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Liverpool win Carabao Cup as Van Dijk's extra-time header sinks Chelsea

By primenewsghana
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Virgil van Dijk headed a 118th-minute winner to seal the Carabao Cup for Liverpool with a 1-0 win over Chelsea.

Jurgen Klopp's swansong season has guaranteed at least one piece of silverware for the club, but it took a long time to get there in a topsy-turvy encounter that somehow stayed goalless for nearly the duration at Wembley.

There were posts hit at each end, VAR foils for each team and a string of chances denied. But with penalties looming it was Van Dijk who settled it, rising highest to head in from a corner. It is the 10th time Liverpool have won this cup, increasing their position as the most successful team in the history of the competition ahead of Manchester City (eight).

For Chelsea there will only be regret, and Mauricio Pochettino's wait for a first trophy in England continues.

"In extra-time it's been Klopp's kids against the blue, billion-pound bottlejobs," said Sky Sports' Gary Neville.

A chaotic clash at Wembley settled by Liverpool at the last

It was an engaging opening at Wembley, with both goalkeepers tested early on. First Chelsea's Djordje Petrovic was called into action twice in quick succession from Alexis Mac Allister and Luis Diaz. Then, at the other end, Caoimhin Kelleher produced an unbelievable stop from point-blank range to deny Cole Palmer.

The chances kept coming. Raheem Sterling had the ball in the net for Chelsea, but VAR narrowly ruled Nicolas Jackson offside in the build-up. Cody Gakpo then rattled the Blues post with a header.

VAR figured heavily again on the hour. Van Dijk thought he had headed Liverpool in front from a free-kick but, after a lengthy check, Wataru Endo was deemed to be offside in the build-up, impeding Levi Colwill - who was prevented from reaching the Reds captain.

The see-saw swung Chelsea's way again as they took their turn to rattle the woodwork, with Conor Gallagher in disbelief he hadn't scored after prodding Palmer's cross against the post from six yards. Several minutes later Gallagher was denied once more, slipped through by Palmer but not getting the ball out of his feet quickly enough to beat the onrushing Kelleher.

More chaos ensued in the Liverpool box, but no way through was found, and the game moved into extra-time, during which Petrovic denied Harvey Elliott's close-range header with his leg at the near post.

Finally, with two minutes left of extra-time that breakthrough was found. Van Dijk rose again, this time from a corner, to nod in at the Liverpool end, sending the Reds into bedlam.