Thomas Tuchel says he does not know what impact Roman Abramovich's announcement that he will sell Chelsea will have on the club after his side overcame Luton Town 3-2 in the FA Cup.

Abramovich on Wednesday confirmed he will sell up after 19 years as owner of the European champions, saying the decision is "in the best interest of the club".

The Russian stated that he will ask for any loans to be repaid and has instructed his team to set up a charitable foundation, where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. Abramovich revealed the foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.

Tuchel's side were later caught cold on the pitch at Kenilworth Road on a huge day for the Blues, as Reece Burke and Harry Cornick edged Championship Luton ahead either side of Saul Niguez's equaliser.

However, Timo Werner's second-half strike restored parity before Romelu Lukaku delivered the decisive strike.

But the focus after the game turned back to Abramovich's announcement, and Tuchel stated that it would be impossible for him to know what will happen following what the club's owner described as "an incredibly difficult decision" for him.

"Maybe I heard it a little bit earlier than you, but still it was close to kick-off," Tuchel told the BBC when asked about the situation at the Premier League club.

"We heard the rumours throughout the day, of course, it is on television when we have team meetings and the guys are talking about it, everybody talks about it - it is big news.

"Let's wait and see, hope for the best and see what the day brings. Every decision he takes for the club is the right decision, it's his choice, it's his club and it's not on me to comment."

When pushed for an answer on what the news could mean in the short term, Tuchel responded: "Even if I want to [tell you], I don't exactly know. 

"In the very short term, for us as a team, staff and players, hopefully it won't mean too much and maybe change nothing but the situation is now out there, it's a big situation. 

"I can understand that there will be a lot of reports, but we try to cancel the noise, as we always do, and to stay focused, which is not always easy.

"We showed again that we can do it and we will try again on Saturday [against Burnley]."

A much-changed Chelsea were largely unconvincing against Nathan Jones' Championship side but Tuchel was delighted with a performance that meant more in the circumstances.

Asked if the result was of greater significance with the ongoings off the field, Tuchel added: "Yeah I think so, we're not living on an island - the guys have an internet connection, the TV is running and we see the news and the rumours.

"It is not normal to be so attached to something and play on the same day in a match where focus is absolutely key, to win is not so easy but it makes it a bigger performance and that is why I'm very happy."

Romelu Lukaku scored the winner to secure Chelsea's place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a battling 3-2 win at Luton Town, after Blues owner Roman Abramovich announced he was selling the club.

Abramovich confirmed he had put Chelsea up for sale, saying the decision is "in the best interest of the club" before kick-off and Thomas Tuchel's side started slowly on the pitch on Wednesday.

Saul Niguez cancelled out Reece Burke's second-minute opener against a much-changed Blues side, but Harry Cornick restored Championship side Luton's lead in the first half at Kenilworth Road.

Timo Werner equalised after the interval, before teeing up Lukaku with 12 minutes left to ensure Chelsea's place in the last eight, which will be played on March 19.

 

Burke glanced a header into the top-right corner from Luke Berry's corner after just 102 seconds – the fastest goal Chelsea have conceded in all competitions this season.

Tuchel's side levelled things up after 27 minutes when the ball fell kindly for Saul to curl into the bottom-right corner, before substitute goalkeeper Harry Isted expertly denied Saul, Kenedy and Romelu Lukaku within a frantic four-minute period.

Luton regained the lead after Malang Sarr's unconvincing offside trap allowed Cornick in to finish past Kepa Arrizabalaga following Carlos Mendes Gomes' throughball. 

Chelsea boasted 82 per cent possession in the first 15 minutes after the interval, but their reward did not arrive until the 68th minute when Werner poked past Isted after a superb Ruben Loftus-Cheek long pass.

Werner turned provider for the winning goal, when he found space inside the area and drilled across for Lukaku to apply the finish with a sliding tap-in.

