Liverpool win Carabao Cup thanks to Virgil van Dijk extra-time header

  • Van Dijk scored a 118th minute winner
  • Liverpool won 1-0 at Wembley
  • Liverpool and Chelsea played out a breathtaking final

Winning goal
Winning goal / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Liverpool have won the 2023/24 Carabao Cup, beating Chelsea at Wembley Stadium thanks to a 118th minute header from Virgil van Dijk.

Following a swathe of missed chances, disallowed goals and goalmouth scrambles, the final looked destined to go to a penalty shootout, however Liverpool captain popped up late in the game to nod home a Kostas Tsimikas corner kick to win the game.

The trophy is the first of a potential quadruple for the Reds in Jurgen Klopp's final season in charge.

It was Chelsea who largely dominated the opening exchanges of the game, with Liverpool having to rely on a truly stunning stop from Caoimhin Kelleher to deny Cole Palmer and the offside flag ruling out a Raheem Sterling effort to keep Mauricio Pochettino's side at bay.

The tide surprisingly turned in the game after Ryan Gravenberch was carted off following a heavy challenge from Moises Caicedo. Jurgen Klopp's decision to shift Conor Bradley into the middle of the park as an emergency number eight proved to be a shrewd one, as the Reds began to assert themselves in the game thereafter.

This good period prior to half-time for Liverpool culminated in Cody Gakpo - in for the injured Darwin Nunez - cannoning a header off the post.

Liverpool's ascendancy continued into the second half, and Virgil van Dijk had thought he'd given his side a vital 1-0 lead on the hour mark after he'd rose highest in the heart of the penalty area to head him. However, following a lengthy VAR check, the goal was ruled out due to Wataru Endo blocking Van Dijk's marker Levi Colwill from an offside position. A contentious decision, to say the very least.

Buoyed by surving that scare, Chelsea went up the other end and created a few chances of their own in the dying embers of the game. The best of which fell to midfielder Conor Gallagher, who redirected a low cross from Palmer past a routed Kelleher and, unfortunately for Blues fans, off the wrong side of the post.

Despite a total of 31 shots being taken throughout the 90 minutes of action - 12 of which were on target - the game went to extra time.

The chances continue to come in the extra 30 minutes, with youngster Jaylen Danns forcing Djordje Petrovic into a smart save with a headed effort and Harvey Elliott drilling an effort into the side-netting.

Liverpool eventually made their dominance of extra time count with two minutes to go when Van Dijk headed home the winning goal.