Liverpool take on Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on Sunday in the Capital One Cup final.
For the Reds, the trophy would be their first since winning the League Cup back in 2012 and just their second piece of silverware since 2006. Manager Jurgen Klopp will have even more motivation as a trophy just four months after taking over from Brendan Rodgers would signal an outstanding start to his Anfield career.
Meanwhile, a win would help City boss Manuel Pellegrini end his time with the Sky Blues on a high with the Chilean set to be replaced by Pep Guardiola in the summer.
Here are all the details you need to catch the showpiece, complete with form guides for both teams and a closer look at how the final could play out.
Date: Sunday, February 28
Time: 4:30 p.m. GMT, 11:30 a.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports 1
Live Stream: Sky Go
Liverpool Form (all comps): LDLWDW
Man City Form (all comps): WWLLLW
Neither side comes into the game in outstanding form, though Liverpool have a slight edge having won two of their last three matches—a 6-0 victory over Aston Villa and a 1-0 triumph over Augsburg in the Europa League, either side of a goalless draw with the German outfit.
Their unconvincing displays against a team 14th in the Bundesliga hardly inspire confidence, with football writer Dave O'Connell noting their struggles to kill off the tie:
1-0 up, plenty of possesion yet taking none of our chances and looking susceptible to concede at any second. Standard Liverpool performance.2/25/2016, 7:45:10 PM
Instead, they will take great encouragement from their impressive 4-1 beating of City the last time the two sides met in November.
While City's 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea in the FA Cup almost doesn't count toward their form, as Pellegrini rested his top stars and fielded six teenagers with almost no prior first-team experience, their run of three consecutive defeats makes for grim reading—particularly as their first team was beaten twice in the Premier League at the hands of Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur.
In their last match, the Sky Blues grabbed a vital 3-1 win in the Champions League away at Dynamo Kiev, though it should also be noted the Ukrainian side came into the game on the back of a two-month winter break.
Defensively, the two sides have painted contrasting pictures as Squawka Football revealed:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Liverpool have kept 3 consecutive clean sheets across all competitions for the first time since August 2015. https://t.co/grYaFPWpQh2/25/2016, 7:58:03 PM
Squawka Football @Squawka
Manchester City have now conceded 11 goals in their last 5 matches in all competitions. https://t.co/6D6SR3BePu2/24/2016, 9:03:42 PM
Again, the quality of opposition should be taken into account, so Liverpool's clean sheets may mean little when they face the likes of Sergio Aguero and David Silva.
Matches against the top two sides in the Premier League, a resurgent Chelsea—with City having a weakened team—and a Champions League outing make the Citizens' portrayal somewhat unfair, but their defensive frailty has certainly been a concern throughout the season.
Cup goalkeeper Willy Caballero is reportedly set to start ahead of Joe Hart, per the Guardian's Jamie Jackson. The BBC's Phil McNulty and football writer Jack Lusby believe Pellegrini is making a critical mistake:
Phil McNulty @philmcnulty
If Manuel Pellegrini has given any assurances to Willy Caballero about playing against Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday he should forget them.2/26/2016, 11:04:10 AM
Jack Lusby @jacklusby_
Why is Pellegrini sticking with Willy Caballero on Sunday? An actual GK would be the difference for either side, neither will have one.2/26/2016, 11:31:39 PM
Indeed, with 32 goals scored in their last eight meetings, per BBC Sport, the match may well be an open encounter.
According to O'Connell, Klopp—who will be hoping for a successful return to Wembley after losing the Champions League final there with Borussia Dortmund in 2013—predicts his side will need to cover more ground than their opponents:
“We have to run maybe more than Man City will run. We have to close the right spaces and we need an idea for this game.” - Klopp2/26/2016, 10:49:50 PM
In his typically style, the German also made a couple of quips at City's expense:
Klopp- "I should not talk here about tactics. I think even in Manchester they have televisions."2/26/2016, 1:24:08 PM
Klopp asked if City will be tired after their trip to Ukraine. - "They flew back, not walked." Haha2/26/2016, 1:25:04 PM
Meanwhile, Pellegrini is hoping to avoid the game playing out as it did the last time they met. Per BBC Sport, he said: "We make a lot of mistakes in the first 15 minutes so they decide the game early, but all the games are different."
Both sides will be desperate to win on Sunday and will look to raise their games in order to do so. Their defensive weaknesses remain a real concern, though, so the match could well be a thrilling encounter with plenty of goals scored.
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