Kepa Arrizabalaga gamble backfires as Chelsea fare in Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool

The Spaniard was brought on late in extra time as Thomas Tuchel turned to his penalty shootout specialist with the scoreline clean after 120 minutes.

It was a cruel end for Chelsea and Kepa after a thrilling competition that saw the European champions lose three golden chances to take the lead in regulation time.

Liverpool also had plenty of chances after controlling long periods of play and thought a Joel Matip header gave them the win only for VAR to rule it out. Later, a partial offside deprived Romelu Lukaku of an overtime winner.

Kepa had been the hero of the European Super Cup penalty shoot-out at the start of the season and could consider himself unhappy to be left out of the starting line-up at Wembley.

First-choice Edouard Mendy was picked instead, despite not playing in any of the rounds leading up to the final. The Senegal international more than justified his inclusion with a series of saves, including a superb double save in the first half. But as an unofficial ‘cup keeper’, Kepa’s credentials were clear.

Still, he got his chance to be the hero again, and seemed destined to fill that role when there were only moments left in downtime.

He proved to be an exceptional keeper on penalties – but couldn’t stop any of Liverpool’s 10 spot-kicks from their outfield players. The closest to hitting one is by getting his hands on Ibrahima Konaté’s effort, who was Liverpool’s 10.and sadness.

It was then up to the keepers and when Caoimhin Kelleher fired past Kepa, it was up to the Chelsea man to keep the fight going.

But firing into Liverpool’s end of the pitch with deafening boos in the background, he lifted his shot high into the stand behind the goal to frenzied cheers.

AFP via Getty Images


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