Just a couple of months after taking over as the manager of Chelsea, Roberto Di Matteo gets his first shot at silverware as his side take on Liverpool in the F.A Cup final live from 2:15am.
It’s obviously not the most important cup final that Di Matteo has in the next few weeks, but nevertheless a huge occasion for him and his squad – especially the likes of John Terry, Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles who will miss that Champions League final.
As for Liverpool, it’s a chance at an unlikely double for Kenny Dalglish’s men after they clinched the League Cup against Cardiff in a gruelling penalty shootout.
Chelsea and Liverpool games are rarely without controversy, and many of my recent football memories stem from clashes between the two. There was Frank Lampard’s emotional penalty just days after his mother died, the Luis Garcia ghost goal and Xabi Alonso’s scrappy effort that saw Chelsea lose at home in the league for the first time in 86 league matches back in the 2008/09 season.
Needless to say, there’s no love lost between the two.
Chelsea’s run to the Cup final was marred with a spiteful affair against neighbours QPR, a controversial Mata goal against Spurs and a couple of blow-outs against lower league position…but not before they were forced to a replay by Birmingham City.
Liverpool failed to keep a clean sheet in the tournament this year, but on the way to final did beat their two biggest rivals, Manchester United and Everton.
These two have combined to win six of the last twelve tournaments, Chelsea winning two of the last three. Liverpool’s most recent FA Cup success was that pulsating with clash with West Ham, where they came from behind to win on penalties thanks to an inspirational performance from captain Steven Gerrard.
And they’ll need everything Stevie G has in his arsenal to get past the Blues, who have looked a completely different side since shedding Andre Villas-Boas.
Fernando Torres looks the deadliest he has since he last wore the red of Liverpool, and the irony would not be lost on any scousers if the former Atletico Madrid striker was the one that scored the winner tonight… probably with a Meireles assist.
Regardless of what happens, join us from around 2am for the teams and line-ups before kick-off at 2:15. See you then.