Chelsea v Liverpool: FA Cup final team news

MatchChelsea v Liverpool: FA Cup final team news

Published 13th May 2022
By Sam Williams

Jürgen Klopp is confident Liverpool have sufficient midfield options to offset Fabinho's absence in the Emirates FA Cup final.

The Brazil international is set to miss Saturday's meeting with Chelsea at Wembley due to the muscle injury he picked up during the midweek win at Aston Villa.

Klopp said on Friday: "[He] will definitely be back for the [Champions League] final, and for the Chelsea final and before, we will see, we don't know."

With Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita all having featured regularly throughout the season, the manager was asked what contribution the likes of Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can make before the end of 2021-22.

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"A very important part. They played all the time a very important part," Klopp replied.

"These few minutes a week where we can really train, without these boys showing the attitude they showed the whole year we have no chance to deliver the performances we delivered. That's absolutely 100 per cent true. 

"We will see. We might play tomorrow 90 minutes, we might play 120 minutes, that will not change the kick-off time for the Southampton game. Depending on the result from [Manchester] City on Sunday then we go for something or not, or whatever. 

"We will see that at Southampton but we need to be ready for that game and we have to make decisions then again. Yeah, enough options for the moment, the job is now to find the right one. That's it."

Watch the Reds in FA Cup final training

Klopp's opposite number Thomas Tuchel also has decisions to make in midfield.

The extent of Mateo Kovacic and N'Golo Kante's involvement in Friday afternoon's training session will determine if they are in contention to play at Wembley. 

Kovacic sustained a heavy knock against Leeds United on Wednesday and Kante has missed Chelsea's last three matches with injury.

On Kovacic, Tuchel told the media: "We will try it today actually, which is pretty surprising news that we are even in the situation where we can try it. But Mateo wants to try it and the medical department gave the green light to try it. 

"The 'advantage' is that the ligament is anyway torn from the last incident so there is no new injury, but heavy pain and heavily swollen. So we are hoping that maybe time is enough that he makes it but we will try it... in training and then we know more about it."

And regarding Kante, he stated: "He is also trying. He tried yesterday in team training and trained more or less everything. Hopefully now without a reaction. 

"It was a reduced training session because of quite a long travel and fatigue of the travelling so it was not a high-intensity training session. We will also try today with him. He is keen to make it and hopefully he makes it to training 100 per cent, then we could plan with him for tomorrow [and that] would be crucial for us."

Tuchel, who confirmed that Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell will be absent, was asked whether he may gamble on Kovacic and Kante if they were not deemed to be 100 per cent fit.

He replied: "It's the moment to take risks, yes."

Meanwhile, Chelsea's boss was coy on whether Kai Havertz and/or Romelu Lukaku will start up front. 

"They can also play both [together] although they lacked a bit of a feeling of a perfect fit together so it's very likely that one of the two [will start] but we will not give the line-up today," Tuchel said.

"But Romelu played lately and he scored lately, so he did everything to stay on the pitch and then it will be our final call tomorrow morning."

Last match

Leeds United 0-3 Chelsea (May 11): Mendy, Chalobah, Christensen, Rudiger, James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso, Mount, Lukaku, Pulisic.

Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool (May 10): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Keita, Jones, Diaz, Jota, Mane.

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Published 13th May 2022