Carabao Cup final: Kepa Arrizabalaga skies 22nd penalty as Liverpool edge marathon shootout

Kepa penalty
(Image credit: Getty)

Kepa Arrizabalaga was hauled on for penalties and after failing to save a single one he missed the decisive spot-kick as Liverpool won an epic shootout 11-10 and win the Carabao Cup.

In a shootout reminiscent of the 2021 Europa League final, when David de Gea was the only player to miss from the spot, another Spanish goalkeeper in Kepa also erred from the spot after every other player, including his opposite number Caoimhin Kelleher, had scored. 

Kepa came on towards the end of extra-time to contest the shootout and replace Edouard Mendy, even though the Senegalese goalkeeper had recently won a shootout in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mendy had also played his part in an epic final, which will go down as one of the most memorable stalemates Wembley has ever seen.

The ball did go in the net a total of four times, with Chelsea having three goals ruled out, two in extra-time, and Liverpool also seeing a goal chalked off following a lengthy VAR review.

Kelleher, who was given the nod ahead of Alisson after taking Liverpool all the way to the final, was involved in the first flashpoint of the game as he thwarted Christian Pulisic from close range.

Mendy, who was chosen ahead of Kepa despite the Spaniard helping Chelsea make it to Wembley, then pulled off a jaw-dropping double save to deny Naby Keita and then Sadio Mane.

Kelleher made a small yet crucial intervention at the start of the second half, getting the slightest of touches on Mason Mount's effort from inside the box which saw it come off the inside of the post.

Mohamed Salah did manage to beat Mendy but his shot looked to be bouncing just beyond the far post before Thiago Silva scrambled it away.

Liverpool did get the ball in the net when Joel Matip converted from close range following a Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick but after a long VAR check the goal was ruled out for a foul by Virgil van Dijk on Reece James.

Chelsea then had a goal ruled out for a clear offside by Timo Werner after Kai Havertz converted on the rebound.

Mendy and Kelleher continued to exchange decisive saves until the final whistle, the Senegalese denying Van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold before the Liverpool reserve keeper saved a last-gasp effort from substitute Romelu Lukaku with his feet.

Lukaku did beat Kelleher early into extra-time but his goal was ruled fractionally offside while Havertz also met the same fate when he netted in the second half of the extra period.

It went to penalties, just as the 2019 UEFA Super Cup between the two sides, and again Liverpool prevailed.

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Richard Martin is an experienced football writer, editor and social media producer. Before returning to London, he spent 10 years in Spain as a football correspondent and has attended over 600 games across 16 countries, his favourite being Argentina. He has also worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Times and AS.