'Do you remember?': TalkSPORT pundit picks two Liverpool penalties Chelsea's Mendy might've saved on Sunday
Andy Townsend highlighted two of Liverpool’s Carabao Cup final spot-kicks that Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy may have prevented.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Townsend wondered whether Mendy would’ve done a better job than Kepa Arrizabalaga at denying Ibrahima Konate and Virgil van Dijk.
Tuchel has hopefully learned his lesson
Thomas Tuchel made the call to change his goalkeepers ahead of the shoot-out at Wembley on Sunday.
This is despite Mendy playing rather magnificently for 120-minutes, keeping Liverpool at bay for almost the entire match.
Jurgen Klopp’s men did eventually find a way past the Africa Cup of Nations champion, only for VAR to intervene and rule out the goal.
Although the Senegal international kept a clean sheet, his net became far too well acquainted with the ball once the penalties began.
The curse of Kepa
Having made the decision to switch the ‘keepers, all the pressure was suddenly on Tuchel’s tactical manoeuvre and therefore Kepa’s ability from 12-yards.
The Spaniard’s prior prowess from such a position seemed to abandon him, as he failed to save any of Liverpool’s 11 attempts.
To make matters worse, Kepa then blasted his shot sky high and into the stadium, thus sealing the cup victory for the Reds.
Many then questioned Tuchel’s thought process behind removing Mendy from the firing line, arguing he was in a better mindset to tackle the drama than Kepa.
“Tuchel is clearly a smart guy, but Tuchel got that ridiculously wrong,” contended Townsend.
“You’ve taken off arguably your best layer on the day, you’ve taken off a bigger, more imposing man for someone who has saved a few penalties.
“Now, whether you want to play mind games in that scenario, because the actual logic of it, you’ve taken off a bigger guy, a guy that’s been playing unbelievably well, for someone that’s been stone cold on the side-lines.
“Yeah, he’s (Kepa) been warming up, yeah, he’s been jumping up and down for five minutes, but don’t tell me he is ready. Mendy was anticipating everything.”
Kepa caught out
Based on the evidence of the weekend, Kepa wasn’t physically or physiologically prepared for the penos.
He hadn’t witnessed first-hand the ferocity of the fixture, nor had he locked into the Liverpool psyche.
The 27-year-old hardly got near to any of the opposing strikes from the spot.
Arguably the closest he came was to Konate’s, but the Frenchman’s tame effort squirmed through the goalie’s frame.
“Do you know what, and we’ll never know, I fancy Mendy in the form he was in yesterday would’ve saved Konate’s penalty. I think he would’ve done better,” continued Townsend.
Another that Kepa went the right way for yet failed to block was Van Dijk’s sizzling drive into the top corner.
“Do you remember the Van Dijk penalty? He (Kepa) stands deliberately a yard off centre and Van Dijk still went the narrow side, fizzed it past him,” concluded Townsend.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing once the outcome of an event is revealed.
If only Tuchel had a time machine to reverse the proceedings of a few days ago; then we’d probably all be singing Mendy’s praises even more!