It’s cup final day! That’s right, it’s the first trophy up for grabs in the English football calendar. Wembley is calling and the two teams on the hunt for glory are Chelsea and Liverpool, both teams will be desperate for silverware, with hopes of this title propelling them to something even greater come to the end of the season. With the holder’s Manchester City nowhere in sight, it’s a chance for either side to disrupt City’s clear dominance in this competition, putting a stop to a fifth successive Carabao Cup in a row.
Chelsea last won this competition in 2015 after beating London rival Tottenham 2-0, the five-time winners will be hoping to add to that tally today. Liverpool is historically strong in this competition as they have won the most League Cups with 8 alongside Manchester City who has also won 8. This will be an added incentive for the Merseysiders as a win at Wembley takes them outright as the most successful club in this competition.
Chelsea will be looking to pick up their third trophy this season after picking up the Super Cup as well as the Club World Cup already. Thomas Tuchel’s time at the club has been littered with trophies so far, so the German will be very familiar with taking his team to a cup final. Wembley remains a place where he hasn’t yet triumphed as the last time he was there Chelsea lost the FA Cup 1-0 to Leicester City, after a superb right-footed drive from Belgian Yuri Tielemans that sealed the win for the foxes.
The biggest question going into the final for the blues with be Tuchel’s team selection, the German has chopped and changed throughout this year’s campaign, and we could possibly see star summer signing Romelu Lukaku on the bench today. Chelsea have a lot of star coming back from injury, so it will be up to the manager, with the guidance of his medical staff to decide who is available come 4:30 this afternoon. Tuchel revealed this week everyone apart from Ben Chillwell trained ahead of todays match. This results in possible returns for the likes of Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Matteo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech.
Liverpool will be looking to pick up their first trophy this season as they attempt to achieve the gargantuan task of a quadruple. Jurgen Klopp has never won the league cup, he came close in 2016 as his side were beaten on penalties thank to the heroics of Manchester City goalie Willy Caballero. The German will be hoping to add the Carabao Cup to his already impressive collection.
The Reds have been on fire these last couple of games, coming of the back of a 6-0 thrashing of Leeds United on Wednesday. Liverpool will be dreaming of that kind of display at Wembley, however unrealistic that might be. Their squad is looking strong coming into this game, Diogo Jota is on track to return from an ankle injury to make final, but Roberto Firmino looks set to miss out. Jurgen Klopp has already confirmed Caoimhin Kelleher will start in goal in the final and not usual first-choice Alisson.
What Bets To Place
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Here is the betslip on Ladbrokes for today’s game:
Over 8.5 Corners
With this being such a monumental occasion, it’ll be difficult to decide on the winner, especially has the dreaded extra time is on the cards. Liverpool and Chelsea have averaged above 6.44 corners each this season. Both teams will be turning up the heat towards the end of the 90 minutes so plenty of shots and resulting corners will be likely.
Goals & Shots
- Salah To Score Anytime
- Salah 1+ Shot On Target
- Havertz or Zyech To Have 1 Shot On Target
I’ll start with Salah as he will be a big deciding factor in my predictions, the Egyptian is the Reds talisman and top goal scorer. He has averaged 3.90 shots a game with 1.71 of them being on target, so he will get chances to shoot. With 27 goals already this season, it’s clear Salah is fantastic in front of goal, with him also being Liverpool’s penalty taker, Salah finding the back of the net is far more likely than not.
With Chelsea’s line up being far from predictable it’ll be silly of me not to consider the possible changes in selection. I believe both have a shot of playing and both are good for a Shot on Target, Ziyech averages 3.87 shots per game and 1.65 on target. The Moroccon is not shy from shooting from range either. If Ziyech is playing then he is definitely my first choice, however Havertz’s numbers are respectable to say the least with 2.74 shots per game and 1.01 of them on target a game.