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Liverpool win FA Cup for eighth time after beating Chelsea on penalties

Liverpool win FA Cup for eighth time after beating Chelsea on penalties

Kostas Tsimikas was Liverpool’s penalty hero as they won the FA Cup for the eighth time with another shootout win over Chelsea after a goalless 120 minutes at Wembley.

Liverpool had the advantage in the shootout after César Azpilicueta hit the post with the second Blues spot-kick before Sadio Mané blew the chance to win it with a weak fifth kick. But Mason Mount missed Chelsea’s seventh kick, allowing Tsimikas to slide in the winner to keep hopes of a quadruple alive. Marcus Alonso, Reece James, Ross Barkley, Jorginho, Hakim Ziyech had scored for Chelsea and James Milner, Thiago Alcântara, Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold also converted for Jürgen Klopp’s side.

Liverpool were utterly dominant in the opening stages of the match, with Luis Díaz a particular threat on the left. The Colombian was denied in the eighth minute after being played clear by a sumptuous curling pass from Alexander-Arnold but his shot was well blocked by Édouard Mendy with Nathan Chalobah scrambling the rebound clear off the line under pressure from Mo Salah.

But Chelsea began to settle and Christian Pulisic fired narrowly wide after being set up by Mount, and Alonso had the best chance of the opening half-hour after Pulisic slipped a pass to him on the left in the 28th minute but Alisson blocked his low near-post shot.

Liverpool were warned, and they suffered a major blow five minutes later when Salah went down with a groin problem and was replaced by Diogo Jota, who spurned Liverpool’s best chance of the half when he flicked a close-range volley over from Andy Robertson’s left-wing cross.

The second half began with a blizzard of Chelsea chances, Alonso firing narrowly wide from the left after Pulisic found space on the right. The American had a fierce shot pushed away by Alisson moments later before Alonso clipped the crossbar with an inswinging free-kick on the right.

Liverpool hit back with Díaz firing narrowly wide from distance, and Jota drilling a shot just past the post after being played in by Naby Keïta. Jürgen Klopp’s side had arguably the best chance of the second period when Robertson struck a post at close-range after a teasing cross from the substitute Milner. But though Liverpool finished strongly, as at the Carabao Cup final between these sides in February, a goalless 90 minutes forced extra time.

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It was Chelsea who began the extra half-hour the stronger and were appealing for a penalty early in extra time when the substitute Ziyech went down after a clumsy shoulder charge from Ibrahima Konaté but the referee, Craig Pawson, turned them down. But the teams were tiring and penalties felt ever more inevitable.

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