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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Liverpool beat Chelsea to win FA Cup, keep Quad hopes alive

LONDON ( Associated Press) – Add the FA Cup to the collection. Jurgen Klopp has now won every major title for Liverpool.

Saturday’s final 6–5 win over Chelsea on penalties produced Liverpool’s first FA Cup win since 2006 and placed it in contention for a quadruple trophies, if possible.

Like the League Cup final in February, the FA Cup showpiece ended 120 minutes before Liverpool won again 0–0. This time, the Reds were helped by a penalty save from Chelsea midfielder Mason Mason, before Constantino Simikas scored his first goal for the club with a shootout victory.

In two weeks, Liverpool will be hoping to lift another trophy by beating Real Madrid in the Champions League final. Before that, Klopp would have expected Manchester City to slip into the final two rounds of the English Premier League and Liverpool take advantage to regain that trophy.

“It’s also part of the ‘mental demons’, going into extra time and maintaining a high standard, doing well,” Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Baker said. “It gives us even more confidence to continue for the Premier League and Champions League finals. It’s a wonderful moment and now we need to enjoy it.”

Only Wembley’s pain was more for Chelsea. The ownership turmoil comes to an end for Chelsea by becoming the first team to lose three consecutive FA Cup finals, having been beaten by Arsenal in 2020 and Leicester last year.

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The final of the oldest tournament in world football had never been a penalty before at Wembley. There had been no goalless final after extra time since it was played at the National Stadium in 1923.

But Liverpool’s last FA Cup success in 2006 was one of two previous shootouts that settled the cup final which took place in Cardiff while Wembley was being rebuilt.

Half of the stadium was shrouded in a red haze of smoke after Saturday’s final began under a cloud, with Liverpool fans mocking the national anthem and Prince William’s introduction.

Following the celebration of 150 years of the FA Cup, the 141st final was just as tense as the League Cup final in February. 58 shots were made by teams without locating the net in their two matches at Wembley in 2022.

An opportunity came early for Liverpool, with Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy saving Luis Diaz. Then came Christian Pulisic’s shot which went wide for the Chelsea forward on a disappointing afternoon.

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Injuries to Liverpool players were delayed in the first half.

Alisson was to be treated after she injured her calf while blocking a shot from Marcos Alonso. The goalkeeper recovered but it didn’t take long for Mohamed Salah to go down. The forward could not continue due to back pain but was able to walk without assistance when he was replaced by Diogo Jota in the 33rd minute.

Liverpool missed out on the threat of the Premier League’s top scorer. Chelsea missed opportunities to take advantage of this.

Marcos Alonso shot wide off Chelsea’s start to the second half and sent a free kick to the crossbar around Pulisic’s effort, which was chased away by Alisson’s diving save.

A late flurry of efforts from Liverpool did not stop the game from going into extra time, as Diaz struck from a tight angle and Andy Robertson from close range.

The only previous goalless showpiece via extra time at Wembley was in 2005 when Arsenal won one of their record 14 titles.

Liverpool now have the eighth FA Cup they have been waiting for 16 years to win.

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