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Chelsea vs Liverpool: Carabao Cup Final preview – Prediction, team news, line-ups

Wembley Stadium plays host to the mouth-watering Carabao Cup final between familiar foes Chelsea and Liverpool on Sunday.

For the first time since 2005, these two Premier League heavyweights will lock horns in the EFL Cup showpiece, with the Blues coming out on top of their only previous encounter. 

Match Preview

Driven by revenge after losing both major finals against Chelsea, Liverpool will take the field in high spirits, having won their last nine competitive matches by an aggregate score of 25-4.

Jurgen Klopp’s team dismantled out-of-sorts Leeds United 6-0 in midweek Premier League action to reduce the gap on table-topping Manchester City and rekindle their title hopes.

The Reds eased past Arsenal in their Carabao Cup semi-final tie, claiming a comfortable 2-0 second-leg triumph in London following a goalless draw at Anfield. 

However, the Merseysiders have failed to take home the trophy in their last two domestic cup final events, including a penalty shoot-out defeat to Man City in the 2016 final.

Liverpool’s last EFL Cup title dates back to 2012 when they overcame Cardiff City via penalties en route to conquering the competition for the record-equalling eighth time. 

Chelsea have built on their recent FIFA Club World Cup success, beating Crystal Palace and Lille without conceding in their Premier League and Champions League fixtures, respectively. 

The Blues last featured in the Carabao Cup showpiece in 2018, where they lost to Man City on penalties following goalless 120 minutes of action at this stadium. 

However, the Stamford Bridge outfit have tasted the cup glory at the new Wembley, courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in 2015.

Unfortunately for Thomas Tuchel’s men, they have since finished as runners-up in three consecutive major domestic cup finals, including a 1-0 loss to Leicester City in last season’s FA Cup showpiece. 

Defensively sound, Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in three successive EFL Cup outings, which has also been the case in three of their last four fixtures across all competitions. 

Team News

Ben Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James all face lengthy spells on the sidelines for various physical setbacks. But Tuchel hopes to have his defensive stalwart Thiago Silva fit and ready.

Timo Werner, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, could still be in contention for the squad selection, according to football.london

Other than them, Chelsea should have the rest of the squad fully prepared for the upcoming showdown. 

As for Liverpool, Andy Robertson is out after receiving a three-game ban in domestic competitions over his reckless challenge against Tottenham, meaning Kostas Tsimikas will likely start at the left-back.

Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara remain doubtful for Saturday’s fixture, with the former set to be replaced by marquee January addition Luis Diaz in all likelihood.

The Colombian forward should join forces with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in Klopp’s preferred three-man frontline.

Chelsea Potential Starting XI:

(3-4-2-1): Edouard Mendy; Andreas Christiansen, Trevoh Chalobah, Antonio Rudiger; Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso; Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount; Romelu Lukaku.

Liverpool Potential Starting XI:

(4-3-3): Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Kostas Tsimikas; Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane.

Chelsea vs Liverpool Prediction

Chelsea and Liverpool shared the spoils in a goal-friendly 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in January, but we expect nothing of that sort this time around.

Given what is at stake, we anticipate both teams to take a cautious approach, especially the Blues, based on Tuchel’s tactics in each of his three finals in the Chelsea dugout.

Details will likely decide this game, but Liverpool’s recent form cannot be overlooked as we give them the upper hand here.

Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool.

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