Carabao Cup Final: Liverpool’s injury crisis can save Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea job

Tom Weber
Tom Weber

  • Updated: 17 Feb 2024 14:11 GMT
  • 3 min read
Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea, 2023/24

Liverpool will head into the Carabao Cup final decimated by injuries.

Under normal circumstances, Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League table-topping Reds would be considered the clear favourites for their clash with Mauricio Pochettino’s inconsistent and inexperienced Chelsea, especially after their 4-1 shellacking of the Blues at the end of January.

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Yet, in the weeks since that game, Liverpool have had to deal with several fitness issues. Heading into the final, the Reds could be without as many as eight senior players. Joel Matip’s season is over after rupturing his ACL, Dominik Szoboszlai and Alisson are out with hamstring injuries and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago have re-aggravated ailments they initially appeared to have overcome.

During the Anfield club’s Premier League outing against Brentford, two more players had to come off the pitch prematurely in Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota, with the latter stretchered off after a nasty knock to his knee.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai are not expected to feature vs Chelsea
© IMAGO – Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai are not expected to feature vs Chelsea

Chelsea the favourites?

While Liverpool are still too good of a team to consider Chelsea favourites for the Carabao Cup clash, the Blues will certainly be licking their lips given the Reds’ personnel issues. Mauricio Pochettino’s men will be out for revenge after being completely dominated in January.

The Carabao Cup isn’t the most prestigious trophy a team can win, but it could give Chelsea a welcome confidence boost after what has been a tough season, with the London giants yet again mired in mid-table obscurity.

Pochettino is not under any immediate threat of getting the sack, but there is no getting around the fact that Chelsea bosses expected much, much from his first season in charge.

Winning some silverware and doing so against the Premier League leaders will alleviate the pressure on the Argentine and confirm that, despite their poor results this term, this Chelsea side is eminently talented and could become a real force to be reckoned with in the future.

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