Frank Lampard backed Everton's decision to cut all commercial ties with Russian companies following the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The Toffees suspended their commercial sponsorship arrangements with Russian firms owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov, and Lampard said they had made the correct decision as it "felt right for the club".

Everton are among a growing list of organisations to have distanced themselves from Russian sponsorship in a show of support for Ukraine.

Lampard, whose players carried Ukrainian flags onto the pitch ahead of their clash with Manchester City on Saturday, told reporters: "As I interviewed with the board and [having] a close relationship with the board, I have absolute faith that they are making the right decisions, as they see them, in the right way.

"The way we behaved last Saturday against Manchester City, I thought we were one of the forerunners of behaving well and showing solidarity and unity in the right way.

"I think [cutting ties with Russian sponsors] again is a show of us as a club doing the right thing. And it's a suspension, as the statement said today. And I think it was the right thing to do.

"At that point for me, it's very important I concentrate on football and the things I'm paid to do, which is to try and obviously win the game in front of us."

Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich announced on Wednesday that he would be selling the club but Lampard said he had no comment on his former club's situation.

Lampard won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups as a player at Chelsea, before rejoining them for a spell as manager, but he said he knew nothing of the internal workings at Stamford Bridge now.

"I only read what you read. I'm not at Chelsea any more," said Lampard. "I had an amazing time at Chelsea.

"If I say that you take as you find, I can only be very thankful that I was in the period of the club which Roman Abramovich came into and changed the face of it and on a football level we were very successful.

"I had absolute support in my time as a player and as a manager, for what anyone wants to think from the outside.

"I've got no comment on them now. I'm Everton manager and I don't have enough knowledge to give anything more than that."

Roman Abramovich has announced he is to sell Chelsea, saying the decision is "in the best interest of the club".

The Russian also confirmed he is setting up a charitable foundation to benefit "all victims of the war in Ukraine", to which he will donate all net proceeds of the sale of the Premier League club.

In a statement published via Chelsea's website, Abramovich confirmed the sale "will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process", adding he will not be asking for loans to be repaid by the club.

"This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club," he said.

"Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.

"I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements. Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart."

Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, has come under intense scrutiny in the past week following Russia's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The 55-year-old oligarch has been photographed with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past, and while it was claimed last week that Abramovich has no involvement in politics, a spokesperson for the Blues' owner suggested to the Press Association on Monday that he was "trying to help" achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Russian businesses and high-profile individuals have been hit with crippling financial sanctions by nations all over the world since the attack began last Thursday.

It is unclear if Abramovich has been impacted directly yet, but on Saturday he announced he was giving "trustees of Chelsea's charitable foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea", a move that shocked English football despite there being very little clarity as to what exactly it actually meant.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss told Blick he had received an offer to bid for Chelsea this week but would only be interested in buying the club as part of a group of "six to seven investors".

Chelsea have enjoyed an unrivalled period of success across Roman Abramovich's near two decades as owner at Stamford Bridge.

From their five Premier Leagues and two Champions Leagues, plus last month's Club World Cup triumph, the Blues have won it all under the Russian billionaire.

But amid mounting political pressure following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Abramovich is reportedly open to selling Chelsea for the first time.


TOP STORY – THREE PARTIES INTERESTED IN BLUES 

According to The Telegraph, at least three parties are circling Chelsea in the belief that Abramovich is ready to walk away.

Abramovich announced on Saturday, a day before the Blues' EFL Cup final loss to Liverpool, that he is taking a step back from his duties as owner.

The report indicates that Chelsea are bracing themselves for bids as early as this week as a changing of the guard at Stamford Bridge becomes a realistic possibility.


ROUND-UP

- Manchester City have ramped up their interest in Borussia Dortmund's in-demand striker Erling Haaland, according to The Express. City chief Txiki Begiristain is said to have recently met with agent Mino Raiola to discuss the signing of Haaland.

- Ralf Rangnick has been ruled out of the running to become Manchester United's next permanent boss. The Sun claims that Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag, in charge of Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax respectively, are the two men being considered.

