It’s time. Liverpool’s chance to lift their second trophy of the season is upon us and Chelsea again stand in the way – Wembley, we’re back for more.
Liverpool vs. Chelsea
FA Cup Final | Wembley
May 14, 2022 | 4.45pm (BST)
It makes for another tense final ahead but with history still within reach, this Liverpool side are not short of motivation as a golden May is still at their fingertips.
Here are 10 key things to know ahead of the FA Cup final!
1. Chelsea’s mixed bag
Thomas Tuchel’s side have experienced a mixed bag of results since April, winning five and losing four of their 11 games in all competitions amid the backdrop of their ownership drama.
The Blues were convincing in their 3-0 win at Leeds last time out and played themselves into some form, with Romelu Lukaku taking his goal tally to three in two games.
With a top-four finish all but secured, this is their big finale to the season.
2. Taking a risk
Mateo Kovacic handed Tuchel a midfield scare at Elland Road after being on the receiving end of a red card challenge from Dan James, leaving him with a swollen ankle.
His availability for the final was said to require a “miracle” but the Chelsea boss has since confirmed the Croatian will attempt to play through the pain.
N’Golo Kante has missed the last three games but was spotted in training and is expected to make his usual return against Liverpool, as always seems to be the case when these teams meet.
It’s certainly a gamble but with a trophy on the line, Tuchel looks be accepting of any risk – but it could still be a case of one over the other in midfield.
Possible Chelsea XI: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount; Havertz, Lukaku
3. Tough nuts to crack
This is the fourth time these two will meet this season, with their league clashes coupled with domestic cup final appearances.
But they’ve been tightly contested fixtures, with both league games ending in a stalemate before 120 minutes passed each by in the League Cup final without a goal.
The aggregate score sits at 3-3 with Liverpool having the edge thanks to their proficiency from the penalty spot to lift the trophy in February.
The question is, can any of us bear to sit through another nail-biter?
4. Fabinho the sole out
But the manager has said he will “definitely” be back for the Paris showpiece, news we all wanted to hear!
The Brazilian is Liverpool’s only injury concern with Naby Keita having dispelled any suggestions of an issue after making up a 31-man squad in training on Thursday.
5. Predicted final XI
With all but one senior player to select from, the manager has quite the task at the selection table for the weekend.
It’s an embarrassment of riches for Liverpool that will also ensure a strong bench accompanies Klopp’s chosen XI at Wembley.
It would not be a surprise to see Konate, Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Thiago and Mohamed Salah restored to the starting lineup as Klopp’s five changes from midweek.
Predicted Reds XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Thiago, Keita; Salah, Diaz, Mane
6. Turning back the clock…
This is the second time the two have met in the FA Cup final, with the last coming 10 years ago when Kenny Dalglish was Liverpool manager and Roberto di Matteo was at the helm for Chelsea.
Andy Carroll was the one to provide some hope for the Reds that day, one that Jordan Henderson will not have forgotten as the sole member of that matchday squad to remain at Anfield.
But the mystery remains of if his late header did, in fact, cross the line!
Henderson will be hoping for a different ending to that of 2012 this time around and with Liverpool a much-changed place and squad, it’s certainly more than possible!
But before we look ahead, we want to know if you can name the matchday squad from the 2012 final in just 3 minutes!
7. ‘Desperate to win it’
Speaking to the press ahead of Saturday’s final, Klopp spoke of the fact that the desire to reach the FA Cup final has long existed but strength in depth has not made it possible in the past:
“It was never that we didn’t want to go to the final, not at all, we just didn’t have the manpower to do it.
“And I don’t think we were particularly lucky with our draws, to be honest. We had really tough opponents as well, but that’s absolutely fine.
“So now, who cares what happened in the last six, seven years? It’s our first FA Cup final and we are really, really desperate to win it.”
Let’s make it another Wembley trip to remember!
8. Did you know?
Jordan Henderson could become the first Liverpool captain to lift six different trophies; with the Champions League, Premier League, Super Cup, Club World Cup and League Cup all having received the Hendo shuffle treatment.
The FA Cup remains at large and hopefully, that will all change on Saturday.
As ways to put your name in the history books, that’s right up there!
9. It’s Pawson’s time
The reaction to the referee contingent for this one has not gone down all too well with Craig Pawson to oversee the final, with David Coote as fourth official and Paul Tierney on VAR.
It’s almost as if they pulled together all the referees that Liverpool and Klopp have taken issue with in recent seasons.
If you’re wondering why Michael Oliver, for example, was not handed the game it is because modern tradition states that no referee can officiate more than one FA Cup final.
Please, let’s not have any unnecessary drama!
10. How to watch the final!
An exciting day awaits for the second of three cup finals this season for Liverpool, and you can watch the clash with Chelsea on both BBC One and ITV in the UK.
BBC’s coverage starts at 4pm (BST) and ITV’s at 3.45pm, ahead of the 4.45pm kickoff at Wembley.
This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog is the place to be, though, with Henry Jackson on hand for biased commentary throughout the build-up and during the match from 4pm!