Sunday 28th February – 16:30 – Wembley Stadium
The first major piece of silverware of the English season is up for grabs at Wembley on Sunday as Liverpool face Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final. The Reds are the most successful team in the competition’s history, having lifted the trophy eight times and most recently in 2012 – their last piece of silverware. Jurgen Klopp has a reputation as a ‘cup manager’, and his side progressed in the Europa League on Thursday with a 1-0 win over Augsburg. In the Premier League, they aren’t doing particularly well, and sit in ninth. Manchester City meanwhile are still involved in the race for the title, whilst are also going strong in Europe, beating Dynamo Kiev 2-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday. They have won the League Cup three times previously, with their most recent success coming in 2014. They won the league title the same season, will history repeat itself?
- Midfielders Adam Lallana (calf) and Joe Allen (hamstring) and defender Martin Skrtel (also hamstring) are all back in training, although might not play.
- Centre-back Dejan Lovren has recovered from illness. Klopp played midfielder Lucas at centre-back in the Europa League win over Augsburg on Thursday, and may do so again.
- Joe Gomez and Danny Ings (both knee) as well as youngsters Jordan Rossiter (hamstring) and Kevin Stewart (ankle) are all ruled out.
- Striker Wilfried Bony (calf), winger Jesus Navas (hamstring) and defender Eliaquim Mangala (knee) could all return from injury at Wembley.
- Pellegrini is hopeful captain Vincent Kompany, former Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and right-back Bacary Sagna can play after having recovery sessions.
- Fabian Delph (achilles), Kevin de Bruyne (knee) and Samir Nasri (hamstring) are all long-term absentees.
The Key Battle: Kolo Toure vs Yaya Toure
Come on, I had to!
With Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren both doubts for the game after being sidelined recently, Kolo Toure is likely to play at centre-back for Liverpool, after scoring his first goal for the club two weeks ago in the 6-0 thrashing of Aston Villa.
The League Cup is the only English trophy that he hasn’t won in his 14 years in this country, and the 34 year old scored in the penalty shoot-out against Stoke in the semi-final.
He is likely to face his younger brother Yaya at Wembley, who scored in the final against Sunderland two years ago. City’s Ivorian maestro should play in the attacking midfield role, with Fernando and Fernandinho sitting in front of the defence.
It is further forward that Toure strives, but he is showing signs of decline, not hitting his goalscoring heights of 2013-14.
In interviews this week, Kolo said he was ready to “go to war” with Yaya, and that he would “take him out, big time” if the City midfielder was through on goal. Feisty.
Liverpool wins = 99 / Manchester City wins = 52 / Draws = 51
*According to http://www.11v11.com
Last Meeting: Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool (21st November 2015)
Liverpool wrecked Manchester City’s hopes of returning to the top of the Premier League and delivered more evidence of vast improvement under new manager Jurgen Klopp with an emphatic victory at The Etihad. Klopp’s side tore City apart with a dazzling first-half performance, which saw them take a 3-0 lead through Eliaquim Mangala’s early own goal and cool finishes from Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. Sergio Aguero gave City faint hope when he pulled a goal back on half time but City were undermined by shambolic defending as they failed to cope with the absence of injured captain Vincent Kompany. Liverpool, however, never looked like conceding their advantage and Martin Skrtel’s thunderous late fourth confirmed their superiority.
Route To The Final
- Round Three: 1-1 vs Carlisle (H) – 3-2 on penalties – Ings
- Round Four: 1-0 vs Bournemouth (H) – Clyne
- Round Five: 6-1 vs Southampton (A) – Sturridge x2, Origi x3, Ibe
- Semi-Final First Leg: 1-0 vs Stoke City (A) – Ibe
- Semi-Final Second Leg: 0-1 vs Stoke City (H) – 6-5 on penalties
- Round Three: 4-1 vs Sunderland (A) – Aguero, De Bruyne, Mannone og, Sterling
- Round Four: 5-1 vs Crystal Palace (H) – Bony, De Bruyne, Iheanacho, Toure, Garcia
- Round Five: 4-1 vs Hull City (H) – Bony, Iheanacho, De Bruyne x2
- Semi-Final First Leg: 1-2 vs Everton (A) – Navas
- Semi-Final Second Leg: 3-1 vs Everton (H) – Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Aguero
Jurgen Klopp: “We have to run maybe more than Man City. We have to close the right spaces. In the moments we have a good situation, we have to score. Sometimes it is the quality of one player who decides the game. We have to create the right plan. Man City is a great team and we will have to give more than a good performance. If we do that then we can win – and they know that too.”
Manuel Pellegrini: “It’s a very important week. We won the first leg [against Dynamo Kiev] but it’s not finished even though that was an important result playing away and now we hope to qualify at home. To play a big final at Wembley against Liverpool is very important too. It’s my mentality to try to win all the time. To win in February one title that gives you a lot of trust to continue fighting for other competitions.”
The Referee – Michael Oliver
- Last Capital One Cup game: Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool (27th January 2015) – 9 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Liverpool game: Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool (12th September 2015) – 3 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Manchester City game: Crystal Palace 2-1 Manchester City (6th April 2015) – 3 yellow cards, 0 red cards
2015-16 Record: Games = 25 / Yellow cards = 88 / Red cards = 6 / Penalties = 9
Stat of the Match
Jurgen Klopp has now reached a cup final in each of his last five seasons as a manager, but has lost the last three. He won the DFB Cup with Dortmund in 2012, lost the Champions League final at Wembley in 2013 and lost successive German cup finals in 2014 and 2015.
Where Can I Watch It?
Sky Sports 1 are showing the game live from 4pm with kick-off half an hour later, whilst the highlights will be on Channel 5 at 8pm on Sunday evening.
My Prediction: Liverpool 0-1 Manchester City
I think that this will be a close cup final, but one that Manchester City come out on top of, perhaps even after extra time. I think that Sergio Aguero will score the only goal of the game to ensure Manuel Pellegrini ends his spell in charge of the Citizens with at least one trophy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a red card at Wembley either.