(CNN) — This Liverpool has something. For all his qualities – the intense pressure, the defensive solidity, the whirlwind attacks – perhaps the best thing is a sense of drama at times like these.
As in the League Cup final earlier this year at Wembley, Jurgen Klopp’s men needed penalties to dispatch Chelsea and lift some trophies in the same stadium.
As unlikely as it is for the Reds to become the first English team to win all three domestic competitions and the European Cup, the quadruple is still possible thanks to this FA Cup win.
Two trophies in the cupboard this season, leaving room for two more. That’s why Liverpool fans still dream. History can still be made.
As in the League Cup final, 120 goalless minutes belied the quality of the match. Chances were created, posts rattled, but perhaps it was fitting that on the 150th anniversary of football’s oldest cup competition, the final was decided in the most theatrical fashion as Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties.
Chelsea missed their second penalty (Cesar Azplicueta), Liverpool their fifth (Sadio Mané). There was a sense of déjà vu as the first 10 penalties failed to decide the outcome (the League Cup final ended 11-10 on penalties), but Mason Mount’s penalty was saved by Alisson Becker, which gave Kostas Tsimikas the opportunity to become the unlikely hero.
The Greece international is not a regular starter for Liverpool, but he coolly set up to lead to the joyous celebrations of those in red.
Liverpool players hugged Tsimikas, manager Jurgen Klopp ran from the bench to his men and fans lit flares to saturate the air with a red tint.
The club’s anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, resounded throughout the stadium as Liverpool fans serenaded a team that had given them their first FA Cup victory at Wembley in 30 years.
Such is the caliber of this Liverpool team, however, celebrations will have to be short-lived as there are other challenges on the horizon: a Champions League final at the end of the month and two Premier League matches to try and cut the lead. of three points from Manchester City at the top of the league.
Even an occasion as traditional as this, a marching band before the start, a royal presenting the trophy, is recognized as a global event.
As on many important sporting occasions, political statements were made. First the Liverpool fans booed the English national anthem, then the captains and officials stood with the Ukrainian flag which had the words ‘PEACE’ emblazoned on it in black block letters and just before the oldest competition began, the players they knelt
The game was just a few minutes old when Liverpool got their first chance. In truth, the men in red should have scored at least once, such was their dominance of the first 15 minutes, but Thiago, Luis Diaz, Mo Salah and Sadio Mané failed in front of goal.
Although Chelsea played second fiddle for most of the first half, the Londoners had arguably their best chance of that period with a world-class save from Alisson following a dive at the feet of Marcos Alonso, which prevented them from getting open. marker.
The early departure of Salah, Liverpool’s top scorer, due to injury added to Liverpool’s growing sense of anxiety as the half wore on, but, even without the Egyptian, the Reds were able to reassert their dominance before half-time.
Indeed, Salah’s replacement Diogo Jota should have overtaken Jurgen Klopp’s men just before the break.
Just as Liverpool had done in the first half, Chelsea got off to a brilliant start in the second half. Once again, Alonso was prevented from scoring, this time by the crossbar when his shot hit the woodwork.
Two of the best teams in English football were going head-to-head and the opportunities were many: Jota, Díaz and Andy Robertson for Liverpool; Christian Pulisic (twice) for Chelsea.
He was breathless. It was entertaining. A brilliant atmosphere was created as both sets of fans turned up the decibels on a beautiful London summer evening.
There was only one goal left. The minutes passed, the substitutes entered, the errors crept into the game of tired legs, but nobody found a goal.
Diaz looked heavenward as the impressive Edouard Mendy saved another chance of his, this time in the 82nd minute, his gesture reflecting the sentiments of all the fans watching: will either goalkeeper ever be beaten?
Andy Robertson hit the post with seven minutes to go. Diaz took aim again. But when the final whistle blew, the game, despite all the chances, all the entertainment, remained goalless.
Inevitably, the energy ebbed in extra time, few chances were created and penalties loomed on the horizon.