Despite being penned in for the opening stages, Chelsea went incredibly close to going in front midway through the first half. A clever ball over the top from Moises Caicedo released Conor Gallagher, who found Raheem Sterling in the box. He was nipped of possession by Conor Bradley, though the ball fell kindly for Cole Palmer to hit at close range, but Caoimhin Kelleher came up with a top save to deny him.

Chelsea thought they had indeed taken the lead just after the half hour mark when Nicolas Jackson rolled the ball on a plate for Sterling to tap in, only for the offside flag to go up against the Senegal forward. After a lengthy VAR check, Jackson was ruled ever so marginally ahead of Ibrahima Konate when making his initial run and the goal remained chalked off.

Liverpool struck the post through Gakpo when he rose highest to meet a teasing cross from Andrew Robertson as both sides pushed for an opening goal before the half-time break.

Another quick Reds counter saw Diaz find Conor Bradley, whose goal-bound strike was blocked by Conor Gallagher and the two sides went into the break without anything to split them.

Chelsea spurned another glorious opportunity after the restart when Jackson carried the ball into the Liverpool box and cut it back for Enzo Fernandez, but he couldn't sort his feet out and the Reds were able to clear their lines.

With an hour on the clock, Liverpool thought they went in front. Robertson's wicked free-kick in from the left was placed perfectly onto the head of Virgil van Dijk, who rose above Ben Chilwell and found the far-hand corner. However, Wataru Endo was judged offside and interfering with the set play, so the goal was controversially ruled out following a VAR check.

Back down the other end, Jackson flicked a corner perfectly into the path of Disasi, who spooned his effort upwards from only a few yards out. Chelsea then struck the post after Gallagher diverted a low cross from Cole Palmer off the upright.

Another chance went begging for Chelsea on the counter when Palmer again found Gallagher, who this time was denied by the sprawling frame of Kelleher.

Into six minutes of stoppage time, Chelsea were kicking themselves for missing another flurry of chances, with Palmer and Christopher Nkunku both thwarted by Kelleher at close range.

The match went to extra-time and Petrovic was forced into a stretching save for the first time, clawing away Jayden Danns' header bound for the top corner.

Diaz then picked out Harvey Elliott with a lovely through ball over the top, but his bouncing half-volley could only find the side-netting.

Liverpool nearly scrambled the ball over the line when Elliott's header was saved by the feet of Petrovic, who had to get back up quickly to ensure Danns couldn't fumble in the rebound.

With one final corner, Van Dijk headed Liverpool in front, getting across every man in blue to nod in Kostas Tsimikas' corner and win the cup.

Chelsea player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Cole Palmer
It wasn't to be for Palmer and Chelsea / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

GK: Djordje Petrovic - 7/10 - Kept Liverpool at bay as much as he could and could only be undone by Van Dijk's aerial dominance.

RB: Malo Gusto - 5/10 - Played his way out of tight spaces but his concentration levels alarmingly dipped too often.

CB: Axel Disasi - 4/10 - A shadow of the monstrous figure who kept Man City at arm's length last week. Lost the run of Van Dijk for the winner.

CB: Levi Colwill - 6/10 - Like Disasi was a little nervy on occasion, but he defended with far more alertness and awareness than his centre-back partner.

LB: Ben Chilwell (c) - 6/10 - Defended well enough and fought for the badge as captain, even if that meant getting into afters with several teenage players.

CM: Moises Caicedo - 5/10 - Liverpool's pantomime villain for rejecting them last summer and then injuring Gravenberch. Didn't excell at either winning the ball back or making chances.

CM: Enzo Fernandez - 5/10 - For someone who was exceptional in a World Cup final, you'd have expected more from the Argentine midfielder. Shrank in the face of adversity.

RM: Cole Palmer - 7/10 - Didn't come alive until the second half but everything went through him once Chelsea were at their free-flowing best.

AM: Conor Gallagher - 6/10 - Definitely should have scored at some point but covered every blade of grass and was useful at either end of the pitch.

LM: Raheem Sterling - 5/10 - A tad unfortunate to have seen his goal ruled out but didn't contribute a lot apart from that. Should have buried another chance early on.

CF: Nicolas Jackson - 5/10 - Muzzled by a combination of Van Dijk and Konate, which isn't something to be ashamed of but he didn't cause enough threat himself in a cup final.


SUB: Christopher Nkunku (67' for Sterling) - 5/10

SUB: Mykhailo Mudryk (90' for Jackson) - 4/10

SUB: Noni Madueke (96' for Gallagher) - 4/10

SUB: Trevoh Chalobah (112' for Chalobah) - 5/10

Subs not used: Robert Sanchez (GK), Marcus Bettinelli (GK), Alfie Gilchrist, Billy Gee, Jimi Tauriainen


Mauricio Pochettino - 5/10 - Chelsea passed up so many chances to put the game to bed, which isn't necessarily the coach's fault. But the Blues couldn't compete against a team of teenagers, which more so is.

Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)

Virgil van Dijk, Caoimhin Kelleher
The heroes / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

GK: Caoimhin Kelleher - 8/10 - Saved Liverpool again and again in a repeat of his 2022 Carabao Cup final heorics.

RB: Conor Bradley - 6/10 - Played much of the game as winger following Gravenberch's injury, with Gomez coming in at right-back. Performed admirably in the circumstances, stretching play and getting under Chilwell's skin.

CB: Ibrahima Konate - 7/10 - A colossus at the back, wiping out the threat of the busy Jackson. Made several brilliant recovery challenges.

CB: Virgil van Dijk (c) - 8/10 - A real captain's contribution in both boxes, defending staunchly and coming up with the winner.

LB: Andrew Robertson - 7/10 - Bombed up and down the left flank as per, though is still working his way back to full sharpness and was taken off before Palmer really kicked into gear. Fine delivery to pick out Gakpo who hit the post and Van Dijk for the disallowed goal.

CM: Wataru Endo - 7/10 - Battled well against a dogged Chelsea midfield. Put in the hard yards for 120 long minutes.

CM: Alexis Mac Allister - 6/10 - Couldn't quite provide the creative spark, though his energy proved useful before his substitution late in the second half.

CM: Ryan Gravenberch - 5/10 - Offered little until being hauled off midway through the first half with an ankle injury.

RW: Harvey Elliott - 7/10 - Stifled for the most part but occasionally came up with magical moments.

CF: Cody Gakpo - 5/10 - Hit the bar with a header in the first half but besides that played on the periphery too much when Liverpool desperately needed one of their forwards to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

LW: Luis Diaz - 7/10 - Liverpool's most threatening attacker, even if most of his influence came in wide areas instead of crucial central ones.


SUB: Joe Gomez (28' for Gravenberch) - 5/10 - Liverpool lost their fluid shape when Gomez had to be introduced.

SUB: Bobby Clark (72' for Bradley) - 6/10

SUB: Kostas Tsimikas (87' for Robertson) - 7/10

SUB: James McConnell (87' for Mac Allister) - 5/10

SUB: Jayden Danns (87' for Gakpo) - 6/10

SUB: Jarell Quansah (106' for Konate) - 6/10

Subs not used: Adrian (GK), Lewis Koumas, Trey Nyoni


Jurgen Klopp - 9/10 - A real triumph of coaching. How he pulled off these kind of heroics with that team of youngsters is remarkable.

Player of the match - Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)