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FA Cup Final: Review

Liverpool's pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple remains intact after they edged out Chelsea in a tense FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

Having beaten the same opposition to lift the EFL Cup final in February, the Reds claimed their first FA Cup triumph since 2006, prevailing 6-5 on penalties following a goalless 120 minutes of action.

The victory means Jurgen Klopp's side remain in the hunt to claim a quadruple of trophies this season, as they are just three points behind Manchester City at the top of the Premier League standings and have a Champions League final against Real Madrid to look forward to.

The Reds are priced at 16/1 to win both of those trophies which would complete what would arguably be the greatest ever season for an English club side.

Deja vu at Wembley

It was certainly a case of deja vu at Wembley as, just like the EFL Cup final, the match finished goalless after extra time with Liverpool coming through on penalties.

However, unlike the EFL Cup final, which had been an entertaining and open contest from start to finish, this was a game of few clear-cut chances, with both goalkeepers left underworked.

That was not to say there weren't openings in the game, with Liverpool twice striking the post late in the second half of the regulation 90 through Luis Diaz and Andy Robertson.

Chelsea also had chances, most notably through Marcos Alonso and Christian Pulisic, but this was a match that always looked destined to go the distance.

Liverpool won the EFL Cup final 11-10 on penalties after Chelsea brought on back-up goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga late in extra time, only for the Spanish stopper to miss the decisive penalty that day.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel resisted the temptation to make that same change this time around, but it ultimately did not alter the overall outcome.

After Cesar Azpilicueta was the first to miss from the spot for Chelsea, Liverpool forward Sadio Mane had the chance to score the winning penalty, just as he did for Senegal at this year's African Cup of Nations final, but this time the forward saw his effort saved by Edouard Mendy.

That threatened to turn the momentum in Chelsea's favour, but Blues midfielder Mason Mount was the next to blink from 12 yards and this time Liverpool made no mistake, with Kostas Tsimikas striking the decisive blow.

Liverpool are now halfway to completing the quadruple, as they became the first team since, well Liverpool, to win the FA Cup on penalties, the Reds having achieved that feat when beating West Ham in the 2006 final in Cardiff.

Concerns over Salah and Van Dijk

Although it was ultimately a successful day for Liverpool as they claimed their eighth FA Cup success, they did not emerge from the contest entirely unscathed, with Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk both leaving the field early.

There will be particular concerns for Salah, who was forced off with a knock during the first half at Wembley.

The Egypt international is Liverpool's leading scorer this season with 30 goals across all competitions, but after going down clutching his leg with seemingly no one around him, there will be concerns about his availability for the final two matches of the Premier League season, as well as the Champions League final at the end of the month.

Liverpool do have players to cover for Salah, with Luis Diaz, who was named player of the match for Saturday's final, Mane, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino all available, while the Egyptian has also not been at his best over recent weeks, failing to score in his last seven appearances.

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That being said, any potential absence of Salah would be a huge blow for Liverpool, and supporters will be keeping their fingers crossed that he is able to make a quick return.

There will also be concerns for central defender Van Dijk, who went off at the end of the regulation 90 minutes at Wembley.

It is unclear whether the Dutch international picked up a knock, but it seems likely given his importance to the team - Van Dijk had not previously been substituted by Klopp in any competition this season and is usually an ever-present when fit.

Add the concerns over Salah and Van Dijk to the already injured Fabinho and the fitness issues are starting to mount for Liverpool heading into their final three pivotal matches of the campaign.

What is still to come?

Liverpool do not have long to savour their FA Cup success as they will be back in Premier League action on Tuesday when they travel to St Mary's Stadium to take on Southampton.

The Reds could head into that match trailing leaders City by as many as six points, that is if Pep Guardiola's side claim a victory at West Ham on Sunday.

If City do win at the London Stadium then Liverpool know only a victory on the south coast will keep their title and quadruple hopes alive. A Reds win can be backed at 1/2.

Liverpool will then round off their Premier League campaign at home to Wolves next Sunday, while City will be in action simultaneously against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium.

Klopp's men are the outsiders to claim a second Premier League crown in three years at odds of 11/1, but the same cannot be said for the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris on 28th May.

The Merseysiders are priced at 8/15 to be crowned European champions for the seventh time and gain revenge for their defeat to Real in the 2018 final, while the Spanish champions are 6/4 to seal a record-extending 14th title and potentially stop their opponents from completing an historic quadruple in the process.

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