Football Previews

Liverpool predicted XI v Chelsea: Roberto Firmino ruled out of League Cup final, Jota return a “challenge”

By Ben Green

Published: 15:27, 25 February 2022

Wembley braces itself for the League Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool on Sunday at 4.30pm (UK time).

Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel have both already claimed club football’s biggest prize in the Champions League with Liverpool and Chelsea respectively, but a domestic cup has so far eluded the German coaches, so it’s all to play for when they converge on the capital.

The Reds could make history this weekend if they triumph at the national stadium, with the Merseysiders currently the most successful side in League Cup history alongside recent medal-hoarders Manchester City — but they will surpass them with a win over Chelsea.

In terms of the most trophies collected by an English club; if Liverpool seal victory, they will claim their 66th trophy in all competitions since their inception (including tournaments like the Club World Cup and the Community Shield), which would move them level with Manchester United to become English football’s most successful club in this sense.

That said, they’re already one ahead as far as major trophies go. Liverpool have 43 major honours, including 19 league titles, six European Cups (since rebranded the Champions League), seven FA Cups and eight League Cups, along with victories in the Europa League, formerly Uefa Cup, competition. Man Utd trailed just one major trophy behind, with 42, but do hold the record for most league titles (20).

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Liverpool team news vs Chelsea: Firmino out, Jota touch and go

Pepijn Lijnders, who took control of Friday’s presser, was unable to deliver a positive injury update ahead of the journey to London. Liverpool’s assistant confirmed Roberto Firmino was unavailable for the Wembley trip with a muscle injury, while Diogo Jota will continue to be monitored after sustaining an ankle issue.

Lijnders said: “Bobby we have to see in the next two days. He is pushing himself really hard but he will not be available for the final, to reach the squad.

“We hope he will be back really soon because you all see and know and feel how important he is for our way of playing, so I am happy that he is pushing himself. Hopefully he is soon back.

“Jota, so far no reaction on the things he did, so the straight-line running, the changes of direction and the ball work he did, so that’s a good sign. He isn’t ruled out but still it will be a challenge.”

Klopp also confirmed earlier in the week that ‘cup goalkeeper’ Caoimhin Kelleher will be given the nod ahead of Alisson, having featured in the majority of the rounds so far.

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Klopp said: “We want to keep him as long as somehow possible, knowing that, from our point of view, the best goalkeeper in the world is our number one.

“Caoimhin is an exceptional goalkeeper and we want to keep him here. For that, he needs games. These games are his competition, and there’s no chance of him not playing.”

Predicted Liverpool XI vs Chelsea:

  • Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Jones; Salah, Mane, Diaz. (4-3-3).



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