21-year-old Starts Amid Anxious Darwin Nunez Wait in Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Predicted XI vs Chelsea

Jürgen Klopp faces tough decisions as he prepares for the Carabao Cup final amid a lengthy injury list.

Liverpool have the opportunity to clinch English football’s first major silverware of the season in the impending weekend clash against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final. This marks the second final encounter between the two teams in the last three seasons, with Jürgen Klopp eyeing a repeat of their previous triumph.

In their previous showdown, Liverpool emerged triumphant following a goalless draw in regular time, which extended into extra time and ultimately led to a penalty shootout.

Securing victory with an 11-10 scoreline, Liverpool capitalized on Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s missed penalty, securing their first domestic trophy of the season. Now, as the teams prepare to face off once more, Liverpool supporters are undoubtedly yearning for a similar outcome.

However, Chelsea’s lineup has undergone significant changes since their last encounter in the 2022 final. Out of the 16 players who graced the Wembley turf on that memorable day, only two have remained with the club, while the rest have either been transferred or departed for other reasons. Presently, Trevor Chalobah and Reece James stand as the sole remnants from that lineup in the current Chelsea squad.

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For Liverpool, there has been notable players turnover, though not to the same extent as some other teams. Seven starters from Jürgen Klopp’s side on that day still remain at Anfield. However, with several absences, speculation arises over who will feature in this season’s final for the Reds.

In the goalkeeper position, Caoimhín Kelleher will maintain his role as Alisson Becker continues to be sidelined due to injury. Kelleher is expected to be accompanied by fellow Irishman Conor Bradley in defense, as Bradley’s recent impressive performances likely earn him another start. Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté are set to form the central defensive partnership, while Andy Robertson is slated to start at left-back.

Concerning the midfield, Klopp is likely to be without Dominik Szoboszlai once again. Consequently, a midfield trio of Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endō, and 21-year-old Ryan Gravenberch is anticipated. Curtis Jones will remain unavailable until the end of March due to an ankle injury.

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In terms of attacking options, uncertainties persist as Mohamed Salah’s availability remains in question, while Darwin Núñez’s fitness for Sunday’s match is now also uncertain.

The absence of Diogo Jota, sidelined for the next few months due to injury sustained against Brentford, further complicates matters. As a result, there may be a reliance on Cody Gakpo and Harvey Elliott to flank Luis Díaz in the attack, with Díaz being the sole healthy automatic starter.

Manager Klopp faces the challenge of managing without Stefan Bajčetić, Ben Doak, and Joël Matip, who are long-term absentees.

Additionally, Thiago Alcântara will continue to be unavailable after his recent return against Arsenal. There is hope that Salah and Núñez will at least be fit enough to feature on the bench for the upcoming match.

Liverpool predicted XI vs Chelsea: Kelleher; Bradley, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Mac Allister, Endō, Gravenberch; Elliott, Díaz, Gakpo.

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