Chelsea will chase its last remaining hope of a silverware this season when it plays its third consecutive FA Cup final, this time against UEFA Champions League finalist, Liverpool on Saturday.
The Blues lost the last two finals and Thomas Tuchel, their manager, will look to make amends this time around. His squad may face an uphill task in midfield, with Mateo Kovacic doubtful after an injury scare in the previous match against Leeds United.
Liverpool, on the other hand, has not got its hands on this trophy for over 16 years now, having last won it under Rafael Benitez in 2006, with a 3-1 win on penalties against West Ham United.
Since then, three more managers, Roy Hogdson, Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers have come and gone, all being unsuccessful.
Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool won the Premier League after 30 years, the Champions League as well as the League Cup this season. The FA Cup, surprisingly, is a silverware even the German has not been able to secure under his reign.
That is something Klopp will look to change at Wembley on Saturday. One problem for Klopp will be the doubts over Fabinho, who picked up a hamstring injury during Liverpool’s 2-1 win against Aston Villa.
Chelsea will play its fifth FA Cup final in six years, looking to win its ninth title, while Liverpool will eye its eighth.
Chelsea and Liverpool have met 191 times in all competitions in the past, with the Reds securing 83 wins while the Blues winning 65 times. The remaining 43 matches have ended in a draw.
Liverpool and Chelsea will just be the second pair of teams to play both the FA Cup and the League Cup final in the same season, after Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal in 1992-93.
Liverpool comes into the match after a win against Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, while Chelsea also enters the final with a win against Leeds United at Elland Road.
Chelsea’s last five matches:
- Win: Leeds 0-3 Chelsea
- Draw: Chelsea 2-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Loss: Everton 1-0 Chelsea
- Draw: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea
- Win: Chelsea 1-1 West Ham United
Liverpool’s last five matches:
- Win: Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
- Draw: Liverpool 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Win: Villarreal 2-3 Liverpool
- Win: Newcastle United 0-1 Liverpool
- Win: Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal
PLAYER(S) TO WATCH OUT
Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea: The Belgian has returned to form right on time and has scored three goals in the previous two matches to become Tuchel’s preferred striker.
The 28-year-old has 15 goals for the London-based club so far this season and will look to increase his tally after his return to Stamford Bridge from Inter Milan.
However, there will be a dilemma for starting position at the No. 9 position, with Tuchel favouring Kai Havertz for finals, including the Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup final, where the German had scored the winner.
Sadio Mane, Liverpool: Klopp’s side will look to capitalise on Mane’s form as a striker, with the Senegal international having two goals in Liverpool’s two previous matches. He was instrumental in the Reds’ progress into the FA Cup final, scoring a brace against Manchester City at Wembley.
Mane will bank on crosses from another emerging star from his team — Luis Diaz. The Colombian has been a constant threat along the flanks, and has two goals and an assist in the last three matches.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Edouard Mendy (GK), Reece James, Antonio Rudiger, Andres Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta (C), Jorginho, Mason Mount, Marcos Alonso, Kai Havertz, Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner
Liverpool Predicted XI: Alisson Becker (GK), Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Naby Keita, Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson, Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah
Where to watch the FA Cup final?
Chelsea vs Liverpool will be telecast live on on SONY TEN 2 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) in India.
On the OTT platform, the match will be available for live telecast on Sony LIV and JioTV.