Liverpool, who defeated Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final in February, is chasing an unprecedented quadruple after reaching the Champions League final, while they are three points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with two games remaining.
Eight-time FA Cup champions Chelsea is in the final for the third time in three seasons, and the fifth time in six, after finishing runners-up to Arsenal in 2020 under Frank Lampard and Leicester City in 2021 under Thomas Tuchel.
“It will be another hard fight, given the quality and run of form of Liverpool. But this is what a cup final is all about,” said Tuchel.
Tuchel responded to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s comments that “everyone in the country supported Liverpool” by saying, “It’s hard to really argue with him on that.”
“There’s a huge sympathy for Liverpool in the country, which is fair enough. They work hard for it. Jurgen Klopp is the master of being the underdog. He can talk you into it.
“There is nothing to be jealous of from my side. Klopp is a fantastic guy, a funny guy and one of the best coaches in the world. If we are the bad guys tomorrow no problem. We take that role.
“We don’t want the sympathy of the whole country, we want the trophy at the end of the day.”
Liverpool is playing in their first final since losing 2-1 to Chelsea in 2012. Chelsea have won the FA Cup five times since the Reds last won it in 2006.
“Liverpool supporters make occasions like this their own. I love it so much. Because the one thing none of us can guarantee on a day like this is the result,” Jurgen Klopp said.
It is the first FA Cup final at Wembley to be played in front of a capacity crowd since Manchester City defeated Watford 6-0 in front of 85,854 fans in 2019.
Due to Coronavirus restrictions, the 2020 final between Arsenal and Chelsea was played behind closed doors, while last season’s final between Leicester and Chelsea was watched by a smaller crowd of 20,000.
The FA Cup, the world’s oldest knockout football competition, is celebrating its 150th anniversary, having begun in 1871-72. The final will be decided on the day, and teams will be able to name nine substitutes and make five substitutions, with a sixth permitted if extra time is required.
Mateo Kovacic (ankle) and Ngolo Kante (hamstring) of Chelsea will face late fitness tests, while Fabinho of Liverpool will miss out due to a hamstring injury.
How European qualification comes in.
The FA Cup winners advance to the group stages of the Europa League in 2022-23, as well as the Community Shield before the start of the Premier League the following season.
However, Liverpool can finish no lower than second in the Premier League, ensuring that they will compete in the Champions League group stage next season.
While Chelsea are not mathematically guaranteed a top-four finish, which guarantees a place in the Champions League, one more win would seal the deal for the Blues. At worst, Chelsea will finish fifth and automatically qualify for the Europa League.
As a result, with the FA Cup spot no longer required, the teams finishing sixth and seventh in the Premier League, currently Manchester United and West Ham, would enter the Europa League and Europa Conference League, respectively.