Chelsea vs Liverpool EFL Cup Final: 3 Key Battles To Watch Out For

Chelsea will take on Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with both teams battling to win the English domestic season’s first piece of silverware.

The game is a rematch of both the Carabao and FA Cup finals of 2022, with Liverpool winning both on penalties. So, revenge will be on Chelsea’s minds as they target their first domestic trophy for six years. Manager Mauricio Pochettino, who took the Blues’ managerial reins last summer, can win his first trophy in England after previous spells in charge of Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur.

The Reds, meanwhile, head into Sunday’s cup final aiming to win the first of a potential four trophies this term. Jurgen Klopp’s side are four points clear at the summit of the Premier League and are into the Europa League last 16 and FA Cup fifth round.

With a mouthwatering Carabao Cup final on the offer, here are the key battles to watch out for.

#Luis Diaz vs Malo Gusto

Malo Gusto has been one of the keys to Chelsea’s improvement in form of late with his enterprising runs and defensive actions from the right-back position. The French youngster, who has deputised extremely well in skipper Reece James’ injury absence and played 25 times so far this season, did a number on Jeremy Doku in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City last weekend.

So, Gusto will be confident heading into the Carabao Cup final. Yet, he will be up for a mighty challenge against Liverpool’s in-form winger, Luis Diaz. He scored in the 4-1 win over Luton Town on Wednesday, taking his tally to six goals in the league this season. With his dribbling skills, unpredictable movement and burst of acceleration, the Colombian is a nightmare to deal with for any defender.

It will be intriguing to see if Gusto can keep Diaz under tabs in this encounter.

#Alexis Mac Allister vs Enzo Fernandez

Alexis Mac Allister has blown hot and cold during his debut season at Liverpool. He has had to play out of position at times, and there have been moments where the Argentinean World Cup winner has been exposed for his lack of pace, stamina and physicality. However, with Wataru Endo returning from the Asian Cup earlier this month, the 25-year-old has thrived in an advanced midfield role and recently assisted twice in Liverpool’s 4-1 win over Luton.

On Sunday, Mac Allister will line up against his Argentinean compatriot Enzo Fernandez, who like the Liverpool player has endured an up-and-down campaign at Stamford Bridge. It has taken some time for the partnership of Fernandez and Moises Caicedo to get going, especially due to a glut of injuries in the squad. Now with Caicedo starting to show his true value to the side, Fernandez is enjoying a little bit more freedom in a creative sense and dictating the pace of games for Chelsea.

All in all, whoever wins this Argentinean midfield battle could have a mighty say in the outcome of this game.

#Cole Palmer vs Andy Robertson

Cole Palmer has almost exploded since the moment he stepped on the pitch for Chelsea, unleashing all the talent he had wasted on the bench and in training when he was at Manchester City. Bagful of tricks, smart, creative and a composed finisher in front of goal, the Englishman’s 21-goal contributions across all competitions so far make him the club’s runaway Player of the Season candidate.

Monitoring his movements in the final third is a difficult task as Palmer is deceptively quick and skilful. Andy Robertson will have to curb his attacking instincts if he intends to keep the Chelsea attacker under wraps in this encounter.

The Scot came as a substitute in the 68th minute and took just three minutes to assist Diaz for Liverpool’s third goal against Luton in midweek. Having come off the bench on Wednesday, Robertson will be fresh to start the Carabao Cup final on Sunday. If the left-back can perform his duties to the standards expected of him, Palmer could struggle to gain a foothold in the encounter, while allowing the rampaging Scot to instigate attacks of his own.

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