Liverpool forward Luis Diaz has revealed that he knew the plans of his teammate Fabinho for a penalty in the shootout against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final. The Merseyside giants won the Cup for a record ninth time in their history, beating Chelsea in the final in a dramatic penalty shootout.
After 21 flawless penalties, Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga had his turn and skied his effort over the bar. It was an embarrassing moment for the keeper, who was brought in by Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel just for the shootout.
The quality of the penalties was too good from both sides but the Liverpool players stole the show. Virgil van Dijk's strike past Kepa was possibly the best of the lot as the Dutch skipper completely destroyed the Chelsea keeper.
Arrizabalaga tried to throw van Dijk off by deliberately standing to his right, leaving a big gap for the Dutchman to hit but the Reds defender went for that very side. Another player who caught the eye with his spot kick was Fabinho who came up with a Panenka.
Attempting Panenka in a cup final was really bold from the Brazilian. However, Luis Diaz has insisted that the 28-year-old had it planned all along. Diaz told Liverpool FC Official website:
“In the days leading up to the final, we were taking penalty kicks and we practised together for sure. He’d been joking around saying, ‘If it goes to penalties, I’m doing a Panenka.’ And I said, ‘I can’t believe it. I was laughing at him, saying, ‘No, you can’t do that! If it goes wrong, the fans take it badly in a final.'"
"So when the moment came and he’s stepping up, I’m thinking, ‘Blimey, is he going to do this?' When it came off how it did, it just shows the class and quality of the player that he did it. I was kind of shocked and surprised in a good way how it came about.”
Fabinho has been a brilliant penalty taker throughout his entire career. The Brazilian has missed just one out of the 24 penalties he has taken over the years.
Liverpool are blessed to have so many excellent penalty takers in their squad, which is why Fabinho is not their first-choice from the spot. Mohamed Salah, the Reds' primary penalty taker, and James Milner are both renowned for their ability to take penalties.
Liverpool are 'mentality monsters' and they proved it against Chelsea
Liverpool went into the League Cup final against Chelsea as the favorites but did not have their best game at Wembley. Chelsea had their moments, especially in the early minutes. However, they failed to break the deadlock while Liverpool slowly got back into the game.
It was a test of mettle between the two sides in the shootouts and Jurgen Klopp's side showed why they are considered 'mentality monsters'.
The kind of arrogance Milner, van Dijk, Salah and of course, Fabinho had in their penalties, Chelsea looked likely to lose the shootout.