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FA Cup Final: Three key Wembley battles

The FA Cup Final takes place on Saturday as familiar foes Chelsea and Liverpool meet in a repeat of February's EFL Cup final.

On that occasion, the Reds succeeded on penalties and are 1/2 to lift the trophy for the seventh time in their history and first under Jurgen Klopp.

Chelsea, winners eight times over the years, will be looking for revenge and have Wembley woe to dispel, having also lost last year's FA Cup final 1-0 to Leicester.

Thomas Tuchel's side are 13/8 to lift the trophy and will need to be at their best after an inconsistent second half of the season.

The match will be available on the Sports Live Streaming service and will be littered by intriguing match-ups all over the field.

Tuchel v Klopp

Tuchel and Klopp go back a long way and have followed similar career paths, having both coached at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund.

The media often portrays them as the best of friends, but Tuchel has insisted that while they spend time together when the opportunity arises, their relationship is based on mutual respect rather than any greater source of affinity.

The younger man's record against Klopp probably makes it hard for him to like him too much. The duo have clashed 18 times, with Tuchel prevailing just three times.

However, he has guided the Blues to three draws, including that shootout defeat, across all competitions this season and his tactics have proved a thorn in Klopp's side.

Despite those travails, Liverpool remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple at 16/1 and will see their February success as a sign they can again succeed should the final once again go all the way.

Tuchel's team struggled with injuries over the winter and have been unable to rediscover the form they displayed in the opening weeks of the campaign since the calendar turned for 2022.

However, as they showed in beating Man City in last season's Champions League final, they can always turn up in the big games, especially when the underdogs, with them 11/4 to triumph in 90 minutes, the draw 13/5 and 19/20 Liverpool.

With the two German coaches amongst the most demonstrative in the game, the tussle on the touchline could be worth the entrance fee alone.

Rudiger v Salah

Rudiger is expected to leave Chelsea in the summer and will do so having enjoyed another quietly impressive season.

The German is one of the few players at Stamford Bridge to have remained consistent during the second half of the season, displaying his trademark defensive grit, while his distribution has also given his side an outlet from the back.

A free transfer to Real Madrid is thought to be in the offing and he will again be looking to demonstrate his prowess against Liverpool.

Stationed on the left side of the Chelsea defence, one of Rudiger's key tasks will be to curtail Mohamed Salah's progress, with the Egyptian's favoured move of drifting in off the right something Tuchel will be monitoring.

Rudiger rarely shies away from a challenge, both literally and metaphorically, and will be looking to shackle Salah.

The 29-year-old is 11/5 to be booked at Wembley, as he was when the two sides drew 1-1 at Anfield back in August.

Salah hasn't quite been the same since failing to guide Egypt to the World Cup 2022 and has netted only twice in his last 13 outings in all competitions. Despite his recent woes, he is always a threat and can be backed at 6/5 in the anytime market.

Jorginho v Thiago

He took a season to bed in but Thiago Alcantara is now a key component of Liverpool's midfield and his recent performances have been recognised with a nomination for April's Premier League Player of the Month award.

Thiago has become the consummate schemer in the middle of the park, complementing the respective strengths of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.

With Fabinho a fitness doubt heading into the final, he could be even more important and his duel with Chelsea's Jorginho is sure to play a part.

After an astonishing 2021, in which he starred in Italy's victorious Euro 2020 campaign, as well as won the Champions League, Jorginho has struggled to repeat that form.

However, he proved last year that he is a man for the big occasion and will be looking to stamp his mark on Saturday's final.

While the duo play different roles, they both set the tempo for their sides. The old cliche is that games are won in the middle of the park and these two are sure to have a say on the 141st FA Cup final.

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