A team chasing honours on four fronts isn’t likely to prioritise the League Cup particularly highly, but the incentive of preventing Liverpool from reaching a cup final of any kind will add spice to this encounter for any Chelsea supporter.
The benefit of winning the League Cup won’t be lost on Mourinho either, as after back to back defeats against Barcelona in Europe and Newcastle in the FA Cup in February 2005, many questioned whether the wheels had fallen off Chelsea’s season. A League Cup Final win against Liverpool the following weekend gave the squad a much needed boost and the club went on to secure its first league title in 50 years two months later.
Eight times winners Liverpool won’t need much encouragement either as Steven Gerrard, a goal scorer for Chelsea in the 2005 final, will be looking to finish his playing days on Merseyside the kind of fairytale ending that Demba Ba snatched away from him last April.
Another man dreaming of a trip to Wembley is Brendan Rodgers, who will be looking to paper over the cracks of a season which promised so much but has delivered so little and a League Cup, the only trophy added to Liverpool’s collection since 2006, would ease at least a little pressure on the Northern Irishman.
Thibaut Courtois may return after overcoming a minor injury, but Mourinho could very well allow Petr Cech another run out in cup competition. Cesar Azpilicueta is expected to be absent with a groin injury for the Blues, who aim to improve on a record of just six League Cup final appearances from 11 semi finals.
Contribution by Jonny Sillitoe