Manchester City won their fourth League Cup title in a penalty shoot-out victory over Liverpool at Wembley. Here we have the full report, reaction, opta statistics, player ratings and more.
Manuel Pellegrini ensured he would win at least one trophy in his final season at Manchester City as his side defeated Liverpool 3-1 on penalties in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley.
After Philippe Coutinho’s 83rd-minute strike cancelled out Fernandinho’s opener to force extra-time, there were to be no more goals as the match finished 1-1.
Goalkeeper Willy Cabellero was then the hero as he saved three spot kicks to give Manchester City their fourth League Cup and their second in three years. Here we have the full match report, post-match reaction from both camps, opta statistics, player ratings and more.
Liverpool 1-1 Man City (AET, City win 3-1 on penalties)
Goalkeeper Willy Caballero was the hero as Manchester City won their fourth League Cup title in a penalty shoot-out victory over Liverpool at Wembley.
In a tale of contrasting fortunes for the men between the posts the Argentinian, back-up to Joe Hart, saved three spot-kicks while opposite number Simon Mignolet did not manage one as City won the shoot-out 3-1 after the match finished 1-1.
While all the focus had been on the attacking options both sides had at their disposal, the match ended up being decided by the goalkeepers.
Mignolet’s evening was something of a roller-coaster, ending on a low, as his error in allowing Fernandinho’s shot under his body handed City the lead which was only cancelled out by Philippe Coutinho’s 83rd-minute strike.
The Belgium international also made a number of excellent saves but having handed the initiative to City it was a long way back for Liverpool and their exertions began to tell in extra-time.
It was only the fourth shoot-out Liverpool had lost in 18 attempts.
Manuel Pellegrini lifted his third trophy in just under three years at the club but he will hope it is not the last – with City still in the title race and Champions League – before he is succeeded by Pep Guardiola in the summer.
For counterpart Jurgen Klopp, reaching his first final just 143 days after taking over, it was more Wembley heartache having lost the Champions League final at the venue as Borussia Dortmund manager in 2013.
Both managers made big calls in their team selections: Klopp kept faith with midfielder Lucas Leiva – who missed the 2012 League Cup triumph with injury – at centre-back in an unchanged side while Pellegrini continued with his policy of playing Caballero in cup competitions.
Lucas justified Klopp’s faith with an assured display, winning a number of important headers, while Cabellero’s greatest test was in the first minute from Alberto Moreno’s low strike.
The first real chance fell to Aguero, who has not scored in six major finals for club and country, midway through the first half when he cut inside Lucas and Mamadou Sakho, still struggling after a clash of headers with team-mate Emre Can, only for Mignolet to tip his shot onto a post.
Sakho, replaced by Kolo Toure, had to be virtually ordered off the pitch by Klopp after being determined to continue against medical advice and the France international’s frustration boiled over as he hurled a water bottle towards the bench and then hid his obvious disappointment under a coat on the bench.
The breakthrough came four minutes into the second half when Fernandinho’s narrow-angle shot from the right of the penalty area, although low and hard, went under the body of the diving Mignolet.
It provoked a wry smile from Klopp, arms folded on the touchline, who only last month rewarded the goalkeeper with a new five-year contract.
No player has made more defensive errors (five) in the Premier League this season yet this one felt like the most costly.
The game opened up as Milner shot wide, Raheem Sterling, who left Anfield acrimoniously in the summer in a £49million deal, somehow missed the target from eight yards while City were furious with referee Michael Oliver after he decided Moreno did not bring down Aguero in the area with a dangling trailing leg
With 20 minutes to Klopp gambled by taking off left-back Moreno, with Milner asked to fill in, and bringing on Adam Lallana for his first appearance in three weeks and it paid off as the England midfielder hit the post from Sturridge’s cross and Coutinho drilled home the rebound in the 83rd minute.
In extra time Mignolet went some way to redeeming himself in by brilliantly denying Aguero in a one-on-one, Caballero repelled substitute Divock Origi’s close-range header while Aguero volleyed over Milner’s attempted nod back to his goalkeeper.
Penalties followed with Caballero coming out on top, with his save from Lucas the best of his three, with Lallana and Coutinho also denied before wild scenes of celebration.
Manchester City: Player & Manager Reaction
Willy Caballero: “It’s amazing, to win this cup, for me it’s amazing. It was a hard week for me but we had a talk that we could do it. It is fantastic for the blue people. It’s important, emotional for me, my family, to be in this great team. It is a first trophy for me and for my family in Argentina. I tried to see all the penalties last night, but my intuition got me through.”
