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Carabao Cup final Combined XI: Chelsea vs Liverpool

Chelsea and Liverpool will do battle once again in a domestic decider as the clubs compete for Carabao Cup success at Wembley.

Liverpool edged both finals when the teams met in the FA Cup and League Cup showpieces in 2021/22, though required a shootout on each occasion.

The Reds will start as favourites at Wembley despite a wealth of injury problems and an improving Chelsea will take confidence from recent results.

Ahead of the clash, we’ve selected our Chelsea and Liverpool Combined XI from players in contention to feature.

Chelsea vs Liverpool – Carabao Cup final Combined XI:

Goalkeeper: Djordje Petrovic – Chelsea

Both sides are set to line up with inexperience in goal, with Djordje Petrovic edging out Caoimhin Kelleher for our number one shirt.

Petrovic was signed as number two to Robert Sanchez but has taken his opportunity since making his debut in December.

The Serbian shot-stopper has performed well during Chelsea’s recent improvement and has commanded his box well. He will hope to cement a long-term position as number one.

Right-back: Conor Bradley – Liverpool

First-choice right-backs will also be absent as both teams cope with big-name absentees, though Liverpool look to have unearthed a gem in Conor Bradley.

The right-back, who spent last season on loan with Bolton in the third tier, has thrived in the first-team in recent weeks and produced a brilliant individual performance when the teams met in the Premier League earlier this month.

Centre-back: Ibrahima Konate – Liverpool

Ibrahima Konate has grown in stature this season to cement his place in Jurgen Klopp’s side. The Frenchman is commanding in the air and quick across the ground, with his partnership with Virgil van Dijk allowing Liverpool to squeeze high up the pitch.

The duo devour direct balls in the air and back themselves in footraces from the halfway line. Only Van Dijk (82.9%) can better Konate’s 73.4% success rate in contested aerial duels this season (minimum 60+).

Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool

The best centre-back in the league again this season? He certainly has a strong argument.

Van Dijk has bounced back from a relative dip last season to be the commanding captain of a new-look Liverpool, inheriting the captain’s armband in the summer and thriving amid the added responsibility.

A colossal presence in the air and crucial to the build-up with his expansive passing range from deep, there are fewer tougher tests for centre-forwards anywhere in Europe.

Left-back: Andy Robertson – Liverpool

Andy Robertson’s return has eased Liverpool’s ongoing injury crisis, with the left-back a leader of Jurgen Klopp’s side. The Scotland international’s game has been built on endless endeavour and quality deliveries from his trusted left foot, with Robertson racking up his 58th Premier League assist in the midweek win over Luton.

That assist saw the 29-year-old move level with teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold for the most assists by a defender in Premier League history.

Midfield: Enzo Fernandez – Chelsea

Enzo Fernandez’s price tag has worn like a millstone around his neck on occasion in a Chelsea shirt, but the midfielder has found his form during the club’s recent upturn. The Argentine boasts a wonderful passing range and superb technique, attributes that Chelsea will want to coax the best from across the run-in.

Since arriving in English football, he has played more accurate long balls than any other player in the Premier League.

Midfield: Alexis Mac Allister – Liverpool

Alexis Mac Allister formed part of Argentina’s World Cup-winning midfield alongside Fernandez, with the international teammates set to be on opposing sides this weekend.

Mac Allister has been a fine addition to Liverpool’s midfield rebuild, performing admirably in an unfamiliar defensive role when required and showcasing his creative threat moving forward. So often the glue of the side this season, his £35m arrival has been one of the best pieces of business of the Premier League campaign.

Midfield: Cole Palmer – Chelsea

Rivalling Mac Allister as one of the signings of the season is Cole Palmer, who has been arguably the breakthrough star of the campaign.

The 21-year-old has scored 12 goals and provided nine assists for Chelsea in all competitions, form which earned the summer signing an England debut in November. Even given the competition for places with England, he must be in Gareth Southgate’s thoughts for the summer.

Undoubtedly, Chelsea’s Player of the Season so far.

Right-wing: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool

Mohamed Salah is back and wasted no time in getting back into the groove with a goal and assist off the bench against Brentford last weekend.

The Egyptian sat out the midweek win over Luton as a precaution but there is optimism he will be fit to take his place in the side at Wembley. In the midst of another outstanding individual campaign, Salah has 19 goals and 10 assists in all competitions.

The one who got away for Chelsea, after a short-lived stint at Stamford Bridge in his early career.

Left-wing: Luis Diaz – Liverpool

After a difficult time away from the pitch, it’s great to see Luis Diaz back in form in a Liverpool shirt.

The Colombian has been excellent in recent weeks with four goals in his last seven games in all competitions, finding the end product to match his trickery and tenacity from the flank. Full of desire to get at defenders in the final third, the 27-year-old is thoroughly watchable – and dangerous – when in the mood.

Forward: Darwin Nunez – Liverpool

Liverpool will hope Darwin Nunez is passed fit for the weekend with the forward having had an impressive campaign for the Reds.

The Uruguayan has 13 goals and 11 assists in all competitions, a marked improvement from a mixed first season in English football. Aside from that productive contribution, Nunez has been a menace to opposition defences with his movement and physicality.

If he can just tidy up that finishing, Liverpool will have a serious striker on their hands.

 

Read – Seven of the greatest moments in the Chelsea-Liverpool rivalry

See more – Remembering the previous cup finals between Chelsea and Liverpool

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