Liverpool FC vs Chelsea predicted starting XI: Preview, team news, prediction, injury news suspension, and kickoff
Liverpool FC will be travelling to South England; Wembley to face rival Chelsea in the EFL Cup final on Sunday.
With the Premier League title slipping further and further away from the blues, a domestic and continental treble is still on the cards, and a six-game winning run in all tournaments sets the Blues up nicely for a February Wembley showdown.
Chelsea’s defensive record increased as they sunk former manager Antonio Conte and his Tottenham side 3-0 over two legs in the semi-finals, and they were forced to rely on similar staunch rearguard action to overcome Lille 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 battle in midweek.
Furthermore, Chelsea have only shipped two goals in their six-game winning run amid uncertainty surrounding the futures of several of their defenders, all of whom have contributed to the Blues keeping three successive EFL Cup clean sheets on their route to Wembley.
The European champions’ ninth EFL Cup final is made all the more impressive given that they have only faced Premier League opposition in the tournament this season, but their last appearance in the showpiece event ended in defeat to Manchester City in 2019, and Liverpool are nothing if not ruthless.
A six-game winning streak is nothing to be ignored by any means, but Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Liverpool had a different number six in mind when Leeds United paid a visit to the Anfield fortress, as Leeds united capitulated on the Merseyside turf.
Mohamed Salah’s brace, Sadio Mane’s double, Joel Matip’s brilliant run and finish and Virgil van Dijk’s header moved Liverpool to within touching distance of Premier League leaders Manchester City, and hopes of an unprecedented quadruple is still very much alive.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 25, 2022
Chelsea EFL Cup form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
Liverpool EFL Cup form:
Liverpool form (all competitions):
Chelsea Team News
Mason Mount was fit for a place on the bench against Lille in a major fitness boost to Chelsea, especially seeing as Hakim Ziyech was forced off with an Achilles tendon injury and is considered doubtful.
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.
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.
Liverpool’s assistant confirmed Roberto Firmino was unavailable for the Wembley trip with a muscle injury, while Diogo Jota will continue to be monitored after sustaining an ankle issue.
Lijnders said: “Bobby we have to see in the next two days. He is pushing himself really hard but he will not be available for the final, to reach the squad.
“We hope he will be back really soon because you all see and know and feel how important he is for our way of playing, so I am happy that he is pushing himself. Hopefully,y he is soon back.
“Jota, so far no reaction on the things he did, so the straight-line running, the changes of direction and the ball work he did, so that’s a good sign. He isn’t ruled out but stil,l it will be a challenge.”
Klopp also confirmed earlier in the week that cup goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher will be given the nod ahead of Alisson, having featured in the majority of the rounds so far.
Klopp said: “We want to keep him as long as somehow possible, knowing that, from our point of view, the best goalkeeper in the world is our number one.
“Caoimhin is an exceptional goalkeeper and we want to keep him here. For that, he needs games. These games are his competition, and there’s no chance of him not playing.”
Chelsea predicted starting XI:
Kepa; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz
Liverpool predicted starting Xi:
Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz
Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool
Sunday, 27th February, 17:30 (WAT)