Chelsea can frustrate Liverpool in Saturday’s FA Cup Final as the Reds battle for their second trophy of the season at Wembley.
Who do Bettors Favour?
Checking out the best sportsbook sites tells us that Liverpool is the red hot favourite for this game as they aim to win a trophy at Wembley for the second time in 2022. They can be wagered on at 2.00 while Chelse are the underdog at 3.66 and the normal time draw is priced at around 3.60.
How they Reached the Final
Starting with a home match against Shrewsbury Town in the third round, Jurgen Klopp’s side had an easy path to the semi-finals. A 4-1 triumph over the League One side was followed by a 2-1 victory against Premier League strugglers Norwich City in the Fourth Round. Nottingham Forest were beaten 1-0 in the quarter-finals before Manchester City played their part in a 3-2 semi-final thriller.
Chelsea’s road to the FA Cup Final has been a tad bumpier. They started with a 5-1 win over Chesterfield in the Third Round but were forced into extra time by Plymouth the following round and twice trailed Luton in the Fifth Round before winning 3-2. Thomas Tuchel’s team faced Middlesbrough in the quarter-finals but won thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech before defeating London rivals Crystal Palace in a hard-fought semi-final.
Two of the Best FA Cup Teams
Chelsea has won eight FA Cup Finals, while Liverpool has won seven, putting them in third and fifth position, respectively, on the all-time winners’ list.
The Blues have been regulars in the FA Cup Final in recent years, appearing in four of the last five years, losing three of them, including the 2021 and 2020 Finals. Liverpool, on the other hand, last made it to the Cup Final in 2012 and haven’t won it since 2006.
This will be the team’s fourth meeting this season, with both Premier League games and the League Cup Final in February ending in draws, though Liverpool eventually won that Final on penalties.
Best Bet for the FA Cup Final
Liverpool are now three points behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race, handing the Citizens a decisive edge and leaving the quadruple-chasing Reds a lot to do.
However, with the League Cup already in the bag, the FA Cup represents the most straightforward of the remaining three competitions that they can still win, and Liverpool will be approaching it seriously. Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara were rested for the midweek Premier League match against Aston Villa by Jurgen Klopp, but both will be available for the Wembley showpiece.
Still, at the end of a long and arduous season, both teams have injury concerns. Fabinho was substituted against Aston Villa, and if he is unable to play at Wembley, that will be a blow for Klopp’s side. Chelsea are also dealing with injury issues, with N’golo Kante, Jorginho, and Callum Hudson-Odoi all battling to be ready in time for the Final.
Tuchel and Klopp engaged in an intriguing tactical fight in the League Cup Final, with Chelsea’s three-man defence, wing-backs, and movement causing Liverpool issues, but the Reds were equally efficient at overloading wide areas and counter-attacking. In the end, however, the two sides were so evenly matched that penalties were required to separate them.
With both sides handicapped in the midfield, there is less room for tactical variations in this game, and both may opt for a more conservative approach, with the central zone becoming the focal point. Given this potential, as well as their recent history of stalemates, a regular-time stalemate is the best bet.
FA Cup Other Market Picks
In their three prior meetings this season, Liverpool and Chelsea have combined for a total of six goals. Four of those came in the Premier League game at Stamford Bridge back in February. In that game, Liverpool took a 2-0 lead after 26 minutes, but Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic equalized before halftime and the game ended as a 2-2 draw.
Apart from that 45 minutes of football, there has been a noteworthy lack of goalmouth activity when these two sides have met this season, which is surprising, given Liverpool’s stellar scoring record of 2.47 goals per game in the Premier League, making them the league’s most productive attacking team.
That demonstrates Chelsea’s recent ability to equal Klopp’s side, which follows on from their dominance against Manchester City in the second half of last season. Tuchel clearly knows how to set his team up to overcome better opponents, and with this being Chelsea’s final chance to win silverware this season on Sunday, I expect another well-organized Chelsea effort with fewer than 2.5 goals.