Liverpool may still have an outside chance at an historic quadruple — and certainly a decent chance at an historic cup treble — and the gap in the league table may be sizable just as it’s been for the past few years, but on the pitch, it’s taken 300 minutes and 11 pairs of penalty kicks to find even an inch of difference between the two teams this season.
A 1-1 draw at Anfield in September, a 2-2 draw at the Bridge in January, and a 0-0 draw at Wembley after extra-time in February is what the balance of play shows, with Liverpool then prevailing 11-10 in the subsequent shootout (yes, it took every single player to find an actual margin) to collect the League Cup trophy.
The point is, they may be the favorites for the FA Cup, but we’ve played them about as close as it’s humanly possible without actually beating them.
So, time to change that. And also time to end our losing habit in FA Cup finals, seeing as how we’ve now made three in a row and five of the last six, but have only one shiny trophy to show for it. (And the women’s team can make ours a double by beating Manchester City on Sunday in the Women’s FA Cup final!)
Date / Time: Saturday, May 14, 2022, 16.45 BST; 11:45am EDT; 9:15pm IST
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, England
Referee: Craig Pawson (on pitch); Paul Tierney (VAR) — biggest game of Pawson’s career
Forecast: sunny and warm
On TV: ITV 1, BBC One (UK); none (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); SuperSport Premier League (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: ITV Hub, BBC iPlayer (UK); ESPN+ (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA)
A nice story. Sanctions have prevented the club from arranging complimentary tickets for the FA Cup Final for academy players U8-U16 in the usual way. So the first team players, staff and senior management will pay to make it possible for everyone plus a family member to attend. pic.twitter.com/n69Q46nC0n— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) May 13, 2022
Chelsea team news: Chelsea are nominally the home team, but have already confirmed that we will be wearing our (luckier?) away yellow kit. Whether that brings enough luck to get N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic back on the remains to be seen, with the latter especially unlikely to feature (maybe on the bench) following his nasty-looking ankle injury midweek. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell remain out, as usual.
In terms of team selection, the biggest question is who starts in attack, other than Mason Mount. Romelu Lukaku and Christian Pulisic have played a ton in the last week, but are in form. Kai Havertz and Timo Werner are more rested, but are no longer on a hot streak. Thomas Tuchel will also have a big decision to make for the third player in the back-three (Christensen? Chalobah? Azpilicueta?).
Regardless of who starts, Chelsea will need to be just about perfect, from the first minute to the last.
Liverpool team news: The Champions League-finalists will be without Fabinho, which is a pretty big blow to their midfield, but one they certainly have the quality, the desire, and the coaching nous to overcome — especially if we’re also without one or two key midfielders of our own.
The Reds need an most unlikely slip up from Manchester City to defend their Premier League title, but will certainly want to make up for that by collecting both domestic cups and the Champions League as well.
Both managers have talked up the luck factor in what is expected to be a game decided by the tiniest of margins. Grab all your lucky socks, I suppose.
“We didn’t ‘beat’ Chelsea [in the Carabao Cup], we won the penalty shootout,” Klopp said.
“I’ve said a few times, without luck you have no chance, and luck was on our side that day. It was a tough, tight game and we know how good Chelsea are and we expect another tough game. Both teams will go for all they have. That’s what I expect from Chelsea and that’s what I especially expect from us.”
-Jurgen Klopp; source: Evening Standard via Yahoo!
View from the enemy: The Liverpool Offside
Previously: We have plenty of history in finals and other knockout games over the past couple decades, including this final almost exactly 10 years ago, when Petr Cech made one of the best saves ever, and Didier Drogba, of course, scored the winning goal.