Virgil van Dijk’s header deep into the second half of extra time helped Liverpool grab a narrow 1-0 win over Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.

The result meant that Jurgen Klopp’s side overcame several injury adversities to claim the Carabao Cup for a record tenth time.

The Merseyside outfit were without attacking stars Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez while Ryan Gravenberch was stretchered off early in the first half following a heavy tackle from Moises Caicedo.

Earlier in the day, Caoimhin Kelleher made a stunning save in the 20th minute when he made a point-blank save to deny Cole Palmer.

After Gravenberch made his exit, it was Joe Gomez who came on as Liverpool shuffled around their personnel as Harvey Elliot and Conor Bradley played in midfield.

Sterling has goal ruled out

Raheem Sterling did have the ball in the back of the net in the 32nd minute but VAR agreed with the on-field line official who flagged Nicolas Jackson offside in the buildup.

Eight minutes later, Cody Gakpo hit the post from a wonderful Andy Robertson cross as both sides went into the half-time whistle, deadlocked.

Klopp fielded several untested youngsters including three teenagers who were on the pitch till in the final whistle, and the result surely counts as one of the German’s landmark achievements in this illustrious reign of the Anfield outfit.

Liverpool were the better of the two sides after the restart and the Reds thought they had gone ahead when Van Dijk scored with a brilliant header following a free kick.

However, VAR intervened to chalk the goal off as Wataru Endo came back from an offside position to block Levi Colwill, the latter who would have been able to challenge Van Dijk for the ball.

As Liverpool looked tired with heavy legs in the last fifteen minutes, Chelsea had several chances to get the go-ahead goal. Fits Connor Gallagher was denied one-on-one by Kelleher before Christopher Nkunku’s close-range effort was brilliantly blocked by Ibrahim Konate. The Chelsea striker had yet another opportunity following a rebound but failed to direct his shot on goal as Liverpool survived to take the game to extra time.

Klopp forced to use academy from bench

Klopp made several changes to bring on several academy graduates as Chelsea shockingly looked lethargic in extra time.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side were certainly the more experienced but they hardly looked to take the game to Liverpool.

Dorde Petrovic then made a fine save to deny Elliot’s downward head but three minutes he had no chance as Van Dijk rose highest to expertly flick his header in the far corner to give Liverpool a memorable win.

The Liverpool captain later said, “It means so much. All the young boys on the pitch in extra-time, it’s incredible, I’m so proud of the team. It was an intense game, for both sides. It’s amazing: first trophy as Liverpool captain. It’s all for the fans, so let’s enjoy it.

We never take these things for granted. We’re very blessed. We could have lost today we didn’t – we did the job. I’m so proud to be part of this club, and especially proud of the boys.”

Photo credit: IMAGO / Propaganda Photo.