Virgil van Dijk's glancing header decided the final just two minutes from the end of extra time
Virgil van Dijk’s glancing header decided the final just two minutes from the end of extra time

Virgil van Dijk’s header deep into extra time gave an under-strength Liverpool a remarkable Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea at Wembley.

Van Dijk had seen a header contentiously ruled out for offside on the hour but there was no reprieve for Chelsea when he glanced home another from Kostas Tsimikas’ corner in the 118th minute.

Liverpool’s 10th triumph in the competition was achieved without a host of injured star names, including forward trio Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota, also losing Ryan Gravenberch when he was taken off on a stretcher after Moises Caicedo’s first-half challenge.

It means Jurgen Klopp’s side have achieved the first part of a potential four-trophy haul in the manager’s farewell season, but it was a bitter blow to Chelsea and manager Mauricio Pochettino.

They have now lost six successive Wembley finals, including three against Liverpool, and wasted a host of opportunities here.

Liverpool were indebted to goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher who produced another outstanding Wembley performance after being the hero when Chelsea were beaten on penalties in the 2022 EFL Cup final.

In a tight first half, he blocked brilliantly from Cole Palmer while Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo saw a header bounce back off the post. Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling also saw a close-range effort ruled out for offside against Nicolas Jackson.

As the chances came thick and fast after the break, Van Dijk thought he had headed Liverpool in front on the hour only for the goal to be contentiously ruled out for offside against Wataru Endo following a lengthy Video Assistant Referee (VAR) intervention as the Japan midfielder blocked off Chelsea defender Levi Colwill.

Conor Gallagher was also denied by the woodwork, then once more by the defiant Kelleher as he looked poised to make the breakthrough, Liverpool’s keeper darting off his line to save while Chelsea somehow failed to score in a desperate goalmouth scramble in the closing moments of normal time.

Kelleher’s Chelsea counterpart Djordje Petrovic was called into action in extra time, turning over a header from Liverpool’s teenage substitute Jayden Danns while Harvey Elliott shot into the side-netting from a good position, also seeing a header miraculously kept out by the keeper.

And then came that final twist to give Liverpool another Wembley victory over Chelsea and leave Pochettino still seeking his first trophy in England.

Reds rise above adversity

Liverpool lifted the EFL Cup for a second time under Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool lifted the EFL Cup for a second time under Jurgen Klopp

The odds on Liverpool securing another Wembley win lengthened when the teamsheet landed and the names of Salah and Nunez were added to other high-profile absentees Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jota and keeper Alisson.

And yet, once more, Liverpool overcame this handicap, Klopp trusting Liverpool’s emerging youngsters in a major final as three rookies were sent into the Wembley fray as substitutes in the shape of 19-year-old duo Bobby Clark and James McConnell, along with 18-year-old Danns.

All three showed remarkable composure in the heat of battle, offering further evidence of Liverpool’s bright future after Klopp departs in the summer.

At the heart of it all was the imperious Van Dijk along with keeper Kelleher, who once again decorated Wembley with an outstanding, calm performance, coming to Liverpool’s rescue when required, as he was on several occasions.

It was a victory against all odds and will inject even further confidence into a Liverpool side seemingly on a mission to give Klopp a very special goodbye to Anfield.

Chelsea miss their big chance

Chelsea have recent experience of losing to Liverpool at Wembley, beaten in both the FA Cup and EFL Cup finals by the Reds in 2022, but the circumstances of this defeat will hurt deeply.

As well as being their sixth successive Wembley final loss, three in the FA Cup and three in the EFL Cup, Chelsea will know they had the chance to provide a different end to what was ultimately a familiar story.

Pochettino’s side had a huge opportunity to exact a measure of revenge for those defeats against a Liverpool team reduced by injuries, missing so many influential players, and after coming into better form themselves in recent weeks.

And yet it was heartbreak once more for Chelsea, this time with Pochettino at the helm, the Argentine still without a success in England, and suffering defeat at the hands of Klopp once more after losing the 2020 Champions League final when he was manager at Tottenham.

Chelsea will know this was a major opportunity that they let escape their grasp, not able to find the killer touch in front of goal as well as being strangely passive and second best in extra time.

Victory here would not only have ensured European football for Chelsea, it would also have provided a measure of calm after recent turbulent seasons – but once again Wembley only brought disappointment.

