Chelsea 0 - 1 Liverpool (AET): Blues player ratings as Petrovic shines brightest

Chelsea became the first team to lose six consecutive domestic cup finals, losing the last three in a row to Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool. The Blues seemed to have a good game, but it was the way the game unfolded in the 30 minutes of extra time that left fans frustrated. The admission from Mauricio Pochettino that his men were playing for penalties certainly did not help.

Chelsea v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Final
Chelsea v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Final / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Chelsea implemented the only game plan they had available to them: absorb pressure and counterattack with speed. The plan worked excellently, because after 90 minutes of football had been played, the west Londoners had created FIVE (5) big chances, and yet had scored zero goals. Liverpool had created just one at the time. These numbers would remain unchanged throughout the 30 minutes for extra time, but they highlight how effective Pochettino's game plan was for the game. Many Blues players rose to the challenge, but some others fell short when it mattered. Here is how the Pride of London rates the players individually:

Djordje Petrovic: 9/10

Petrovic was excellent. He faced a Liverpool team that was incredibly good at shooting the ball, despite them not getting particularly clear-cut chances. He made 10 saves on the night, and eight of them were from inside the box. He was superb in claiming crosses, but unfortunately, his defenders couldn't prevent the ball from flying at him as often as it did.

Malo Gusto: 7.5/10

Gusto's ball-winning was excellent, winning possession back for Chelsea in 5/6 tackles. His crossing and long passing were abysmal, but he did win 10/16 duels he contested. He created 3 chances, but that doesn't justify the possession losses because all his passes combined for a total of 0.08 expected assists (xA).

Levi Colwill: 7.5/10

His long passing was poor, though he was solid in the box, good in the air, and contributed directly to Chelsea's big chances. He blocked more shots and made more defensive actions than anyone on the pitch, except Moises Caicedo.

Axel Disasi: 7/10

Disasi, like Colwill, did not contest any tackle and was equally careless on the ball. Though unlike Colwill he missed a big chance and made an error that resulted in a shot.

Ben Chilwell: 7/10

Chilwell was very good defensively, but he contributed nothing in chance creation, despite relatively high ball usage. He made 10 defensive actions and won most of his duels. He helped Chelsea in buildup play though.

Moises Caicedo: 8/10

I complained about Caicedo that he did not do enough in the last game against Liverpool. He did plenty in this game, and it was a markedly better performance from the Ecuador international given the occasion. The British record signing was excellent both in and out of possession. According to Sofascore, he completed 94% of his passes, completing 5/6 long balls in the process, won 11/15 ground duels, 10/14 defensive ground duels, and completed 7/7 tackles, not getting dribbled past once. He won three fouls and made four interceptions too. No one on the pitch made more interceptions than him.

Enzo Fernandez: 8/10

Fernandez was again careless in position, something that should now be considered the norm. He was excellent out of possession though. He did help in buildup some, making 11 passes into the final third, but he did nothing to help Chelsea retain possession. He contested 12 tackles and completed seven of them, also contesting 16 defensive ground duels.

Conor Gallagher: 6/10

Gallagher missed two gilt-edged chances in regulation time, and he may be the single biggest contributor to Chelsea losing that final considering that he created zero clear-cut chances. He helped the Blues escape pressure, winning six fouls, which is more than any other player on the pitch. He also won most of his defensive duels.

Cole Palmer: 8/10

Palmer lost possession of the ball 33 times, which has to be a season-high number for Chelsea players, but you could say the end justifies the means in this case because he created two big chances, and in a cup final there's not much more you can ask for from your forward. His shooting was good but not great, as he also missed a big chance himself.

Raheem Sterling: 3/10

Why 3/10? Well, it's because that was a "Hall of Shame" performance, and in a cup final no less. "Oh but that's harsh", is it? The Premier League veteran went 0/3 on dribbles, 0/2 on tackles, 0/6 on ground duels, and 0/1 on aerial duels.

Nicolas Jackson: 6/10

Jackson was a handful for the Virgil van Dijk-Ibrahima Konate centerback pairing, and though they won most of the duels they contested against him, they didn't have as good a night as they'd have wanted. The Senegal striker also missed a big chance. Of course, he did, it's fine though because Karim Benzema also missed many big chances and later won a Ballon d'Or.

Christopher Nkunku (67'): 4/10

Nkunku really was as bad as Sterling, the only difference being that he uh...took shots. Kept one on target too. Nkunku also had his fair share of zeroes. 0/2 on crosses, 0/2 on dribbles, 0/3 on ground duels, 0/2 on aerial duels, and of course 0/1 on tackles.

Mykhailo Mudryk (97'): 4/10

Mudryk's only contribution in this cup final was losing an aerial duel in the box for a corner, resulting in van Dijk's winner. It was a header he could've won too, as van Dijk had to bend to get to the ball. The issue is that Mudryk never knew van Dijk was coming, but he wouldn't have needed to know if he had jumped higher.

Noni Madueke (97'): 6/10

Madueke was OK. He won his duels and completed his dribbles. He also took shots, which is not something that can be said for certain wingers who started the game.

Trevoh Chalobah (113'): N/A

One positive that can be taken from that game is that Chalobah returned to active duty. The Chelsea No. 14 has been sidelined through injury since the start of the season. Chelsea fans and coaching staff alike would have been happy to see him return to action.

Mauricio Pochettino: 8/10

His rating should be higher, but his decision in extra time reduces his rating significantly. His game plan was impeccable, allowing Chelsea to get five big chances in 90 minutes. His decision to retreat and invite pressure in extra time wouldn't have been outrageous if Liverpool had not brought on Academy youngsters Bobby Clark, Jayden Dunns, and James McConnell in the dying minutes of regulation time. Liverpool's squad was depleted through injury to start with, and they had taken off more influential players by the time extra time started. To retreat and play for penalties against THAT team? Baffling.