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Back Liverpool to win.These are two excellent teams but the Reds’ attacking quality could give them the edge.
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When Thomas Tuchel was appointed as Chelsea manager in January 2021, he inherited a far from perfect situation. The Blues were ninth in the Premier League table and had lost their previous encounter 2-0 to Leicester City. Missing out on the Champions League was a distinct possibility. Tuchel also had to deal with the potentially difficult situation of replacing Frank Lampard, a club legend who remained popular with the Chelsea fans right up until the end of his managerial tenure.
A few months on and the Blues had not only qualified for the next edition of the Champions League but had won the current one too. Tuchel also guided Chelsea to the final of the FA Cup, which they lost to Leicester. Already this season his side have reached the finals of the League Cup and the Club World Cup. In fact, Tuchel has reached the final of every cup competition he has entered as Chelsea boss. That is a fantastic accomplishment which speaks volumes about his ability as a head coach.
Tuchel has experienced a fair few difficult moments this season, though. Chelsea beat Crystal Palace last weekend and are on course to finish third in the Premier League, but their performance at Selhurst Park was disappointing.
Even in a 2-0 victory over Lille in the Champions League on Tuesday, Chelsea were nowhere near their best. Romelu Lukaku began that match on the bench after an underwhelming showing against Palace. The Belgian’s return to west London has not worked out so far. Tuchel might be in the final of another cup competition, but he still has plenty to ponder.
Liverpool will arrive at Wembley with sky-high confidence. The Premier League title race looked to be done and dusted a few weeks ago, but Manchester City have slipped up on two occasions of late. A 1-1 draw with Southampton and a 3-2 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur have allowed Liverpool back in – and Jurgen Klopp’s side have grasped the opportunity with both hands. After six wins on the bounce, the Reds are now just three points off top spot.
Liverpool will put their title ambitions on hold this weekend as they seek another piece of silverware, but a 6-0 demolition of Leeds United on Wednesday will have done their self-belief no harm ahead of the final. Marcelo Bielsa’s open and attack-minded tactics played into Liverpool’s hands, but Klopp will nevertheless have been delighted with how ruthless his team were on the night.
The Reds are the joint-most successful team in the history of the League Cup; they and Manchester City have lifted the trophy on eight occasions. Somewhat surprisingly, though, they have not triumphed in this tournament for a decade. Their most recent success came under Kenny Dalglish, whose team beat Cardiff City in the 2012 final. In fact, Klopp has not won a domestic cup competition since taking over at Anfield six and a half years ago.
The German, of course, has triumphed in the Premier League and the Champions League – respectively the biggest prizes in the English and European game. Even so, he would love to add another winner’s medal to his collection this weekend.
Liverpool start as favorites for Sunday’s match game – and it is worth backing them to come out on top. Remember, betting the moneyline here refers to the first 90 minutes only. A win for either team in extra time or on penalties would bring them the trophy, but the match would be classed as a tie in the betting stakes.
Chelsea are a top team but they are not quite in Liverpool’s class. That has been borne out in the Premier League this season. The Reds are 10 points clear of the Blues, albeit having played one game more. Chelsea actually have a better defensive record, but Liverpool have outscored them 70 goals to 49.
That is a significant difference – and it could be decisive on Sunday. In Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz, Liverpool possess phenomenal firepower up front (and that is before we mention Diogo Jota, who is likely to feature as a substitute after an injury.
Chelsea, on the hand, have doubts over their strike force. Lukaku could be restored to the starting XI, but it would not be a surprise to see him on the bench. Liverpool are on a nine-game winning run in all competitions – back them to make it 10s this weekend.
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|Chelsea vs Liverpool Information|
|Teams||Chelsea vs Liverpool|
|Location||Wembley Stadium, London, England|
|Time||Sunday, 27 February 2022, 11.30 AM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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