Carabao Cup Final: Caicedo Red Card and All VAR Decisions in Chelsea vs Liverpool

Carabao Cup Final: Caicedo Red Card and All VAR Decisions in Chelsea vs Liverpool

Martin Moses
updated at February 26, 2024 at 6:08 AM
In this article:
Moises Caicedo logo
Chelsea logoMEcuador logo
Ryan Gravenberch logo
AFC Ajax logoMNetherlands logo
Virgil van Dijk logo
V. van Dijk
Liverpool logoDNetherlands logo
Liverpool logo
Chelsea logo
English Carabao Cup logo
Raheem Sterling logo
Chelsea logoFEngland logo
Nicolas Jackson logo
Chelsea logoFSenegal logo
Wataru Endo logo
Liverpool logoMJapan logo
Levi Colwill logo
L. Colwill
Chelsea logoDEngland logo
Ben Chilwell logo
B. Chilwell
Chelsea logoDEngland logo
  • The 2024 Carabao Cup final was marked by two controversial decisions
  • Liverpool won it at the end courtesy of a towering Virgil Van Dijk header
  • We review the VAR decisions from Wembley and whether they were correct

Liverpool got the better of Chelsea in a domestic Cup final for the third successive time as a late Virgil Van Dijk header enabled them to win the 2024 Carabao Cup final.

The feisty encounter at Wembley Stadium on February 25 had to be settled deep into extra time by a moment of sheer class from the Liverpool captain. It was a game that Chelsea would rue for missed opportunities, with Liverpool academy players putting them to the sword after injuries to the team's starters.

Chelsea vs Liverpool, Virgil Van Dijk, Moises Caicedo, Carabao Cup final, Raheem Sterling
Liverpool players celebrate after winning the 2024 Carabao Cup final. Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport.
Source: Getty Images

All VAR decisions from 2024 Carabao Cup final

The Video Assistant Referee(VAR) had a busy day, with the officials' decisions dividing fans right in the middle. Sports Brief looks at every time the VAR was forced to intervene, what the law says in such situations and passes a verdict on whether the correct call was given.

1. Should Moises Caicedo have seen red?

Barely an hour into the game, Liverpool's injury woes were compounded when, in an attempt to stop a counter-attack, Moises Caicedo, who could have been a Liverpool player under different circumstances, lunged into Ryan Gravenberch.

Enzo Fernandez then tackled Cody Gakpo as well, leaving the two Reds players on the floor, but the referee, Chris Kavanagh, was unmoved and waved play on.

Replays showed Caicedo's foot connecting with Gravenberch's ankle, which made for painful viewing. The Dutchman appeared to twist his ankle before falling over. Caicedo escaped without even a booking as Graveberch was stretchered off.

What the law says

Section 12 of IFAB Laws states that;

"Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force or endangers the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play."

Any player who is guilty of serious foul play should be sent off.

Our verdict

The former Brighton star was extremely fortunate to remain on the pitch or even avoid a booking entirely. This weekend, Brighton's Billy Gilmour was sent off for almost a similar challenge, while Harry Maguire was booked in Manchester United's loss to Fulham.

2. Raheem Sterling's goal and the offside call

A couple of minutes after the Caicedo incident, Raheem Sterling put the ball into the back of the net, but it was ruled out after Nicolas Jackson was adjudged to have been in an offside position.

The Senegalese striker thought he had beaten the offside trap of Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate, only for the lines to show he had gone a tad too early.

What the law says

The officials rely on technology to know if a player is offside. Semi-automated offside technology has yet to be introduced in English football, with officials using the Hawkeye's virtual offside line technology to arrive at decisions.

Our verdict

Like famous referee Mike Dean once said, 'Technology can't put lines in the wrong place.' Jackson appeared to be onside from one camera angle, evoking memories of the Romelu Lukaku incident in 2022, but when the lines say he is offside, we have to believe them.

3. Why Virgil Van Dijk's goal was disallowed

Probably the most controversial moment of the game. Van Dijk thought he had put his side ahead in the 60th minute after rising highest to meet an Andrew Robertson free-kick.

However, after a prolonged VAR review, Wataru Endo was penalised for impeding play from an offside position. The Japanese midfielder was clearly offside as the ball came in and shielded Levi Colwill, who was attempting to go back.

What the law says

Section 11 of IFAB Laws states that;

"A player moving from, or standing in, an offside position is in the way of an opponent and interferes with the movement of the opponent towards the ball; this is an offside offence if it impacts on the ability of the opponent to play or challenge for the ball; if the player moves into the way of an opponent and impedes the opponent's progress (e.g. blocks the opponent), the offence should be penalised."

Our verdict

While the law was applied correctly here, it was a little bit harsh on Liverpool's side as Colwill was nowhere near Van Dijk, the goalscorer. Van Dijk lost his marker, Ben Chilwell, before scoring. The referee ruled that Endo blocking Colwill prevented the Chelsea defender from possibly getting back and preventing the goal, which we find harsh in our view.

Poetic justice was nonetheless delivered as Van Dijk scored for a second time in the game.

Times Pochettino lost trophies to English sides

Sports Brief has also reported on Mauricio Pochettino missing out on silverware again due to an English side.

The Argentine manager was in charge as Chelsea lost its sixth successive final at Wembley, prolonging his wait for a first trophy on English soil.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)