2011/12 FA Cup Final: Chelsea vs Liverpool

It's FA Cup final day for two clubs that are struggling to make an impression in a season that has brought more disappointment than joy. Sure, Chelsea have found their way to the Champions League final, but the fact that they're outside the top four in the Premier League means that Roman Abramovich's boys are desperate for some silverware. Liverpool have already snagged the Carling Cup, but their struggle against Cardiff at Wembley indicates that Saturday's match is not likely to be smooth sailing.

Chelsea are still without their second and third central defenders, Gary Cahill and David Luiz. Captain John Terry will partner regular right back Branislav Ivanovic in the middle, while Jose Bosingwa will start at right back. Liverpool's only fitness issues are in the center of midfield, and the two players missing are the players who started the season as their first choice midfielders. Charlie Adam and Lucas Leiva are still out, leaving two of Jonjo Shelvey, Jordan Henderson and Jay Spearing to fill the void. Steven Gerrard will probably start in the hole behind Luis Suarez, but could potentially play deeper if Kenny Dalglish doesn't have faith in two of those inexperienced midfield players to do the job.

Both teams were caught looking ahead to the game mid-week, playing mediocre lineups and getting burned for doing so. Liverpool looked absolutely clueless for 90 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Fulham, while Chelsea fell victim to two absolutely stunning goals by Papiss Cisse in a 2-0 loss to top-four rivals Newcastle United. There you have it, boys and girls. We've got a shaky Chelsea defence and a wobbly Liverpool midfield. That's got to be good for some goals today, right?

In case you hadn’t realized, there has been quite a noticeable rivalry developing between Liverpool and Chelsea over the last decade or so. If we are to look back at recent seasons then many of the most significant, if not controversial moments have emerged about when these two clubs lock horns.

These include the Luis Garcia “goal” in 2005 that paved the way to European glory for the Reds, an incident which still riles former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho to this very day. Liverpool then won their second Champions League semi final in three years against Chelsea after a dramatic penalty shoot-out in 2007. The season after John Arne Riise’s 94th minute own goal gave Chelsea the initiative to snatch revenge against Liverpool, as they returned the favor in 2008, dumping the Reds out of the competition at the Semi Final stage. Chelsea went through again in 2009 as the two sides met in a fantastic 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge, which in turn sent Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea side into the semi-finals of the Champions League. Throw in a Carling Cup Final, managerial flare-ups and an ill tempered £50m transfer of Fernando Torres, and its fair to say that the two sets of fans aren’t exactly keen on one another.

The Liverpool faithful bait Chelsea for having “no history”, whilst the Chelsea fans respond that Liverpool’s is now “ancient”. Pretty fiery stuff.

The latest segment in the recent saga between the two clubs takes place in the FA Cup final this Saturday. And whilst both sides have struggled in the Premier League this season, the final looks set to be another explosive encounter, as they have seemingly saved their best form for the cup competitions this campaign.

Liverpool are looking to record their third win in three appearances at the new Wembley (as well as their second trophy) whilst Chelsea will be looking to build on the form that has seen them reach their second ever Champions League final, after overcoming Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate in the semi final. With both sides overcoming local rivals at Wembley in games the prior to the final, their respective fans will be expectant that their team will be picking up a trophy, in a game which looks exceptionally tricky to call.

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