EFL Cup Final 2024: Who will come out on top underneath the Wembley arch

22 February 2024

Chelsea and Liverpool will lock horns in the final of the 2023/24 EFL Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Form

Chelsea are 10th in the Premier League and a whole 25 points adrift of Liverpool in top spot. This has clearly been a disappointing season for Mauricio Pochettino’s team to date, but they have delivered some improved performances of late. 

Chelsea showed plenty of intelligence and fight in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City last time out. They have now gone three games without defeat, while across the whole season they have only lost two of their seven meetings with the Premier League’s top five. That suggests the Blues are actually better equipped to face stronger sides.

Liverpool thumped Luton Town 4-1 on Wednesday night to extend their lead at the summit of the standings to four points (albeit having played a game more). The Reds have now won three matches on the bounce in the league, as well as five of their last six in all competitions. Liverpool have been scoring plenty of goals too, averaging 3.25 per game over their last eight outings.

Jurgen Klopp’s side demolished Chelsea 4-1 last month, but they are unlikely to find Sunday’s showdown so straightforward. The Blues have got better since then, while Liverpool will not have the Anfield crowd behind them this time.

The Runners and Riders 

Liverpool have been hit by an injury crisis in recent weeks, with 10 first-team players currently in the treatment room. Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez could be fit in time for the weekend, but Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota, Joel Matip, Curtis Jones, Dominik Szoboszlai, Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago Alcantara will play no part.

Chelsea are also without several key players going into the final. Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Benoit Badiashile, Romeo Lavia, Marc Cucurella, Lesley Ugochukwu and Carney Chukwuemeka are all sidelined, while Thiago Silva, Carney Chukwuemeka and Robert Sanchez are doubts. 

What They Said

 Despite Liverpool’s significant list of absentees, Klopp insists his team will attack the final. 

“We have to see [who will be available], but I said it before the game [against Luton] - as long as we have 11 players we will go for it.”

“I am desperate to win a title here,” Pochettino, who has yet to lift silverware in England, said last month. “We won, in one year and a half in Paris, three trophies. We want to win here, of course.”

Bet Builder Tip

The two cup finals these two teams contested in 2022 both ended 0-0 with Liverpool triumphing on penalties. We predict another low-scoring affair this weekend, in part because cup finals are often cagier than league fixtures but also because Liverpool’s attack will not be at full strength. 

The Reds should nevertheless prove too strong in the end, but goals could be at a premium and Chelsea should be able to hold them for a while.

Recommended Bet

Liverpool to win, under 2.5 goals and draw at half-time at 11.43

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