The unbothered energy from Virgil van Dijk when Antonio Rudiger tried to get under his skin

Sunday’s League Cup Final was a closely fought contest as Liverpool secured victory through the slightest of margins during a thrilling penalty shootout where Kepa became the only player to miss the spot-kick.

Things got feisty on the pitch as both teams failed to find the back of the net in normal time. Tempers were flying in the closing stages of the second half with Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold and Chelsea’s Kai Havertz going at each other off the ball after the Liverpool man left a trailing leg to trip the German forward.

But the tone for the psychological battle on the pitch was set quite early on as both sets of players tried getting into each other’s spaces, trying to get a reaction that would result in a booking.

In a battle between the big brawny centre-halves, Antonio Rudiger was spotted by fans trying to get the ever-calm Virgil van Dijk to react to the German’s repeated provocations.

Rudiger had no business in this scenario as VVD was speaking to the referee following a foul by Keita to stop a counter from Mount in the 27th minute. However, the German international made it a point to get in VVD’s face walking over to the halfway line just to have a go at the Dutch international’s emotions.  

As Rudiger soon found out, it seemed nothing could faze VVD who ignored all and any attempts from the German to instigate a reaction. Having realized this, Rudiger quickly changed targets and had a go at defensive midfielder Fabinho by pushing down his complaining arm.

Once again, he did not get the desired outcome from his attempt but this time both sets of players surely found the funny side of Rudiger’s antics in this early stage of the cup final.

As the match would proceed to unfold, it did become the case that the nerves decided who lifted the trophy in the end as Kepa failed to keep a cool head and blasted his penalty into the stands to crown Liverpool winners of the cup.