MX23RW : Thursday, May 30 03:07:26| >> :120:44668:44668:
[monks data]
Chelsea logo
EFL Cup | Final
Feb 25, 2024 at 3pm UK
Stamford Bridge
Liverpool logo

0 - 1

Chilwell (45+3'), Palmer (120+2')
van Dijk (118')
Bradley (45+3'), Mac Allister (81'), Konate (82'), McConnell (107'), Gomez (120+3')

Last-gasp Virgil van Dijk header sees Liverpool beat Chelsea to win EFL Cup

Last-gasp Van Dijk header sees Liverpool beat Chelsea to win EFL Cup
© Reuters
Virgil van Dijk scores an 118th-minute winner as Liverpool record a 1-0 victory over Chelsea to win the 2024 EFL Cup.

Virgil van Dijk scored an 118th-minute winner as Liverpool recorded a 1-0 victory over Chelsea to win the 2024 EFL Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The match looked to be heading for penalties, only for Van Dijk to head the winner for the Merseyside giants, who have now triumphed in the competition on 10 occasions.

Chelsea were bidding to win a sixth League Cup, but the Blues ultimately fell short in the capital, as they failed to take advantage of Liverpool's injury issues.

Liverpool were unable to recover Mohamed Salah or Darwin Nunez from injuries for the contest, with Harvey Elliott and Cody Gakpo therefore earning spots in the final third of the field at Wembley.

Diogo Jota, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson Becker and Dominik Szoboszlai were also notable absentees for the Reds, but there were no real surprises in the Chelsea XI, with Nicolas Jackson picked to lead the line, and Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer providing the support in the wide areas.

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk on February 25, 2024© Reuters

A frantic start saw both sides have positive attacking moments, but the first shot of the match did not arrive until the 14th minute, with Alexis Mac Allister seeing his effort saved by Djordje Petrovic, before the Chelsea goalkeeper made an even better save to keep out a drive from Luis Diaz.

Chelsea had a golden chance to take the lead in the 21st minute when the ball broke for Palmer inside the Liverpool box, but the attacker's point-blank effort was brilliantly saved by Caoimhin Kelleher.

Ryan Gravenberch was stretchered off the field in the 27th minute of the contest following a poor challenge from Moises Caicedo, which seriously angered Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp.

Chelsea had the ball in the back of the Liverpool net in the 32nd minute when Sterling converted a cross from Jackson, but the goal was disallowed for offside on the latter, with VAR showing it was a very tight call.

Gakpo then came close to sending Liverpool ahead in the 40th minute, with the Netherlands international heading a cross from Andrew Robertson against the post, before Conor Bradley had a strike blocked at the far post during a period of panic inside the Chelsea penalty box.

Chelsea's Axel Disasi in action with Liverpool's Luis Diaz on February 25, 2024© Reuters

Wataru Endo had a sight of the Chelsea goal early in the second period at Wembley, but the Liverpool midfielder's effort was always moving away from the target.

Palmer then had an effort for Chelsea, driving to the edge of the Liverpool box before firing wide of the target, before Petrovic made a smart save to keep out a strike from Elliott, with the two teams still level heading towards the final 30 minutes of normal time in London.

The breakthrough appeared to come on the hour, with Van Dijk heading a brilliant delivery from Robertson into the bottom corner after holding off the challenge of Ben Chilwell.

However, there was a lengthy VAR review for offside, and Endo, who was offside, was adjudged to have blocked off Levi Colwill during the set piece, which led to it being disallowed.

Chelsea had a brilliant chance to take the lead in the 69th minute when the ball fell for Axel Disasi inside the Liverpool box, but the centre-back failed to make proper contact, and Kelleher was able to gather, before Gakpo fired a powerful effort over the crossbar down the other end of the field.

Conor Gallagher then turned a low Palmer cross against the post in the 75th minute, before Joe Gomez brought a smart save from the Chelsea goalkeeper down the other end.

Chelsea's Ben Chilwell in action with Liverpool's Harvey Elliott on February 25, 2024© Reuters

Kelleher made another excellent save in the 86th minute to deny Gallagher, and the Chelsea midfielder then curled just wide after a smart run and turn from Jackson.

Liverpool's goalkeeper was at it again in stoppage time, incredibly keeping out Palmer and Christopher Nkunku in quick succession, with Chelsea putting the pressure on in the closing stages of normal time.

Jayden Danns had a header turned over the crossbar by Petrovic in the fourth minute of extra time, before Elliott missed the target with a half-volley five minutes later, with Liverpool in total control and offering more despite their lack of experience and the absence of so many important players.

Kelleher made a smart stop to deny Noni Madueke in the 21st minute of extra time, before Petrovic kept out an effort from Kostas Tsimikas down the other end of the field.

Elliott had a golden chance to win it for Liverpool five minutes from time, but the midfielder's close-range effort was kept out by Petrovic, with the match somehow still goalless.

Penalties were looming large, but Van Dijk had other ideas, with the Liverpool captain heading a corner from Tsimikas into the bottom corner to spark jubilant scenes in the Liverpool end and secure the trophy for the Merseyside giants.

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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk pictured on January 24, 2024
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