African All Stars

'Mendy was red-hot for Chelsea vs Liverpool and you go change it?' - Merson

17:28 SAST 2022/03/01
Edouard Mendy Chelsea 2021-22
The former midfielder has hit out at Blues boss Thomas Tuchel for what proved to be a costly mistake on Sunday

Former Arsenal attacker Paul Merson believes the Edouard Mendy substitution in Chelsea's loss to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final was planned before the start of the game.

The Africa Cup of Nations-winning goalkeeper with Senegal was replaced with not long left and Kepa Arrizabalaga was brought on to feature in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.

However, the 27-year-old Spain shot-stopper could not prevent any of the 11 Liverpool penalties from finding the back of the net and ended up blasting his effort way over the bar to hand the Reds the trophy.

The 53-year-old believes it was a mistake for the Senegal stopper to be replaced considering the fact that he had played what Merson described as "his best game".

"I just think it's a dangerous game to play, that you have planned the sub before. This has been planned before the start of the game," Merson told Sky Sports.

"That was the best game I have seen Mendy have for Chelsea - he was outstanding - so why would you change your goalie? He's playing the game of his life, red hot, can't beat him, and you go and change it?

"It is easy to say after the game but, when it gets to penalties, there's only one person that's not under pressure and that's the goalie.

"The goalie has nothing to lose and everything to gain. The players are the ones who have got everything on their shoulders."

The ex-England midfielder went on to state the Blues would have won the game with the West African in goal.

"I just couldn't work it out. Chelsea would be Carabao Cup winners if Mendy was in goal," Merson continued.

"I can't remember him [Kepa] getting near a penalty. Salah goes to the left all the time and he [Kepa] went the other way.

"The [Virgil] van Dijk one - he was standing on that side of the goal and he still never got near it. Have a rough idea what you are coming up against. Do your homework.

"Mendy's come to Chelsea, he's won everything and, at the end of the day, he's had the game of his life. He was 10/10, he was absolutely outstanding, so he is not going to be sitting there thinking anything because he played well."