Chelsea have got an early consolation from their FA cup ouster by qualifying for the final of the Capital One cup at Liverpool’s expense on Tuesday evening.
Branislav Ivanovic’s scored Chelsea’s extra-time winner in a thrilling semi-final second leg against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
Ivanovic headed home three minutes into extra time to settle an enthralling encounter in which Liverpool made a full contribution but paid the price for missed opportunities.
Chelsea were favourites after a 1-1 draw at Anfield in the first leg – but Liverpool were true to the word of manager Brendan Rodgers and played without fear, seeking their first trophy since winning this competition in 2012.
And Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who missed Ivanovic’s decisive goal as he was in a heated debate with fourth official Phil Dowd, showed how much another trip to Wembley meant to him by celebrating wildly with his staff at the final whistle.
Costa, as usual, was involved in all of the action and should have been awarded a penalty when he was brought down by Skrtel in the first half, while the Spain international’s head-to-head clash with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard earned both players yellow cards.
Mourinho will set that aside for now as he remains on course for his first piece of silverware since returning to Chelsea at the start of last season.
Keeper Thibaut Courtois was Chelsea’s hero at Anfield and he twice came to the rescue here as Liverpool twice opened up Chelsea for the two best opportunities of the half, first when Gerrard picked out Alberto Moreno and then when Philippe Coutinho broke through after wrong-footing Kurt Zouma.
Liverpool made their first change with 20 minutes left, sending on Mario Balotelli for Lazar Markovic, who had been quiet and ineffective.
It was three minutes into extra time when the deadlock was finally broken and Liverpool were undone by moments of sloppiness that led to their downfall. Lucas conceded a cheap free-kick with a foul on Eden Hazard and when Willian delivered the set piece, Ivanovic arrived unmarked to head in.
Liverpool should have responded immediately, only for Henderson to somehow head wide when Raheem Sterling’s cross found him only six yards out.
Chelsea will play either Spurs or Sheffield Utd in the finals