Carabao Cup final: Liverpool’s route to Wembley

Norwich City v Liverpool – Carabao Cup – Third Round – Carrow Road
(Image credit: Joe Giddens)

Liverpool take on Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how Jurgen Klopp’s Reds made it to Wembley.

Third round: Norwich 0 Liverpool 3 (September 21)

Liverpool’s Kaide Gordon playing against Norwich

Sixteen-year-old Kaide Gordon made his Liverpool debut against Norwich (Joe Giddens/PA)

Takumi Minamino kicked off his Carabao Cup campaign in similar fashion to 12 months previously with two goals in the third round. Both teams made nine changes – with 16-year-old Kaide Gordon and 18-year-old Conor Bradley making their debuts – and Minamino struck after just four minutes. Caoimhin Kelleher saved a first-half Christos Tzolis penalty before Divock Origi’s first goal in a year was followed by Minamino’s second.

Fourth round: Preston 0 Liverpool 2 (October 27)

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League Cup specialists Minamino and Origi put their side through after a testing opening hour at Deepdale in which Adrian was the busier of the two goalkeepers. There was another debut, this time for youngster Harvey Blair, and a first start full for fellow 18-year-old Tyler Morton, but it needed Minamino to make the breakthrough in the 62nd minute with the visitors’ first shot on target. Origi’s late acrobatic flick secured progress.

Quarter-final: Liverpool 3 Leicester 3; Liverpool win 5-4 on penalties (December 22)

Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino scores against Leicester

Takumi Minamino scored in the last seconds to force extra time against Leicester (Mike Egerton/PA)

Minamino scored for the third successive cup match, his equaliser in the final seconds of six minutes’ stoppage time setting up a shoot-out in which Kelleher was the hero. Liverpool twice recovered from a two-goal deficit, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replying to Jamie Vardy’s double inside 13 minutes, with Diogo Jota responding to James Maddison’s brilliant strike before Minamino recorded his fourth in three matches in the competition. Kelleher saved two spot-kicks and Jota slotted the winner.

Semi-final, first leg: Liverpool 0 Arsenal 0 (January 13)

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker makes a save

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker made his League Cup debut in a goalless semi-final draw (Peter Byrne/PA)

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker made his League Cup debut after three and a half years at the club but it was the other end of the pitch which came under scrutiny as 78 per cent possession resulted in just one shot on target – in added time – from 17 attempts. Granit Xhaka’s second red card in just 13 appearances left the visitors playing with 10 men for 71 minutes but they held out.

Semi-final, second leg: Arsenal 0 Liverpool 2; Liverpool win 2-0 on aggregate (January 20)

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Jota’s double secured a first League Cup final in six years. The Portugal international put his side ahead with a low shot which wrong-footed Aaron Ramsdale in the first half before VAR overruled an offside flag which had threatened to chalk off his second-half strike. Arsenal’s misery was compounded when substitute Thomas Partey – who only returned from the Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the day – was sent off 16 minutes after coming off the bench.

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