Liverpool fell just short of giving Jurgen Klopp his first trophy as the new Reds boss as Manchester City claimed their second Capital One Cup in three years with a 3-1 penalty shoot out win after a 1-1 draw during the 90 minutes and afer extra time at Wembley.
Here are the five things we learned from Pellegrini’s scalp.
As in any Final, whether it be in any domestic or European competition an electric start to the game is a rarity. Both teams tend to try and get used to their surroundings and the atmosphere of playing in a neutral stadium. Despite both Manchester City and Liverpool recognisable to each other, Wembley stadium is not the natural home to some of the players. With many quality players on show, even the very best such as Sergio Aguero and Phillipe Coutinho need to settle for such a great occasion.
This was the exact case as the slow burner eventually got more and more heated as the game entered extra time and penalties. Nevertheless, no side wants to concede early and become under pressure. Possession and cautiousness were very evident especially in the first half.
First half atmosphere
Like the players, it seemed both sets of supporters also approached this game with caution. Even if you were sitting from home, you had the sense that both Liverpool and Manchester City fans who made the long jourey from up North to London were very nervous in what some people call the ‘Mickey Mouse Cup.’
However, as the match increased in intensity, passion and desire, so did the noise of the crowd and it eventually turned out to be a good advert for passionate fans in English football as well as Wembley stadium as a fantastic arena.
Sakho injured once again
Liverpool paid a staggering £18m to French giants Paris St Germain for centre half Mahamadou Sakho in 2014 and many thought he would become a class act at Anfield and form a formidable partnership with the Reds former most expensive centre half and fellow injury plagued defender Martin Skrtel.
Sakho was forced off in the first half with concussion after a clash of heads as FA rules state any player who suffers unconsciousness has to be substituted. However, the point is, Sakho’s injury plagued career on Merseyside continues.
Sterling needs to work on his finishing
Playing against his former club, being booed and jeered by the Liverpool supporters and playing at Wembley where he has consistently performed in a Three Lions shirt, England winger Raheem Sterling should’ve been the hero. However, before he jets off to France in the Summer for Euro 2016, one thing he should work on is his finishing.
The former Queens Park Rangers youth player missed a sitter in the second half that could’ve doubled City’s lead. For a player that cost Manchester City £49m, that one thing a player must do in order live up to his price tag is score goals, something Sterling lacks.
Klopp’s tactics and style of play still need working on
When former Borussia Dortmund gaffer Jurgen Klopp took over at the helm at Liverpool from former manager Brendan Rodgers, many would’ve tipped the Reds to at least finish in the top four. However, like the game today, the players are still getting used to Klopp’s preferred game plan and style of play.
A high pressure, high intensity style is something Klopp likes to implement. However, as this was a final, nervousness got the better of them as shown in the penalty shoot out but next season should include much more success for Liverpool under Klopp.