An English club, Liverpool, has lifted its eighth FA Cup trophy after surviving a penalty shootout against Chelsea during the final of the tournament and boosting its chances of ending the season with historic quadruple titles.
Liverpool secured the title after playing goalless 120 minutes with their opponent, Chelsea, and won the penalty with six successful kicks after Kostas Tsimikas scored the last to make it 6-5 and secure Liverpool’s second trophy of the season.
Like both teams meeting during the Carabao Cup final earlier in the season, the decisive moment came when Liverpool goalkeeper, Alisson Becker, saved Mason Mount’s spot-kick, to give the winners an edge over their opponent which was effectively converted by Tsimikas on Saturday at Wembley stadium.
The Reds are still in the Premier League title race and have the Champions League final to come against Real Madrid in the latter part of the month.
Liverpool had the better of an eventful final, with the outstanding Luis Diaz and Andrew Robertson hitting the woodwork, although it may come at a price with Mohamed Salah going off injured in the first half and Virgil van Dijk going off after 90 minutes.
It is a devastating blow for Chelsea and manager Thomas Tuchel to lose in this manner yet again, having had chances with Marcos Alonso hitting the post and also being denied by Alisson.
When Edouard Mendy saved Senegal team-mate Sadio Mane’s penalty in the shootout, when the Liverpool forward only needed to score to win the FA Cup, it just seemed for one moment that the Reds’ assault on four trophies might just be interrupted.
Alisson put Liverpool back on course when he saved from Mount, who was inconsolable as Tsimikas sent the Liverpool fans wild by converting the final penalty.
Once again Liverpool had prevailed against fiercely disciplined and determined opponents, even though they lost Salah to what looked like a muscle injury before half-time and Van Dijk did not emerge for extra time.
It remains to be seen how serious those problems are but at present it looks like Liverpool can overcome most obstacles put in front of them, even though it once again took penalties to claim their first FA Cup since 2006.
Luis Diaz was the game’s outstanding player, running Chelsea ragged and peppering Mendy’s goal with efforts until he was substituted, exhausted, to a standing ovation.
Klopp refers to his players as “mentality monsters” and this illustrates why. Players from both sides gave so much that they were almost out on their feet at the final whistle.
Manchester City remain favourites in the Premier League, three points ahead and with a superior goal difference, and this was a strength-sapping occasion that will have taken much out of Liverpool before they face Southampton at St Mary’s on Tuesday.
What we do know, though, is that Liverpool possess remarkable powers of resilience and recovery as they continue their march on history.