- Sky Sports News reports that Antonio Rudiger's representatives remain in constant dialogue with Real Madrid and PSG over an end-of-season transfer. Chelsea want to keep hold of the defender, but they have been unable to agree fresh terms. 

- According to football.london, Arsenal are eager to reward Bukayo Saka with a new deal at the end of the campaign. The England international is already under contract at Emirates Stadium until July 2024.

- Atletico Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera will see out the remainder of the 2021-22 LaLiga campaign before making the switch to Houston Dynamo in MLS, Fabrizio Romano suggests. Herrera has made 14 appearances this term and is a regular for Mexico.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel became irritated with journalists after repeated questions regarding the crisis in Ukraine and his club's owner, Roman Abramovich.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday and the conflict continues to escalate.

The world of sport has responded strongly, with several sanctions placed on Russian sporting federations and teams. In football, FIFA and UEFA have banned Russian sides from competing in their tournaments, while European football's governing body has also stripped St Petersburg of this season's Champions League final.

Abramovich, meanwhile, has been mentioned as an individual who may be sanctioned by the British government.

On Thursday, Abramovich's name was brought up in the United Kingdom Houses of Parliament as possible sanctions against the Russian state and individuals were discussed.

Such sanctions are yet to be placed on the Russian-Israeli businessman, though Abramovich announced he was handing over the "stewardship and care" of Chelsea to the trustees of its charitable foundation on Saturday.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Abramovich told PA that the 55-year-old was attempting to assist peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

The subject dominated Tuchel's news conference on Tuesday, ahead of Chelsea's FA Cup tie with Luton Town, and eventually the former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund coach grew frustrated.

"You have to stop. I am not a politician. Honestly, I can only repeat it," he said. "I even feel bad to repeat it, to talk about it. I have never experienced war. 

"I am feeling very privileged, I sit here in peace. I do the best I can. You have to stop asking me these questions. I have no answers to you.

"You always start the question with the same sentence: 'There's much more important things than football, can you comment?'. You decide also to ask me about war. 

"How often do I need to say it? It's horrible. There cannot be any other opinion about it. That's it. Why should we be more distracted than you at work?"

Tuchel's hope is for he and his team to be able to focus on football.

"It's out there. There's more important things out there. This will never change. It's about sports," he continued.

"There's a lot more important things out there. Still, there is a huge distraction going on. We are worried. 

"In the end we try and create an atmosphere to come to work, which is our passion. We are very, very grateful and privileged to have it and it's not that big of a problem. 

"Everybody in Europe has some noise in his head that nobody likes. Maybe the same for you but still you try to do your job as good as possible, the same for us."

Thomas Tuchel called for calm and insisted it is business as usual on the pitch following Russian owner Roman Abramovich's decision to pass stewardship to Chelsea's trustees.

Abramovich announced on Saturday, a day before the Blues' EFL Cup final penalty shoot-out loss to Liverpool, that he is taking a step back from his involvement with the club.

That announcement came three days after Russia began its military invasion of Ukraine to widespread international condemnation.

But ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Luton Town, Tuchel is not letting talk surrounding Abramovich – and wider events in Ukraine – distract his players.

"We try to be calm here," he said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. "We are calm in the centre of a storm or some noise around us we cannot control. 

"We are not responsible for it. In the end it's best to stay calm and focus on what we love and what we do. This is sports. 

"We have a right to focus on sports, the players have a right to be focused. This is what we can tell the fans, I think this is what the fans saw on Sunday. 

"There is a big situation out there. A lot of commitment from the players of both clubs, from the fans. I think everybody is aware there are more important things. 

"The situation in Ukraine is by far much more important than football. Still, there was a full stadium. Still, we arrived two teams, strong teams, who played a fantastic match. 

"This is what we can do for the fans, to distract them and entertain them. To do what we do with maximum effort and commitment. 

"I don't see any other solution what we can do different."

Probed further on events that are escalating in Ukraine, and whether Abramovich should remain the owner of Chelsea, Tuchel grew irritated with the line of questioning.

