Preview of Jonathan Liew
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley. Broadly speaking, there are two types of FA Cup final: David v Goliath or Goliath v Goliath. This is definitely the latter, a heavyweight clash between two members of the elite. This is the 150th FA Cup final; none of the previous 149 have involved a recent world champion, let alone two.
Football moves pretty fast. So even though Chelsea are the current world champions, Liverpool have a stronger case for being the best team on the planet, and even the solar system. (This lot on Neptune still plays the WM FFS line-up.) Both clubs’ recent form makes them favorites today, although Chelsea looked much more perky when they dismantled Leeds in the week.
All three games between Chelsea and Liverpool this season have been hard-fought draws. The last of these, the Carabao Cup final, ended in glory for Liverpool after an interminable penalty shootout. They still sniff an unprecedented cup hat-trick, maybe even a quadruple. Chelsea are hoping for a less famous treble: European Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup of England. By scoring a hat trick, they would avoid another. No team, not even Newcastle in the late 1990s, has ever lost three FA Cup finals in a row.
We’ll have a leisurely build-up to the game, with team news expected around an hour before the game. 4:45 p.m. to start up. Both managers have tough decisions to make. Thomas Tuchel has to make a call on the fitness of N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, neither of whom are 100% fit. “Now is the time to take risks,” Tuchel said yesterday, repeating a phrase that suddenly seems to come out of every football manager’s mouth. Tuchel must also decide whether to launch Romelu Lukaku instead or alongside Kai Havertz.
Jurgen Klopp’s main dilemma is in midfield, with the irreplaceable Fabinho injured. The most likely scenario is that Jordan Henderson falls into the bouncer role and Naby Keita enters the side. Or rather stay there, as he started at Aston Villa on Tuesday, but you know what I mean.
Chelsea (3-4-3) Mendy; James, Thiago, Rüdiger; Azpilicueta, Kante/Kovacic, Jorginho, Alonso; Mont, Havertz, Werner.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Mané, Diaz.