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How Virgil van Dijk can set oldest record as Liverpool aim for 10th League Cup

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Virgil van Dijk has a chance to write his name in the record books as Liverpool aim to lift their second League Cup trophy in as many years on Sunday.

If Virgil van Dijk scores, he would become the oldest player to score for the club in a Wembley final. On the day of the game, he will be 32 years and 232 days.

Should the captain not find the net and Mo Salah does (if passed fit), then Salah would become the oldest at 31 years 255 days.

The oldest currently is Dirk Kuyt, who was 31 years 219 days when he scored in the final of the League Cup against Cardiff in 2012.

The youngest Liverpool player to score in a Wembley Cup final is Ian Rush, who was 20 years 144 days when scoring in the 1982 League Cup final against Tottenham.

In the 2022 League Cup Final, Harvey Elliott became the youngest Liverpool player ever to appear in a Wembley final at the age of 18 years, 329 days.

 

Could be first for some, second for others…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 29, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) with first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders (L) hold the two trophies during a parade around the city after the club won the Cup Double, the FA Cup abd Football League Cup. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wataru Endo, Darwin Nunez, Alexis Mac Allister, Cody Gakpo, Ryan Gravenberch, Jarell Quansah and Conor Bradley could play in their first Liverpool cup final as could Adrian, Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Jayden Danns.

Should he score in this game Luis Diaz would be only the third Liverpool player in history to score against Chelsea in three different games in the same season, following Roger Hunt in 1965/66 and Kenny Dalglish in 1977/78.

And if Liverpool win, Jurgen Klopp would become the third Liverpool manager to lift the trophy on more than one occasion. Bob Paisley won three and Gerard Houllier two.

 

Be prepared for penalties?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 27, 2022: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher looks on as Chelsea's goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga sends his penalty kick over the bar in the penalty shoot out during the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have won all four penalty shoot-outs against Chelsea – 2007 Champions League semi-final, 2019 UEFA Super Cup and the two domestic finals in 2022.

Three of Liverpool’s last four League Cup final wins have come via a penalty shootout – 2001 vs. Birmingham City, 2012 vs. Cardiff City and 2022 vs. Chelsea.

Liverpool could win the trophy for a record 10th time. This would put them two ahead of Man City.

Caoimhin Kelleher has saved more penalties for Liverpool in shoot-outs (six) than any other Reds goalkeeper in history. He has been on the winning team in all four of his penalty shootouts.

 

Another squad effort

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones (L) celebrates with team-mate Cody Gakpo after scoring the second goal, the club's 500th in the competition. during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool used 33 players in their successful League Cup campaign of 2022. They have used 24 in reaching the final this season, with Alisson, Thiago, Adrian, Andy Robertson and James McConnell not featuring so far in 2023/24.

Of the 24 players only Kelleher and Elliott have started all five, though Curtis Jones, Darwin Nunez and Gakpo have also featured in every game.

Four times in the League Cup this season a Liverpool player has come off the bench to score – Dominik Szoboszlai against Leicester, Darwin Nunez at Bournemouth, Mo Salah against West Ham and Gakpo against Fulham in the Semi-Final.

Gakpo has scored in every round of this season’s competition.

 

The man in the Wembley middle

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 10, 2022: Liverpool's Manager Jurgen Klopp is spoken to by referee Chris Kavanagh during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire) – He reffed a game between these teams once before – Chelsea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup in March 2020.

 

This Season’s Scorers

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool: Salah 19, Jota 14, Nunez 13, Gakpo 11, Diaz 10, Jones 5, Szoboszlai 5, Gravenberch 3, van Dijk 3, Alexander-Arnold 2, Elliott 2, Endo 2, Mac Allister 2, Bradley 1, Quansah 1, Robertson 1, own goals 6

Chelsea: Palmer 12, Jackson 9, Sterling 8, Fernandez 7, Madueke 4, Mudryk 4, Gallagher 3, Thiago Silva 3, Broja 2, Disasi 2, Nkunku 2, Badiashile 1, Chukwuemeka 1, Colwill 1, own goals 2


* Stats courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).