#Manchester City 1 – 1 #Liverpool (after extra-time, City won 3-1 on penalties).

Manchester City claimed the first silverware of the season, as the Capital One Cup final was ultimately decided on penalties at Wembley at the weekend. Yaya Toure’s conversion in the shoot-out after City and Liverpool could not be separated after 120 minutes of competitive action, ensured that the outgoing Manuel Pellegrini will at least end his tenure with a trophy. His faith in stand-in keeper Willy Caballero was rewarded handsomely with a solid display and three priceless saves from the spot at the death.

Eyebrows raised at choices

Liverpool’s choice of spot-kick takers could perhaps be disputed, with Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and James Milner’s prowess not utilised.

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Instead, Lucas Leiva, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana were all frustrated by Caballero’s agility between the posts, after Emre Can had cleverly chipped his kick down the centre of the goal.

Klopp’s side battled back

Jurgen Klopp’s side had battled back strongly in the final stages of normal time. After going behind in disappointing fashion on 49 minutes, when Fernandinho’s cross shot from a tight angle went under Simon Mignolet’s body, they weathered the storm to deny City clear breathing space. However, former Reds’ player Raheem Sterling squandered two clear chances that would have put the result beyond the Merseyside team.

As it was with just the one goal separating the two sides, the match was always on a knife-edge and Liverpool drew level with just seven minutes remaining. The Brazilian playmaker, Coutinho was on hand in the penalty box after Lallana’s effort had hit the post, coolly slotting home the rebound.

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Chances for both sides

Cue extra time and chances for both sides to settle the result in their favour. Mignolet had already denied Sergio Aguero in the first half of ordinary time, smartly turning his shot on to a post. It was the usual mixed bag of a display from the Belgian, brilliant at times but woeful for City’s opener. Yet he was magnificent in denying Aguero in extra-time, expertly thwarting the Argentinian hotshot with an excellent one-handed save.

Liverpool also had their chances to clinch a famous victory in Klopp’s first season in charge. Origi’s header was palmed away by Caballero and the young striker was inches away from connecting with a clever clipped cross late on.

Silverware for outgoing manager

It proved to be City’s day though and perhaps the final trophy for Pellegrini before the imminent arrival of Pep Guardiola next season at the Etihad. Although they have opportunities to add both the domestic league and Champions League to their honours yet this season, they are outsiders for both.

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Instant replay in the league

With the two rivals due to meet again at Anfield on Wednesday in the Premier League, Liverpool fans will hope for instant payback. Yet this was probably their best opportunity for a tangible reward this season and the fact will not be lost on the red half of Merseyside, as they contemplate Everton’s likely injection of cash after a change of ownership. #Football