FA Cup finalThe view from Chelsea... with David Baddiel
Ahead of Saturday's Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley, we got the view from opponents Chelsea courtesy of Blues fan David Baddiel.
In a repeat of February’s Carabao Cup decider, the Reds will face the Londoners at the national stadium, with Jürgen Klopp’s men aiming to collect a second piece of silverware in 2021-22.
Liverpool are seeking their first FA Cup triumph since 2006 while Chelsea are contesting a third consecutive final in the competition, having lost to Arsenal and Leicester City in the previous two seasons.
Baddiel, the comedian, author, screenwriter and presenter, has supported the Blues since seeing them lift the trophy as a child and will be at Wembley to watch the showdown this weekend.
To preview Saturday’s 4.45pm BST kick-off, Liverpoolfc.com spoke to Baddiel about his natural pessimism when it comes to football, FA Cup memories, Chelsea’s season and more…
Thanks for talking to us, David. Firstly, what are your plans for cup final day? Are you heading to Wembley for the game?
I am. With my brother, Ivor, with whom I have supported Chelsea since I was six and he was eight and he got excited when David Webb scored the winner against Leeds in the 1970 FA Cup final replay. He jumped up in front of our old black and white telly, excited, and because I just copied him in all things then, I did too. So blame him. We are taking our sons, who we have inculcated in the same basic beliefs.
What are you like around big matches – nervous or optimistic?
Generally fairly pessimistic with Chelsea – certainly against Liverpool, based on a very recent game against them. More pessimistic with England, based on my entire life.
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Do you have any superstitions or rituals on a matchday?
Nope. Except I like in my season ticket to sit in the same seat every time. ‘Surely you do,’ you will say. No. Sometimes Ivor sits in it, and I insist he moves.
You mentioned your earliest Chelsea memories are linked to the FA Cup. What does the competition mean to you?
I think it means a lot because of that memory, described earlier. I come from a time when it sort of was the biggest game in the world, and on telly, the whole day was devoted to it. I know in real terms it now means a lot less, but I still find myself excited on cup final day.
How would you sum up Chelsea’s season so far?
Promised more than it delivered.
As a rival fan, what do you make of Jürgen Klopp and the job he has done with Liverpool?
I think he seems brilliant.
There was so little between the teams in the Carabao Cup final and in both league meetings. What do you think could be the difference this time?
I think maybe not bringing on a new goalie just for penalties might be a better tactic.
If you could pick one Liverpool player to have at Chelsea, who would it be and why?
Mo Salah obviously. He’s so clearly the best player in the world right now. Having said that, our defence has started to look quite fragile, and I really think Trent Alexander-Arnold is brilliant (I think probably England’s most naturally gifted footballer). So it’s a tough one. But it’s got to be Mo in the end.
Who will be Chelsea’s most important player in the final?
Hard to say. We haven’t had an obvious outstanding player this season. It used to be Kante, but love him though I do, by his standards he’s had an erratic season. Considering your attacking prowess, I think Thiago Silva might be key.
And lastly, what’s your score prediction?
I said I was pessimistic, right? But I’m still a fan. So 3-2 to Chelsea. Which would be a great game!