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Saturday’s FA Cup final promises to be an exciting one as Liverpool and Chelsea meet each other at Wembley for the second time in less than three months.
The two sides played out an enthralling Carabao Cup final in February, with the Reds eventually prevailing on penalties.
Chelsea will now have their chance to exact revenge, ending Liverpool’s hopes of an unprecedented quadruple. Here’s how the two teams could line-up for the highly-anticipated clash…
GK – ALISSON
Caoimhin Kelleher got the nod in the Carabao Cup final, but Alisson has been Jurgen Klopp’s preferred option in the latter stages of the FA Cup, and he should take his place in goal on this occasion as well.
Manchester City opted to play their second-choice shot-stopper against Liverpool in the semi-finals and this backfired as Zack Steffen made a glaring error for the second goal.
Klopp won’t want to take an unnecessary risk here.
RB – TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD
A straightforward decision for Klopp.
Alexander-Arnold has been in exceptional form this term, earning himself a place on the shortlist for the Premier League Player of the Season.
Joe Gomez has deputised for him well at times in recent weeks, but Alexander-Arnold simply has to start this match.
It would not be a surprise to see Klopp plump for Ibrahima Konate instead of Matip.
However, Matip has started both matches against Chelsea that he has been available for this season, and has hardly put a foot wrong. This could just give him the edge over Konate.
CB – VIRGIL VAN DIJK
Arguably the best centre-back on the planet right now, and Liverpool will need another big performance from him to get past Chelsea.
He won the Player of the Match award in the Carabao Cup final, and the Dutchman will be hoping to create more happy memories with the Merseyside club at Wembley on Saturday.
LB – ANDREW ROBERTSON
Robertson was given a rest against Aston Villa on Tuesday with this game in mind, making it clear that he is likely to start, barring any unexpected setbacks.
The 28-year-old has had another strong campaign at Anfield, and should complete Liverpool’s back four.
DM – JORDAN HENDERSON
With Fabinho ruled out after coming off with a muscle problem against Villa, Henderson is the obvious replacement in the holding role.
He came on for the Brazilian in midweek and did a solid job, and Liverpool will hope that his experience will prove crucial in this clash.
CM – NABY KEITA
The Guinea international seems to have gone from strength to strength as the season has progressed, and he is likely to take his place on right-hand side of Liverpool’s midfield three.
CM – THIAGO ALCANTARA
Thiago has been in the best form of his Liverpool career to date over the past month or so, delivering a particularly impressive display when his side dispatched Manchester United.
He missed the Carabao Cup final after pulling up injured in the warm-up, and will hope that he avoids similar bad luck this time around.
RW – MOHAMED SALAH
Salah may have been a little unhappy to only start Liverpool’s game against Villa on the bench given that the Golden Boot is on the line, but that should ensure that he is fresh for this game.
He has netted 30 goals in all competitions this season, and may fancy adding to his tally against the Blues.
LW – LUIS DIAZ
Klopp may consider going with Diogo Jota ahead of Diaz, but given how well the Colombian is currently playing, it will be very difficult to leave him out.
Diaz turned Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final tie against Villarreal in his team’s favour,and has proved himself to be a game-changer since arriving at Anfield in January.
Mane has been sensational in 2022, and could be in contention for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Adding another piece of silverware to his collection will do his chances of picking up that award no harm at all.
GK – EDOUARD MENDY
Thomas Tuchel put his faith in Mendy in the Carabao Cup final in February, and he is likely to do the same again here.
If this game goes to penalties, it will be interesting to see whether he brings on Kepa Arrizabalaga after that move backfired three months ago.
RWB – REECE JAMES
James is capable of playing as a wing-back or in central defence, but given the attacking threat that he offers, he should be chosen to play in the former role.
Alexander-Arnold and James are arguably the two best full-backs in England right now, and it will be intriguing to see who shines brighter on Saturday.
CB – CESAR AZPILICUETA
Chelsea’s captain has won the FA Cup once before, and he will be aiming to triumph again.
He remains a reliable presence in what is likely to be a very experienced back three.
CB – THIAGO SILVA
Silva is still going strong at the age of 37, and has a case for being Chelsea’s best player this season.
A calming influence at the back, he has proven time and time again that he is a man for the big occasions.
CB – ANTONIO RUDIGER
Rudiger is set to leave Chelsea to join Real Madrid this summer, but he is an important part of Tuchel’s side for now.
Lifting the FA Cup would be the perfect send-off for the German international has has become a fans’ favourite at Stamford Bridge.
LWB – MARCOS ALONSO
Alonso is another player who could depart west London in the coming months as he has been linked with a return to his homeland.
With Ben Chilwell still sidelined, Alonso is the obvious choice to play on the left flank.
CM – N’GOLO KANTE
Tuchel has admitted that Kante is not 100% fit at the moment, but he is back in training, and given the significance of the match, he could be risked.
Kante was outstanding in the Champions League final last season, and a similar performance could be needed here if Chelsea are to get the better of Liverpool.
CM – MATEO KOVACIC
Kovacic is an even bigger doubt than Kante after being on the receiving end of an ugly-looking tackle for Daniel James on Wednesday.
At that point, it looked like his cup final dreams were in tatters, but he has made a remarkable recovery, and Tuchel has confirmed that he has a chance of playing.
He has arguably been his team’s best midfielder this season, so it is likely that Chelsea will do everything they can to get him on the pitch.
RW – MASON MOUNT
The 23-year-old registered a goal and an assist against Leeds on Wednesday to move into double figures in the league in both categories this season.
Tuchel trusts him completely, making him one of the first names on the teamsheet at Wembley.
LW – TIMO WERNER
Tuchel also has the option to play Christian Pulisic from the left wing, but Werner offers a little more pace which could trouble Alexander-Arnold, and that may work in his favour.
Werner impressed in the semi-finals, setting up Mount’s goal, and should keep his place in the team.
ST – KAI HAVERTZ
This could be the biggest call of all for Tuchel. Romelu Lukaku has scored three goals in his last two matches, suggesting that he is hitting form at just the right time,
However, Havertz is the ultimate big-game player, having scored in multiple cup finals already for Chelsea. With this in mind, it could leave Lukaku having to settle for a place on the bench.
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