Liverpool advances to the English League Cup final after aggregate win over Fulham
LONDON (AP) — It’s Liverpool vs. Chelsea again.
After playing each other in back-to-back domestic finals in 2022, the rivalry will be renewed at Wembley Stadium on Feb. 25 with the English League Cup title on the line.
Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Fulham on Wednesday secured a 3-2 aggregate win in the semifinals and another showdown with Chelsea.
“We had the experience before, we know what to expect. Again Chelsea, wow what a story that is,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. “Wembley is a special place and I am really happy for everyone involved they can have that experience.”
Carrying a 2-1 first leg lead over Fulham, Liverpool completed the job at Craven Cottage.
Luis Diaz’s 11th-minute strike proved decisive in the tie as Fulham evened the score on the night through Issa Diop’s goal in the 76th.
Chelsea booked its place in the final after routing second-division Middlesbrough 6-1 on Tuesday to complete a 6-2 aggregate win.
Liverpool won the League Cup two years ago by beating Chelsea on penalties following a goal-less draw in the final. It completed a trophy double over the Londoners that season when it won on penalties again in the FA Cup final following another 0-0 draw.
But Klopp’s hopes of winning a quadruple in 2022 ended when it lost the Premier League title on the final day of the season and going on to be beaten by Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
Now his team is back in trophy contention after ending last season empty-handed and missing out on qualification for the Champions League.
“You should never take for granted if you are part of the team who can qualify for trophies,” Klopp said.
After enduring a slump last season, Klopp has rebuilt his team and is on another four-pronged trophy hunt and could win a record-extending 10th League Cup title.
Liverpool took control against Fulham after 11 minutes when Diaz collected Jarell Quansah’s long, diagonal pass, drove into the box and fired low past goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
But a commanding position was put under pressure as Fulham mounted a determined response in the second half.
Andreas Pereira came close to an equalizer on the night when he hit the post from a narrow angle early in the second half.
The home team was level in the 76th after substitute Harry Wilson’s cross was converted from close range by Diop.
Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher was then forced into action soon after as Wilson’s shot from distance had to be pushed away with a diving save.
“We have to be proud of the way we played in the games in this competition. We know the quality of the opposition we faced," Fulham manager Marco Silva said.
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