EFL Cup

Twitter reacts as Liverpool beat Chelsea in incredible Carabao Cup final

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
What a game
What a game / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages
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Right, has everyone calmed down? Good, let's digest a truly ridiculous 2022 Carabao Cup final with the help of some of your Tweets.

This one had everything: refereeing controversy, interesting team selections, horrific misses, disallowed goals and a penalty shootout.

Congratulations Liverpool and commiserations Chelsea - but today, football was the winner.

There were plenty of discussion points before the game even got underway...

After getting injured in the warm-up Thiago Alcantara was replaced in the starting XI by Naby Keita, with Harvey Elliott drafted onto the bench.

A word on those pre-match scenes too. Before the game got going both sets of players and fans showed their solidarity to the people of Ukraine.

This was followed by the national anthem, which was booed by much of the Liverpool's travelling support - as it often is.

It took just six minutes for Chelsea to manufacture the first big chance of the game with Cesar Azpilicueta laying one on a plate for Christian Pulisic, who saw his effort saved.

Some Blues fans were not happy at the American for failing to open the scoring.

Another early flashpoint came when Thiago Silva went down with an injury.

Having been forced off early during last year's Champions League final the Brazilian was desperate to stay on and after being given a painkiller he dusted himself off and got back in the fray.

After this it was Liverpool's chance to rue a golden chance with Sadio Mane somehow denied by the inspired Edouard Mendy on the half-hour mark from close range.

The theme of missing huge opportunities continued right up to half time with Mason Mount squandering the best chance of all.

Soon after the half-time whistle went. PEEP PEEP.

The interval did little to shift the narrative of this final with Mount failing to convert another sitter a few minutes into the second period.

This time he placed an effort into the post after being slipped through on goal.

Liverpool were offering comparatively little as the game wore on, and their afternoon could have got trickier if Naby Keita had been sent off for a late challenge on the hour mark.

Most of Twitter agreed the midfielder was lucky not to be dismissed...

Minutes later Liverpool took the lead completely against the run of play... or so they thought.

Joel Matip pounced at the back post to finish off a sublime set piece, but in the build-up Virgil van Dijk's foot was offside. More VAR drama for Chelsea at Wembley – except this time Chelsea were the beneficiaries.

The drama did not stop there either. First Kai Havertz saw a goal ruled out for offside, then Virgil van Dijk had a header saved well by Mendy. Romelu Lukaku went extremely close too.

There were also goalmouth scrambles galore before the full-time whistle was finally blown. History will likely remember this as one of the best 90 minutes of goalless football ever.

We barely had time to catch our breath before the game's next moment of controversy, with substitute Romelu Lukaku having a goal ruled out for offside.

Replays then showed how ridiculously close he was to opening the scoring.

Thought we'd seen enough offside goals? Think again.

In the second half of extra time Havertz had the ball in the back of the net, only for his effort to be ruled out AGAIN.

The final kept on giving right until the death too, with Kepa Arrizabalaga being brought on for Mendy to face the spot kicks.

As if you need reminding, this was an incredible plot point due to the events of the 2019 Carabao Cup final – as everyone on Twitter was keen to point out.

James Milner scored. Marcos Alonso scored. Fabinho scored a Panenka, making Kepa – who had attempted to psych him out - look very silly.

Lukaku scored. Van Dijk scored. Havertz scored – and it wasn't ruled out for offside!

Trent Alexander-Arnold scored. Reece James scored. Salah scored, potentially banishing his AFCON ghosts in the process. Jorginho netted too, setting up sudden death.

Even with the pressure on the successful spot kicks just kept on coming with each of Liverpool and Chelsea's players going on to score. Well, almost everyone converted. Kepa, brought on to win Chelsea the game ended up sending the trophy to Merseyside, blazing his effort miles over the bar.

It was a fittingly bonkers end to a bonkers game. We're off to catch our breath now...

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