An FA Cup draw is the pick as Chelsea meets with Liverpool for the fourth time this season to decide the winner of the 2022 Cup.
A check of the best sportsbook sites tells us Liverpool will go into this game as the big favorite for FA Cup glory as they are available at around -105. Chelsea, their opponents in the League Cup Final back in February, are the big underdogs at +260, while the odds on the draw are +240.
Jurgen Klopp’s team enjoyed an easy journey to the semi-finals, starting with a home meeting against Shrewsbury Town in the third round. In the Fourth Round, a 4-1 win over the League One side was followed by a 2-1 win over Premier League strugglers Norwich City. Nottingham Forest were defeated 1-0 in the quarter-finals before Manchester City came back to win a 3-2 thriller in the semi-finals.
Chelsea’s journey to the FA Cup Final has been a little more difficult. They began with a 5-1 win against Chesterfield in the Third Round but were forced into extra time by Plymouth the following round and trailed Luton twice in the Fifth Round before winning 3-2. In the quarter-finals, Thomas Tuchel’s side faced Middlesbrough, but prevailed courtesy to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech, before going on to beat London rivals Crystal Palace in a hard-fought semi-final.
Chelsea has won eight FA Cup Finals and Liverpool has won seven, making them third and fifth on the all-time winners’ list, respectively.
The Blues have appeared in four out of the last five FA Cup Finals, losing three of them, including the 2021 and 2020 Finals. Liverpool, on the other hand, have not reached the Cup Final since 2012 and haven’t won it since 2006.
Both Premier League games between these teams earlier in the season ended in draws, as did the League Cup Final in February, though Liverpool eventually won that Final on penalties.
In the Premier League title race, Liverpool is now three points behind Manchester City, giving City a clear advantage and leaving the Reds with a huge mountain to climb to fulfill their dreams of a quadruple.
With the League Cup already secured, however, the FA Cup represents the most straightforward of the remaining three competitions in what would be a historic trophy haul and they will be keen to take another trophy back to Anfield. Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara were both rested for the midweek Premier League match against Aston Villa, but both players will be available for Wembley.
Still, both teams have injury worries at the end of a hard and exhausting season. Klopp’s side would be dealt a setback if Fabinho is unable to play at Wembley after being substituted against Aston Villa, and Chelsea’s N’golo Kante, Jorginho, and Callum Hudson-Odoi are all battling injuries ahead of the Final.
In the League Cup Final, Tuchel and Klopp dueled in an absorbing tactical battle, with Chelsea’s three-man defense, wing-backs, and their fluid movement causing Liverpool problems, but the Reds were equally dangerous when it came to overloading wide areas and counter-attacking. Ultimately, however, the two teams were so evenly matched that only penalties could separate them.
Because both sides may be missing key players in the midfield, there is less room for tactical variation in this game, and both sides may take a conservative approach. So, given their recent history of stalemates, a regular-time draw looks the best pick at this stage.
In their three prior meetings this season, Liverpool and Chelsea have combined for a total of six goals. Four of those came in the Premier League game at Stamford Bridge back in February. In that game, Liverpool took a 2-0 lead after 26 minutes, but Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic equalized before halftime and the game ended as a 2-2 draw.
Apart from that 45 minutes of football, there has been a noteworthy lack of goalmouth activity when these two sides have met this season, which is surprising, given Liverpool’s stellar scoring record of 2.47 goals per game in the Premier League, making them the league’s most productive attacking team.
That demonstrates Chelsea’s recent ability to equal Klopp’s side, which follows on from their dominance against Manchester City in the second half of last season. Tuchel clearly knows how to set his team up to overcome better opponents, and with this being Chelsea’s final chance to win silverware this season on Sunday, I expect another well-organized Chelsea effort with fewer than 2.5 goals.