Liverpool won their first FA Cup in over 15 years, needing a penalty kick shootout to get past Chelsea for the 2022 title. The Reds now have eight FA Cups in their trophy case, good for third most all-time.
Penalties were needed at Wembley after Liverpool and Chelsea played 120 scoreless minutes, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. Konstantinos Tsimikas buried the winning penalty for Liverpool after teammate and goalkeeper Alisson Becker made a key stop to allow the Reds to claim a 6-5 shootout triumph.
Liverpool’s previous FA Cup came 16 years earlier, also via kicks from the penalty spot. That victory on penalties came after a 3-3 barnburner against West Ham.
The 2022 trophy will be especially memorable if Liverpool can succeed in pulling off an unprecedented quadruple of trophies. With two pieces of silverware in the bag (they also won the 2022 League Cup), the Reds are still vying for the Premier League title and the UEFA Champions League trophy May 28 against Real Madrid.
When was the last time Liverpool won the FA Cup?
Liverpool won the 2022 FA Cup on May 14 at Wembley Stadium in a penalty shootout win over Chelsea which essentially mirrored the teams’ League Cup final tussle a little over two months before.
The sides once again had their share of looks at goal, but some missed chances and moments of elite defending kept the match scoreless and forced extra time, where the teams turned conservative and the chances dried up.
With very little separating the two teams once again, penalties seemed inevitable and Liverpool made fewer errors in the shootout to capture the trophy. Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta hit the post and Mason Mount’s shot was saved, amounting to one less conversion than Liverpool, who only saw Sadio Mane fail to score with the opportunity to win the shootout in the fifth round.
The 6-5 shootout win was hard fought by Liverpool, which had to overcome forced injury substitutions to Mohamed Salah and Virgil Van Dijk. But the Reds’ deep bench — Diogo Jota and Joel Matip replaced them — proved once again to be a strength. The team was already without influential Brazilian midfielder Fabinho, who missed the match due to injury.
For Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, it was his first FA Cup title after years of coming up short with Liverpool. In previous years squad rotation cost Liverpool in this knockout competition, but the 2022 Reds had the quality up and down the squad to essentially field two teams and go deep in every competition.
Liverpool gain FA Cup revenge vs Chelsea
Before their 2022 FA Cup victory, Liverpool’s last trip to the final came 10 years prior and it was Chelsea who thwarted them at the final hurdle in 2012. The Blues ran out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Ramires and Didier Drogba.
That was the seventh FA Cup final loss in Liverpool’s history — tied for second-most in the history of the competition.
In order to reach the final again in 2021-22, the Reds benefited from a relatively kind path with matches against Shrewsbury Town, Cardiff City, Norwich City and Nottingham Forest before a much tougher semifinal test against Manchester City.
Liverpool’s return to FA Cup success
It had been a lengthy FA Cup drought that was finally ended by a 2022 squad that looked completely different to what it did 16 years before.
Rafael Benitez was the manager of Liverpool back in 2006. Klopp was in charge of German side FSV Mainz at the time, only just starting on his managerial track.
The Reds also chose to prioritise other competitions in seasons prior to 2021-22, achieving Premier League and Champions League success in the process.
Wholesale squad changes for FA Cup clashes backfired on them during the barren spell. For example, Liverpool were forced into a Fourth Round replay by the likes of Shrewsbury Town after an experimental XI stumbled in early 2020.
In 2020-21 the Reds were knocked out in the Fourth Round by Manchester United and only went one game better the year before that. Klopp, however, assembled a deeper squad for 2021-22 and that laid the platform for their success in the FA Cup and elsewhere.
The addition of players such as Luis Diaz and Ibrahima Konate has provided ample back-up and enabled the Reds to go deep into competitions.
It’s a foundation upon which the club can presumably build as it seeks to sustain a dynasty to rival some of the legendary Liverpool sides of the past.