After duelling for the Carabao Cup final not long ago, Chelsea and Liverpool lock horns again at Wembley, this time in the FA Cup final. Jake Osgathorpe previews the game, selecting his best bets.
2pts Under 2.5 Goals in 90 minutes at evens (bet365)
2pts Liverpool -1 corner handicap in 90 minutes at 10/11 (Sky Bet)
We have a repeat of the Carabao Cup final this Saturday in yet another major cup final.
Liverpool were victorious the first time the pair met, winning on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes, and the quadruple chasing Reds are firm favourites at a general price of 8/15 to lift the FA Cup this weekend.
It is hard to back against Jurgen Klopp's men at the moment, with the Reds flying on all fronts, but to me there is no value in backing them in any way this weekend, and the same can be said for Chelsea, who are incredibly unpredictable at the minute.
That means we need to look elsewhere for our bets, and for the first selection we are heading to the goal markets.
Cup finals are usually very cagey affairs, as was the Carabao Cup final between these two, and I see no reason to think this won't be similar, meaning UNDER 2.5 GOALS IN 90 MINUTES is the selection.
Along with the recent Carabao final, all of the major finals played last season went Under 2.5 Goals - Champions League (1-0), Europa League (1-1), FA Cup (1-0) and Carabao Cup (1-0) - with teams not taking an overly attack-minded approach to such contests given what is at stake.
Add to this the fact that three of their four meetings between Chelsea and Liverpool since Thomas Tuchel was appointed have seen no more than three goals, and a price of even money starts to look too big.
Now, obviously Liverpool are capable of blitzing anyone on their day, and they could well score three themselves this weekend, but the signs are there that their attacking process has dipped of late, most likely to do with their strenuous schedule catching up to them.
In the league, Liverpool have averaged 1.73 xGF per game across their last six. In the six prior to that run, they had averaged 2.77. Granted we have to take into account the strength of opponents, but even with the eye-test it's clear to see that the Reds aren't finding it as easy as they did early on in the season to carve out excellent scoring chances.
Chelsea are far from Liverpool's level in attack, but they are a match for them defensively despite recent issues, and when it comes to the big games against the best team, Tuchel tightens things up drastically.
In Chelsea's 10 league matches against the big six this season, seven have seen Under 2.5 Goals land.
That should be the case again, especially with the pattern of play likely to be the same as the Carabao Cup final, which saw Chelsea sitting deep and trying to break, while Liverpool were the aggressors with a lot of territory but few decent chances.
And that brings me onto the second selection nicely, which is LIVERPOOL -1 CORNER HANDICAP IN 90 MINUTES.
Given the likely pattern of play, we can expect the Reds to rack up the corners at Wembley, just as they have done all season long.
In the league this term, Liverpool have racked up an average of 7.4 corners while allowing just 3.14, while Chelsea have racked up one corner fewer and allowed one corner more on average.
The Carabao Cup final saw Liverpool win the corner count 11-1 in normal time, while they won 12-3 on corners at Anfield early on in the season.
This bet has won in 11 of the Reds 16 league games since the turn of the year, mainly due to their style of play which relies heavily upon width, but also due to their opponents sitting deep and inviting the pressure.
I expect this FA Cup final to follow that pattern, and that means the 10/11 best price available for this bet has to be snapped up - it's generally 4/5 which is a bout right.
Score prediction: Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool (Sky Bet odds: 13/2)
Odds correct at 15000 BST (10/05/22)
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