ALEX CROOK

AUTHOR: Lewis Williams

ALEX CROOK PREVIEW: EFL Cup Final

talkSPORT’s chief football correspondent ALEX CROOK looks ahead to the exciting EFL Cup Final clash between Chelsea and Liverpool…


🔵 CHELSEA V LIVERPOOL 🔴

⭐ STARSPORTS.BET MATCH MARKETS ⭐

The first major silverware of the season will be handed out when Liverpool take on Chelsea at Wembley in Sunday’s EFL Cup final.

The Reds are still in the hunt for a quadruple as they currently sit top of the Premier League and are into the last 16 of the Europa League and the FA Cup.

Far from demotivating his squad as some fans feared, Jurgen Klopp’s bombshell announcement he is to stand down at the end of the season appears to have had a galvanizing impact on Liverpool.

When I spoke to former Reds midfielder Adam Lallana last week he suggested Klopp’s departure would make his former teammates even more hungry to put trophies in the cabinet and send the German out on a high.

Klopp’s biggest headache coming into this showpiece occasion is the glut of injuries that will rob Liverpool of a host of key players.

We know Liverpool will be without number one goalkeeper Allison, although he probably would not have started anyway, Diogo Jota, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip and Curtis Jones.

There are also major doubts about influential Dominik Szoboszlai, Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez having missed the mid-week Premier League win over Luton. If Salah in particular is not fit, I think that hands a huge advantage to Chelsea.

The Blues were thrashed 4-1 at Anfield as recently as the end of January, but recent performances have been much better, including holding the Reds’ title rivals Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at the Etihad last weekend.

This is a massive game for Mauricio Pochettino as he bids to shed the unwanted tag of being a perennial loser while winning a cup if always Chelsea’s most realistic passport to a place in Europe next season.

Despite their struggles in the Premier League Chelsea have proved themselves to be a decent cup side, winning 3-0 at fortress Aston Villa in the FA Cup and beating Brighton and Newcastle en route to this final.

That makes me think Chelsea to win the tie at 5/4 with starsports.bet is a tad over-priced, especially taking into account Liverpool’s absentee list.

When these two met in both the EFL and FA Cup finals two years ago both matches were won by Liverpool on penalties and it would not surprise me if they went the distance again.

The match to be decided either way on spot-kicks is 11/2 with starsports.bet

History tells us cup finals are often cagey affairs so the match to be a draw at half-time at 5/4 with starsports.bet is another attracting proposition.

Raheem Sterling scored an excellent goal against City last week and is worth a play at 17/2 with starsports.bet to open the scoring against his former club on an afternoon when his big-game experience could be crucial for a young Chelsea team.

ALEX CROOK


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