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Non-Goal Hall of Fame: The 2022 Carabao Cup Final

To celebrate the first inaugural inductee to the Non-Goal Hall of Fame, we're doing a non-live blog of the 2022 Carabao Cup final: Liverpool vs Chelsea. This game was full of non-goals, and without an actual goal scored through regular and extra time, it was as if these two teams were trying to prove our thesis for us: there's so much going on in a soccer game, an entire 120 minutes without a goal was still one of the most entertaining games of the year.

Here's a non-live re-cap of the non-goal action, along with non-goal scoring:

Marcos Alonso: We're hair for it.

0:00 We know there are lots of non-goals to come, but the first has got to be Marcos Alonso's magnificent head of hair. We're all winners when those follicles take the field.

Chelsea 1, Liverpool 0

05:10 First soccer-related non-goal comes from Kovacic's delightful outside of the foot redirection to Havertz near mid-field. Azpilicueta plays a beautiful diagonal ball to Pulisic who finishes directly at the keeper. Is it me or does Pulisic look more and more like that people-pleasing TikTok guy with every miss.

Chelsea 2, Liverpool 0

6:00 Luis Diaz is incredible. Just touching the ball almost qualifies as a non-goal because literally anything can happen when he's got the ball at his feet. He's just been a Liverpool player for a few weeks but he's terrifying out there. Sorry, no official non-goal for that.

15:20 A delicious split pass from Kovacic to Havertz, Mount has a chance to shoot but he doesn't turn to face the goal quickly enough and his shot hits the first defender.

Chelsea 3, Liverpool 0

17:40 What an early cross from Alexander-Arnold. 30 yards out and puts it directly on Mane's head but his finish is way off target. Liverpool on the non-goal board, Chelsea 3, Liverpool 1

25:00 Another incredible first-time ball from TA-A to find Salah but Rudiger sweeps it out of bounds. Chelsea 3, Liverpool 2

25:30 TA-A follows that up with an against-the-grain split pass to Keita but the ball was Melville-level genius and Keita is more of a Steinbeck guy. No idea what that means.

Chelsea 3, Liverpool 3

27:40 Yet ANOTHER top-drawer through pass from TA-A, catching everyone off-guard to break through the midfield and connect with Mane. Chelsea 3, Liverpool 4

28:25: Salah's first touch on a ball that was 30 yards in the air directly above him wrong-foots the defender and puts Salah into space. Mind boggling control and vision. Chelsea 3, Liverpool 5

29:45 Mendy comes up with two terrific saves in about a second. Bonkers goalkeeping to keep the non-goals coming and the crowd is beginning to understand they've just sat down to a non-goal feast.

Chelsea 4, Liverpool 5

47:10 Terrific from Pulisic to control a high, bouncing ball from Alonso and play Havertz into space. Pulisic kind of looks like a decent false-9 in this game, but in the end he's just too American to make it all work. Chelsea 5, Liverpool 5

48:10 Pulisic again. Azplicueta looks for a 1-2 down the flank but Pulisic decides to turn and look for a switch. Finds Mount making a sneaky diagonal run into the box, left-foot chips the ball into Mount's path and Mount clangs it off the post. Brilliant idea, perfectly executed by Pulisic. These two kids are definitely the non-goal men of the match so far.

Chelsea 6, Liverpool 5

49:50 Almost the mirror image of the Pulisic pass happens on the other side of the field. Luis Diaz turns into the center, plays a 1-2-3 with Mane and TA-A, them chips the ball over the defense to Mane on the run. Mendy comes out quickly to punch the ball away. That's a very FIFA22-like chip over the top but Mendy reacted perfectly to get it away.

Chelsea 6, Liverpool 6

55:00-ish Luis Diaz is just terrifying. Accelerating to mach3, then stopping on a dime and doing it all over again. Also looks a bit like an unhinged muppet which makes it all that much more fun. Chelsea 6, Liverpool 7

57:50 Perfectly lofted, wavy & tousled through ball from Alonso to Mount, then a nice 1-2 with Havertz. Mount's finish isn't great which keeps this game in non-goal HOF territory.

Chelsea 7, Liverpool 7

63:30 Mistakes count as non-goals, too. An unbelievable giveaway from Mendy as he hits a sharply-struck grounder over second base that lands directly in front of Fabinho who first-times it to Mane who finds Salah for the 1v1 chip over Mendy. Maybe the non-goal goes to Thiago Silva who sprints back and clears the ball from the line to save the goal and keep this non-goal non-live blog going. Chelsea 8, Liverpool 7

66:30 when does a goal count as a non-goal? When the goal isn't actually a goal. VAR takes away a perfectly executed set piece routine that could easily have a second life as a Steve Kerr-scripted inbounds play. Liverpool are robbed. VAR is the worst. Chelsea 8, Liverpool 8

73:50 Disgusting (in a good way) first-touch from Diaz arcs the ball over the pressure of Reece James and that wasn't enough so Diaz added a no-look pass to Mane that put Liverpool in a great spot. Prolific non-goal night from Diaz. Chelsea 8, Liverpool 9

77:00 We don't cover enough defense here at NGFC, but Kovacic is one of our favorite midfielders. Excellent timing, always pops up in the right spot, never misses a good challenge, his tackle gives Chelsea an actual goal and an actual goal taken away because Werner was a few feet offside. Chelsea 9, Liverpool 9

83:20 Outstanding hokey-pokey from Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher, an Irish goalkeeper with a bit of an aerobics background apparently. Keeps the ball in play by dancing with it before it could cross the endline. Chelsea 9, Liverpool 10

85:00 Mad scramble in front of the Chelsea goal and Mendy somehow keeps the ball out of his net. Our data only goes back about 90 minutes but this is likley THE single greatest non-goal game of all-time. Chelsea 10, Liverpool 9

86:00 My kids asked me to give a non-goal for the on-field advertising that has been cut into the shape of Carabao Energy Drink cans. While expert craftsmanship is something we celebrate here, on-field advertising isn't eligible for non-goal status as it's not actual gameplay. No score. But what is a Carabao? Is it an animal?

03:30 ET: Delicious Kartoffelchip from Timo Werner just misses the top corner. Kartoffelchip means "potato chip" in German and I looked that up so I could use a pun on the word "chip" in this post. Chelsea 11, Liverpool 9

07:00 ET: Antonio Rudiger comes up with the interception and the touchdown pass as he plays the ball perfectly through two lines of defense to meet a *slightly* offside Lukaku. Chelsea starting to pull away in the non-goal race here. Chelsea 12, Liverpool 9

End of Extra Time. The non-goal supply started to run short a bit there toward the end of extra time, but that doesn't make this any less of an incredible game, full of all the stuff we love to see. I won't cover the penalties, but you already know how those went. Poor Kepa, can't catch a break (or a shot). Grazie, buonna note.


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