Vincent Kompany: “It’s not the best way (to win), it’s the most unfair way. There was so much emotion in this final, we were having so many chances and missing so many. We left everything out on the pitch. We have got experience, we looked around ourselves, we found a moment of peace and calm and kept doing what we were doing. They were playing well but we were creating chances.”
Manuel Pellegrini: “I prefer to lose the title than to lose my word, there wasn’t any chance for Willy not to play. Maybe your word is not important, maybe the most important thing is to win things, but I think my word is more important than football. If you are sure you are going to win it, I would want to win it in this way with Willy being the hero. Willy is a very good goalkeeper. Fortunately for us he waited until the end and never tried to guess which side they were going to shoot. That is why he saved those three penalties. I think we deserved to win the game before the penalties with less work from Willy, he did not have to make a save in 90 minutes. It is important to continue trusting in what we are doing. We have to play for another 36 points (in the league) yet so we are not going to give up. We made a huge step for the Champions League and winning this title gives us a lot of trust. I’m very happy, not because it is my final season, I’m happy for a lot of things. I’m happy for the performance of the team, we played against a difficult team in Liverpool, we lost to them at the Etihad (4-1). I thought tonight we played very well. I’m very happy for Willy Caballero, I think he deserved his moment. I’m happy also to win a title in February.”
Liverpool: Player & Manager Reaction
Jurgen Klopp: “I’m disappointed with the end, pleased with a lot of the things I saw in the game. We conceded the goal but we tried everything, scored the goal. They had a few counter-attacks, we needed a bit of luck, were too open in some situations but we got back in the game. We had some situations, it’s unlucky, it’s one way to lose in a final, it doesn’t matter how. I don’t think we played as well as we could, nor did Man City. We shouldn’t have conceded the goal we did, it should not be a goal, everyone knows this. We played against Manchester City, but what I say now does not change the result.
“We have so many games, do you think I go home and close the door and stay there for four weeks? You have to feel a defeat, you can’t say it is not important. It is how it is. You know you can fall down but you have to stand up. Only silly idiots stay on the floor and wait for the next defeat, we will strike back 100 per cent. You have to feel how it is to lose. It Is really not the best moment but tomorrow morning we can change everything. Don’t worry, we will go on and we will get better – we have to go the hard way, that is how it is. If we carry on and work really hard, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is really important. Tonight we feel rubbish, s***.
Liverpool v Manchester City: Opta Statistics
- Manchester City have now won four of their five League Cup finals (1970, 1976, 2014 and 2016).
- Liverpool lost a League Cup final for the fourth time (1978, 1987, 2005 and 2016).
- Fernandinho has now scored in his last two League Cup apps after failing to score in his previous seven games in the competition.
- The Brazilian’s goal was the first that Liverpool have conceded in the League Cup after half-time this season.
- Philippe Coutinho has now scored in five of his six appearances against Man City in all competitions (five goals).
- Coutinho’s goal in the 83rd minute was Liverpool’s first shot on target in this match.
- This was the fourth of the nine League Cup finals to be played at the ‘New Wembley’ to go to extra time.
- Both teams have scored in all five of Liverpool’s visits to the new Wembley Stadium.
- The last three League Cup finals involving Liverpool have gone to extra time.
- This was the fourth League Cup final to go to a penalty shootout (2001, 2009, 2012 & 2016).
- This was only the fourth time that Liverpool have lost a penalty shootout (18 shootouts overall).
- Liverpool had previously won all five cup finals that had gone to a penalty shootout (excl. Comm Shield games) – this was their first cup final shootout defeat.
- In fact, this is the first time that Liverpool have scored as few as one penalty in a penalty shootout.
- Manchester City have won successive penalty shootouts (W5 L3) in all competitions for the first time – they won their last v Aalborg in the UEFA Cup in 2009 before today.
- Jurgen Klopp has now reached a cup final in each of his last five seasons as a manager, but he’s lost the last four (including two at Wembley).
Capital One Cup Final: Player Ratings
Simon Mignolet: Great early stop from Aguero but allowed Fernandinho’s opener to squirm under him – recovered with some good late saves. 7 (Out of 10).
