Kostas Tsimikas writes himself into Liverpool folklore by securing FA Cup glory

Kostas Tsimikas scored the winning penalty in the shootout
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It was a tie that could have gone either way in normal time. In the early stages, the Reds flew out of the blocks. There had already been one or two close shaves when Trent Alexander-Arnold delivered a through ball of the highest quality for Luis Diaz to run onto.

The England international used the outside of his right boot and his Portuguese colleague didn’t need to break his stride before collecting and bearing down on Mendy’s goal. His shot was only partially blocked by the keeper’s legs and it needed Trevor Chalobah to belt clear as the ball threatened to cross the goal line.

In fact, it took Chelsea a full quarter-hour before they secured any meaningful possession in Liverpool’s half but by the end of the opening 45 minutes had posed just as much of a threat. Christian Pulisic steered a shot just beyond the post after Mount fed him inside the area and then he fashioned a chance when he sent Marcos Alonso through. The pass was too heavy and allowed Alisson the time to close the gap and block.

But there was an undoubted boost for Chelsea just after the half-hour when Mohamed Salah sat on the Wembley turf. It appeared ominous as the little Egyptian didn’t appear to have been caught in an obvious incident.

He forlornly made his way from the pitch, Diogo Jota coming on in his place. Initial reports of a possible groin problem do not bode well for the finale to the campaign. Romelu Lukaku blasted over when put through by Jorginho – and the second-half started as it finished. With Chelsea fashioning three chances in the opening two-and-a-half minutes.

It looked just a matter of time before one team would create a breakthrough. But, like two prize-fighters, the pair of them simply slugged it out, trading punches without ever delivering the killer blow.

Mohamed Salah was forced off after 32 minutes in the FA Cup final
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There isn’t enough newsprint to detail a blow-by-blow account. Suffice to say that the two clearest opportunities arrived in the final ten minutes of normal time.

Diaz – who must hold the record for the most shots on goal in an FA Cup final – took a pass from Sadio Mane and clattered a drive against the upright. Moments later, Andy Robertson did likewise after a move spanning the length of the field.

It wasn’t the last meaningful action. That came later. And what a finale it was for Alisson and Tsimikas.