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Van Dijk’s extra time header wins Carabao Cup for Liverpool

Van Dijk’s extra time header wins Carabao Cup for Liverpool 1

Virgil Van Dijk’s extra-time goal gave Liverpool a 1-0 triumph over Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, ensuring Jurgen Klopp’s last season ends with silverware. 

Liverpool captain, Virgil Van Dijk’s looping header decided a frantic final in which VAR denied scores for both sides after 90 minutes.

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Liverpool approached the final with ten first-team players absent due to injury, including Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez, but they battled valiantly to defeat Chelsea.

The result keeps Liverpool’s ambitions of completing an unusual quadruple alive, as they continue to compete for the Premier League, Europa League, and FA Cup.

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Chelsea made a rocky start to the showpiece final, but Cole Palmer nearly took the lead in the 21st minute with a close-range strike that Caoimhin Kelleher stopped magnificently.

Liverpool’s already weakened squad suffered a further blow when Ryan Gravenberch was replaced by Joe Gomez in the 28th minute following a violent challenge on the German international by Moisés Caicedo.

Raheem Sterling thought he’d given Chelsea the lead in the 31st minute, but the linesman ruled that Nicolas Jackson had been offside moments before when he broke free to cross for the England international.

Down the other end, Gakpo’s header from Andy Robertson’s cross left Petrovic rooted to the spot but struck the far upright, denying Liverpool an opener.

Van Dijk’s powerful header from a Robertson free-kick at the hour mark sparked wild celebrations in the red end of Wembley Stadium, but the goal was ruled out after a lengthy VAR check revealed Wataru Endo was offside.

The reprieve appeared to increase Chelsea’s determination, as they came close to taking the lead in the 77th minute when Connor Gallagher’s effort from Palmer’s feed struck the far post.

In the 85th minute, the duo combined to create another gilt-edged chance, but Gallagher was scuppered by another superb save from Kelleher. Klopp’s dearth of options on the bench was revealed by his substitutions late on, with teenage tyros James McConnell and Jayden Danns coming on in place of Alexis Mac Allister and Gakpo, respectively.

Liverpool pressed for a goal as Chelsea relaxed in extra time. Harvey Elliott nearly scored, but Petrović saved his far-post header.

Van Dijk finally scored the winner, a stunning header from a corner deep into extra time that secured Liverpool’s victory.

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