Liverpool won the League Cup final in theatrical fashion defeating Chelsea in an 11-10 penalty shoot-out victory at Wembley on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side clinched their first domestic knockout prize since the 2012 League Cup when Kepa blazed his spot-kick high over the bar.
It was the only miss in the nerve-jangling shoot-out, which saw Liverpool keeper Caoimhin Kelleher score his penalty just before Kepa failed.
Ironically, Kepa was sent on at the end of extra-time to replace Edouard Mendy given his reputation as a penalty saving specialist, but the Spaniard was unable to repel any of Liverpool’s kicks.
Mason Mount missed two sitters, Christian Pulisic one and there were four goals disallowed – three for Chelsea, one for Liverpool. Left to their own devices the players then found the net 21 times before Arrizabalaga – who had been introduced with a minute of extra-time remaining, as Chelsea’s specialist penalty saver – skied his effort to gift the spoils to Liverpool.
The Reds have lifted the League Cup a record nine times, while Klopp is the first German manager to win the tournament after finally tasting Wembley success following two previous defeats as a boss there.
Klopp said: “There should be space for some sentiment. Caoimhin Kelleher is a young boy, plays in all the competition. I cannot tell him he can’t play the final.
“I’m a manager and a human being and the human being won. He deserves it.
“I’m happy for the people in dark times to celebrate something like this. Chelsea are incredibly strong, we matched each other. We needed to have luck.
Liverpool remain in contention for an unprecedented quadruple after closing the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City to six points with a game in hand.
Amid the Russian invasion of its neighbour, Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson carried flowers in the country’s yellow and blue colours onto the pitch.
For Chelsea, this was a painful end to a difficult week, which saw Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich on Saturday announce that he is “giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable foundation the stewardship and care” of the club.