Chelsea and Liverpool share 13 FA Cup titles among them, seven of them won by Liverpool and six going Chelsea’s way. They have met nine times in the FA Cup, including two times in the semis, but this would be their first meeting at the summit oldest Football championship in the world.
With both teams struggling for form in the League, the final would be a very important fixture to redeem their pride and showcase some silverware this season. Chelsea, of course, have a Champions League final to be played a fortnight later in Munich while Liverpool have already won the Carling Cup, their first trophy in six years. Chelsea lie sixth in the table, their European hopes even further dented by Cisse’s wonder double in midweek while Liverpool slumped to a home defeat against Fulham.
Liverpool have already beaten Chelsea twice this season winning 2-1 in the league at the Bridge before returning to beat the Londoners again by two goals on the way to their Carling Cup triumph. However Chelsea have been a team on the upsurge since Roberto Di Matteo took over as interim manager since the sacking of Andre Vilas Boas. The FA Cup has been something of a refresher for Chelsea this season after a poor League and they have scored ten goals in their previous two matches, including five against Tottenham in the semifinals. Liverpool, on the other hand, will be buoyed by the fact that they have knocked out rivals Manchester United and Everton on the way to the finals.
Liverpool will welcome back Gerrard, Suarez, Bellamy and Agger into the starting lineup after they were rested for the game against Fulham but Di Matteo will still be without Gary Cahill and David Luiz at the back of the defence. Di Matteo would be tempted to play Torres up front ahead of Drogba as the Spaniard brings pace into the attack and would be more than a handful for his former team. Ivanovic will partner Terry in defence in the absence of Cahill and Luiz while Bosingwa would play at right back. In Lampard, Essien, Kalou, Ramires and Mata, Chelsea boasts of one of the strongest midfield in England.
Both teams will go into the encounter with nothing to lose and add a trophy to their cabinet despite having a pretty average season by their high standards.
Chelsea (4-5-1): Petr Cech; Jose Bosingwa, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Ashley Cole; Michael Essien, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Saloman Kalou, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres
Liverpool (4-4-2): Pepe Reina; Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique; Dirk Kuyt, Steven Gerrard, Spearing, Stewart Downing; Craig Bellamy, Luis Suarez