Chelsea's 'billion-pound bottle-jobs' hit rock bottom in Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool's B team - this could be the beginning of the end for floundering Mauricio Pochettino

The Carabao Cup is not the most prestigious trophy English football has to offer, and elite clubs generally tend to treat it as a second-rate competition. But Liverpool's triumph over Chelsea in the 2023-24 final held more weight than usual.

The Reds went into the game in the middle of an unprecedented injury crisis, with star attacking trio Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota among those sidelined. Ryan Gravenberch, meanwhile, only lasted 25 minutes at Wembley as he had to be carried off on a stretcher after being floored by a reckless challenge from Moises Caicedo.

By the end of extra-time, the average age of Liverpool's team was less than 22, with five players 20 or under. Virgil van Dijk was the hero after heading in the only goal of the game two minutes before the final whistle, which topped off a true captain's performance, but the likes of Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Jayden Danns also etched their names into the club's history books.

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"It’s been Klopp’s kids against the blue billion-pound bottle jobs,” Sky Sports co-commentator Gary Neville remarked after Van Dijk's goal. "This is Klopp's last few months [as Liverpool boss], but it will be as proud a moment as he's had."

Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital have pumped obscene amounts of money into Chelsea since their takeover in 2022, but misery has been the only return on their investment so far. The Blues finally hit rock bottom on Sunday, and it's difficult to see any way forward for Pochettino after such a humiliating defeat.