Potentially only 90 minutes away from winning a record-breaking ninth EFL Cup crown, Liverpool journey south to renew hostilities with Chelsea in the EFL Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
Chelsea’s Premier League form may not have progressed in a way they would have expected it to this season, but in certain matches – most notably the Champions League final last season – Tuchel has shown himself to be a tactical mastermind.
This final features two top English sides managed by top German managers. A rivalry has grown between these two clubs during the Premier League era which makes Liverpool vs Chelsea one of the most anticipated matches on the fixture list.
Form Guide: Chelsea
Chelsea’s defensive solidity came to the fore as they sunk former manager Antonio Conte and his Tottenham side 3-0 over two legs in the semi-finals, and they were forced to rely on similar staunch rearguard action to overcome Lille 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 battle in midweek.
Furthermore, Chelsea have only shipped two goals in their six-game winning run amid uncertainty surrounding the futures of several of their defenders, all of whom have contributed to the Blues keeping three successive EFL Cup clean sheets on their route to Wembley.
Form Guide: Liverpool
A six-game winning streak is nothing to be sniffed at by any means, but Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Liverpool had a different number six in mind when Leeds United paid a visit to the Anfield fortress, as Marcelo Bielsa’s side capitulated on the Merseyside turf.
Mohamed Salah’s brace, Sadio Mane’s double, Joel Matip’s mazy run and finish, and Virgil van Dijk’s bullet header moved Liverpool to within a touching distance of Premier League leaders Manchester City, and hopes of an unprecedented quadruple are still very much alive.
How the match could go
With the sides sharing two draws so far this campaign, there is not much to split between the sides at all so it could come down to individuals, and there is no doubt that is where Liverpool holds the edge.
While they have rotated their line-up in the Carabao Cup so far this season, the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Thiago are expected to start at Wembley, and with all three of them in fine form, Liverpool will fancy their chances.
Chelsea appear to be uninspired and unable to fit Romelu Lukaku into their side regularly, but should he relish a battle against Virgil van Dijk it could be a brilliant spectacle.
The most recent meeting between these two – a 2-2 draw in January that saw Chelsea fightback from 2-0 down and a stunning Mateo Kovacic strike – was a taste of what’s to come
Both Teams to Score (Yes)
Both Premier League fixtures between Chelsea and Liverpool this term ended with the spoils shared seeing both teams fund the back of the net on those occasions.
Both teams have scored in three of the last six competitive and non-competitive meetings between Liverpool and Chelsea and we’re expecting more of the same on Saturday evening. Three of Liverpool’s last five outings have seen both teams score, while both teams have found the back of the net in four of Chelsea’s last six fixtures. Bet9ja have 1.83, 1xbet have 1.95 and Paripesa have 1.95 odds.
Over 2.5 Goals
We’re backing goals in this game as three of the pair’s last six outings have produced over 2.5 goals. At least three goals have also been scored in three of Liverpool’s and four of Chelsea’s last six outings in all competitions, so you can see just why we’re predicting goals between the pair this weekend.
The Blues are going to be tasked with outscoring this impressive Liverpool side making this a very interesting contest, so we back over 2.5 goals in this clash. Bet9ja have 2.03 odds, Paripesa have 2.16 and 1xbet have 2.16 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Chelsea)
Kai Havertz scored Chelsea’s winner in last season’s UEFA Champions League final and the CWC final, also netting their opener against Lille in midweek. He is a player for big occasions. Bet9ja have 4.50 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 4.00.
The American could be given a nod to start ahead of today’s game in the Final. He has had seriously impressive performances for the team and he seems likely to score and increase his goal tally. A goal here would make it 2 consecutive goals in all competitions and he is a man in form hence the pick here. Bet9ja have 4.50 odds and Paripesa have 4.32 odds for him to score.
Anytime Goalscorer (Liverpool)
Mo Salah has easily been the most prolific and consistent striker in the Premier League this season, netting 19-goals. The Egyptian international has even missed a chunk of the campaign due to his commitments at the Africa Cup of Nations and has still managed to score 8 times in the Champions League as well. We’re backing the former Chelsea man to haunt his old side this weekend by scoring during the opening 90-minutes. Bet9ja have 2.50 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.50.
Sadio Mane’s return to the Premier League after his impressively showing and win in the Afcon seems to be pivotal in winning the League for Liverpool. Today he would be amongst the starters in this final and he has a great track record of scoring against big sides. He would surely want to add another trophy to his cabinet and make this a very impressive year for him and his club. Bet9ja have 3.750 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.00.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.