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Liverpool Win FA Cup To Claim Domestic Double

Liverpool have edged past Chelsea once again in a penalty shootout to win the FA Cup this season, completing a domestic cup double on their road to winning a historic quadruple. Jurgen Klopp’s men have added the FA Cup trophy to the EFL Cup trophy they won three months back at the same venue. While a UEFA Champions League trophy looks tantalisingly close, the Reds have to hope for a miracle to catch up to Manchester City in the Premier League.

 

LIVERPOOL’S JOURNEY IN THE CARABAO CUP

The Reds always ranked the Carabao Cup last on their list of priorities, with Jurgen Klopp openly stating his lack of admiration for the tournament. Liverpool sent out a youthful squad in both third and fourth-round fixtures, brushing aside challenges from Norwich City and Preston North End with ease.

Liverpool received their first major shock of the tournament when Jamie Vardy scored two quick goals to take Leicester City 2-0 up in the quarter-final. The Reds regrouped, with Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain scoring a winner, but James Maddison’s strike once again gave Brendan Rodgers’ side a two-goal lead. Diogo Jota’s 68th-minute effort gave the Reds a glimmer of hope at Anfield, but as the game went into stoppage time, Liverpool’s quadruple dreams looked all but over. Takumi Minamino’s late half-volley into the net saved the day, as Liverpool won the encounter 5-4 on penalties.

The first leg of the semi-final against an injury-ridden Arsenal did not go as expected for Jurgen Klopp’s men, with the Gunners holding their line steady at Anfield for a goalless draw. The story turned out to be different at the Emirates Stadium, with the Reds dominating play most of the night. Diogo Jota scored twice in the second leg to set up a final clash against Chelsea.

The titanic clash between Red and Blue saw no goals from either side for the first 90 minutes of the game, and there was also no breakthrough in the additional 30 minutes of extra time. The resulting penalty shootout kept fans on the edge of their seats, as all the first 20 kicks went through. Caoimhin Kelleher scored for Liverpool, but Kepa Arrizabalaga missed the final shot to give Liverpool their first EFL Cup since 2011-12, their ninth title overall.

 

LIVERPOOL’S JOURNEY IN THE FA CUP

Liverpool entered the third round of the FA Cup with a clash against Shrewsbury Town at Anfield, which saw the Reds receive an early scare as Daniel Udoh’s 27th-minute strike put them behind. But goals from Kaide Gordon and Fabinho put them ahead by the end of the first half, with Robert Firmino and Fabinho adding a goal each to the scoreline by the end of the game.

The fourth round fixture against Cardiff City saw goals from Diogo Jota, cup specialist Takumi Minamino and Harvey Elliott, with the latter’s goal coming after a long break. Rubin Colwill’s late strike was the only consolation for the Championship side, with the Reds in command of the game throughout the second half.

Liverpool once again met Norwich City in a knockout tournament this season in the fifth round of the FA Cup, with the Canaries putting up more of a fight this time around. Takumi Minamino scored twice in the first half to put the hosts ahead, but Lukas Rupp’s 76th-minute goal saw a rejuvenated Canaries push Liverpool to their limit. But the Reds’ defence held and they progressed to the quarter-finals.

The Reds breezed past Nottingham Forest in the quarter-finals, with Diogo Jota’s 78th-minute winner proving the difference. A titanic semi-final clash against Manchester City came on the back of a thrilling 2-2 draw between the sides in the Premier League. Ibrahima Konate headed an early corner to put the Reds on the front foot, with Sadio Mane scoring twice in the first half to put the Reds three goals ahead. The Citizens then pulled back, with Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva scoring goals in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to stop Liverpool’s march to the final.

Just like the EFL Cup final, the clash between the Reds and the Blues at Wembley Stadium saw neither side produce a breakthrough in 120 minutes of game time. A nervy penalty shootout which saw Edouard Mendy stop his compatriot Sadio Mane’s kick extended the tensions in both dugouts. Mason Mount was stopped by Alisson to give the Reds a 6-5 victory in the penalty shootout, their first trophy since 2006.

 

WHAT LIES AHEAD

Even if Liverpool do not achieve the alluring quadruple this season, they have already made their impact clear with a domestic cup double. More importantly, Jurgen Klopp has proved that huge sums of money are not required to dominate the game, with his traditional methods of hiring and tactics proving to be a good omen for the sport in general.

Liverpool will face Southampton and Wolves in their final two games of the Premier League – they have to win both the games with a wide margin and pray for the Citizens to drop points if they want to lay their hands on the trophy. A clash against Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid then awaits at the Stade de France on 29th May, where they will be looking to win the European crown after a three-year gap.

 

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