Manchester City outlasts Liverpool in a thrilling Capital One Cup Final

This Capital One Cup Final had so many heart-stopping moments and crazy turns there were too many to count. After 120 minutes and a penalty shootout, Manchester City defeated Liverpool in penalties to win their fourth League Cup title.

The game started off rather difficult for Liverpool as they were forced to sub Mamadou Sakho out in the 25th minute due to him banging heads with teammate Emre Can. Sakho stayed in for a few minutes but after messing up a Sergio Aguero shot that had to be saved by Simon Mignolet, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp felt he had no choice but to sub out his center back. Sakho wasn’t pleased he was being pulled.

This is a big reason why a player shouldn’t have final say in staying in a game when there’s a suspected head injury. Any player, especially in a Cup Final will say they are okay and can keep going. It’s up to the medical staff and the coaches to make that decision.

After a highly, but entertaining 0-0 first half, Manchester City got on the board in a rather inauspicious way. Fernandinho decided to take his chances and shoot and was fortunate in that Mignolet had the ball slip through his arm and give City a 1-0 lead. Mignolet had a great game until that point. His unfortunate moment got his critics up in arms about his recent performance.

Manchester City really should have put this game away but Raheem Sterling missed a rather easy shot against his former team in the 60th minute. Sterling had a couple shots that were very questionable and didn’t have that great of a game.

Just minutes later, Manchester City missed out on a huge non call that would have changed the entire game. Sergio Aguero was in on goal and Alberto Moreno tried to defend by turning his back toward Aguero and fouling him in the box. Manchester City wanted a penalty and probably should have received one. It also would have resulted in a red for Moreno for being the last defender and denying a goal scoring opportunity but the game went on.

The Sterling miss as well as the non call on the penalty would come back to temporarily haunt Manchester City as Philippe Coutinho equalized off of Adam Lallana’s post shot. Liverpool had their first shot on target and got their first goal in the 83rd minute.

The extra time period was all about the goalkeepers. Both Mignolet and Man City’s Willy Caballero stepped up to keep their team scoreless. First, Mignolet stopped Aguero after apparent confusion between three Liverpool players.

Then soon after, Caballero made a great save of his own on Divock Origi’s header.

The result would be a penalty shootout and one in which was near perfect for Manchester City. Except for Fernandinho’s shot off the post, City was pinpoint accurate in all of their kicks. They kind of needed to because Mignolet knew and chose the direction of every penalty, he just fell short of saving a shot due to them being so great. Caballero also stood on his head but he was making the saves. The backup goalkeeper really stepped up and kept City in the game. Yaya Toure would seal the deal to convert and give Manchester City another trophy.

Manchester City walked up the steps of Wembley Stadium and accepted their winners medals and trophy. Captain and Man of the Match Vincent Kompany hoisted the Capital One Cup to give Manchester City the first trophy of the season.

All in all, this is a game that is going to benefit both teams. City has the trophy and if they don’t win another this season, at least they sent Manuel Pellegrini off with a trophy. I’m sure the momentum from the trophy would help in the other two competitions they are in.

As for Liverpool, there were some silver linings. For one, Daniel Sturridge played 120 minutes and didn’t get injured. It was a great test for him and while it appeared he was having a cramp or two toward the end, passed with flying colors. Another, for all the criticism Mignolet gets, he can step up in big moments and deliver. He has his howlers, and probably more than the typical goalkeeper for a top level EPL team, but he showed he had the resolve to make up for that. And last, but not least, this should inspire hope for Liverpool fans. For all the injuries, games, manager changes and so forth, a valiant effort leaves potential for bigger things in the future. I’m sure fans would love to win the trophy as well but I’m sure the team is in for better things once Klopp has a summer to better mold the squad into his own creation.

This game today showed why the Capital One Cup is such a great competition. It’s not the most serious tournament and some teams may not take it seriously, but it’s a great momentum builder to win in the midseason and an additional test to see what you have in your team going forward. And, it’s a trophy. Who cares if it’s not as prestigious as the other three trophies, it’s still a trophy that is an honor to win. These two teams fought tooth and nail, to the bitter end, to win this trophy. And in the end, Manchester City won out.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp