It comes down to this, two of English football’s most storied clubs meeting at Wembley. Chelsea and Liverpool will convene in London for the right to hoist this season’s EFL Cup.
The former’s Premier League tie with Leicester, the latter with Arsenal will take place at a later date to accommodate Sunday’s final.
In this final preview, we will take a look at how the teams got to this final, recent form, and their recent meetings.
- Previous EFL Cup Finals: 8 (5 won)
- Last EFL Cup Title: 2014-15
- Road to Final: Aston Villa (1-1, 4-3 on penalties), Southampton (1-1, 4-3 on penalties), Brentford (2-0), Tottenham (2-0, 1-0, 3-0 on aggregate)
- Form (most recent match first): WWWWWW
They may be out of the Premier League title race, but Chelsea have had another successful season. A recent success in the FIFA Club World Cup continues a wonderful run for the Blues. A reasonably comfortable 2-0 defeat of Lille on Tuesday past was the most recent fixture for the West London side.
Since a draw at Brighton a month ago, it has been 6 wins on the spin for Thomas Tuchel’s side. Two of those matches did require extra time, but it has generally been smooth sailing for Chelsea.
They have also been highly efficient in front of goal; including the semifinal second leg victory at Spurs — the Blues have not scored more than 2 goals in any of their last 9 games. Their record in that time: 7-1-1. Five clean sheets during the same stretch, including back-to-back shutouts, have contributed to their top form.
It was far from straightforward in this edition of the EFL Cup. Penalties were required to get past Aston Villa and Southampton in the first two rounds. Since then, three clean sheets saw them past fellow London sides Brentford and Spurs.
That sets up a return to the league cup for the first time since the 2018-19 season. They will hope for a better result than the defeat on penalties to outgoing champions, Manchester City.
- Previous EFL Cup Finals: 12 (8 won)
- Last EFL Cup Title: 2011-12
- Road to Final: Norwich (3-0), Preston North End (2-0), Leicester City (3-3, 5-4 on penalties), Arsenal (0-0, 2-0, 2-0 on aggregate)
- Form (most recent match first): WWWWWW
The joint-record champions of this tournament, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will look to retake sole ownership of the most successful club in the league cup. A record-extending 13th final is also 4 more than the next highest (9).
It has been an incredible run of games for the Merseyside Reds. With a run of 9 wins on the spin and 12 games without defeat, they have sparkled over the last two and a half months.
In fact, Klopp’s men have lost just twice all season, away to Leicester and West Ham in the league. A whopping 29 goals in the 9 straight successes have seen Liverpool go just three points behind Manchester City in the Premier League standings.
Their most recent game saw them demolish a struggling Leeds side 6-0 on Wednesday, sending out a serious warning to rival teams. Three goals in either half topped what was a completely dominating performance from the hosts.
Outside of a scare in the quarterfinals at home to Leicester, the eight-time winners of the cup have seldom conceded in the other four fixtures played in the tournament. Takumi Minamino’s 95th-minute leveller kept the Reds from elimination, eventually progressing on penalties.
Chelsea and Liverpool Head-to-Head
In this tournament, this will be the eighth time the two will cross paths. Chelsea have the upper edge in the previous meetings, coming out on top four times. This includes the 2004/05 final, which required extra time for things to be settled. It was the first title under the Jose Mourinho era for them as well.
The last meeting in the EFL Cup between these two came in the 2018/19 season, also going the London side’s way. Goals from Emerson and Eden Hazard six minutes apart completed the comeback at Anfield, despite Daniel Sturridge opening proceedings.
The last time things went Liverpool’s way came back in 2011, with a 2-0 success at Stamford Bridge in the quarterfinals. That season saw the Reds win their most recent trophy in this tournament, topping Cardiff in that final.
As for this campaign, both Premier League fixtures ended honours even. The first match ended 1-1, with Reece James seeing red just before the interval. The more recent affair happened on the second day of the calendar year, with two Chelsea goals in four minutes, offsetting the two-goal cushion Liverpool held. All six goals between the two meetings occurred in the opening half.
These two also met in the UEFA Super Cup in 2019, after Klopp’s Liverpool took the Champions League title and the Blues winning the Europa League. After each side scored a goal in regular time and extra time, penalties were required. Adrian denied Tammy Abraham on the tenth and final kick, securing the win for the Merseysiders.
As for a prediction for the EFL Cup Final
As for a prediction: it is really difficult to guess a winner let alone the scoreline. I definitely think this will require penalties. Assuming that is the scenario, I am giving Chelsea the edge as I believe they have the better keeper for stopping spot-kicks. I will go with a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes.
This year’s final will promise to have plenty of drama as both sides have been in exquisite form heading into the matchup. Another trophy alongside an extra £50,000 is up for grabs, plus a European spot. The latter, however, is unlikely to be used by either side, as they are comfortably in the top 4.
That means the Europa Conference League playoff place will go to the sixth-place team at the end of the season (seventh if the FA Cup winner finishes in the top 6). Yet who will come out on top at Wembley this Sunday is anyone’s guess.