Chelsea's 'billion-pound bottlejobs' are years away from vindication

  • Chelsea lost 1-0 to Liverpool in Carabao Cup final
  • Blues wasted various chances before being beaten by Virgil van Dijk header
  • Gary Neville described Chelsea as 'blue billion-pound bottlejobs'

Chelsea lost to Liverpool
Chelsea lost to Liverpool / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

FROM WEMBLEY STADIUM - Had Chelsea just lost to a run-of-the-mill Liverpool team inside the 90 regulation minutes, then maybe their Carabao Cup final defeat would have been more palatable.

A Reds team with only a few injury concerns as opposed to their current crisis would have been able to dispatch of the Blues with a relative amount of ease, one would think. A standard 2-0 or something like that.

But that lengthy list of absentees opened the door to a competitive cup final. Chelsea weren't the underdogs, and for a little while they were even the favourites.

A first-half injury to Ryan Gravenberch forced 20-year-old right-back Conor Bradley to be shunted onto the wing. A Liverpool lineup which already resembled that they would play in an earlier round against lower-league opposition entered a level of makeshift which cause even the fairest of Football Manager players to reload from their last save point.

Chelsea couldn't find a way through. At one point, they were queuing up to try and walk it in such was their control of the second half against such a depleted opponent, but Caoimhin Kelleher continually came to the Reds' rescue.

Finishing their chances has been Chelsea's Achilles heel this season, but it wasn't the worst of their Wembley crimes.

Mauricio Pochettino teams are meant to be fit. They're meant to outrun and outlast you. Yet his side wilted under the extra minutes of extra-time, the physical toll too much to handle, the weight of mental expectation too much to live with.

Conor Gallagher, Mauricio Pochettino
A day to forget for Pochettino and Chelsea / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Liverpool's patch-job heroes didn't just outfight Chelsea but outclassed them over the final 30 minutes beyond regulation time. Virgil van Dijk's winning header seemed like an inevitable conclusion.

Chelsea have been made to feel embarrassment plenty over the last two campaigns, but one stinging line from Sky Sports' Gary Neville takes the cake - "In extra-time, it's been Klopp's kids against the blue, billion-pound bottlejobs."

This is it now. One soundbite from a commentator is going to live with and define Chelsea until they find a way to silence it.

The blue billion-pound bottlejobs. The blue billion-pound bottlejobs. The blue billion-pound bottlejobs. The blue billion-pound bottlejobs. The blue billion-pound bottlejobs.

But how do you silence it? If Chelsea can't win a cup final against a team of teenagers, then who are they expected to beat? How do they salvage success from a season where they can barely string two or three wins together at a time?

Pochettino has had a hard time trying to win over the Stamford Bridge faithful due to his previous Tottenham Hotspur allegiances, and this manic defeat will not boost his approval rating. Perhaps his only saving grace is Chelsea have shown some sort of progress in recent weeks and few other coaches would do better in his position. They might not even want to take this job.