Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany superb for Manchester City in cup final
The Manchester City fans walking towards Wembley Stadium for what would turn out to be their second Capital One Cup victory in three seasons, were cursing manager Manuel Pellegrini's team selection, including goalkeeper Willy Caballero. Much maligned for most of his City career, Caballero would turn out to be the unlikely hero, as he saved three times in the 3-1 penalty shoot-out win.
But the headlines belong to one man. When Manchester City go to Wembley, it's Yaya Toure who produces the goods: Winning goals against Manchester United and Stoke in the 2011 FA Cup campaign; a stunning equaliser against Sunderland in the 2014 Capital One Cup; and now the winning penalty in the same competition in 2016.
Pellegrini's final season has so far been underwhelming. That could be changing with his third trophy for the Etihad's cabinet and he'll now be expecting the team to kick on and improve their Premier League form.
City will have been kicking themselves that they let it get to penalties after dominating once they took the lead, but they got the job done in the end and deservedly so.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Willy Caballero, 8 -- There were certainly fears ahead of the match, but he proved the doubters wrong. He was assured with his handling, had no chance with the equaliser and produced three fine penalty saves.
DF Bacary Sagna, 7 -- The Frenchman worked hard up and down the right flank, producing a number of good crosses. He's come into his own this season at City and deserved this success.
DF Vincent Kompany, 9 -- It's remarkable how much better City are with the captain in the side and he kept the defence calm and controlled under pressure. He's now become the second City skipper to lift two trophies from the Royal Box after club legend Tony Book.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- There were some hairy moments for the Argentine, as he was dragged out of position and dived into risky challenges at times, but overall he worked well with the rest of the defence. He was also a threat at set pieces and strong in the air as City came under pressure.
DF Gael Clichy, 7 -- The left-back had a dodgy 10 minutes in the second half, but quickly regained his composure. He worked well with Raheem Sterling and caused problems for Liverpool going forward.
MF Fernando, 8 -- The Brazilian hasn't impressed since his arrival to the club in the summer of 2014, but he was bought to screen the back four and that's exactly what he did. He was taken off as Pellegrini went for broke, not for a poor display.
MF Yaya Toure, 9 -- The Ivorian is Mr Reliable when it comes to City at Wembley and he produced the goods again. He controlled the game, pulled the strings and scored the winning penalty. His legacy at City has just got stronger and he'll be a huge gap to fill when he leaves.
MF Fernandinho, 8 -- After the success of his performance on the right flank in Kiev, Pellegrini pulled the same trick. Managed to sneak his goal through Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and offered great protection for Sagna.
MF David Silva, 8 -- The Spaniard found his form again at the right time for his club. He was instrumental in City's created chances and it was a shame for him that more didn't find the net.
MF Raheem Sterling, 7 -- The former Liverpool man didn't shirk his responsibilities, despite the hostile reception from his former supporters. Though he has to be docked points for missing a couple of sitters at 1-0 that could have avoided the stress of extra time and penalties.
FW Sergio Aguero, 8 -- Quite how the striker didn't score is a mystery. He had one effort saved onto the post, one saved just wide and was denied what appeared to be a penalty.
DF Pablo Zabaleta, NR -- On for Sagna to start extra time. Brought on to freshen the right flank with Jesus Navas, he defended well but couldn't affect City's attack.
MF Jesus Navas, NR -- Replaced Fernando after the 90 minutes. He wasn't able to influence the game in extra time, but he took a mean penalty to beat Mignolet.
FW Wilfried Bony, NR -- Replaced Silva in the 110th minute. A strange substitution from Pellegrini with a hungry Kelechi Iheanacho on the bench, but Bony won some crucial headers in the dying seconds to keep City's chances of a win in extra time alive.
David Mooney is a writer and a radio journalist based in Manchester. He is also news editor on 104.9 Imagine FM. Twitter: @DavidMooney