"You have to stop. I am not a politician. Honestly, I can only repeat it," he said. "I even feel bad to repeat it, to talk about it. I have never experienced war. 

"I am feeling very privileged, I sit here in peace. I do the best I can. You have to stop asking me these questions. I have no answers to you.

"You always start the question with the same sentence: 'There's much more important things than football, can you comment?'. You decide also to ask me about war. 

"How often do I need to say it? It's horrible. There cannot be any other opinion about it. That's it. Why should we be more distracted than you at work? 

"That's what I mean when I said it in the first place. It's out there. There's more important things out there. This will never change. It's about sports. 

"There's a lot more important things out there. Still, there is a huge distraction going on. We are worried. 

"In the end we try and create an atmosphere to come to work, which is our passion. We are very, very grateful and privileged to have it and it's not that big of a problem. 

"Everybody in Europe has some noise in his head that nobody likes. Maybe the same for you but still you try to do your job as good as possible, the same for us."

Chelsea's six-match winning run in all competitions was ended with Sunday's defeat to Liverpool at Wembley, albeit in a game that finished goalless at the end of 120 minutes.

The Blues now have a second game in the space of four days as they head into an FA Cup tie at second-tier Luton.

After suffering a rare defeat in a major final, Tuchel is hopeful his side can quickly respond this week.

"It should not be too hard to lift the team after Sunday," he said. "Everybody knows we played a strong match to our identity, with full commitment and a lot of quality. 

"You can never control the result. A winner had to be found and it was found after 22 penalties. That tells the story. That should not be the problem. 

"It's only two days. We gave a day off to clear our minds. It was not only a disappointment but physically training, demanding. 

"That leaves us with a one day turnaround to be ready for tomorrow. It's another competition; that's life at Chelsea. 

"We want to be competitive, we want to be in different competitions, so we have to be ready. Is that always easy? Maybe not. 

"This is what we do, what we demand. From me, myself and everybody around the team, last but not least from the players. This is where we are."

Tuchel confirmed that Chelsea have a "massive list" of absentees ahead of facing the Hatters, with Hakim Ziyech among those out of contention for Wednesday's contest.

Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson both hailed Liverpool's "special" EFL Cup triumph over Chelsea after sealing a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory on Sunday.

An enthralling final that saw both teams have goals disallowed had to be settled from the spot, and after a run of 21 successful spot-kicks, Chelsea's substitute goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga blazed over the bar to hand the Reds record success in the competition.

Van Dijk netted the Red's third kick of the shoot-out but he was instrumental in another of the match's key turning points.

Joel Matip had a second-half goal disallowed after his centre-back partner was ruled offside when blocking defender Reece James.

Speaking to Sky Sports after lifting the trophy, Van Dijk praised his team's maturity and work-rate but expressed his confusion at the decision to disallow Matip's goal.

"[It was] very special," the 30-year-old said of the victory.

"There was a lot of hard work, as we expected before the game, a lot of calm nerves [needed]. The penalties overall were all quite good apart from the last one [from Kepa].

"We have matured and been through quite a lot over the last two seasons, the way we play and additions we have made.

"It was an intense game and offside goals were also a thing, and that rule of playing on until whenever [when an offside call is tight] is annoying. It is something we have to consider taking out for next season.

"I told the ref I don't understand [the offside decision]. I wasn't even participating, the ball went over my head and I did not even go for the ball. It is a game of challenges, and you are allowed to block a move. 

"I think when Manchester United played away at Burnley [in a Premier League draw earlier this month], there was a similar thing that was also disallowed and I don't understand it."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was delighted that his decision to start back-up goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher in the EFL Cup final paid off.

Kelleher became the youngest goalkeeper to start an EFL Cup final since 2011 after Klopp kept faith with him for the showdown with Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday.

A thrilling final went to spot-kicks after a pulsating two hours of football ended goalless, with both sides missing a plethora of chances.

