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May 14, 2022 at 4.45pm UK at Wembley Stadium
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Liverpool win 6-5 on penalties

Combined XI: Liverpool vs. Chelsea

Ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads.

For the second time this season, Liverpool and Chelsea lock horns at the Wembley Stadium with a domestic trophy on the line in the form of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon.

The Reds have gone 16 years without adding to their seven FA Cups since defeating West Ham United in the 2006 final, but they saw off Chelsea on penalties in February's EFL Cup final.

Meanwhile, the Blues have suffered consecutive defeats in the 2020 and 2021 finals, but they did prevail in their only previous FA Cup showdown with Liverpool in 2012.

Both sides enter the contest on the back of midweek Premier League wins, with Liverpool coming from behind to defeat Aston Villa 2-1 while Thomas Tuchel's side put three past Leeds United without reply.

With a multitude of star names on show and others set to miss out through injury, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads, using only those players expected to be available for the final.


Fans would have a paid a pretty penny for Edouard Mendy's thoughts when he was replaced for the EFL Cup final penalty shootout and witnessed Kepa Arrizabalaga blaze his spot kick over the bar, but neither man challenges Alisson Becker for a spot in this lineup, with the Brazilian keeping a whopping 26 clean sheets already this term and always coming up with the big moments when the Reds need him most - at both ends of the pitch.

Reece James's performances since his return from injury have been admirable, but displacing Trent Alexander-Arnold and his 19 assists in all competitions was an impossible task for the Chelsea man and his teammate Cesar Azpilicueta. On the opposite flank, Andy Robertson has set his teammates up 15 times already this season and was also a simple selection over Marcos Alonso, while Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi are still confined to the infirmary.

While the futures of Chelsea's other defenders remain up in the air, Thiago Silva has committed his future to the club for another season and has already turned out 45 times in all tournaments this term - not bad going at the age of 37. With three goals and a 92% pass accuracy also helping Chelsea on their way to the top three of the Premier League table and the Club World Cup, Silva edges out Antonio Rudiger, Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip for one of the centre-back spots.

There are no prizes for guessing who partners Silva at the back, with Virgil van Dijk still the same imposing and dominant figure he was before his devastating cruciate ligament injury back in 2020 and registering three goals and four assists in Liverpool's quadruple fight - easing into our combined XI in the process.

With Mateo Kovacic and Fabinho likely to miss out owing to the injuries they picked up in midweek - as well as Tuchel admitting that N'Golo Kante was also unlikely to make the cut - this is far from a full-strength midfield, but there was always going to be a spot for Mason Mount, who has produced 13 goals and 16 assists domestically and continentally this season and was on target during the semi-final victory over Crystal Palace.

Seemingly putting his injury woes behind him, Thiago Alcantara often takes the game by the scruff of the neck for Liverpool, whose signing of the Spaniard raised a few eyebrows at the time, and the former Bayern Munich man takes his spot ahead of Naby Keita and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. With no Fabinho and potentially no Kante to occupy the number six role, we have sided with Jorginho, who ranks slightly higher than Jordan Henderson in pass completion, tackles and interceptions this term.

However, the Chelsea representation ends there, with former Blue Mohamed Salah out to haunt his old club on the back of registering 30 goals and 16 assists from 48 games this term - even if his form has dropped off slightly in the past couple of months. Star signing Luis Diaz has also had an immediate impact with five goals and four assists since his January move and takes his spot on the left over Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner.

Neither Kai Havertz nor Romelu Lukaku have provided a consistent goalscoring threat for the Blues this season, but Sadio Mane and his 22 goals have taken to the centre-forward's role with ease, and the Africa Cup of Nations winner spearheads our star-studded XI.

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Romelu Lukaku celebrating scoring for Chelsea against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on March 19, 2022.
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A look at Chelsea's route to the FA Cup final
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CManchester CityMan City38296399267393
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382251169402971
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381610125757058
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham38168146051956
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