Chelsea vs Liverpool: How the FA Cup final will be won and lost as Blues look to exploit Fabinho absence

·2-min read
Chelsea vs Liverpool: How the FA Cup final will be won and lost as Blues look to exploit Fabinho absence

Chelsea and Liverpool meet once again at Wembley as they look to secure FA Cup glory in this afternoon’s final.

The two sides played out an eventful 120 minutes earlier this season in the Carabao Cup final, which ultimately saw Liverpool come out on top as Kepa Arrizabalaga came off the bench to have a penalty shoot-out to forget.

Since then, the talk has been of a quadruple for Jurgen Klopp’s side and those hopes still remain alive, even if the Premier League seems to be slipping away from the Reds.

For Chelsea, it’s been a frustrating few months that has seen them fall away in Europe and domestically - Thomas Tuchel will be desperate to finish the season on a high and with another piece of silverware.

Here, James Robson looks at three key factors that could decide the Wembley occasion...

Striker dilemma

Romelu Lukaku has given Thomas Tuchel a selection headache after scoring three goals in his last two games to move clear as Chelsea’s leading marksman. In that kind of form, it will be difficult for Tuchel to leave out the £97.5million club-record signing.

But Kai Havertz has established himself as the preferred option at the point of attack. His work-rate and link-up play could also be crucial against Liverpool’s quality — not to mention his record for scoring important goals.

Mount-James double act

Leeds got a taste of the damage Mason Mount and Reece James can cause when combining on the right — and it is a partnership Chelsea have been robbed of for long periods this season.

If Liverpool had anyone watching at Elland Road, they will have identified that pair as the key threat. James’s power down the right should also work to keep the attacking ambitions of Andy Robertson in check.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Exploit Fabinho absence

Klopp has confirmed Fabinho is out of the match, which leaves a significant hole in Liverpool’s midfield. They have more than enough cover, but Fabinho is a key figure for them and Chelsea must look to take advantage.

News that Mateo Kovacic could play is a major boost, as his driving runs have proved the basis of so many of Chelsea’s attacks this season.