Chelsea can match Liverpool and take them to extra time in this year’s FA Cup Final
Who do Bettors Favor?
Liverpool have been almost unstoppable this season, and the FA Cup Final markets at the best online sportsbook sites reflect that dominance. The Reds are clear favorites to win the Cup at -105, with the draw in normal time priced at +240 and a Chelsea win available at +260.
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Route To the FA Cup Final
Jurgen Klopp’s side have had a relatively simple run to the semi-finals, starting with a home tie against Shrewsbury Town in the Third Round. A 4-1 win against the League One outfit was followed by a Fourth-Round victory over Cardiff City and then a 2-1 win over Premier League strugglers Norwich City. Nottingham Forest provided stiff opposition in the quarter-finals, but Liverpool prevailed 1-0 before overcoming Premier League champions Manchester City 3-2 in an epic semi-final.
For Chelsea, the route to the FA Cup Final has been a little harder. They kicked off with a 5-1 win over Chesterfield in the Third Round but were taken to extra time by Plymouth in the next round and trailed twice to Luton in the Fifth Round before eventually winning 3-2. Thomas Tuchel’s men face a tough quarter-final tie against Middlesbrough but came through it thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech, and then overcome London rivals Crystal Palace in a nervy semi-final.
Liverpool and Chelsea in the FA Cup Final
When it comes to FA Cup success, Chelsea have won eight Finals, compared to Liverpool’s seven, putting them third and fifth on the all-time winners’ leaderboard, respectively.
Four of Chelsea’s 15 Final appearances have come in the last five years, although they have lost three of those games, including the 2021 and 2020 Finals. By contrast, Liverpool have been infrequent Finalists recently. Their last Final was back in 2012, against Chelsea, and they haven’t won the FA Cup since 2006 when they beat West Ham in a penalty shootout.
This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams this season, with both Premier League games ending in draws, along with the League Cup Final back in February, though Liverpool eventually won that game on penalties. This will be only the second time in the history of English football that the two main domestic trophies will be contested by the same teams.
Which Team Will Win the FA Cup?
A dropped point against Tottenham has left Liverpool three points off the pace in the Premier League title race, handing a decisive advantage to Manchester City and making the historic quadruple trophy hunt significantly harder for the Reds.
But with the League Cup already in the trophy cabinet, the FA Cup represents the easiest challenge of the remaining three competitions, and there is no suggestion that Liverpool are taking it lightly. Jurgen Klopp rested Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara for the midweek Premier League game against Aston Villa, and both will be back for the Wembley showpiece.
Inevitably, at the end of a long and grueling season, both sides have injury concerns. Fabinho came off against Aston Villa, and if he is unable to take the field at Wembley, Liverpool will be weakened significantly. But Chelsea have injury problems of their own, with N’golo Kante, Jorginho, and Callum Hudson-Odoi all struggling to be fit in time for the Final.
In the League Cup Final, Tuchel and Klopp were involved in a fascinating tactical battle, with Chelsea’s three-man defense, wing-backs, and movement causing Liverpool problems, while the Reds were also effective at overloading the wide areas and hitting on the counter. The end result, however, was that the two teams matched one another, and it eventually took penalties to separate them.
With both sides weakened in the midfield area, given the injuries to Kante and Fabinho, neither manager has quite the same tactical freedom ahead of this game, and both could default to a more cautious approach, in which fighting for control of the central zone becomes the focus. Given this possibility and the recent record of draws between these two teams, a normal time stalemate is the wisest pick.
FA Cup Other Market Picks
This season’s three previous meetings between Liverpool and Chelsea have produced six goals. Four of those came in an entertaining game at Stamford Bridge in January, when Liverpool raced into a 2-0 lead after 26 minutes before goals from Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic leveled the tie.
Aside from that first half, however, there has been a distinct lack of goalmouth action when these teams have met this season, which is surprising given Liverpool’s prolific scoring rate of 2.47 goals per game in the Premier League – the most productive offensive stats in the league.
That indicates how well Chelsea have been able to match Klopp’s men over the last few months, something that mirrors their dominance over Manchester City in the second half of last season. As a coach, Tuchel clearly knows how to set his team up to overcome stronger opponents, and so with this being the last chance of silverware for Chelsea this season, I expect another organizational master class from the German, keeping goals to a minimum.