Liverpool - Chelsea Preview: Giants clash for 31st time in eight seasons in FA Cup final
Both sides are hoping to secure two trophies this season despite disappointing league form and will renew an old rivalry to do so in the showpiece climax at Wembley
By George Ankers
Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
Downing, Gerrard, Bellamy
Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole
Ramires, Lampard, Mata
The continued absences of Lucas Leiva (cruciate ligaments) and Charlie Adam (knee) mean that Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will have to choose between youngsters Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey in central midfield, with the latter's better showing in Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Fulham perhaps enough to secure a starting role.
Luis Suarez was rested for that game but he should return, having hit a hat-trick in his last outing against Norwich City as the main striker, with captain Steven Gerrard set to support him and potential partner Andy Carroll dropping to the bench.
The worry for interim Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo will be at centre-back, where David Luiz and Gary Cahill (both hamstring) are serious doubts to be able to partner John Terry at the back. The likelihood is that neither will be risked and Branislav Ivanovic will start alongside the Blues' captain.
Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard should return to the starting line-up after starting the midweek defeat by Newcastle on the bench, while Fernando Torres' recent streak of form, including a hat-trick against QPR on Sunday, may not be enough for him to retain his place ahead of Didier Drogba.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- This will be the 31st occasion in the past eight seasons which these two clubs have met.
- Two goals in this final would see Steven Gerrard overtake Reds manager Kenny Dalglish as the club's joint-fourth most successful FA Cup goalscorer. The Scot's record, held alongside Billy Liddell, stands at 13, though remains some way behind leader Ian Rush on 39.
- Chelsea's Raul Meireles and Fernando Torres, as well as Liverpool's Glen Johnson, are set to face their former sides.
- Chelsea have not beaten Liverpool since May 2010, and have been defeated in each of their last four bouts.
- Since Roberto Di Matteo took over as interim manager, the Blues have lost just two of their 17 games, winning 11 and drawing four.
- Chelsea's last three FA Cup final victories (in 2006-07, 2008-09, and 2009-10) have all involved a goal from Didier Drogba (pictured right).
- Six Blues players have reached double figures in terms of goals scored in all competitions this season, while only Luis Suarez has done so for the Reds.
- The last time that these two sides met, Johnson scored the winner in a 2-1 Premier League triumph for Dalglish's men at Stamford Bridge on November 20.
- These teams will face each other again only three days after this match, as their scheduled league clash was bumped to Tuesday to accommodate the final at Wembley.
Top 3 Predictions
Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 16.94 %
Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea FC
- 15.56 %
Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea FC
- 13.03 %
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||21-Apr-2013||Liverpool 2 - Chelsea FC 2|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||11-Nov-2012||Chelsea FC 1 - Liverpool 1|
|English Premier League (EPL) (EPL)||09-May-2012||Liverpool 4 - Chelsea FC 1|
|FA Cup (FA)||05-May-2012||Liverpool 1 - Chelsea FC 2|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||30-Nov-2011||Chelsea FC 0 - Liverpool 2|
|19-May-2013||Liverpool 1 - QPR 0||EPL|
|12-May-2013||Fulham 1 - Liverpool 3||EPL|
|05-May-2013||Liverpool 0 - Everton 0||EPL|
|27-Apr-2013||Newcastle 0 - Liverpool 6||EPL|
|21-Apr-2013||Liverpool 2 - Chelsea FC 2||EPL|
|25||José Reina Paez||Goalkeeper|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
Times In IST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed