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2024 League Cup Final Preview: Chelsea v Liverpool

In a repeat of the 2021/22 League Cup final, Chelsea and Liverpool prepare to write another chapter in their fierce rivalry as they go head to head for the first domestic title of the 2023/24 campaign. Fans of both sides and neutrals alike will be hoping for more action in this final, given that the 2022 final saw both teams accumulate nearly 4.4 xG but surprisingly had no goals.

The Blues obliterated Championship outfit Middlesbrough on their way to Wembley Stadium, shrugging off a shocking 1-0 first-leg defeat with a 6-1 mauling at Stamford Bridge to reach their tenth League Cup final.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side head into the showpiece on the back of a three-match unbeaten streak – most recently a 1-1 draw against Manchester City in one of their finest performances of the season.

The Blues will look to replicate that performance against a Liverpool side who have their foot firmly on the gas despite their crippling injury problems.

The Reds powered past Leicester City, Bournemouth, West Ham United and Fulham on their way to Wembley, and head into Sunday’s mouth-watering contest on the back of a three-match winning streak.

Match Preview

Despite reaching two League Cup finals in the last five years, Chelsea have not tasted victory in the competition since 2015. Their previous two final appearances ended in heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeats.

The Blues now stand on the precipice of unwanted history as another defeat will see them become the first team in English football history to lose six consecutive domestic cup finals.

Chelsea were humbled in their previous meeting with Liverpool. But revenge will not be their only motivation as they eye the first piece of silverware under the new regime and a valuable route into Europe.

Pochettino will be desperate to end his trophy drought in England, and Liverpool’s crippling injury crisis could play into his hands, with the Reds potentially missing up to eight key players.

Liverpool will feature in their record 14th League Cup final and could solidify their status as the competition’s most decorated club with a potential tenth triumph.

They’ve only lost four of their last 13 appearances in the final, but victory hasn’t come easy lately, with each of their previous three showpiece outings decided by penalty shoot-outs.

As was the case in 2021/22, Liverpool have a potentially historic quadruple in sight and arrive at Wembley in red-hot form, scoring 3+ goals in five of their last six matches across all competitions.

While their injury problems could turn the tides in Chelsea’s favour, whoever lines up in attack for Liverpool should cause Chelsea problems, with Cody Gakpo (11) one of five Reds to score ten goals in all competitions.

The exclusive list also includes Mohamed Salah (19), Diogo Jota (14), Darwin Nunez (13) and Luis Diaz (10).

Team news & potential line-ups

Pochettino confirmed in his pre-match press conference that veteran defender Thiago Silva is in contention to feature on Sunday.

Carney Chukwuemeka has also passed a fitness test, but the Blues will be without Benoit Badiashile, Reece James, Lesly Ugochukwu, Romeo Lavia, Marc Cucurella and Wesley Fofana.

Robert Sanchez has also been handed a clean bill of health, but Dorde Petrovic is expected to retain his place between the sticks on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have been decimated by injuries in the build-up to the final. Nunez, Dominik Szoboszlai and Salah are subject to a late fitness test, but they’re likely to miss out.

However, Alisson Becker, Jota, Curtis Jones, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip have been ruled out of contention for the showpiece final.

Chelsea potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Dorde Petrovic; Malo Gusto, Axel Disasi, Levi Colwill, Ben Chilwell; Moises Caicedo, Enzo Fernandez; Cole Palmer, Conor Gallagher, Raheem Sterling; Nicolas Jackson.

Liverpool potential starting line-up:

(4-3-3): Caoimhin Kelleher; Conor Bradley, Ibrahim Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson; Ryan Gravenberch, Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister; Harvet Elliott, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz.

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