Liverpool fell to defeat in the Penalty shootout of the 2016 Capital One Cup final after fighting hard to take City to extra time and eventually through to the spot kicks. The Reds were poor from 12 yards having missed three penalties in a row and it was City's second choice keeper Willy Caballero who took the role of the hero in the dying moments of the final.
|Image via theguardian.com: Simon Mignolet in the penalty shootout.|
At 49 minutes City dealt Klopp's side a blow when Fernandinho found the back of the net. Arguably the goal was against the run of play slightly but most frustrating was the manner in which it was conceded. Simon Mignolet should not have let that shot underneath his body, it's as simple as that. He knows it, you know it, I know it and Jurgen Klopp knows it. Would it have ultimately made a difference? Who knows but it would have been nice for the game to have remained level at that stage.
Annoyingly, as is often the case with the mystery that is Simon Mignolet he went on to have a brilliant game in the 90 keeping the Reds in the match on at least two occasions. A save against a determined Sergio Aguero stood out and there is no denying that Liverpool would have been in a far worse position without that overall performance from their goalkeeper.
The Reds had been applying pressure steadily throughout the game but had failed to create any real solid chances, that changed though at 83 minutes when Philippe Coutinho found the back of the net after an initial effort smashed out off the post. The Brazilian finished confidently to put Liverpool right back into the game with just seven minutes left. I went absolutely crazy, jumping around the pub with me brother as is often the case. It really felt at that point that we had the momentum, the tide had turned and maybe, just maybe we could walk away with the trophy.
In my opinion the 1-1 draw at full time was the correct result, some would argue that City had the better and the majority of clear cut chances but I would argue that they failed to convert and Liverpool's tenacity had resulted in a goal, for me, that meant we deserved extra time.
Extra time predictably resulted in nothing, a few flashes from both sides occurred, the best for Liverpool when Divock Origi got his foot on the end of a cross but nothing changed goal wise, meaning the match went all the way to penalties. With penalties looming it gave chance for a reflection on the game and I hate to highlight certain players and this is by no means an attempt to have a dig but to be perfectly honest Daniel Sturridge was practically absent on Sunday. I'm not quite sure what happened but judging by his reaction when going to collect his runner's up medal, he himself appeared to be acknowledging a lacklustre performance on his part. It's probably not fair but in a final at Wembley you look to players like Sturridge to take the baton and run with it but it just didn't happen.
And so, it went to penos.
Emre Can stepped up first in a rather strange penalty taking order and converted for Liverpool. First up for City was Fernandinho but he missed hitting the left hand post. I thought Mignolet had saved it initially and according to my Twitter I still thought he'd saved it hours later, he didn't but my theory still stood. Usually the first player to miss or see a peno saved ends up on the losing side, the advantage was there for Liverpool but we couldn't capitalise. Lucas saw his penalty saved by the influential Caballero, so did Philippe Coutinho and so did Adam Lallana. Coutinho's penalty was poor in particular, I've never been a fan of the stuttered penalty, just choose a spot and smash it, but none of that mattered, the Reds had lost and Manchester City had deservedly taken the trophy secured thanks to a Yaya Toure spot kick.
As disappointing as it was, I don't think we can feel too hard done by when looking at the overall performance, I stand by the fact that I thought we deserved to take the game to extra time but things began to quickly fade after that point and City's experience and prowess shone.
Here's hoping we can get some revenge on Wednesday.