A Cup Final tie looks the best pick as Chelsea go up against Liverpool for the fourth time this season.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Liverpool are the strong favorites to lift the FA Cup, according to the best online sportsbook sites. The Reds are -105 to win the competition for the first time since 2016, while Chelsea are available at +260, and the normal time draw can be wagered at +240 with US sportsbook sites.
|FA Cup Final|
How They Got to the FA Cup Final
Jurgen Klopp's team enjoyed an easy road to the semi-finals, beginning with a home fixture against Shrewsbury Town in the third round. A 4-1 success over the League One side was followed by a Fourth-Round win over Cardiff City and a 2-1 victory over Premier League strugglers Norwich City. Nottingham Forest were beaten 1-0 in the quarter-finals before an epic 3-2 win over Manchester City 3-2 in the semis.
Chelsea's path to the FA Cup Final has been a little more difficult. They began with a 5-1 victory against Chesterfield in the Third Round but were forced to extra time by Plymouth in the following round and twice trailed Luton in the Fifth Round before winning 3-2. Thomas Tuchel's side faced a difficult quarter-final encounter against Middlesbrough but came out on top with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech, before defeating London rivals Crystal Palace in a tense semi-final.
FA Cup Records for Liverpool and Chelsea
Chelsea have won eight FA Cup Finals, compared to Liverpool's seven, putting them in third and fifth place on the all-time winners' list, respectively.
In recent years, the Blues have been regulars in the FA Cup Final, making four appearances in the last five years, although they have lost three, including the 2021 and 2020 Finals. Liverpool, on the other hand, last reached the Final in 2012 and last won the Cup back in 2006.
This will be the team's fourth meeting this season, with both Premier League games ending in draws, as well as the League Cup Final in February, which Liverpool eventually won on penalties.
Picking the FA Cup Winners
Liverpool are now three points behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race, handing the Citizens a decisive edge and leaving the quadruple-chasing Reds a lot to do.
However, with the League Cup already in the bag, the FA Cup represents the most straightforward of the remaining three competitions, and Liverpool are not taking it lightly. Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara were rested for the midweek Premier League match against Aston Villa by Jurgen Klopp, but both will be available for the Wembley showpiece.
Still, at the end of a long and arduous season, both teams have injury concerns. Fabinho was substituted against Aston Villa, and if he is unable to play at Wembley, that will be a blow for Klopp's side. Chelsea are also dealing with injury issues, with N'golo Kante, Jorginho, and Callum Hudson-Odoi all battling to be ready in time for the Final.
Tuchel and Klopp engaged in an intriguing tactical fight in the League Cup Final, with Chelsea's three-man defense, wing-backs, and movement causing Liverpool issues, but the Reds were equally efficient at overloading wide areas and counter-attacking. In the end, however, was that the two sides were so evenly matched that penalties were required to separate them.
With both sides handicapped in the midfield due to injuries to Kante and Fabinho, neither manager has as much tactical discretion heading into this game, and both may opt for a more conservative approach, with the central zone becoming the focal point. Given this potential, as well as their recent history of stalemates, a regular-time stalemate is the best bet.
FA Cup Other Market Picks
Liverpool and Chelsea have scored six goals in their three previous encounters this season. Four of those came in a thrilling match at Stamford Bridge in January, when Liverpool raced to a 2-0 lead after 26 minutes before Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic equalized before halftime.
But apart from that period, there has been a notable dearth of goalmouth activity when these two teams have faced this season, which is remarkable given Liverpool's spectacular scoring record of 2.47 goals per game in the Premier League - the league's most productive offensive statistic.
That shows how successfully Chelsea has been able to match Klopp's side in recent months, mirroring their dominance against Manchester City in the second part of last season. Tuchel certainly understands how to set his team up to beat stronger opponents, and with Sunday being Chelsea's final chance to win silverware this season, I expect another organizational masterclass from the Chelsea coach, keeping goals to a minimum.
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