The first domestic trophy of the 2021/22 season is up for grabs when Chelsea square off against Liverpool at Wembley Stadium this weekend in the League Cup final.
In recent years the Carabao Cup has been dominated by the Manchester teams who have won the trophy every year since 2016. City have won the cup five times during that period with United taking the trophy back to the red side of Manchester once during that time.
Join Soccerballword in association with online sports betting NJ as we assess how Chelsea and Liverpool made it this far in the competition before ultimately giving you our prediction for Sunday’s game.
The 2021/22 League Cup run of Chelsea could’ve ended early as Thomas Tuchel’s side faced a tricky Third Round tie against Aston Villa.
Despite playing in front of their home fans Chelsea struggled against Villa and the game ultimately ended 1-1 after 90 minutes, resulting in the tie being settled by a penalty shootout that the London-based side won 4-3.
It was a similar story in Round Four as Chelsea had the luxury of another home tie, this time against Southampton. Once again, the UCL holders struggled to a 1-1 draw before emerging victorious via the shootout.
Next up was the Quarterfinals and we saw an improved Chelsea side as we entered the business end of the competition. An away trip to Brentford proved relatively straightforward as they cruised into the next round with a 2-0 win.
A two-legged tie against Tottenham was expected to be a much sterner test for Chelsea but once again they eased their way into the next round.
In the first leg, Chelsea established a two-goal lead before finishing off the tie in the second leg with a 1-0 win, resulting in a 3–0 aggregate win and the chance to claim the League Cup with one more victory.
Jurgen Klopp has often been criticized for not taking the domestic cups seriously, but it’s been obvious since the start of this seasons League Cup his attitude towards the competition had changed.
A tough trip to Norwich proved straightforward for the Reds who cruised to a 3-0 win and into the next round courtesy of goals from Takumi Minamino (X2) and Divock Origi.
In Round Four, Liverpool breezed by Preston before surviving a massive scare to beat Leicester City in the Quarter Final. The eight-time League Cup winners found themselves 3-1 down in the game after just 33 minutes. It wasn’t until the 95th minute that they were able to come up with the equalizer to force the penalty shootout that they eventually won 5-4.
Liverpool made tough work of their semi-final tie against Arsenal and failed to make home advantage count as they drew against the Gunners at Anfield 0-0. The Reds made up for their stale performance when they visited the Emirates Stadium as they dominated Arsenal on route to a 2-0 win that catapulted themselves into their first League Cup final in 10 years.
It’s hard to look past Liverpool winning this League Cup final.
The Reds are in scintillating form and are only getting better as of late thanks to the return of several key players from international duty and the addition of Colombian winger Luis Diaz.
Klopp’s men have won eight games on the spin in all competitions and this form has seen them close the gap on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and keep progressing in the FA Cup and Champions League.
Chelsea will certainly be no pushovers, but they are a little less consistent than their opponents. Despite that, they have still managed to win the Club World Cup in recent weeks and will surely be buoyed by establishing themselves as technically the best team in World football.
On Tuesday Chelsea picked up a 2-0 win over Lille in the UCL but it came at a cost as Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech both limped off the pitch at Stamford Bridge and are now major doubts for the clash at Wembley.
Mason Mount is also an injury doubt and the form of striker Romelu Lukaku is seriously worrying ahead of the biggest game of the season so far.