In a high-quality penalty shoot-out, Kelleher slotted home the 21st successful spot-kick in a row, before opposite number Kepa Arrizabalaga – who had only come on for penalties – cleared the crossbar with his own kick, resulting in an 11-10 Liverpool victory in the shoot-out as they sealed a record ninth EFL Cup success.

Speaking to Sky Sports after lifting the trophy, Klopp said that Kelleher deserved his moment in the spotlight.

"I think even in professional football, there should be some space for sentiment, to be honest," Klopp said.

"He is a young boy, we ask him to do a lot in the competition to get us to the final, and then I [should] tell him 'you won't play'?

"I'm two things, a professional football manager and a human being, and the human being won.

"It's so nice that it paid off, he deserves it.

"When I told Ali [regular goalkeeper Allison] that he would not play, at the training centre we have a wall showing all the goalkeepers are who won something [in the club's history]. He said 'great, let's win and put Caoimhin on there as well!'

"That's exactly how it should be, it's absolutely great."

Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool's EFL Cup triumph can be the "springboard" to achieve a remarkable quadruple after they edged Chelsea for a record ninth win in the competition.

Jurgen Klopp's side sealed their first EFL Cup for a decade with a thrilling 11-10 penalty shoot-out victory following a goalless encounter at Wembley Stadium.

Having pressed back into contention for the Premier League, and still in the FA Cup and Champions League, the Reds are looking at a potentially unprecedented silverware haul.

Former Reds defender Carragher certainly believes they can taste further success in the coming months, and hopes their victory over Thomas Tuchel's Blues can launch them onto more glory days this season.

"It can be a springboard," he told Sky Sports. "Liverpool are involved in four trophies, they've won the first one, it's going to be really tough to win the other ones, but this could be a really special season.

"Not just for this group, but Liverpool's history as a club - to getting close to winning three or four trophies, it could be really special, and this could be the start of it."

Another former Liverpool player, Jamie Redknapp, raised concerns about Tuchel's decision to bring Kepa Arrizabalaga on specifically for the shoot-out, with the Spaniard not saving any of Liverpool's 11 penalties and skied the one he took over the bar.

"I hope it puts to bed the idea of bringing on goalkeepers on for shoot-outs," Redknapp told Sky Sports. "[Edouard] Mendy's one of the world's best goalkeepers, and then you bring on Kepa instead. [It's] ridiculous.

"I didn't like his behaviour when the penalties were being taken, and then he took one of the worst penalties you'll ever see. I don't understand why you'd do it."

Caoimhin Kelleher expressed his delight after netting the winning penalty in Liverpool's EFL Cup final triumph over Chelsea, acknowledging he did not realise that his spot-kick had proven decisive at the time.

The enthralling Wembley showpiece saw four goals disallowed across a goalless 120 minutes before 21 consecutive penalties were scored in an incredible penalty shoot-out.

Kelleher, who started the game ahead of Alisson as Jurgen Klopp kept faith with the man who had helped the Reds to Wembley, converted the 21st spot-kick.

Kepa Arrizabalaga was brought on to replace Edouard Mendy specifically for the shoot-out deep into extra-time but shot over to hand Liverpool their first domestic cup in 10 years.

Kelleher told Sky Sports in the aftermath that he was delighted with the success, but admitted he had not realised that he was the match-winner at the time.

"I thought I'd saved one, I got close to a few and then when it came down to me, I didn't even realise I'd scored the winning penalty!", he said.

"I forgot that I'd scored the winning one, all the penalties from the lads were class, and I was just happy to score."

When asked if he had channelled his youth as an outfield player when taking his kick, the 23-year-old responded: "I think it was more hit and hope!

"I got a hand on a few, but all the penalties were very high quality, and I'm just thankful we were able to win.

"I thought we had scored when we got that goal [Joel Matip's second-half disallowed effort], and it was obviously disallowed. They had a few disallowed too, so I think over the game a draw was a fair result."

