Kostas Tsimikas scored the winning penalty as Liverpool completed a domestic cup double with a 6-5 shootout victory against Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup Final.
In a result that matches their EFL Cup Final victory over the same opponents three months ago, Liverpool held their nerve to beat the Blues in a shootout after a goalless match to keep their quadruple hopes alive.
Sadio Mane had a chance to win it for Liverpool with their fifth penalty but his effort was saved by Edouard Mendy, sending the shootout to sudden death.
- Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool (5-6 pen)
- By Charlie Bennett
It was the first penalty shootout in an FA Cup Final for 16 years – when Liverpool beat West Ham in Cardiff – and, though this game finished goalless, it was packed with chances.
Andy Robertson was guilty of missing the best of them and it seemed easier to score than miss for the Liverpool full-back when he was unmarked three yards out. Instead, he cannoned the post.
Man of the match Luis Diaz was the driving force behind Liverpool and he also hit the frame of the goal, while Marcos Alonso went closest for Chelsea with a free-kick that hit the bar.
REDS MAKE HOT START
February’s EFL Cup Final might have been goalless but it was end-to-end from start to finish, and this game promised the same from the moment it started.
Jurgen Klopp picked the same front three that lined up three months ago and Diaz in particular found joy against Chelsea’s three-man defence in the early stages.
The Colombian winger skipped past Trevoh Chalobah inside the penalty box and clipped the ball across goal marginally out of reach of the sliding Thiago, and then two minutes later he did almost the same thing again but this time his cross was pulled behind a free Mo Salah.
Chelsea were in bright yellow kit but their attackers were barely visible in the opening 15 minutes as Liverpool dominated. A perfect outside-of-the-foot pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold released Diaz on goal but the 25 year old was again disappointed as Mendy smothered his shot.
It took Chelsea until the 23rd minute to seriously threaten Liverpool and they so nearly took the lead. Reece James fed Mount down the right-hand side and, with Liverpool’s defenders focused on marking Romelu Lukaku, they missed Christian Pulisic’s run across the face of goal. Mount picked him out and the American, a scorer in the 2020 Final against Arsenal, flicked the ball inches past the post.
That move injected Chelsea with confidence and five minutes later, Alisson was forced into a pivotal save to keep out Alonso after the Chelsea wing-back was played through on goal, as the Liverpool defence started to creak.
BLUES COME ALIVE
The Reds had cooled off after their hot start and their cause was not helped when Salah, the Premier League’s top scorer, was forced off with a groin injury in the 33rd minute and replaced by Diogo Jota.
The Portuguese forward scored in both the fourth round and quarter-final and he almost broke the deadlock here on the stroke of half time, volleying over from just ten yards from Robertson’s cross, while at the other end Lukaku could have put Chelsea ahead barely a minute later but his left-footed shot flew high over the bar.
The second half started just as the first ended, with Chelsea on top and doing almost everything but score. Lukaku rolled past Ibrahima Konate in the box and dragged his shot inches past the post, Pulisic forced Alisson into a fine save from 12 yards and then Alonso hit the bar with a dipping free-kick - all in the space of two minutes.
Liverpool survived and then responded, with Diaz fizzing a low drive inches past the post and Jota doing likewise from a narrow angle as the game passed the hour mark.
REDS ALMOST WIN IT
After a shaky start to the second half, Liverpool got a foothold in the game and started to pepper the Chelsea goal, with Naby Keita forcing Mendy into a low diving save and Diaz firing just over from 25 yards.
In the final ten minutes, the game became stretched as both sides pressed for a winner and it was Liverpool who looked the more likely.
Diaz hit the outside of the post with a right-footed shot from a narrow angle, before Robertson missed the best chance of the game. Substitute James Milner fired in a perfect ball across the face of goal. Robertson, steaming in at the back post, seemed destined to score from three yards out but his volley slammed into the post and bounced clear.
Extra-time beckoned but Diaz, who had done everything but score, had one more chance in normal time. He outsprinted Thiago Silva to a loose ball, cut inside from the left and bent a shot that beat the diving Mendy but fell the wrong side of the post. With that, Craig Pawson blew his whistle to signal the fourth time this season a match between Liverpool and Chelsea has ended in a draw after 90 minutes.
LIVERPOOL WIN SHOOTOUT
The full-time whistle came at the ideal time for Chelsea, with Liverpool’s momentum slowed by the break in play, and neither team threatened to score in a scrappy 30 minutes.
Penalties proved the only way to separate them and Liverpool held their nerve to secure their second trophy of the season and keep their quadruple dreams alive.
Though they trail Manchester City by three points, they can still win the Premier League and in two weeks face Real Madrid in the Champions League Final.
But for today, it’s all about the Emirates FA Cup.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said: "I couldn't be more proud of my boys, the shift they put in, how hard they fought," Klopp told BBC Sport.
"It was an incredible game, a nerve-wracking shootout, my nails are gone.
"It was intense - Chelsea would have deserved it exactly the same way we did, just like in the Carabao Cup - that's how small the margins are," added Klopp.
"Chelsea played outstanding but in the end there must be one winner and that was us today."
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said: "Like in the last final, the Carabao Cup, no regrets. I told the team I was proud.
"We played 240 minutes of final team against maybe the most dangerous attacking team in the world and it's 0-0. We lose on penalties and we are disappointed and sad, but at the same time proud because we showed everything that we need.
"I was sure during the match the momentum was on our side but unfortunately I was not right."