What Jordan Henderson did to devastated Mason Mount as Chelsea write unwanted FA Cup history

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Penalties again. Liverpool again. FA Cup final defeat…again. Chelsea threw everything they had at Jurgen Klopp’s side at Wembley, and they absorbed plenty of punishment as the two teams traded blows. Still, it wasn’t enough to come away with the trophy after a gruelling 120 minutes of football.

It was Mason Mount who missed the decisive spot-kick. That was a cruel twist of fate. The club’s reigning Player of the Season, the man who has often stepped up when required over the past 18 months, left despondent after Kostas Tsimikas tucked home from 12 yards to begin Liverpool’s celebrations.

Certain Chelsea players couldn’t watch as Liverpool raised the trophy. Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta – who also missed in the shootout – walked along the touchline and kicked the turf in frustration. Thiago Silva stood with his head bowed. Jorginho and Hakim Ziyech were already down the tunnel by the time the silverware was lifted above the head of Jordan Henderson, who had minutes earlier consoled a devastated Mount. It was a nice touch.

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For the majority of Chelsea’s players, it’s time to shake off a third successive FA Cup final defeat. Arsenal in 2020. Leicester City in 2021. And now Liverpool in 2022. That in itself is history, not that anyone from the club will want to be associated nor acknowledge it.

In February, when these two sides met in the Carabao Cup final, they spent much of the game trading blows. It was a repeat story here: two heavyweights of the European game – somewhat fatigued both mentally and physically – slugging it out in the sun at Wembley.

Liverpool came out swinging. And in Luis Diaz, they possessed the game’s most consistent threat. It was he who came closest to opening the scoring after Trent Alexander-Arnold played a wonderful pass behind Trevoh Chalobah and the Colombian broke through.

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Edouard Mendy, in the Chelsea goal, stood tall and managed to partly block Diaz’s effort. Yet it still rolled goalwards. It wasn’t until Chalobah raced back and cleared that the danger passed. Although that respite only lasted moments as Andrew Robertson then threatened with a shot from distance.

Tuchel was agitated and concerned in the Chelsea dugout. So it came as little surprise that when the opportunity for the German to vent, he took it – Romelu Lukaku, the unfortunate Blues star to bear the brunt, having not challenged Ibrahima Konate for a hopeful punt forward by Mendy.

Chelsea were not able to quell the Liverpool pressure, but they did throw punches of their own. Christian Pulisic rolled a shot narrowly wide after a Mason Mount cross before Marcos Alonso was denied by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson after he was put through one-on-one.

Back came Liverpool: Jota volleyed over. Then Chelsea: Romelu Lukaku fired high. Soon both needed a break in their respective corners, and it was at that point the half-time whistle was blown. It was a chance for Chelsea to regroup and refocus. Liverpool simply needed to maintain their momentum after the restart.

Tuchel had 15 minutes with his players. Key tactical messages would’ve been repeated; words of encouragement uttered. Then it was back to those in yellow to step up. At the beginning of the second period, they did so. It was a barrage from the Blues, but Liverpool stayed standing.

Alonso dragged a half volley narrowly wide. Alisson then produced an excellent stop to deny Pulisic, who had been teed up by Lukaku. Alonso again came close as he whipped a free-kick from out wide over the head of the Liverpool goalkeeper and off the crossbar.

Tuchel sensed this was a key moment for Chelsea. As a roar of encouragement echoed around the half of Wembley decorated in blue, the 48-year-old turned to the crowd and raised his arms three times in quick succession. It was reminiscent of his touchline encouragement during last season’s Champions League final.

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But just at the point that Chelsea had built momentum, Liverpool pushed themselves off the ropes, and Jota wasted a gilt-edged chance at the back post. Diaz then dragged a shot narrowly wide of Mendy’s post. Had it been on target, there was very little the Senegal international could have done to stop it.

For much of the contest, Pulisic was Chelsea’s most threatening forward. He came close once more with an effort from the edge of the box that he skewed narrowly wide. It proved the Blues’ last clear chance of the 90 minutes; fatigue very much had set in, and Liverpool attempted to take advantage.

Diaz struck the post, and then inexplicably, so did Andrew Robertson. The Scotland international had almost the entirety of the goal to aim at as he arrived to connect with a James Milner cross, but he somehow hit the woodwork. In the dying moments, Diaz then curled an effort just wide.

So extra time, which given both of these teams have played 60 matches-plus this season, felt somewhat brutish. Unsurprisingly, the tempo dropped dramatically, and there was little of note to truly excite despite changes being made, one of which was the introduction of Ross Barkley for his first appearance since January. It was solely so he could take a spot-kick.

And he scored for Chelsea. So did Alonso, James, Jorginho and Ziyech. Mendy enjoyed his moment too, when he dived low to his left to deny Mane. But unfortunately, he couldn’t bail out Mount and Chelsea once again. The Blues finally knocked down to the canvas from a position they could not rise.

Source by Football London

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