Kelleher also revealed his exchange with Klopp after the tense finale, with the Liverpool manager telling his young keeper that he had written his name into the club's history.

"He [Klopp] just said 'well done for scoring the winning penalty, there's a wall at Liverpool with all the goalkeepers who have managed to win cups, and he said 'now's your chance to join them!'," he added.

The 11-10 shoot-out win over Chelsea represented the highest-scoring penalty shoot-out in history between two English top-flight teams, with Liverpool's backup keeper eventually proving the unlikely hero in the Reds' record ninth EFL Cup win.

The third major final meeting between Chelsea and Liverpool proved to be a classic.

It was the Reds who triumphed at Wembley, where the crowd were treated to a tale of bad misses and, ultimately, a tale of two goalkeepers.

Caoimhin Kelleher, Liverpool's 23-year-old number two, was their hero, scoring what turned out to be the shoot-out winner as Kepa Arrizabalaga, brought on at the end of extra time by Thomas Tuchel specifically for penalties, blazed his effort high over the bar.

Kepa had proved Chelsea's hero in the Super Cup in August when he replaced Edouard Mendy for that shoot-out, yet history did not repeat itself. Nothing on Sunday went to plan for the Spain international, who had seemed all set to start, given he has been the Blues' regular cup keeper this season.

His strike may well not have been on target if two goals had been stacked on top of each other, and it meant Jurgen Klopp's side won 11-10 on penalties.

It was the highest-scoring penalty shoot-out between two English top-flight teams in history, and brought up a record ninth EFL Cup title for Liverpool, who have collected a fourth major trophy under Klopp, though their first domestic cup of his tenure.

Yet it could all have been very different. Kepa wouldn't have needed to be the butt of all jokes had his team-mates finished some glorious chances, while Liverpool passed up a fair share of their own in what was one of the most thrilling 0-0 draws you are likely to see.

Here are the biggest moments from a memorable showdown...

Pulisic, 6 (xG 0.52)

The first huge moment came within six minutes. Kai Havertz, who would go on to have a superb game, exploited space in midfield and slid a pass out to Cesar Azpilicueta. His low cross found Christian Pulisic in space but the forward clipped a first-time effort straight at Kelleher.

Mane, 30 (xG 0.58)

Having headed wide from an earlier, albeit more difficult, opportunity, Sadio Mane was left bewildered not to be celebrating a goal when Mendy justified Tuchel's selection, making a wonderful save to deny his compatriot from point-blank range.

Mount, 45 (xG 0.6)

Chelsea bookended the first half with another remarkable miss. This time it was Mason Mount who got on the end of Kai Havertz's centre, yet he volleyed wide when it seemed easier to score. Indeed, based on Opta's xG model, this was the best opportunity of a game packed full of golden chances.

Mount, 49 (xG 0.33)

While the xG for this opportunity would suggest Mount only had a 33 per cent chance of scoring, he really should have done better. Put through by a delicately lofted throughball, the England international set himself before sliding a low effort to Kelleher's right, only for the ball to clip away agonisingly off the foot of the post. 

 

Salah, 64 (xG 0.58)

Mendy was almost the master of Chelsea's downfall when he thumped an overhit pass straight out into midfield. Salah capitalised and raced through, lobbing the onrushing goalkeeper, yet there was not enough power on the chip, which may well have been heading wide anyway, and it was cleared.

Matip disallowed goal, 67-69 (xG n/a)

The deadlock seemed to have been broken when Joel Matip headed in from Mane's nod back across goal, only for the VAR to disallow Liverpool's goal due to Virgil van Dijk, who appeared to block Reece James, having been offside in the build-up.

Havertz disallowed goal, 78 (xG n/a)

Chelsea got a taste of the VAR medicine as Havertz's celebrations were cut short after he headed in from Timo Werner's cross, with the creator having strayed offside.

Van Dijk, 90+1 (xG 0.04)

Andrew Robertson and Luis Diaz went close in a scramble, but it was Van Dijk who almost won it for Liverpool in normal time. It was a brilliant header from the towering defender, but Mendy got down low to his left to parry it away.

