Reserve goalkeeper Willy Caballero was the hero as Manchester City won the League Cup for a fourth time, beating Liverpool 3-1 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at Wembley Stadium.
City dominated for much of the 90 minutes, but only had a Fernandinho goal to show for it, allowing Philippe Coutinho to force extra time with a late leveller.
The game went to penalties and Fernandinho could not repeat his scoring feat from normal time, hitting the post with City’s first spot-kick. But Caballero then saved from Lucas Leiva with Liverpool’s second to immediately restore parity in the shootout.
Coutinho followed Fernandinho in missing, his stuttered run-up didn’t fool Caballero who palmed away with ease low to his left. The the keeper made an outstanding save at full stretch to keep out Adam Lallana’s kick.
Yaya Toure scored the winning spot-kick to send City fans wild with the trophy.
Sergio Aguero almost put City in front in the 23rd minute, beating Lucas and Mamadou Sakho but not Simon Mignolet who superbly tipped the shot onto the bottom of the post.
That was the last action of the game for Sakho, who was dazed after a clash of heads with teammate Emre Can. Sakho did not want to come off but the medical team took the decision out of his hands, and replaced him with Kolo Toure. It meant that for the first ever time two brothers faced each other in a League Cup final, with Yaya playing for City. Roberto Firmino then blazed over from the edge of the area.
City took the lead just four minutes after the restart. Aguero fed in Fernandinho round the outside, and the Brazil international’s first-time shot went through Mignolet and into the back of the net. The Liverpool keeper will feel he should have done better.
Former Liverpool striker Raheem Sterling had the chance to put the game out of Liverpool’s reach on the hour but sidefooted wide with the goal at his mercy.
Aguero forced a smart save out of Mignolet as City continued to dominate.
And Aguero was denied what appeared to be a certain penalty after being dragged down by Alberto Moreno’s trailing leg.
Just as time appeared to be running out for Liverpool, they found an equaliser in the 83rd minute. Adam Lallana met Daniel Sturridge’s square all but saw his close-range effort from the angle come back off the post, but the ball ran kindly for Philippe Coutinho who sidefooted into the empty net.
Fernandinho forced a brilliant save out of Mignolet and Yaya Toure almost bundled home a late winner, but the game headed into extra time.
Divock Origi almost won the match in the second period, bringing a good save out of Caballero with a header. Then Milner’s lazy backpass was intercepted by Aguero but he could only lift his shot over the bar.
The game went to penalties and City walked away