Nathaniel Clyne: Kept going for the full 120 minutes without really posing a threat in the City half. Booked. 6
Mamadou Sakho: Never really in the game before an early clash of heads with Can saw him forced off. 5
Lucas Leiva: Managed the threat of Aguero well for a player only recently converted into a centre-back. 7
Alberto Moreno: Lucky not to concede a second-half penalty and not too much of an attacking threat. Booked. 6
Emre Can: Showed great composure to dink home the opening penalty after an average afternoon. Booked. 6.
Jordan Henderson: The Liverpool captain struggled to take the game by the scruff of the neck. 6
James Milner: Missed a good chance to level against his former club and ended the game as a make-shift left-back. 6
Roberto Firmino: Was as subdued here as he was electric in the 4-1 win at the Etihad Stadium back in November. 5
Philippe Coutinho: Quiet for so much of the game but came up with the goods when his side needed it most. Booked. 6
Daniel Sturridge: Never had a sniff of goal on a frustrating afternoon for the ex-Manchester City striker, though his cross led to equaliser. 6
Kolo Toure (for Sakho, 25): Cheered on by both sets of supporters as he replaced Sakho and was solid. 6
Adam Lallana (for Moreno, 71): Should have a tucked away a chance but his rebound off the post was turned home by Coutinho. Booked. 6
Divock Origi (for Firmino, 80): Had a great chance to win it in extra time. 6
Willy Caballero: Untested for large periods of the game and helpless on Coutinho’s goal but saved well from Origi in injury time and was the star of the penalty shootout. 8
Bacary Sagna: Preferred to Zabaleta at right-back and had a solid game before coming off ahead of extra-time. 6
Vincent Kompany: Third game back after his long injury hiatus and the City skipper always steadies the ship. Booked. 7
Nicolas Otamendi: Growing partnership with Kompany continues and looks so much more assured. Booked. 7
Gael Clichy: Got forward when he could but Liverpool leveller came from his side of the pitch. 6
Fernando: Did his job as destroyer well but sacrificed for the more attacking Navas at the end of 90 minutes. Booked. 6
Yaya Toure: Not deployed in his favoured position to accommodate Silva through the middle. Quiet afternoon. Booked. 6
Fernandinho: Pushed on early in the second half and was rewarded with the opening goal but missed opening penalty. Booked. 6
David Silva: Grew into an influential force and came close with a free-kick but could not unlock Liverpool defence. 7
Raheem Sterling: Jeered throughout by the Liverpool contingent and could not silence them on the pitch as he missed an easy chance on the hour-mark. 5
Sergio Aguero: Saw one-on-one chance saved but laid on goal for Fernandinho. 7
Jesus Navas (for Fernando, 90): Could not utilise the pace in his fresh legs to create a winning chance during extra-time. 6
Pablo Zabaleta (for Sagna, 90): Replaced Sagna and slipped in seamlessly to the defence. 6
Wilfried Bony (for Silva, 110): Chosen as the last substitute over Kelechi Inenacho but no chance to make an impact. 5
Five things we learned
- Willy Caballero deserves plenty of credit
It has been a tough week for the Argentinian but, after enduring a day to forget in the 5-1 drubbing against Chelsea in the FA Cup last Sunday, Caballero proved City boss Manuel Pellegrini right in choosing him over Joe Hart.
- Lucas Leiva may be the answer to Liverpool’s defensive woes
With injuries piling up in defence the last thing Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp wanted to see was Mamadou Sakho leave the field with a first-half head injury. However, Lucas – who started ahead of substitute Kolo Toure at the back – put in a display that will provide a crumb of comfort for the Reds.
- Raheem Sterling still has lots to learn
The £49million man will rightly point to a Capital One Cup winners’ medal, but the former Liverpool winger could have put this game out of sight for City had he taken one of two glorious second-half chances. Finishing remains his Achilles heel.
- Winning takes precedence over brotherly love
Yaya Toure and elder brother Kolo came head-to-head at Wembley and there was little loved lost on the pitch. It is the first time in League Cup history two brothers have faced each other but Kolo’s extra-time challenge on Yaya left his sibling poleaxed.
- Manuel Pellegrini could secure his five-trophy target two seasons early
When Pellegrini was appointed in 2013, City chief executive Ferran Soriano challenged the Chilean to win five trophies in five years. So far he has won three, with this his second Capital One Cup, and he still has a genuine chance to add another Barclays Premier League crown and a Champions League title to his CV before he departs in the summer.