Player of the match

van DijkVirgil van Dijk

with an average of 7.89


  1. Squad number28Player namePetrovic

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  2. Squad number23Player nameGallagher

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  3. Squad number20Player namePalmer

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  4. Squad number27Player nameGusto

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  5. Squad number26Player nameColwill

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  6. Squad number2Player nameDisasi

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  7. Squad number21Player nameChilwell

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  8. Squad number15Player nameJackson

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  9. Squad number8Player nameFernández

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  10. Squad number7Player nameSterling

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  11. Squad number18Player nameNkunku

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  12. Squad number25Player nameCaicedo

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  13. Squad number11Player nameMadueke

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  14. Squad number10Player nameMudryk

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  15. Squad number14Player nameChalobah

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  1. Squad number4Player namevan Dijk
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  2. Squad number62Player nameKelleher
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  3. Squad number3Player nameEndo
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  4. Squad number19Player nameElliott
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  5. Squad number7Player nameDíaz
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  6. Squad number78Player nameQuansah
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  7. Squad number5Player nameKonaté
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  8. Squad number76Player nameDanns
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  9. Squad number21Player nameTsimikas
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  10. Squad number53Player nameMcConnell
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  11. Squad number26Player nameRobertson
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  12. Squad number10Player nameMac Allister
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  13. Squad number18Player nameGakpo
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  14. Squad number2Player nameGomez
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  15. Squad number42Player nameClark
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  16. Squad number84Player nameBradley
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  17. Squad number38Player nameGravenberch
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Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 28Petrovic
  • 27Gusto
  • 2Disasi
  • 26Colwill
  • 21ChilwellBooked at 45minsSubstituted forChalobahat 113′minutes
  • 25Caicedo
  • 8Fernández
  • 20PalmerBooked at 120mins
  • 23GallagherSubstituted forMaduekeat 97′minutes
  • 7SterlingSubstituted forNkunkuat 67′minutes
  • 15JacksonSubstituted forMudrykat 90′minutes


  • 1Sánchez
  • 10Mudryk
  • 11Madueke
  • 13Bettinelli
  • 14Chalobah
  • 18Nkunku
  • 42Gilchrist
  • 49Tauriainen
  • 56Gee


Formation 4-3-3

  • 62Kelleher
  • 84BradleyBooked at 45minsSubstituted forClarkat 72′minutes
  • 5KonatéBooked at 82minsSubstituted forQuansahat 105′minutes
  • 4van Dijk
  • 26RobertsonSubstituted forTsimikasat 87′minutes
  • 10Mac AllisterBooked at 81minsSubstituted forMcConnellat 87′minutesBooked at 107mins
  • 3Endo
  • 38GravenberchSubstituted forGomezat 28′minutesBooked at 120mins
  • 19Elliott
  • 18GakpoSubstituted forDannsat 87′minutes
  • 7Díaz


  • 2Gomez
  • 13Adrián
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 42Clark
  • 53McConnell
  • 67Koumas
  • 76Danns
  • 78Quansah
  • 98Nyoni

Chris Kavanagh


Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Chelsea 0, Liverpool 1.

  2. Second Half Extra Time ends, Chelsea 0, Liverpool 1.

  3. Joe Gomez (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Cole Palmer (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Bobby Clark (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Foul by Cole Palmer (Chelsea).

  7. Offside, Chelsea. Christopher Nkunku is caught offside.

  8. Attempt blocked. Noni Madueke (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christopher Nkunku with a headed pass.

  9. Goal! Chelsea 0, Liverpool 1. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kostas Tsimikas with a cross following a corner.

  10. Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Enzo Fernández.

  11. Attempt blocked. Bobby Clark (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by James McConnell.

  12. Attempt saved. Cole Palmer (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Mykhailo Mudryk.

  13. Attempt saved. Harvey Elliott (Liverpool) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kostas Tsimikas with a cross.

  14. Attempt saved. Kostas Tsimikas (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by James McConnell.

  15. Substitution, Chelsea. Trevoh Chalobah replaces Ben Chilwell.

  16. Attempt saved. Noni Madueke (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Malo Gusto.

  17. Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Joe Gomez.

  18. James McConnell (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  19. Foul by James McConnell (Liverpool).

  20. Cole Palmer (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.