Chelsea will be hoping to avoid being on the wrong side of history when they take on Liverpool for the FA Cup trophy later today. The Blues had looked on course for a memorable season midway through the campaign as they were up there at the top of the table with Liverpool and Manchester City.
The wheels began to fall off their Premier League title chances around the turn of the year and there was further frustration after their dramatic penalty shoot-out loss to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final. A heartbreaking Champions League exit to Real Madrid in the quarter finals added further woes to a frustrating few months for the west London club.
But they rallied just days later to book their place in the FA Cup final with a comfortable 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. The FA Cup now presents Chelsea’s only chance of a major trophy this season, but face a tough ask against Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying Liverpool side.
The Reds still stand an outside chance of creating history by becoming the first English side to win the quadruple. Chelsea can ruin those hopes this afternoon at Wembley, but face their own battles to get on the right side of history.
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It’s only the second time in history that the same two sides have competed in the final of both the League Cup and FA Cup. The only previous occasion came back in 1993 when Arsenal faced off against Sheffield Wednesday.
The Gunners won both trophies that season, with Wednesday being the only side to lose both the FA Cup and League Cup finals in the same year to the same opponent. But if Chelsea lose to Liverpool today, they will join Wednesday in holding the unwanted record.
The three other matches between Liverpool this season have all ended level after 90 minutes, indicating it will be another close affair. It’s also the first time Chelsea and Liverpool have met in the FA Cup final since 2012 when goals from Ramires and Didier Drogba saw the Blues win 2-1.
Liverpool don’t have a particularly great record in the FA Cup showpiece either having lost seven of the 14 finals they’ve competed in. Both Thomas Tuchel and Klopp will be without two key midfielders for the final with Fabinho and Mateo Kovacic picking up injuries earlier this week.
But Chelsea head into the final off the back of an impressive win over Leeds with Tuchel confident of the team’s attitude. He said: “We arrive [to the FA Cup final] with a clear mindset because we did what we needed to do this week. Good news.”