Lukaku, 90+5 (xG 0.19)

Chelsea had a big moment of their own in stoppage time, but Kelleher – the youngest goalkeeper to start in an EFL Cup final since 2011 – reacted sharply to keep out Lukaku's clever flick at the front post.

 

Lukaku disallowed goal, 98 (xG n/a)

Lukaku showed flashes of his Inter form as he raced through, isolated a defender and slotted home at the near post early in extra time, only for the offside flag to go up again. The VAR checked the decision, but by the finest of margins the forward was indeed offside.

Havertz disallowed goal, 109 (xG n/a)

Havertz finished superbly across Kelleher in the second half of extra time, yet the Germany international was also stood in an offside position when he received Lukaku's pass.

Kepa's howler, penalties

In remarkable scenes, the shoot-out went all the way to 22 kicks, and it was the goalkeepers who had to step up. But having been brought on to save spot-kicks, Kepa did not seem ready to take one, and he lashed his effort way, way over the crossbar, sealing a Liverpool win in a classic final that, somehow, finished 0-0.

Liverpool won the EFL Cup by beating Chelsea on penalties following a goalless draw at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, with Kepa Arrizabalaga missing the 22nd kick of the shoot-out.

A tight encounter saw several big chances missed and four goals disallowed in all, before Kepa – who was brought on specifically for the shoot-out – missed the decisive penalty.

The remarkable finish means Liverpool have now won a record nine EFL Cups – one more than Manchester City – with this Jurgen Klopp's first domestic cup since arriving at Anfield in 2015.

European and world champions Chelsea will rue their wasted opportunities even before the spot-kicks in their fourth consecutive domestic final defeat.

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara was withdrawn from the Reds' starting XI for the EFL Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium after suffering an injury in the warm-up.

Naby Keita replaced the Spain international, with Harvey Elliott taking Keita's place among the substitutes.

Thiago – who was seen to be crying on the bench – has been in excellent form for the Reds, including playing 68 minutes in the 6-0 demolition of Leeds United on Wednesday before being subbed for Jordan Henderson, presumably to ensure he was fit for Sunday's final.

It had earlier been confirmed that Diogo Jota had made the bench after missing Premier League wins over Norwich City and Leeds United following a knock picked up against Inter in the Champions League on February 16.

Romelu Lukaku was named on the bench for a second straight game by Thomas Tuchel, while Chelsea opted for Edouard Mendy ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal.

Romelu Lukaku was named on the bench for a second straight game by Thomas Tuchel in Sunday's EFL Cup final, while Chelsea opted for Edouard Mendy ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga against Liverpool.

Lukaku's role in the Chelsea team has been the subject of some debate all season long and came to the fore again following his display in the 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on February 19. 

The Belgium striker managed just seven touches – the fewest of any player to complete 90 minutes in a single top-flight game since Opta has the data available (2003-04) – and was subsequently dropped to the bench for the win over Lille in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Tuchel said that decision was made to keep Lukaku out of "the next fire", seemingly hinting at a return at Wembley, but Kai Havertz was again preferred when the Chelsea team was announced on Sunday.

Tuchel's other conundrum was whether to start Kepa, who has starred as Chelsea's cup goalkeeper. However, first-choice Mendy, as in the Club World Cup final, was preferred.

Hakim Ziyech did not make the matchday squad, but Mateo Kovacic was named in the XI. Both men had hobbled off against Lille.

Andreas Christensen's absence created space for Trevoh Chalobah to be brought in, while Reece James returned to the bench for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury on December 29 against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Jurgen Klopp made for two alterations to the Liverpool line-up that hammered Leeds United 6-0 on Wednesday, keeping faith with his cup keeper in Caoimhin Kelleher while Jordan Henderson returned.

Diogo Jota made the bench after missing Premier League wins over Norwich City and Leeds, following a knock picked up against Inter in the Champions League on February 16.

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