Liverpool v Chelsea: EFL Cup Final – Oppo Preview & Predicted XI

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Liverpool will face Chelsea once again in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley, with the aim of securing a record tenth English League Cup against Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

The Reds beat Fulham 3-2 over two legs to reach the final on 25 February, picking up wins against West Ham, Bournemouth and Leicester City along the way.

Jurgen Klopp will be hopeful of winning the trophy for the second time during his nine glory-laden seasons at Liverpool, while Chelsea look to reclaim the cup for the first time since 2015.

Pochettino has been under huge pressure in the last few months, as many fans have called for the Argentine to be sacked, particularly following their hammering at Anfield and a chastening defeat at home at the hands of Wolves.

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Oppo Preview

Will Reyner writes a weekly column for Simon Phillips Talks Chelsea and says Chelsea are simply delaying the inevitable when it comes to sacking their manager.

He said: “I’m surprised he’s not already been sacked, but there is no chance he’s our manager come next season.

“I had so much hope for him after our pre-season form, but he just seemed to abandon all of his principles when Christopher Nkunku got injured.

“He used that injury as an excuse all season, and as predicted, now the Frenchman is fit, we’re equally as bad.

“It’ll take a lot for our owners to swallow their pride and realise they’ve made yet another managerial mistake, but I believe his position is untenable.”

The last time the two sides met in the Carabao Cup final, Thomas Tuchel’s side held Liverpool to a goalless draw, until Kepa Arrizabalaga blazed his penalty over the crossbar to hand the Reds an 11-10 shootout victory.

Speaking ahead of the final, Will said: “Poch is now doing what all Chelsea managers do when they’re in a crisis, by reverting to a back five.

“That has been the system used for most of Chelsea’s major titles since Antonio Conte, but I don’t think we have the personnel like we did under Conte or Tuche; to pull it off, let alone a tactically competent manager.”

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Chelsea overturned a 1-0 deficit in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final, netting six at Stamford Bridge against Championship side Middlesbrough.

But it seems their fans will make the trip to Wembley anticipating a challenging task, with negative expectations for the side that has given them so little to cheer for this season.

“I’m absolutely convinced that the Chelsea of old would’ve won this game, as we used to ruin all the fairytale stories and the whole Klopp farewell narrative would’ve played into our hands,” Will added.

“Unfortunately, the new Chelsea are an inexperienced and spineless team managed by someone who hasn’t touched silverware in England and has a dreadful record against Klopp.

“I’m hoping Pochettino has learned from our 4-1 drubbing at Anfield, but in reality, we’ll turn up and do the same all over again.

“I reckon it will finish 2-0 to Liverpool on the day.”

Predicted line-up for Wembley:

XI: Petrovic; Disasi, Silva, Colwill; Gusto, Caicedo, Fernandez, Chilwell; Palmer, Jackson, Nkunku.



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