Goalkeeper Willy Caballero proved to be Manchester City’s knight in shining armour as the Citizens defeated Liverpool 3-1 on penalties (1-1 AET) to lift the Capital One Cup inside Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The 34-year-old shot stopper made spectacular saves from the Reds’ Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in quick succession to record a thrilling shoot-out victory and help Manuel Pellegrini’s side win their second League Cup in three seasons.
But apart from Caballero’s heroics; what other talking points should we be discussing following the 2016 Capital One Cup final..?
1. Simon Mignolet is still a problem!
The enigma that is Liverpool’s goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is as big of a problem as he has ever been. Too many errors are still creeping into his game, a habit that doesn’t seem close to being rectified. The Belgian was at fault for City’s opener when he let Fernandinho’s shot slip under his body, yet he still managed to pull off a string of wonderful stops, one crucially from Sergio Aguero in particular. However, the amount of errors that plague his game outweigh the occasional great saves, even though the stopper has surprisingly recently signed a new five-contract. Unfortunately if he doesn’t eradicate the constant string of errors, then his time in high level football could come to an abrupt end.
2. Raheem Sterling still needs to prove himself (Quickly!)
Raheem Sterling has been the topic of much debate since his £49m move from Liverpool to Manchester City, but the Capital One Cup final displayed the excruciating weaknesses that still exists in his game. He may have put in a great performance in the Champions League during midweek, but it could be said the stakes were somewhat higher this weekend and he failed to prove his worth. The winger squandered two glaring misses that could have sealed the game for City, rather than him and his teammates enduring extra-time and penalties. He failed to have much impact anywhere else in the game and nearly ended up costing his team the final. With a £49m price tag comes a lot of pressure, but Sterling’s yet to prove anyone wrong.
3. Daniel Sturridge’s fitness will be key for the remainder of Liverpool’s season
It may be something we already know, but there’s no doubt that Liverpool absolutely need Sturridge to stay fit for the rest of the season if they stand any chance of reach their remaining goals for the campaign. He didn’t take the game by the scruff of the neck; but after being out for so long, it was always going to be difficult, yet he still managed to cause City’s backline a lot of trouble with his trickery and pace. Running at the defence caused a solid City back-four all sorts of problems. A fit Sturridge will be the difference between Liverpool winning and losing games.