Chelsea and Liverpool face off at Wembley Stadium on Sunday in the Carabao Cup final with both sides aiming to kickstart a trophy-filled end to the 2021-22 season.
Thomas Tuchel’s side clinched the UEFA Super Cup at the start of the campaign and the Blues followed that with a FIFA Club World Cup title earlier in February.
However, both sides are perfectly matched ahead of Carabao Cup final, with three more trophies on offer for both Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp in future weeks: FA Cup, Champions League and Premier League.
Liverpool are yet to win a domestic cup under Klopp, with a Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City in 2016. Chelsea also lost out to City in the final of the 2019 edition.
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Chelsea vs. Liverpool injury news
Tuchel has confirmed Ben Chilwell was the only confirmed absence. Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech were expected to be fit in time to start, but only Kovacic made it. Ziyech is not even on the bench. Andreas Christensen was reportedly hurt in training.
Liverpool had two major injury concerns ahead of the final with Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino struggling with injury.
The pair were injured in Liverpool’s 2-0 Champions League win at Inter Milan on Feb. 16 and missed the subsequent Premier League wins over Norwich City and Leeds United.
Brazilian star Firmino misses out, but Klopp includes Jota on the bench as he had previously hinted. The German coach also stuck to his promise of starting Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher in place of Alisson.
Thiago Alcantara picked up an injury in warmups and Naby Keita replaced him in the lineup with Harvey Elliott being promoted to the subs bench.
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Chelsea vs. Liverpool starting lineups
Chelsea’s improving injury situation gives Tuchel more flexibility with his starting options, but he is not risking Reece James at Wembley with Callum Hudson-Odoi also only half-fit. Both are on the bench.
However, his main call comes in goal. Kepa Arrizabalaga started in their semifinal wins over Tottenham in January, but first-choice Edouard Mendy has been back from Africa Cup of Nations duty for several weeks and he starts in goal.
Chelsea starting lineup (3-4-3): 16-Mendy — 14-Chalobah, 6-Silva, 2-Rudiger — 28-Azpilicueta, 8-Kovacic, 7-Kante, 3-Alonso — 10-Pulisic, 29-Havertz, 19-Mount
Chelsea subs (9): 1-Arrizabalaga (GK), 24-James, 31-Sarr, 5-Jorginho, 12-Loftus-Cheek, 17-Saul, 20-Hudson-Odoi, 9-Lukaku, 11-Werner
Despite both managers rotating their starting options in cup competitions, a Wembley final changes things for Klopp and Tuchel, with a strong XI fielded by both managers. Thiago did pick up an injury in warmups and was replaced by Naby Keita.
Kelleher’s inclusion is the only surprise call for Liverpool with Luis Diaz taking up the third attacking spot alongside Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.
Liverpool lineup (4-3-3): 62-Kelleher — 66-Alexander-Arnold, 32-Matip, 4-Van Dijk, 26-Robertson — 14-Henderson, 3-Fabinho, 8-Keita — 11-Salah, 10-Mane, 23-Diaz.
Liverpool subs (9): 1-Alisson, 5-Konate, 21-Tsimikas, 7-Milner, 67-Elliott, 15-Oxlade-Chamberlain, 18-Minamino, 20-Jota, 27-Origi
How to watch Chelsea vs. Liverpool
- Date: Sunday, Feb. 27
- Time: 11:30 a.m. ET
- USA streaming: ESPN+
- Canada streaming: DAZN
Sunday’s game from Wembley will be broadcast live in the USA on ESPN+, and on DAZN in Canada.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism