11:45 ET Canada-USA | 17:45 CLT
For the second time this season, Chelsea and Liverpool have made it into a cup final and will therefore do battle for the trophy.
A few months ago it was the Carabao Cup which went to Liverpool after an incredibly long and intense penalty shootout. Now it’s the FA Cup they’re fighting for, and the affair at Wembley on Saturday afternoon will be a great occasion for both sides.
Naturally, this is the perfect opportunity for the London Blues to get revenge for the Carabao Cup. That, along with the fact that this is their last chance to win a trophy this season despite being tipped to compete for everything at the start, should be motivation enough for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
But amid all the excitement, Chelsea are troubled by several rather significant problems. The biggest one, of course, was the ownership issue after Roman Abramovich was hit by government sanctions.
The good news is that the situation is about to be resolved with a consortium led by American billionaire Todd Boehly set to buy the club off the Russian businessman. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of changes the new owners will bring.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s €115m signing Romelu Lukaku has been making all kinds of waves through the season. A while back he all but said he regretted leaving Inter to return to Stamford Bridge after winning the Serie A title with the Nerazzurri, and his agent has now caused a stir as well, telling an Italian outlet he would speak to Chelsea about Lukaku’s future soon. Lukaku himself, however, has distanced himself from such claims.
Chelsea’s season has been largely underwhelming. As has been said, they were seen as genuine contenders for every trophy on offer, and while it could be said to have been true concerning the two English cups, they’ve fallen completely out of the Premier League title race some time ago and they were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid in the quarterfinals. So this truly is the last opportunity for them to get their hands on silverware this term.
The Blues haven’t exactly been on hot form recently, winning only two of their last six matches. They suffered a shocking 2-4 home defeat at the hands of Arsenal and needed West Ham’s Craig Dawson to get sent off for Christian Pulisic to score the only goal of the game at Stamford Bridge, before drawing 1-1 away to Manchester United. Then they lost 1-0 away to relegation battlers Everton, and drew 2-2 at home against Wolverhampton Wanderers, before finally smashing Leeds United 0-3 at Elland Road.
It’s been quite different for Liverpool this term, though it still could actually end up being very similar to Chelsea’s season. Few people considered them as candidates for the Premier League title, and yet, here they are, still standing between Manchester City and the end-of-season celebration.
Not many saw them reaching the Champions League final either, but they’ve done that too, ready to do battle against Real Madrid in Paris. They have, of course, already won the Carabao Cup. And yet, it’s still possible that they finish the season the same as Chelsea – with no more than one domestic cup.
Their supporters are hoping for the exact opposite, of course – the fabled ‘quadruple’, which no English team has ever won so far. It should be said, though, that their chances of finishing the Premier League campaign ahead of the defending champions have grown very, very slim after they failed to beat Tottenham Hotspur a week ago. With two matches to be played for each, City lead by three points and have a formidable goal-difference.
There has been much speculation about the future of forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane recently, and those are the off-the-pitch issues troubling Liverpool right now. Salah has an offer of a new contract on his table but he’s been reluctant to sign under the terms set therein, while the talks with Mane’s representatives are set to start soon. Both players are currently tied to the club until the end of next season.
The Merseysiders won five of their last six matches, so they surely have the momentum on their side over Chelsea. They beat city rivals Everton 2-0 at home, and Villarreal in the Champions League 2-0 at home and 2-3 away, with a 0-1 victory away to Newcastle squeezed in between. Then came the 1-1 draw at home against Spurs, and eventually a 1-2 triumph away to Aston Villa.
11:45 ET Canada-USA | 17:45 CLT