"A madness!" - Paul Merson makes bold prediction for FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool

The 2022 FA Cup final sees Liverpool square off against Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium
The 2022 FA Cup final sees Liverpool square off against Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium

For the second time this season, Liverpool and Chelsea prepare to lock horns at the Wembley Stadium, with the FA Cup up for grabs this time around. Earlier this year, the two sides were involved in a Carabao Cup final that was eventually decided on penalties, as Liverpool edged out the Blues to get their hands on the trophy.

120 minutes of football wasn't enough to separate the two sides on that evening in February and I just get the feeling that this one could be a heads or tails football match as well. Liverpool and Manchester City have been widely referred to as two of the greatest teams in Premier League history due to their exploits in the past three to four years, but Chelsea have gone toe-to-toe with both teams this season.

For three quarters of the game in their first Premier League meeting with Liverpool this season, Chelsea played with 10-men but still ended up getting a point, while they came from two goals behind at Stamford Bridge to secure a 2-2 draw in January. In my opinion, they should have won the Carabao Cup, but it wasn't to be.

In recent weeks, both teams have looked a bit tired and open at the back. Liverpool have beaten both Villarreal in the UEFA Champions League and Aston Villa in the Premier League in the last 10 days or so, but they were carved open at the back a handful of times and were slow to react to danger.

As for Chelsea, they let a two-goal lead slip against Wolves and looked out of sorts at the back in the second half, which is a clear indication that tiredness is beginning to creep in.

Injuries to Fabinho and Mateo Kovacic will obviously come as massive blows to their respective teams, but if reports are to be believed, the Chelsea midfielder could be available for the FA Cup final if he makes a swift recovery. Fabinho, however, has officially been ruled out and Liverpool usually lack discipline when he doesn't play, as he knits everything together.

Thomas Tuchel's biggest worry, in my opinion, is the fact that he's still not figured out his preferred front three - it's a madness! We're in May and with a few days to go until the cup final, they still don't know who is going to play. I believe Kai Havertz and Mason Mount will start for sure, but who joins them in attack? Timo Werner can cause a lot of problems with his pace and directness, while Romelu Lukaku has been back amongst the goals in recent weeks and looks a different player now. With the likes of Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech also in the mix, Tuchel does have a lot of options, but which one of them will get the nod?

Salah could produce another crowning moment for Liverpool against Chelsea

Villarreal v Liverpool Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Champions League
Villarreal v Liverpool Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Champions League

Ahead of a cup final, it's impossible not to talk about Mohamed Salah, who recently proclaimed himself as the best player in the world in his position. I'd have to agree with him, as he's a bit of a freak each time he plays and he turns up in all the big games. Salah is an absolutely unbelievable player and every young kid who aspires to make it as a footballer should look at what he's prepared to do to keep himself at the very top.

I don't think Salah has got a point to prove despite his barren run in recent weeks, but everyone dreams of scoring at Wembley in a cup final, so it'll be no different for him! Luis Diaz is another Liverpool player who deserves a mention because he's settled in quicker than snow since joining in January! He's walked straight into the front three and worked his socks off to become a key player for the club, I can't talk highly enough of the bloke.

Marcus Alonso has produced some big moments for Chelsea over the years, but he is a player Liverpool could target. If I'm being honest, he has no interest in defending, but he plays his own little game and can hurt Jurgen Klopp's side while going forward, so he'll be one to watch out for.

When I first thought about this game, I was inkling towards a draw, but I fancy Chelsea to win it 2-1 as Fabinho's absence swings the game in the Blues' favor. The Carabao Cup final ended 0-0, but the amount of chances created on the night was absolutely mindblowing.

Finally, if the game does go to penalties, I really hope Chelsea don't bring Kepa Arrizabalaga on! We saw what happened last time out and I think they'll be better of with Edouard Mendy, who has been a top-class addition to the side since his move from Rennes in 2020.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool

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Edited by Paul Merson