LIVERPOOL fans always love to taunt Chelsea with the chant, “You ain’t got no history”.
And yet, when an age-old Blues defence, doomed for demolition this summer, meets the hottest three-pointers of the Premier League era, Thomas Tuchel’s side may pull off an unintentionally historic feat today.
Because never before has a club lost three consecutive FA Cup finals – not in 150 years of the world’s oldest knockout competition.
Not even in the 19th century when the public schoolboys of the Wanderers and the Old Etonians were pitted against the Royal Engineers.
Chelsea went into the last two finals as favorites – losing to Arsenal behind closed doors in 2020 and then to Leicester in front of just 20,000 fans as football emerged from the pandemic.
Today, the world champions are clear underdogs against a Liverpool side still struggling to make an unprecedented quadruple.
With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota, the Reds are the first team ever to boast a front three that have scored 15 Premier League goals in a season.
Not to mention the Kop’s new sensation, Luis Diaz – and of course Roberto Firmino.
For Chelsea’s defence, this showpiece means one last hurrah.
Antonio Rudiger joins Real Madrid, Andreas Christensen joins Barcelona – and possibly captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso as well – while time catches up with 37-year-old Thiago Silva.
FREE BETS AND SIGN UP OFFERS – THE BEST OFFERS FOR NEW CUSTOMERS
Can Chelsea succeed where they failed in February’s Carabao Cup final – a breathless, if goalless, draw followed by a marathon penalty shoot-out that saw Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga miss the crucial penalty?
Tuchel’s men are perhaps mentally, if not physically, fresher for this game than the Reds.
The FA Cup has been their only chance for silverware in this tumultuous campaign for several weeks.
Elite clubs have often had a snippy attitude towards the Cup in recent seasons, but today’s final is really important for both sides.
These clubs share a mutual dislike that stretches back to the era of Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez and for those in the first full house of the FA Cup final in three years this trophy is no mere afterthought or consolation prize.
Liverpool have never won the FA Cup at new Wembley. It has been 16 years since they last won the competition in a thriller against West Ham in Cardiff.
That’s the longest time the Reds have gone without lifting the trophy since first triumphing under Bill Shankly in 1965.
The Reds have won the cup a total of seven times. Chelsea, “without history”, has eight.
So Wembley hasn’t really been “Anfield South” for decades, and the invading Scousers are looking to reclaim their territory.
Jurgen Klopp, for all his triumphs, was heavily criticized by Liverpool supporters for not taking the domestic trophies seriously enough – until this season when the Kop boss turned that stunning record on its head.
So this is a chance not only to win another leg of the quadruple, but also to correct one of his few mistakes.
For Chelsea, the departure of Roman Abramovich has shrouded the season in sanctions and uncertainty.
Can Todd Boehly’s era possibly be as trophy-rich as his Russian predecessor’s reign – especially when Liverpool and Manchester City are so dominant and Newcastle so wealthy?
And will Romelu Lukaku, the misfiring £97.5m striker, be part of that Boehly era?
The Belgian has claimed late to start tonight’s final with three goals in his last two games.
But those were his first Premier League strikes in 2022 so smart money is in Lukaku being named among the subs.
It was a top-flight year for the Cup – with outstanding runs from non-league Boreham Wood and Kidderminster Harriers, Nottingham Forest’s exploits in defeating Leicester and Arsenal and Cambridge United’s fall against the world’s richest club, Newcastle.
It’s a shame that the cup final doesn’t get its own weekend as the highlight of the domestic season this year.
But the occasion still has its pomp and ceremony – marching bands, Abide With Me, flowers on lapels, bows on cutlery and beers on the Wembley Way.
And history is always made on these days.
The first German player to win the FA Cup was Manchester City goalkeeper and former prisoner of war Bert Trautmann, who broke his neck in the 1956 final.
Today we see the first German manager ever to lift the trophy.
Tuchel and Klopp won’t want to go to the extremes of Trautmann – but this counts anyway.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5336151/chelsea-liverpool-fa-cup-preview/ Chelsea are desperate to avoid becoming the first team to lose THREE consecutive FA Cup finals against Liverpool