Chelsea will be taking on Liverpool in the FA Cup final at the Wembley Stadium in London on the 14th of May. It won’t be the first time this season that Chelsea and Liverpool will be renewing hostilities, however, this time it is at the Wembley Stadium with a prestigious trophy on the line in the 141st FA Cup Final.
For Chelsea, it is the only piece of silverware that they are going to fight for this season and they’re heading into this after defeating Crystal Palace quite reasonably in the semi-final. Meanwhile, Liverpool’s hopes of winning the quadruple have taken a huge blow as they have fallen behind in the Premier League title race. However, they did best the league leaders Manchester City in the semi-final of the FA Cup which still presents their best chances of winning another trophy this season, although they will also take on Real Madrid in the final of the UEFA Champions League.
Chelsea’s dreams of winning the FA Cup have fallen one step short at this exact stage for the past two years. They’ve been on the receiving end of two memorable goals that eventually proved to be decisive in the past two finals – Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s subtle dink and flip in 2020 and Youri Tielemans’s bullet wonder strike from miles out in 2021. It goes without saying that Thomas Tuchel’s men need little extra motivation to prove that the 3rd time is indeed the charm.
Chelsea began the season as European champions after winning the UEFA Champions League last season and they also added the label of world champions courtesy of their win, the FIFA Club World Cup. However, the Blues can only enjoy another couple of weeks as the reigning champions of Europe before one of Liverpool and Real Madrid pip them to the prize. Given their recent form, even their third spot in the Premier League table cannot be taken for granted at this stage.
The Blues’ dismal streak of three winless matches finally came to an end as they recorded a straightforward and comfortable 3-0 success over relegation-threatened Leeds United on Wednesday. Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku all found the back of the net as Daniel James saw a red card in the first half which only worsened Leeds United’s woes as they look to be in increasing trouble and seem to be set for the drop.
It was also the week when Chelsea confirmed that LA Dodgers co-investors Todd Boehly’s consortium have been confirmed as the club’s new owners with the Roman Abramovich era finally coming to an end at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea will play the remaining Premier League fixtures at home and will round off the season with fixtures against Leicester City and Watford. The Blues have had a phenomenal run in the effect of this season and they were they did not take long to shatter Crystal Palace’s dreams in the semi-finals. They also took care of the likes of Chesterfield, Plymouth Argyle, Luton Town, and Middlesbrough during this season’s cup campaign and they are now on the verge of what could be their ninth FA Cup crown. This would see them becoming the outright third most successful club in the tournament history as they currently share the honour with fellow London giants Tottenham Hotspur.
Since Liverpool’s last FA Cup victory nearly 16 years ago, Chelsea have triumphed on numerous occasions in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 as well as 2018. They had also defeated Liverpool in the final of this historic competition in 2012.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have found the back of the net at least twice in all of their matches so far in the FA Cup this season. The German manager will also be leading the Blues for their fourth domestic final since his appointment and he will equal legendary Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho in that regard. However, poor form continues to loom large over them as they have won just two of their last six matches ahead of Saturday’s blockbuster event.
Chelsea can now have the comfort of realization that wrapping up a top-four finish in the Premier League should be pretty easy and requires minimal difficulty for them at this late stage of the season. Therefore, adding the FA Cup title to their already illustrious trophy cabinet will be an excellent way to compensate for what has been a rough and difficult season marred with several unforeseen circumstances. It will also be a good way for Thomas Tuchel to introduce himself in the good books of the new owners of the club.
Chelsea are the first team to qualify for three successive FA Cup finals since Arsenal last accomplished this between 2001 and 2003. Since the turn of the century, no team has ever suffered three successive FA Cup final losses. The last time a team lost three final appearances in a row was when Newcastle United suffered heartbreak in 1973-74, 1997-98, and 1998-99.
For only the second in history, the same two sides will contest the League Cup and FA Cup final in the same campaign. The last time it happened, Arsenal defeated Sheffield Wednesday on both occasions in 1992-93 and the Blues can take a page out of the books of their London rivals to break their jinx in the FA Cup when they take on Liverpool in the final at Wembley.
Even though he might remain coy about it in public, there is every chance that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is sick of the sound of the world ‘quadruple’ at this point. Although his side continues to be within touching distance of achieving the unthinkable, their recent draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League has dealt a massive blow to the dream of the Kop.
Jurgen Klopp has hardly ever been one to hide his feelings about packed fixture schedules. However, to his credit, Liverpool have managed a difficult period of congested matches with plenty of aplomb which has kept them within close distance of four trophies come the end of the season. The cracks of fatigue might be appearing in the Kop but the Reds have enough resilience and mettle to hold it out, at least for the next few fixtures before the curtains are drawn on their 2021/22 campaign across all competitions.
Liverpool needed a brilliant comeback in the second half to knock Villarreal out of the UEFA Champions League semi-final and book themselves a place in the final of the competition for the third time in five years. They will face familiar force Real Madrid in the final in Paris on May 28. The Spanish giants had famously beaten Jurgen Klopp’s men in the final in 2018 and Mo Salah and co will be out for revenge.
