ENGLISH FOOTBALL

Liverpool vs Chelsea: Match Preview, Predicted Line-ups and Team News

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- Charanjit Chana

Liverpool will face off against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup Final on Sunday, February 27. The match will be played at the Wembley Stadium in London at 10:00 pm.

In a cup final certain factors like a run of form, team news and momentum go straight out the window. All that matters is how the teams perform on that particular day. That will be the case once again on Sunday. It’s the clash of the titans as Chelsea face Liverpool.

Starting with Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel’s side has managed to rack up wins despite their injury concerns. They have several players out, that too in key positions. However, despite that The Blues have managed to keep it all green in their form list as they have won all of their last six games be it in the Premier League or the Champions League. Nevertheless, it will be a tough fixture as few teams can contain Liverpool when they are in such form.

Chelsea EFL Cup Form: W W W W W

Chelsea Form in all competitions: W W W W W W

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool come to this game after thrashing Leeds United 6-0. They are in red hot form and few will bet against them tomorrow. The Reds are scoring freely and will want it to continue against a stern Chelsea defence. The Merseyside club emerges as the favourites going into the game however such things hardly mean anything in a match of this stature.

Liverpool EFL Cup Form: W D W W W

Liverpool Form in all competitions: W W W W W W

Both Premier League fixtures between Chelsea and Liverpool this term ended with the spoils shared, and the two sides have met once before in the EFL Cup final, where Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman contributed to a 3-2 Chelsea win after extra time in 2004-05 edition.

CHELSEA TEAM NEWS

Mateo Kovacic was also forced off with a muscular problem in the Champions League win, although Tuchel is hopeful that both he and Ziyech can be involved in some capacity on Sunday, and the same can be said for Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Ben Chilwell could therefore be the Blues’ only absentee for the final, with Tuchel exclaiming that Reece James could be fit enough for a place in the squad, but it would be a surprise to see him start.

Tuchel has big calls to make in all areas of the pitch, but Kepa Arrizabalaga will be desperate to get the nod in goal, while Kai Havertz could once again lead the line ahead of Romelu Lukaku.

CHELSEA POSSIBLE LINE-UP AGAINST LIVERPOOL

Kepa; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz

LIVERPOOL TEAM NEWS

As for Liverpool, Diogo Jota is battling to be fit for the final after sustaining an ankle injury against Inter Milan in the Champions League, but Roberto Firmino will be absent.

Klopp has no other issues to contend with barring his two centre-forwards, and with Jota surely only being considered for a bench role, Mane and Salah ought to join Luis Diaz in the final third again.

The Reds boss has also confirmed that Caoimhin Kelleher will act as the last line of defence at Wembley, where Jordan Henderson should return to an otherwise settled Liverpool XI.

LIVERPOOL POSSIBLE LINE-UP AGAINST CHELSEA

Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz

OUR PREDICTION

Chelsea 1 – 2 Liverpool

Even without the presence of Jota or Firmino in the number nine position, Liverpool’s potent attackers are simply too good to ignore, with Salah in the form of his life, Diaz making a huge early impression and Africa Cup of Nations champion Mane knowing what it takes to hold his nerve on the big occasion.

Chelsea have defied the odds before, but even their sturdy backline will have a hard time trying to quell Klopp’s well-oiled machine, and we can only envisage the Reds getting their hands on the cup for the ninth time. Chelsea also has multiple injury issues this season and everything more or less points to a trophy for Klopp’s side.

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