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EFL Cup final preview: Liverpool vs Chelsea, team news, how to watch and predictions

The first piece of silverware for the 2023/24 season is up for grabs as Liverpool take on Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

carabao cup

The first piece of silverware for the 2023/24 season is up for grabs as Liverpool take on Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

Liverpool have won the EFL Cup a record nine times and Jurgen Klopp would love to make it 10 as he bids to end his tenure with at least one trophy. The Reds are still in the FA Cup, are favourites to win the Europa League and are sitting top of the Premier League, so Klopp could even sign-off with an historic quadruple.

Liverpool cement their place at the top of the league table and extended their advantage over Manchester City to four points with a 4-1 comeback victory over Luton Town on Wednesday night. The scoreline suggests it was a routine win for Liverpool but it was anything but. The Merseysiders trailed 1-0 at half time and had to produce 45 minutes of magic to turn things around and avoid an embarrassing home defeat.

It would have been a hammer blow to Liverpool’s title hopes had they dropped points against Luton, but goals from Virgil van Dijk, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz and Harvey Elliot ensured the Reds extended their lead at the summit.

The win made it three consecutive victories for Liverpool since their defeat away to Arsenal earlier this month so they come into the final in good form.

Chelsea have won the EFL Cup five times, most recently in 2015, and they’ll be looking to win their sixth to ease the pressure on Mauricio Pochettino after another disappointing campaign.

After finishing 12th last season, this was meant to be a fresh start under Pochettino but the same issues remain. The Blues have been hugely inconsistent once again this season, as recent results show. After losing 4-1 away to Liverpool and 4-2 at home to Wolves, Chelsea responded with an impressive 3-1 win away to Aston Villa in the FA Cup before beating Crystal Palace by the same scoreline at Selhurst Park.

They then pushed Manchester City all the way and almost left the Etihad Stadium with a shock win thanks to a Raheem Sterling opener. However, City snatched a late draw through Rodri to deny Chelsea a morale-boosting win. Pochettino was still happy with a point and it should give the Blues some confidence heading into the final against Liverpool.

How to watch

The Carabao Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea will take place at 3pm UK time on February 25th, at Wembley Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, with subscribers able to follow all the action via their Sky box or Sky Go app.

Understandably, there has been huge demand to watch the game live at Wembley. Tickets via official channels sold out immediately, however, fans can still buy Chelsea vs Liverpool EFL Cup final tickets at reputable online resellers such as

Team news

Liverpool have a huge injury list to contend with heading into the game after 10 players missed the win over Luton in midweek. Number one goalkeeper Alisson Becker has been ruled out until after the next international break due to a thigh injury so he’ll be a huge miss for the Reds.

Diogo Jota is facing a race to play again this season after being ruled out for ‘months’ with a knee injury that he sustained last weekend. Trent Alexander-Arnold is expected to miss the EFL Cup final with a knee injury while Joel Matip has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious ACL injury.

Darwin Nunez sat out the win over Luton due to a knock but he could return to face Chelsea on Sunday if he passes a late fitness test. Mohamed Salah won’t be involved though as the Egyptian international is carrying a thigh injury that’s expected to keep him out for at least another week.

Dominik Szoboszlai is still not back in full training as he continues to overcome a thigh injury so he’s not expected to be available this weekend. Thiago Alcantara is still recovering from his latest setback after picking up a hamstring injury last month. Curtis Jones is also set to miss the cup final with an ankle injury while Stefan Bajcetic is also unavailable.

As for Chelsea, they’ll continue to be without Wesley Fofana as he’s out with a serious ACL injury. Reece James is also out with a long-term thigh problem while Benoit Badiashile is out with a groin injury.

Veteran defender Thiago Silva is facing a race against time to prove his fitness after missing the draw with City due to a groin problem. Carney Chukwuemeka is also facing a late fitness test but Robert Sanchez should be back in the squad – although he’s unlikely to oust Djordje Petrovic in goal.

Summer signing Romeo Lavia has endured a torrid time with injuries since joining the club last summer and he won’t be back in time for the cup final due to a thigh problem. Marc Cucurella is also still out along with Lesley Ugochukwu.

Likely Line-ups

Klopp will hope to get a few players back but none of his absentees are likely to be fit to start on Sunday. Kelleher will continue to deputise for Alisson in goal while we could see Endo, Ryan Grevenberch and Alexis MacAllister starting in midfield once again.

However, we could see changes in the Liverpool defence with Ibrahima Konate and Andrew Robertson pushing for recalls. Josh Quansah and Joe Gomez could be the players to make way. Klopp will hope Nunez is fit to return and he could replace Elliot in attack.

Chelsea are unlikely to tinker too much from the side that drew at City. Pochettino could stick with the same back four even if Silva is passed fit while Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo will start in midfield.

Christpher Nkunku is unlikely to get a recall after struggling to find his best form since returning from injury so Nicolas Jackson could keep his place up front.

Likely Liverpool XI: Kelleher, Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Endo, MacAllister, Gravenberch, Nunez, Gakpo, Diaz.

Likely Chelsea XI: Petrovic, Gusto, Disasi, Colwill, Chilwell, Fernandez, Caicedo, Gallagher, Palmer, Sterling, Jackson.

Prediction score

Five of the last seven matches between these two have finished level after 90 minutes so we should expect another close encounter on Sunday. Liverpool would usually be the heavy favourites but their injury problems even things up slightly as they’re missing some key players. Chelsea have also found a bit of form lately so they could surprise a few people this weekend.

It should be an interesting final between two of English footballs biggest clubs, but we’re backing Liverpool to edge it and secure their first trophy of the season. Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea

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