However, they did look pretty out of ideas when they faced Tottenham Hotspur and were far from their usual standards of excellence when they took on Steven Gerrard‘s Aston Villa in the midweek round of fixtures. The straightforward explanation is that Klopp has needed to make a multitude of changes to keep his players well-rested and fresh for the most important phase of the season.
Douglas Luiz gave Aston Villa the lead of the contest with his opener arriving inside the first few minutes. However, Joel Matip and Sadio Mane turned the game on its head and secured much-needed three points in favour of Liverpool. They continue to have a three-point gap with defending champions and league leaders Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table with only two matches left to be played in the English top-flight this season.
It goes without saying that the all-important Premier League title continues to be out of their reach and they will need to depend on Manchester City dropping points in order to have any sniff of lifting the title once again. However, Klopp’s men have already added the EFL Cup to their trophy case and are 90 minutes of football away from ending their 16-year drought in the FA Cup. They will also fancy themselves getting revenge against Real Madrid in the final of Europe’s premier competition.
For all the revolution Jurgen Klopp has brought about in Merseyside, he has never been able to take Liverpool beyond the fifth round of the FA Cup before the current season. The Reds defeated Shrewsbury Town, Cardiff City, Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, and then Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the semi-final to book their tickets for the Wembley Stadium in London.
Liverpool haven’t gotten their hands on the prestigious trophies FA Cup trophy since the rather infamous Steven Gerard Stunner in 2006 when they beat West Ham United on penalties that year. Delivered. The Reds are also unbeaten in the last 15 matches across all tournaments before heading into Saturday’s final. They haven’t suffered a defeat since the inconsequential loss to Inter Milan at Anfield in the Champions League.
The Reds have also registered victories in seven of their last eight matches. While Liverpool can also boast of an extremely successful and tight defensive performance throughout the season, their current run of three matches without a clean sheet has been a harsh reality check for Klopp. Liverpool will not be in any mood to pass upon the prospect of completing a domestic cup double for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
Liverpool and Chelsea will be taking on each other for the fourth time this season. All previous clashes have ended in stalemates. However, the Reds did defeat them on penalties to lift the League Cup in February.
CHE vs LIV, FA Cup 2021/22 Final
Date: 15th April, 2022
Time: 9:15 PM IST
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Chelsea FA Cup form:
Chelsea from (all competitions):
Liverpool FA Cup form:
Liverpool form (all competitions):
Chelsea wins: 65
Liverpool wins: 83
Chelsea Team News: Chelsea will be concerned about the absence of midfield stalwart Mateo Kovacic, who was on the receiving end of a horrible tackle from Daniel James at Elland Road, for which the Leeds winger was sent off. Kovacic had to leave the field with a worrying look on his face. He was hit on the same ankle in the semi-final win over Crystal Palace. However, manager Thomas Tuchel hasn’t ruled out the possibility of him getting minutes in the final.
The Blues will be buoyed by the returns of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante in the engine room. Jorginho made a timely return from his own issue in midweek. While Kante’s return also seems to be on the cards, Tuchel is heavily leaning towards starting Jorginho and Ruben Loftus Cheek in the middle of the park for the FA Cup final. Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson Odoi are expected to be on the sidelines for this fixture.
Romelu Lukaku continued his redemption saga with another goal against Leeds United last weekend. His physical presence upfront will help a lot while going against the likes of Virgil Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate. Kai Havertz is well-rested and should force his way back into the starting XI which should keep Timo Werner, who has the most goal contributions in the FA Cup this season, and Christian Pulisic, who scored midweek, on the bench.
Liverpool Team News: It is pretty inexplicable at this point as to how it is the case, but Liverpool’s treatment room remains virtually empty despite going through the most physically exhausting and difficult stage of the season. Robert Firmino also returned to the bench against Aston Villa following his foot injury.
With that being said, Liverpool have suffered a massive blow as Fabinho trudged off the pitch with an apparent hamstring problem in Tuesday’s victory over Aston Villa. However, Klopp believes that the midfielder should be back in action before the Champions League final later this month.
Despite strong performances from Caoimhin Kelleher in the EFL Cup, Jurgen Klopp will continue to put his trust in Alisson Becker between the sticks in the all-important final. Andy Robertson will also enter the fray after enjoying a much-needed break at the Villa Park.
Senior players Thiago Alcantara, Ibrahima Konate, Jordan Henderson, and Mohamed Salah should all take their regular places and return to the starting XI. Salah will also join Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz to complete a dangerous and potent frontline.
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Alonso; Mount; Havertz, Lukaku
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz
Both Liverpool and Chelsea will be barred from fielding their desired combinations in midfield at Wembley. Therefore, the encounter on Saturday could be open-ended and there will be plenty of incentives on both teams’ forwards to put away the chances they received and be clinical.
Juergen Klopp recently renewed his contract at Anfield and winning the FA Cup will be the perfect way to celebrate that occasion. Meanwhile, Chelsea underwent an ownership change recently and they will be keen to impress their new American consortium.
With that being said, however, Liverpool are the fresher of the two sides as they managed to rest plenty of their star players in the midweek fixture against Aston Villa. The Reds are also in much better shape and form compared to the Blues. Liverpool taught Manchester City a lesson in attacking football in the semi-finals and they will be eager to inflict more misery on Chelsea in the final stage of the competition for the third year in a row.