With Jürgen Klopp’s farewell tour in full swing, Liverpool targets first trophy of season in Carabao Cup final vs. Chelsea

Jürgen Klopp’s season-long send-off is well and truly in full swing and Liverpool can get the German’s farewell off to a perfect start with victory over Chelsea in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

The two teams arrive at the first major final of the season – the Carabao Cup is English football’s secondary cup competition after the FA Cup – after differing campaigns so far, to put it mildly, and silverware at this stage would be huge boost for both clubs – though for very different reasons.

Liverpool currently leads the Premier League less than a month after Klopp shocked the city and wider football world by revealing he would be leaving at the end of the season, an announcement that seems to have galvanized the Merseyside club.

The Reds can win four trophies this season to give Klopp a perfect send-off, with the Carabao Cup, Europa League, FA Cup and Premier League all very much within Liverpool’s grasp.

Liverpool goes into the final against Chelsea as heavy favorite with bookmakers, though Klopp attempted to play down his side’s chances after Wednesday’s comeback victory over Luton Town in the Premier League.

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

That was a reference to Liverpool’s lengthy injury list. Joël Matip, Diogo Jota, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson and Thiago will miss Sunday’s final, while Mo Salah, Darwin Nuñez and Dominik Szoboszlai face late fitness tests.

“Will we be big favourites? Definitely not. Since we [last] played them [Chelsea], they have improved a lot and it will be tricky,” added Klopp.

Liverpool can win four trophies in Klopp's final season. - Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Liverpool can win four trophies in Klopp's final season. - Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

‘A huge, huge figure’

Speaking to CNN earlier this month, Liverpool defender Alexander-Arnold spoke of the determination the players have to win all four trophies on offer, a sentiment keenly shared among the club’s fanbase.

“I can talk for hours about the impact he’s had on the city and how big he is to the people,” said Alexander-Arnold, referring to Klopp.

“Not just football fans, but the city in general. He’s a huge, huge figure, someone who’s been amazing. You couldn’t ask for more from a manager, and that’s not even talking about the football side of things.

“His values, ethics and his morals align with the club’s values and the city’s values.”

Chelsea, meanwhile, has its own lengthy injury list and will be missing Wesley Fofana, Reece James, Marc Cucurella, Romeo Lavia and Benoit Badiashile, with Thiago Silva and Robert Sánchez potentially available to return.

But while Klopp would like a piece of silverware to mark his departure from the club, Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping for some to ensure his isn’t premature.

The Argentine has regularly faced questions about his future this season, with Chelsea languishing in 10th place in the Premier League after a billion-dollar outlay from American owner Todd Boehly.

So far, Boehly has stood firm in the face of calls to sack Pochettino and has stressed this is a long-term project given the number of young players the club has signed since he took over from Roman Abramovich.

While Pochettino’s job appears safe, for now, cementing it with a piece of silverware, his first in English football, certainly wouldn’t go amiss.

“It means a lot for us, me and my coaching staff, to have the possibility to arrive in a final and to challenge a team like Liverpool to win our first title here, 11 years after we arrived at Southampton,” Pochettino said at Thursday’s pre-media press conference, per

Pochettino has been under pressure all season. - Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Pochettino has been under pressure all season. - Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

“It’s a dream for us and we have the possibility. We have 90 minutes to achieve that and we are going to fight. I think the team is ready, we are going to be very competitive and it is an amazing chance for us.

“Wembley is like home because we played a lot there with Tottenham. It feels like going back to your home because after one-and-a-half years competing there, we created a very good bond between Wembley, the team and everyone there.

“For sure it is going to be special to play there and special if we win. We are going to give our best to compete, be better than Liverpool and deserve to lift the trophy.”

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