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Caraboa Cup Final Preview: Battle for season’s first trophy

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The first trophy in English Football will be won on Sunday, as Liverpool face Chelsea in the final of the Carabao Cup.

The Reds will be hoping that this is the perfect start to Jurgen Klopp’s farewell tour.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have the chance to win their first trophy under both Mauricio Pochettino and their new ownership.

Pochettino and Klopp

It could really kickstart the Todd Boehley era and the club would have something positive to build on. The form book would put Liverpool as slight favourites, but recent injuries have shifted the playing field.

Liverpool have won four major trophies under Jurgen Klopp, and the German will be hoping for a good ending to his tenure at Anfield.

They have previously lifted the Carabao Cup in 2021/22 and they will be hoping to add another to their collection.

Injuries have however made their task harder.

Everything will be focused on Klopp for the rest of the season and the majority are expecting that good feeling to carry the team to further success.

It has been a disappointing 18 months at Chelsea. Despite the club spending huge wads of funds, they have struggled for consistency and they have been languishing in mid table under a number of different managers.

Pochettino is slowly making progress at Stamford Bridge and the performance last weekend at Manchester City was excellent.

The challenge is to find consistency. If they can win this weekend, it will be huge for both the manager and the club.

Interesting Stats
Chelsea triumphed in 2005 the last time when these two teams met in a League Cup final.

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These two clubs met in both domestic cup finals in 2022. Both matches ended 0-0 and Liverpool ended up lifting both trophies.

Key Players
Salah:
Although he missed the midweek match, it will be expected that Mohamed Salah will be back to start in the Carabao Cup final.

Matches against Chelsea always carry extra meaning for the Egyptian, as he is facing his former side. Like Klopp, it is incredibly unlucky that Salah hasn’t won more trophies at Anfield.

He has been one of the best players in the world since joining the Reds and his levels of consistency are incredible.

This season, he already has 15 goals and nine assists in the Premier League with a goal involvement every 74.6 minutes.

It is a remarkable record and underlines why Liverpool didn’t even consider the huge sums offered by Saudi Arabian clubs last summer.

Palmer: Chelsea’s Rising Star
It has been an incredible first season at Chelsea for Cole Palmer.

He is performing on a consistent basis and looks to be the talisman for Pochettino’s side.

Palmer

This is an opportunity for him to show his class in a massive game and he will be relishing that chance.

He has seen what it takes to win trophies, during his time on the sidelines at Manchester City.

However, he was never given the chance to play a leading role in those triumphs. He now has that chance at Stamford Bridge.

Palmer has 10 goals and six assists in the Premier League, while he has added two of each in the Carabao Cup.

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Liverpool won’t have their best team out and some on the pitch will be lacking match fitness.

Palmer’s directness might cause the Reds some problems.

Team News:
Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Dominik Szoboszlai are all facing late fitness tests ahead of the final while Curtis Jones, Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota are all ruled out for Liverpool.

Robert Sanchez and Thiago Silva are both in contention to feature this weekend. Marc Cucurella, Romeo Lavia, Reece James and Benoit Badiashile are all not available for Chelsea.

Expectation

This should be a great watch for the neutral.

Both sides have exciting attacking players, even if it is a shame that Liverpool have a number of injuries.

That has levelled the playing field and Chelsea now have a real chance to lift the trophy.

There should be goals at both ends on Sunday and it could go all the way to a penalty shootout.

If that is the case, the narrative surrounding Liverpool could be too strong. It feels like the next few months are going to be emotional, but successful, for Liverpool.


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