Capital One Cup Final 2016 Preview: Liverpool vs Manchester City
This year’s Capital One Cup Final takes place this Sunday at Wembley Stadium, when Liverpool take on Manchester City.
Liverpool are eight-time winners of the League Cup, while City won the tournament as recently as 2014.
This final sees the experienced Manuel Pellegrini, in his last domestic final before he leaves City in the summer, line up in the dugouts opposite Jurgen Klopp, who has reached his first cup final in English football.
Both clubs entered at the Third Round stage, but Liverpool’s road to the famous arch was almost over before it even began. They needed penalties to finally overcome League One Carlisle United (3-2), after a 1-1 draw at Anfield. They then won 1-0 at home to Bournemouth in Round Four, before making it a South Coast double by winning 6-1 at Southampton in the Quarter-Finals. They were pushed all the way by an ever-stubborn Stoke City, before eventually triumphing on penalties (6-5), after a 1-0 away victory in each leg of the two-legged Semi-Finals.
City’s path to Wembley was relatively smoother, in fact they have scored 17 goals on their route to the final, more than any other club in the competition this season. They started with a 4-1 win away to Sunderland, then went one better in Round Four, 5-1 at home to Crystal Palace. They then beat Championship side Hull City 4-1, before advancing, after losing the first leg, past Everton to end hopes of an all-Merseyside Final.
For Liverpool, their front three of Daniel Sturridge (if fit), Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho will be key.
Pellegrini will have a tough decision to make in terms of who starts in goal: Will he start with Joe Hart, or go for Willy Caballero, who normally plays in cup matches, but was suspect in their FA Cup mauling by Chelsea. It is unlikely that Pellegrini will turn to the kids who lined up against Chelsea, with silverware on the line.
When the clubs last met, Liverpool emerged from the Etihad Stadium with an impressive 4-1 victory.
City will be missing Kevin De Bruyne, Samir Nasri and Fabian Delph, while Liverpool will be without Danny Ings.
By Steve Osborne @BlizzardSteve75
Capital One Cup Final Info
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Capital Cup final date: 28 Feb 2016
Capital Cup final kick-off time: 4:30 PM (UK)