Virgil Van Dijk Reacts To Lifting His First Trophy As Liverpool's Captain After 1-0 Win Against Chelsea In Carabao Cup Final.

Liverpool have won their first trophy of a potential quadruple this season, defeating Chelsea 1-0, thanks to a late extra-time goal from Reds captain Virgil van Dijk at Wembley on Sunday evening.

Money couldn’t buy the Blues the trophy despite spending £1bn, in the most expensive makeover in footballing history, as Jurgen Klopp's kindergarten kids left them with a billion tears.

It was Liverpool's 10th triumph in the competition (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1995, 2001, 2003, 2012, 2022, 2024), and it 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.

Having been humiliated 4-1 at Anfield 25 days earlier, Chelsea failed to capitalise on Liverpool's dilapidated injury list squad, to the substitutions, that saw closer to a C-team than a B-team play for the Reds, with the senior figures watching the game with their crutches, in their knee braces, nursing their various wounds.

Liverpool were indebted to goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher who produced another outstanding Wembley performance after being the hero when Chelsea were beaten 11-10 in a remarkable penalty shootout in the 2022 EFL Cup final, in which Chelsea's then-goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga missed his spot kick and the Reds' Kelleher scored his.

In a tight first half encounter, Kelleher 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, Ben Chilwell was culpable when Van Dijk met Andy Robertson’s free kick with a thumping header. The Dutchman thought he had put 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.

Liverpool powered on, and the only goal of the game came in the 118th minute after left-back Kostas Tsimikas curled in a corner, and inspirational captain Van Dijk rose above the £88m Mykhailo Mudryk to nod it in. 

That goal was the latest winning goal scored in a League Cup final since Aston Villa’s Brian Little won the 1977 final against Everton in the 119th minute.

After a monumental performance in defence in a win which seemed against the odds for long periods, it was Van Dijk first honour as captain since replacing Jordan Henderson as skipper.

Klopp becomes the third Liverpool manager to win the trophy more than once as his long goodbye to his departure at the end of the season began with the first of a potential four pieces of silverware.

But for opposite number, Mauricio Pochettino's long wait for an English domestic trophy continues.

Chelsea have now become the first English side to lose six straight major domestic cup finals, the last three of which have come at the hands of Liverpool:

2019 Carabao Cup

2020 FA Cup

2021 FA Cup

2022 Carabao Cup

2022 FA Cup

2024 Carabao Cup 

Liverpool will earn just £100,000 in prize money after getting their hands on the Carabao Cup trophy, with losers Chelsea taking home £50,000.

The beaten semi-finalists - Fulham and Middlesbrough - banked only £25,000 for reaching the last four, with those knocked out in the earlier rounds not making a penny in prize money.

Post-match reaction from Van Dijk

The Liverpool captain was asked if he is savouring this moment with manager Jurgen Klopp who is leaving at the end of the season. He replied: “You should always savour the good moments, this is definitely one of them.

“Listen, we will never take things for granted and you see today it could have been the other was as well that we lost but we did a job, even with all the problems we have had before the game.

“Intense game for both sides, they had chances we had chances. Amazing. First trophy as Liverpool captain, it’s all for the fans so let’s enjoy it.

“I’m so proud, proud to be part of this club and especially proud of the boys. All of the young boys playing their part in what we achieved today it’s incredible and on to more.” 


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