Liverpool will come face-to-face with two former players as they attempt to win their second trophy of the season in the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.
The Reds travel to the national stadium for the third time in as many months, following their semi-final triumph over neighbours Everton and Carling Cup final victory against Cardiff City.
Standing in the way of Kenny Dalglish’s quest to complete a domestic cup double are Roberto Di Matteo’s side, who have also reached the UEFA Champions League final and feature two players very familiar to Liverpool supporters.
Fernando Torres and Raul Meireles, who swapped Anfield for Stamford Bridge in January and August 2011 respectively, are likely to be in the Blues’ line-up for the teatime kick-off in London.
While Liverpool have been victorious in their two previous visits to Wembley this season, they approach Saturday’s match in worryingly inconsistent form.
Miserable 1-0 defeats at home to West Bromwich
Albion and Fulham sandwiched an impressive 3-0
win at Norwich City, a performance inspired by a
mesmerising hat-trick from Luis Suarez.
Dalglish rested the majority of his first XI for the
Fulham fixture and will be buoyed by the recent
return to fitness of captain Steven Gerrard and
the improved displays from record signing Andy
The Reds have already beaten Chelsea twice
this season, with a 2-1 Premier League victory
at Stamford Bridge preceding a 2-0 win in the
Carling Cup nine days later, while Liverpool
registered a league double over the Blues last
Saturday will be Liverpool’s 14th appearance in
an FA Cup final and their first since winning the
competition in 2006, when Gerrard’s last-minute
equaliser set up penalty shoot-out drama with
West Ham United.
For their part, Chelsea are riding the crest of a wave after their aggregate victory over Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals and a 5-1 hammering of Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup final four.
They did, however, suffer just their second defeat under Di Matteo against Newcastle United on Wednesday, a result which leaves them with little chance of finishing among the Premier League top four.
Recent history gives Chelsea reason for confidence, though, with the Blues having appeared in and won three of the last five FA Cup finals, including the 2009 edition against Everton.
By Chris Shaw, Senior Editor
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Dalglish and Co will come up against former star Torres as they try to win a second trophy (© Trinity Mirror)
LIVERPOOL SEASON 2011/12
© Trinity Mirror
Pictures © Trinity Mirror