220114 Klopp
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has lost two Wembley finals but he says he is a 'third-time lucky kind of guy' as he prepares to face Chelsea in the League Cup final tomorrow. Image Credit: Reuters

London: Juergen Klopp has already ended Liverpool’s 30-year top-flight title drought as well guiding them to Champions League glory but he will be hoping to overcome his Wembley jinx as he attempts to finally win a domestic cup in England.

He takes his side to Wembley tomorrow for a showdown with Chelsea in the League Cup final, on a ground where he has not enjoyed a great deal of success to date.

“How many times have I been to Wembley? Twice and lost both times,” Klopp said. “That’s fine, because I normally do things the third time. It has been the story of my life. I did it with the Champions League and other things. It is a good sign. I like the stadium. Both times my teams have played here we played really well and lost. I am more than happy to try again.”

Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund lost to fellow German side Bayern Munich in England’s national stadium in the 2013 Champions League final, before seeing his Liverpool team beaten by Manchester City three years later in the League Cup final.

Liverpool are looking to win the League Cup for a record ninth time, with their last success in the competition coming in 2012 via a penalty shootout victory over Cardiff City. This is their 13th final in the competition - at least four more than any other side.

Low win ratio

Klopp’s record against Chelsea and their boss and compatriot Thomas Tuchel is not all that impressive, however.

Under Klopp, Liverpool have won 35% of their meetings with Chelsea in all competitions - six out of 17. Among sides they have faced at least 10 times under the German, only against Manchester United (33%) do they have a lower win ratio.

Klopp is in fact winless in his last four managerial clashes with Tuchel, including three since Tuchel joined Chelsea.

Tuchel is set to become the eighth different manager to take charge of an English club in the finals of each of the League Cup, FA Cup and European Cup/Champions League, and the first to do all three while in charge of the Blues.

He is aware of the task facing the Champions League holders since Liverpool appear to be back to their relentless best. They have won their last nine matches in all competitions, including a 6-0 thrashing of Leeds United in the Premier League on Wednesday.

“We don’t speak regularly,” Tuchel said of his relationship with Klopp. “It’s only pure pleasure to play them because they give you a hard time and we’re facing him with a very strong Liverpool team, after brilliant results. So, it’s a big challenge but it’s a big occasion and we feel competitive regarding our last matches with Liverpool. It’s a pleasure to meet him and be in a final at Wembley again. I am very grateful for that.”

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has not recovered in time for the final but there is a chance Diogo Jota plays a part. Firmino suffered a muscle injury and has not played since Liverpool won at Inter Milan earlier this month while Jota also played only 45 minutes in that game.

Tuchel’s biggest decision once again involves Romelu Lukaku after he dropped the troubled Belgian striker for the midweek Champions League win against Lille.

Lukaku has scored just 10 goals since his club record $131 million move from Inter Milan last year and expressed unhappiness with the way he was being used by Tuchel earlier this season.

The 28-year-old had only seven touches in his most recent appearance against Crystal Palace, the lowest by a Premier League player since 2003-04, with Kai Havertz scoring in an impressive display as his replacement against Lille.

Publicly at least, Tuchel is putting Lukaku’s recent struggles down to mental and physical tiredness.

“He is an important player, there is a lot of focus on him, but if you allow yourself to zoom out a little bit you can see he played a lot of matches from the start for us,” Tuchel said.

“Once you play for Chelsea you accept the team goes first. That’s why there are no hard feelings. We can only achieve our goals together.”

Hamstring injury

Tuchel could start England right-back Reece James, who has been sidelined since December with a hamstring injury, and is debating whether Edouard Mendy or Kepa Arrizabalaga will feature in goal.

“Kepa did fantastic in the period where we had to be without Edou. I cannot get sentimental about it. I have to do what is best for the team,” Tuchel said.

Chelsea have proved masters of cup competitions since Tuchel took charge in January 2021, winning last season’s Champions League, while lifting the Club World Cup and European Super Cup this term.

The Blues will be eyeing their first League Cup silverware since 2015, having lost the 2019 final to Manchester City.

Stat pack: Carabao Cup Final 2022
This is the third major Final meeting between Chelsea and Liverpool (excluding Community Shields and Super Cups), with the Blues winning on both previous occasions – incluing 3-2 in the 2005 League Cup.

This will be the eighth League Cup tie between Chelsea and Liverpool, with the Blues coming out on top in four of the previous seven, including the only previous Final in the competition between the two clubs in 2005.

Chelsea will be the first team in English football history to compete in one of the major domestic Cup Finals (League Cup/FA Cup) in six consecutive campaigns, reaching the FA Cup Final in 2016/17, 2017/18, 2019/20 and 2020/21, and the League Cup Final in 2018/19 and this term.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mané has scored eight goals against Chelsea in all competitions, only netting more in his career in England against Crystal Palace (13).

Liverpool's road to Wembley
3rd round
Norwich 0-3 Liverpool
4th round
Preston 0-2 Liverpool
Liverpool 3-3 Leicester (Liverpool win 5-4 on penalties)
Semi-final first leg
Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal
Semi-final second leg
Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool (Liverpool win 2-0 on aggregate)
Chelsea's road to Wembley
3rd round
Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa (Chelsea wins 4-3 on penalties)
4th round
Chelsea 1-1 Southampton (Chelsea wins 4-3 on penalties)
Brentford 0-2 Chelsea
Semi-final first leg
Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham
Semi-final second leg
Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea (Chelsea wins 3-0 on aggregate)