Saturday, June 25, 2022

Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool (5-6 On Pens): Player Ratings As Reds Win FA Cup On Penalties

Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties to win the 2021/22 FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday evening.

The Reds and the Blues played the full 120 minutes in a final for the second time this season and Jurgen Klopp’s side prevailed once again, condemning Thomas Tuchel’s men to their third successive FA Cup final defeat.

Liverpool enjoyed a lot of possession early on and had the first real sight of goal. Luis Diaz’s cross was just too powerful for Thiago, who was close to tapping home into an empty net just four minutes into the game.

Diaz then found himself through one-on-one with Edouard Mendy, who got in the way of the shot and allowed Trevoh Chalobah to clear off the line, with Chelsea forced to defend for their lives for the first 15 minutes.

Eventually, Chelsea managed to get themselves into the game, flashing some better moments as they looked to turn the tide, and Christian Pulisic came within inches of giving his side an unlikely lead. Mason Mount’s low cross found the American but his effort crept agonisingly wide of Alisson’s post.

Alisson was then called on to keep out Marcos Alonso, with the Liverpool stopper rushing out to the feet of the onrushing wing-back, who was lunging to get the shot off.

The biggest issue for Liverpool in the first half was the sight of Mohamed Salah limping off half an hour in. The Egyptian sat down away from the ball and had to be replaced – 14 days before the Champions League final.

Late in the half, a mistake from Mateo Kovacic in midfield saw Liverpool break and an Andy Robertson cross found Diogo Jota, who flicked his difficult effort over the bar shortly before Romelu Lukaku went down the other end and fired high and wide when he really should have done better.

The second half started better for Chelsea. Alonso and Pulisic both had excellent chances to break the deadlock inside the first minute, with the former dragging wide and the latter drawing another impressive save from Alisson.

Alonso then saw a free-kick come back off the crossbar, with the Blues flying high in the early stages of the second half.

Up the other end, Diaz found an inch of space on the edge of the Chelsea area but could only drag his effort wide, with Mendy getting nowhere near the ball had it been on target.

Jota and Pulisic both fired wide with their own half-chances midway through the second half, as both sides presented significant threats without backing it up in front of goal.

With eight minutes to go, Diaz struck the outside of Mendy’s post before Andy Robertson saw his own effort come back off the woodwork. The Scot’s effort was the best of the two, connecting with a James Milner cross at the back post but failing to get the right touch.

Diaz brought the second 45 to a close with a dangerous curling effort from outside the box which, yet again, went the wrong side of the post.

Chelsea were the better side in the first half of extra-time, although they never came closer than a cross which needed an excellent flick from Alexander-Arnold to divert away from goal.

As for the second, tired legs took over and there wasn’t a whole lot of quality, so to penalties we went.

After Alonso and Milner netted their efforts, Cesar Azpilicueta slipped up as his strike crashed back off the post, allowing Thiago to put Liverpool ahead at 2-1.

Reece James and Roberto Firmino both scored, as did Ross Barkley and Alexander-Arnold. Jorginho netted his effort, before Mendy saved from Sadio Mane to send us to sudden death.

There was no messing about from Hakim Ziyech and Jota, but Mount’s effort was superbly kept out by Alisson and Kostas Tsimikas stepped up to fire past Mendy and seal FA Cup glory for Liverpool.

Chelsea vs Liverpool player ratings

1. Chelsea (3-4-2-1)

Thiago, Jorginho
Jorginho controlled proceedings / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

GK: Edouard Mendy – 7/10 – A little shaky with the ball at his feet but made up for it with some massive saves.

CB: Trevoh Chalobah – 6/10 – Absolutely battered in the first 15 minutes but calmed himself down eventually.

CB: Thiago Silva – 7/10 – Some superb passing out to James and led by example at the back, despite picking up a nasty knock on his knee early on. Grimacing from start to finish.

CB: Antonio Rudiger – 6/10 – Fairly quiet for a big occasion. Found it hard to cope with Alexander-Arnold in the first half but nothing problematic.

RM: Reece James – 7/10 – Forced deeper to help Chalobah cope with Diaz and managed to combine that with some dangerous moves in attack.

CM: Mateo Kovacic – 5/10 – Evidently not fully fit. Didn’t get forwards much and struggled to keep up when Liverpool drove at him.

CM: Jorginho – 8/10 – Brought composure to Chelsea’s midfield when they really needed it. Slowed the tempo down after a hectic start.

LM: Marcos Alonso – 7/10 – Got in some nice positions going forward and was unlucky not to find the back of the net. A little sloppy at times.

AM: Mason Mount – 7/10 – Swapped his usual energy for more of a creative side and was a real problem with his passing.

AM: Christian Pulisic – 6/10 – Should have had at least one goal. Good movement but a little sloppy in the final third.

ST: Romelu Lukaku – 5/10 – Found it very hard to get into the game. The odd nice link-up with a team-mate but generally very ineffective.

SUB: N’Golo Kante (66′ for Kovacic) – 5/10 – All over the place after he came on. Some really poor passing, but made up for it with an excellent recovery run on Diaz.

SUB: Hakim Ziyech (85′ for Lukaku) – 6/10 – Some nice moves but found it hard to get through.

SUB: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (106′ for Pulisic) – 5/10 – A little clunky with the ball at his feet and didn’t even see out 15 minutes.

SUB: Cesar Azpilicueta (106′ for Chalobah) – 6/10 – Didn’t have a whole lot to do.

SUB: Ross Barkley (119′ for Loftus-Cheek) – N/A

2. Liverpool (4-3-3)

Luis Diaz
Diaz was impressive throughout / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

GK: Alisson – 8/10 – Some massive saves in the first half and an excellent display of passing as well.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7/10 – Played an unreal pass for Diaz early on. Continued to be an attacking threat but struggled to unlock the door. Some massive last-ditch challenges late on. Kept his side in it.

CB: Ibrahima Konate – 8/10 – Loved the physical battle with Lukaku. Got the better of him early and forced the Chelsea man to try his luck elsewhere.

CB: Virgil van Dijk – 6/10 – More uncomfortable up against Lukaku but generally held his own.

LB: Andy Robertson – 6/10 – Had a tricky time dealing with James. Not involved much.

DM: Jordan Henderson – 7/10 – Excellent when Liverpool were on top. Kept his defence organised.

CM: Thiago Alcantara – 7/10 – Pulled all the strings early on but saw his influence fade.

CM: Naby Keita – 5/10 – Looked a little off the pace compared to those around him.

RW: Mohamed Salah – 5/10 – Forced off through injury after 32 minutes of struggling to get into the game.

ST: Sadio Mane – 5/10 – Continues to look awkward as a central striker. Poor first touch which made life hard for his team-mates.

LW: Luis Diaz – 7/10 – Liverpool’s biggest threat by a long way. Involved in everything in the opening stages and continued to ask problems of the Chelsea defence.

SUB: Diogo Jota (33′ for Salah) – 6/10 – Had some of the game’s best chances but a little sloppy in front of goal.

SUB: James Milner (74′ for Keita) – 6/10 – Added some nice energy in midfield.

SUB: Joel Matip (91′ for Van Dijk) – 7/10 – Slotted in comfortably at the back.

SUB: Roberto Firmino (98′ for Diaz) – 5/10 – Did very little.

SUB: Kostas Tsimikas (111′ for Robertson) – N/A – Pretty much did nothing in open play but scored the winning penalty.

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