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Player Ratings: Chelsea 0-0 (10-11 pens) Liverpool | Carabao Cup Final

Chelsea came up short in their pursuit of Carabao Cup glory after slumping to a 10-11 loss on penalties against Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Blues played their part in a game for the ages but came undone from twelve yards, with their opponents, who condemned Chelsea to their third domestic cup final loss in a row with a ruthless performance.

Chelsea took the ascendancy in the early stages, kicking off with a high intensity and going close early through a chance that Christian Pulisic really should have scored. But the Merseysiders came back firing on all cylinders, forcing Edouard Mendy into a sublime double stop midway through the first half.

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After watching Mason Mount miss a sitter on the cusp of the break, Thomas Tuchel will have gone into the interval with mixed emotions having seen his side having to weather the storm for large swathes of the game. A reaction was needed if he was to get one up on his German counterpart Jürgen Klopp in the opposite dugout.

It almost came almost immediately from the restart, but for Mason Mount to find the post when it seemed harder to find anything but the back of Caoimhin Kelleher's net. Liverpool then thought they'd gone 1-0 up in the 68th minute through a Joel Matip header, but VAR adjudged Virgil Van Dijk to be offside in the build-up - with the video technology returning the favour after Kai Havertz headed home ten minutes later. A glut of chances for both teams followed, but Mendy in particular refused to be beaten.

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Extra-time followed. Romelu Lukaku thought he was hero of the hour in the 97th minute with a trademark finish, but VAR yet again ruled a goal out - this time altogether more dubious - and the same can be said of Havertz in the 109th minute too. 

Kepa Arrizabalaga’s penalty miss meant the Pensioners had failed to add to their current haul of two trophies - the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup - for the season. Thomas Tuchel’s side will be looking to bounce back as they continue their hunt for a third on Wednesday with a trip to Luton Town for some FA Cup Fifth Round action. In the meantime, here is how Absolute Chelsea rated the Blues’ performance against Liverpool…


Edouard Mendy - 9/10 [119]

Thomas Tuchel's huge selection dilemma in the build up to this showpiece was whether to keep the faith with deputy goalkeeper Kepa Aririzabalaga, who had performed excellently throughout this cup run, or install his trusted number one and FIFA's "The Best". Perhaps burned by last season's FA Cup final, he plumped for the latter - and it reaped rewards. His double save from Naby Keita and Sadio Mané in the first period was absolutely incredible, and two similarly ludicrous stops were to follow at the death.

Trevoh Chalobah - 6/10

Thrown at the deep end for his Chelsea debut against Villarreal in the Super Cup final, and here he was right back into the pressure cooker under the Wembley arch not soon after returning from a spell on the sidelines through injury. It's well documented that the man he replaced in the line-up today has chronic issues with his nerves before big occasions like this, and it rather unsurprisingly rubbed off on the young Sierra Leonean, thanks in no small part to his tough task up against impressive Liverpool new boy Luis Diaz and Mané. Struggled to keep pace with the pair and was heavily targeted as a result - but he did nonetheless did enough to keep them at bay and his confidence definitely grew as the game wore on.

Thiago Silva - 9/10

Chelsea's clear contender for player of the season added another performance to his stellar portfolio. His reading of the game and defensive know-how is second to none - in the literal sense of the accolade - as evidenced by his incredible recovery run to clear off the line from Salah's dink.

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Antonio Rüdiger - 7/10

Some of the German's last-ditch interceptions and interventions were impeccable, but what was most impressive was his leadership. The former AS Roma man was constantly in the wars, standing up for his teammates and haranguing referee Stuart Attwell when his decisions were questionable at best. Chelsea may miss that leadership unless his contractual situation is sorted out sooner rather than later.

César Azpilicueta - 6/10 [57]

Bust a gut to get up and down the right flank, setting up a couple of handy chances and providing much more of an outlet than his colleague on the other wing. Will have been disappointed to have had to withdraw from injury, testament to the tireless work he has had to put his body through in Reece James' own absence through injury. No matter what happens in the summer, the one undeniable truth is that the man they affectionately nickname as Dave has picked up a fair few 'pots' in his time in royal Blue - even if he couldn't add another today.

N'Golo Kanté - 7/10

It was scrappy and it was battling, but he was key on the day for Chelsea. His energy and work rate adding some sorely needed steel to a staunch rearguard. Could have added some metal of his own to his collection, as this League Cup would have meant the Frenchman 'completed' club football a little over two weeks after his aforementioned skipper did so too. But it wasn't to be.

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Mateo Kovacic - 7/10 [105]

The Croatian was one of very few who was being proactive and releasing the ball early during periods of heavy Chelsea possession. His normally consistently infallible beating of the press eluded him against Klopp's well documented gegenpress, but this was nonetheless a positive showing in a fixture of the utmost quality.

Marcos Alonso - 4/10

Took an absolute beating up against the formidable duo of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah, which came as little surprise to anyone. They played rings around him as if he wasn't there, and he doesn't possess the raw pace to trouble the former. Where he usually makes up that deficiency is his instinctual movement, yet there were three occurrences where he could have been in on goal if his reading of the game was better.

Mason Mount - 4/10 [73]

Guilty of letting Alexander-Arnold into the game in the first half, with some uncharacteristically poor defensive contributions (or lack thereof) on his behalf. Even guiltier of missing a gilt-edged chance on the stroke of half-time, and guiltier still after hitting the post with the goal gaping and in acres of space. Will be having nightmares tonight, as will this writer and the Chelsea fanbase after a dismal lack of clinicalness.

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Christian Pulisic - 6/10 [73]

One hundred appearances and not out for the American, and this will have been one of the sweetest of the lot. Couldn't replicate the goalscoring heroics he produced in the thrilling draw with today's opponents at Stamford Bridge in January - after an early chance was well denied by Kelleher - but should have had an assist if not for Mount's profligacy.

Kai Havertz - 7/10

Preferred to club record transfer Romelu Lukaku after Chelsea's attacking unit were markedly improved in the fluidity and potency department against LOSC Lille in midweek. Put in the hard yards up front and looked particularly silky and fleet of foot. Another great cup final performance from the German - it is just a shame it didn't result in another trophy.


Bench

Reece James - 5/10 [57]

His first appearance in three months and the rust was definitely showing. A few sloppy moments let Luis Diaz have some joy.

Romelu Lukaku - 6/10 [73]

It would about sum it up if his half chance had have gone in with seconds left of normal time. But perhaps it's emblematic of his Chelsea career thus far that it didn't. As was his denied offside goal.

Timo Werner - 6/10 [73]

Had some success getting in behind the tired Liverpool high line, and managed to tick off his quota of offsides while he was at it.

Jorginho - 7/10 [105]

Undoubtedly brought on to take a penalty with a shootout looming, and he kept his end of the bargain. Brought a modicum of control to the midfield too - as much as there could be.

Kepa Arrizabalaga - 4/10 [119]

Undoubtedly brought on to save a penalty (or two) with the shootout looming. But couldn't manage it, and skied his own penalty too.


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