Liverpool vs. Chelsea: Injuries Force Reds and Blues to Dig Deep in FA Cup Final

Wes ODonnell@wesodonnellFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2012

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 29:  Fernando Torres of Chelsea is challenged by Lucas of Liverpool during the Carling Cup quarter final match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on November 29, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Both Chelsea and Liverpool enter the 2012 FA Cup final with hopes of attaining two trophies this season despite disappointing league play.

The Reds have already captured the Carling Cup while the Blues are also set for the UEFA Champions League final later this month.

The FA Cup showdown at Wembley Stadium is the 31st clash between the two English powers in the last eight years. Chelsea has actually won the FA Cup three times during those eight years, while Liverpool has won it once.

This year, they'll tangle with weakened squads at key positions. The Reds are still missing Lucas Leiva and Charlie Adam in midfield, while the Blues are without David Luiz and Gary Cahill in the back line.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24:  Frank Lampard , Branislav Ivanovic , Ramires and John Obi Mikel of Chelsea celebrate victory during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in B
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Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish will likely decide between youngster Jonjo Shelvey and Jay Spearing while Chelsea caretaker Roberto Di Matteo will likely use Branislav Ivanovic in the middle of defense next to John Terry. He'll have to lean on his captain and veteran Ashley Cole to be superb at the back.

Di Matteo left Cole out of the team that lost to Newcastle in midweek, but he'll be back against the Reds.

Chelsea's injuries at centre-back are more pressing than Liverpool's in midfield, but the Blues are still a more experienced team in situations such as this.

There is no denying that the talents of guys like Terry, Cole, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard gives the Blues a distinct advantage over the youth of Liverpool. Sure, they have Steven Gerrard, but they also boast inexperienced stars in Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and others.

Both clubs have to dip into their bench for this FA Cup final, but it does give Chelsea an advantage. One such player not even mentioned yet, former Liverpool star Fernando Torres, could easily make an appearance for the Blues as well. The scary part is that he's actually been on form as of late.

What a turn of events it would be if Torres, who struggled mightily in West London until recently, was to score in the FA Cup final against his old boys.