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FA Cup final preview: Liverpool v Chelsea

Red v Blue. North v South. Kenny and Robbie.

King Kenny: looking for a second piece of silverware of the season.
King Kenny: looking for a second piece of silverware of the season.
Image: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport

THE MANAGERS OF both Chelsea and Liverpool hope they can turn around their form before this evening’s FA Cup final after poor mid-week defeats.

Liverpool lost 1-0 to Fulham at Anfield on Tuesday, while Chelsea went down 2-0 to visitors Newcastle on Wednesday in the Premier League.

The Reds’ manager Kenny Dalglish slammed the players he picked against Fulham for not taking the opportunity to push for selection today.

Dalglish selected a second-string team with only Andy Carroll and Dirk Kuyt having a decent chance of starting against Chelsea. The Scot was happy with Carroll, but not with the other 13 players who got game time on Tuesday.

“Their attitude was not right and if you get a bad attitude you going to get a bad performance and that is what we got,” Dalglish said.  ”I tried to be fair and give everyone an opportunity — maybe I was wrong.”

After Wednesday’s loss to Newcastle, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo quickly switched his focus to the final of the 140-year-old competition. Di Matteo admitted his players looked tired against Newcastle after trying to maintain a high level in three separate competitions but promised they would be ready for today’s final.

“We’ll regroup and pick them up,” Di Matteo said. “We’ve got a big game, a great final, on Saturday and we’ll go again.”

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Chelsea’s John Terry, right, chats with Frank Lampard during a training session at  Cobham yesterday. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)

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Chelsea, who also have the Champions League final to prepare for on 19 May, will hope at least one of central-defensive pair David Luiz and Gary Cahill recover in time for the FA Cup decider. Di Matteo will surely pick Didier Drogba to lead his attack as the 34-year-old striker has scored every time he has played a competitive match at Wembley and Chelsea have won all of those four games.

Liverpool are likely to rely on Luis Suarez for goals after the Uruguayan striker scored a hat-trick against Norwich on Sunday to take his season tally to 17 goals in all competitions. Dalglish will be aiming for his third FA Cup title as a manager on Saturday (he also won it as a player in 1986), while Di Matteo could join him as one of the 16 people to have won the competition both as a player and a manager if Chelsea triumph. The former Italy international won the FA Cup in 1997 and 2000.

Despite their poor showing in the league this season, if Liverpool win on Saturday it will be the first time since 2001 they have won the FA Cup-Carling Cup double.

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