FA Cup wait ends, history for Hendo and Liverpool hit 50

Talking pointsFA Cup wait ends, history for Hendo and Liverpool hit 50

Published 15 hours ago
By Chris Shaw

Liverpool toasted a second trophy of 2021-22 as they won the Emirates FA Cup for an eighth time at Wembley on Saturday.

FA Cup final: Extended highlights

After another enthralling and nail-biting showpiece clash with Chelsea, and another goalless draw, the Reds were 6-5 victors on penalties in the capital.

Here are five talking points from Liverpool’s latest special occasion…

The wait is over

The 16-year wait for Liverpool to get their hands back on the FA Cup was the longest for the club since the 73 years it had taken to win it the first time, in 1965.

The Reds had not graced the competition’s final for a decade either.

But Jürgen Klopp’s men, backed – as always – by their passionate travelling supporters inside Wembley, put a satisfying end to those statistics amid sweltering conditions in London on Saturday afternoon.

The heroes, eventually, were Alisson Becker and Kostas Tsimikas, with the latter dispatching a cool spot-kick into the bottom corner after the former had foiled Mason Mount during sudden-death penalties.

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Klopp became the sixth Liverpool boss to guide his team to FA Cup glory and also the first German manager to win the competition in its 150-year history.

Penalties pay off

The form book, in hindsight, was predictive of the kind of encounter we would see in the fourth meeting between the Reds and Chelsea of 2021-22.

After two draws in the Premier League, nothing could separate the sides over 120 minutes in the Carabao Cup final and 11 rounds of penalty kicks were needed to decide a winner on that February day.

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It was a similarly even affair in this Wembley rematch as both teams enjoyed spells of concerted pressure throughout a clash that saw momentum – and the creation of scoring chances – swing back and forth.

Luis Diaz shone under the arch again as the primary troubler of Chelsea’s defence, while Liverpool needed Alisson, bravely, and the crossbar, fortunately, to deny Marcos Alonso.

There was a real sense of déjà vu as time ticked away and the repeating pattern of the Carabao Cup final persisted as the score remained goalless at 90 and then 120 minutes as legs tired and opportunities evaporated.

And once again, only a shootout could split them.

Edouard Mendy denied Senegal compatriot Sadio Mane the winning penalty, but the Reds were not to be thwarted for long.

They have now won all four of their shootouts in the FA Cup, all four they have contested against Chelsea and 19 out of 26 in all competitions over the years.

Bringing up the 50

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A second change of the season to the club’s proud Champions Walls at Anfield and the AXA Training Centre is required following Saturday’s success in the capital.

And this one brings up a significant landmark.

Liverpool’s updated honours board will now show 50 major trophies for the men’s team, encompassing 19 league titles, six European Cups, eight FA Cups, nine League Cups, one FIFA Club World Cup, three UEFA Cups and four UEFA Super Cups.

Six of the half-century have been lifted during Klopp’s reign, with all of them accomplished within the last three years.

Fabulous.

Hendo’s historic half-dozen

While the captain will always eschew individual recognition in favour of collective praise, the latest outing of the ‘Hendo shuffle’ makes history for the No.14.

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Jordan Henderson is the first Liverpool captain to lift six different trophies for the club, with the FA Cup a fresh piece of silverware in his and the Reds’ grasp.

The skipper returned to the starting line-up in place of the injured Fabinho and assumed the latter’s holding midfield responsibilities on the expansive Wembley turf.

His best task of the day came when his on-pitch work was done, however, as he ascended into the stands alongside his joyous teammates to raise the cup into the air.

“That’s what we’re here for: lifting trophies. We’ve worked so hard all season, so to come here and get over the line means a lot to everyone,” said Henderson post-match.

“The players and the fans deserve it, the whole club. It’s a big moment for us; we haven’t been in this final for a long time so to come here and win it is pretty special.”

Two down…

So, Klopp’s Reds have now completed two legs of the sensational quadruple they continue to pursue in this remarkable campaign.

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Both domestic cup competitions are now safely in the bag, emulating a feat previously achieved by the Liverpool legends of 2000-01 – who also lifted a European honour that season.

As outlined by the manager ahead of the FA Cup showpiece, celebrations of their latest victory will be restricted, with a trip to Southampton in the Premier League to contend with on Tuesday night.

One way or another, next week will bring a conclusion to the championship battle with Manchester City, while a Champions League final date against Real Madrid is on the calendar for May 28.

You simply have to enjoy all this.

Published 15 hours ago