Chelsea vs Liverpool: What Mauricio Pochettino’s Side Must Do to Win Carabao Cup

Chelsea vs Liverpool: What Mauricio Pochettino’s Side Must Do to Win Carabao Cup

Martin Moses
updated at February 25, 2024 at 5:16 AM
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  • Chelsea will take on Liverpool in the first domestic final of the season on Sunday
  • The Reds are chasing an unprecedented quadruple in Jurgen Klopp's final season
  • Mauricio Pochettino's side are underdogs despite the recent injuries in Merseyside

Chelsea and Liverpool will head out to the iconic Wembley Stadium on February 25, looking to win the first available silverware of the season.

It will be a tale of two contrasting teams keen to succeed Manchester United as the champions, both for different reasons.

Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea vs Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp, 2024 Carabao Cup final
Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea's Mauricio Pochettino when they met on January 31, 2024. Photo by Darren Walsh.
Source: Getty Images

For Liverpool, every game they have played since Jurgen Klopp confirmed he would step down has been like a final.

A sparking send-off for the German tactician, who has given his soul to the club for the last nine years, would be on the mind of every fan and player.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have blown hot and cold under Mauricio Pochettino and with the club currently in 10th place, winning this cup presents the only realistic chance of European football next season.

The two sides are separated by 25 points and nine places on the Premier League table, which essentially makes Liverpool the overwhelming favourites.

What Chelsea needs to do to win Carabao Cup

The recent pile-up of injuries for Liverpool has dampened the mood, but Klopp has still managed to find a working formula to curve out wins.

Chelsea still have their work cut out for them, and methinks they'll need to do these three things, and more, to stand a chance of beating a side that walloped them 4-1 three weeks ago,

1. Win the midfield battle

Of the few games Pochettino has gotten decent and convincing results this season, his £220 million midfield combination, plus academy graduate, Conor Gallagher, have been on top of their game.

The draws against Manchester City and Arsenal quickly come to mind. The recent one at the Etihad Stadium had Gallagher doing a mirror job on Pep Guardiola's engine room, Rodri, for the entire game.

It almost worked, but the Spanish midfielder maximised on the few seconds he was left alone to steal the point for the champions.

The converse is also true. Gallagher's absence was greatly felt at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils dominating the visitors the entire game. The same shambolic performance continued in the away losses at Goodison Park and Anfield.

So at Wembley, Gallagher, Enzo Fernandez, and Moises Caicedo will need to counter and beat Klopp's midfield three, which will most likely be Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo, and Ryan Gravenberch.

2. Take their chances

Coming up against a club with the second-best defence this season, chances are unlikely to come in their abundance for Chelsea on Sunday.

They were restricted to just three shots on target at Anfield, one of which Christopher Nkunku converted.

Wastefulness in front of goal has been Chelsea's story of the season. Nicolas Jackson is still rubbing his head for his missed opportunity against City in a 1v1 position and the many more he has spurned this season.

Surprisingly, only Liverpool has wasted more big chances than Chelsea this season in the Premier League. The difference, however, is that their opponents have made up for it by scoring 63 times compared to their 42 goals.

If you are going to stand any chance of beating a side like Liverpool - a side that scores as frequently as they are mean with their defence - you have to take the few chances that come your way.

3. Proper defensive set-up

Sir Alex Ferguon's famous line of 'defence wins you titles' will have to feature prominently in Pochettino's mind ahead of this showdown. His defence has been found wanting multiple times this season.

Barely three weeks ago, Diogo Jota ran through the defence before slotting the ball past Đorđe Petrović. Pochettino simply can't have a repeat of that.

The Argentine will strongly desire a repeat of the defence that showed up at the Etihad last weekend. Malo Gusto and Axel Disasi were impermeable on the night, and it only took a wicked deflection to finally breach the West Londoners.

Mohamed Salah's trickery and ingenuity or Darwin Nunez's constant hassling might be unavailable on that day, but Liverpool still possess enough upfront to trouble the Blues.

Produce a solid defensive effort, and Chelsea might have a chance to win their first trophy of the Todd Boehly era.

How much Chelsea will get if they win Carabao Cup

Sports Brief has also reported the amount of money Chelsea could earn if they win the Carabao Cup this season.

The new ownership has tightened the bonuses purse at the club despite spending a lot of money on new signings.

Should the club win, only £500,000 will be available for the players to share, less than what Man United shared up.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
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