5 talking points from Liverpool's 3-2 aggregate Carabao Cup win over Fulham

Liverpool have made it through to the final of the Carabao Cup after a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night sealed a 3-2 aggregate win over Fulham.

Luis Diaz gave Jurgen Klopp's side the lead after just 11 minutes, expertly bringing down Jarell Quansah’s crossfield pass, before cutting inside and smashing the ball in at the near post - with the help of a few deflections.

The Colombian had the ball in the net again 15 minutes later, but his acrobatic volley was chalked off for Darwin Nunez’s offside in the build-up.

The game opened up massively for the Reds in the second half, and they ought to have scored while they were on top. Harvey Elliott struck the keeper's legs in a one-on-one, while Nunez should have ended the game as a contest. Instead, he passed up on two excellent chances.

As a result, the Reds were made to pay for their wastefulness. Fulham defender Issa Diop levelled the scores with 15 minutes left to go, kneeing in Harry Wilson’s deflected cross to set up a tense finish.

However, Klopp’s side eventually weathered the storm to set up yet another League Cup final with Chelsea at Wembley on 25 February.

Here are five talking points from the game

1) EFL Cup final record extended

In the end, it wasn't easy. But Liverpool are through to yet another final of the League Cup.

The Reds already held the record for final appearances in this competition (13). Now, however, one more can be added.

As it happens, our opponents at Wembley are second on the list. The February fixture will be Chelsea's tenth appearance in a League Cup final.

In the head-to-head, Liverpool have won it nine times (in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1995, 2001, 2003, 2012 and 2022), while Chelsea have come out on top just five times (in 1965, 1998, 2005, 2007 and 2015).

2) Quansah influence growing

Jarell Quansah continues to impress in his breakout season for Liverpool, and put in yet another solid defensive performance for the Reds on Wednesday night.

However, while the 20-year-old's assured defending has been a pleasant surprise, what has been even more unexpected is the youngster's creative output.

Incredibly, with his raking cross-field assist for Diaz in the first half, Quansah took his tally for this season to three - all in the Carabao Cup.

Incidentally, no player has more assists in this competition than the Warrington-born defender this season.

Impressively, that makes him the Reds' fourth-highest assist maker this season, behind only Darwin Nuñez (10), Mohamed Salah (8) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (8).

3) Trust in Clark

Once Alexis Mac Allister went off after 66 minutes, presumably to save his legs for the upcoming fixtures, the Reds suddenly looked extremely light in midfield.

Curtis Jones was his direct replacement, and he was flanked by Harvey Elliott and Ryan Gravenberch - neither of whom are renowned for their defensive prowess.

The introduction of Bobby Clark thereafter therefore came as an even bigger surprise, especially as the Reds were under the cosh.

However, despite his primarily attacking inclinations, he showed excellent tenacity in the middle of the park. Additionally, he provided a good out ball at times, gaining territory for his team higher up the pitch.

It's now two consecutive substitute appearances for Clark, and it's becoming clear to see how much trust the manager has in him.

4) Robertson back at long last

With just a cursory glance at Liverpool's bench at Craven Cottage this evening, you won't fail to have noticed a familiar face.

Andrew Robertson was named in the Reds' matchday squad for the first time since he dislocated his shoulder playing for Scotland during the October international break.

Although the left-back didn't eventually make it onto the pitch, just the sight of the Scotland captain warming up will have provided Liverpool fans with a boost.

The question now, though, is will he get back into the team any time soon?

With Joe Gomez performing there so admirably at the moment, it's hard to imagine Jurgen Klopp will be in a rush to get Robertson back on the field.

5) Chelsea await - again

This year's Carabao Cup final will be yet another meeting of red and blue in a major final.

Of course, Liverpool and Chelsea came face to face twice in 2022, in both the League Cup and the FA Cup final. The Reds, as you will no doubt remember, came out on top in both games following a penalty shootout.

In the previous meeting in a League Cup final in 2005, the winners were Chelsea, beating Liverpool 3–2 thanks in small part to an own goal from Steven Gerrard.

Let's hope this next meeting is more like that epic Benitez-Mourinho clash rather than the stalemates of recent years.

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