Liverpool vs. Chelsea: FA Cup Final Gives Suspended Blues Shot at Glory

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29:  John Terry of Chelsea celebrates as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers at Stamford Bridge on April 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Liverpool won't win the Barclays Premier League this year, nor will they finish in the top four to land a spot in next year's UEFA Champions League. The Reds' only shot at glory this campaign comes this weekend in the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

The Blues, on the other hand, are still fruitlessly chasing down a fourth-place spot after their 2-0 defeat to Newcastle in the Premier League this week. That being said, they can secure a spot in next year's UEFA competition by winning the 2012 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich later this month (May 19 at the Allianz Arena).

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24:  Roberto Di Matteo caretaker manager of Chelsea celebrates victory at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelo
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Chelsea has been on a miraculous tear since the of sacking Andre Villas-Boas, and caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo has made a strong case for taking over full-time at season's end. 

He led the West London outfit to a shocking upset over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semifinal. The team now has a fair chance to capture their first Champions League title against Bayern Munich, despite playing on the German giants' home turf.

However, a few Chelsea stars won't be able to compete in that showdown.

The Blues will be without captain John Terry, midfielders Ramires and Raul Meireles, and defender Branislav Ivanovic because of suspensions. Ramires, Meireles and Ivanovic were all booked three times each in Champions League play, while Terry foolishly earned a red card in the semifinal after commiting one of the dumbest fouls in recent memory.

While Chelsea will have to cope with that later, the four key contributors should all be available for the FA Cup Final against Liverpool.

For Terry, Ramires, Meireles and Ivanovic, this is their last chance for glory this season. The Chelsea-Liverpool rivalry runs deep, and these two Premier League powers will most certainly leave it all on the pitch.

The four suspended Chelsea stars will play like there is no tomorrow, because in reality, this is the last meaningful game they're likely to play this year.