Mauricio Pochettino given Chelsea lifeline as Liverpool twist could decide Blues future | Football | Sport

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Liverpool‘s latest injury setback could give Mauricio Pochettino the perfect opportunity to save his Chelsea future when the two clubs meet in the Carabao Cup final. The struggling Blues will go into the fixture as the clear underdogs but will fancy their chances of springing a surprise, especially without Trent Alexander-Arnold on the pitch for Liverpool.

The Reds will be without their first-choice right-back for a number of weeks, with an existing knee problem flaring up during last weekend’s victory over Burnley. It means Alexander-Arnold will miss the upcoming Wembley showdown with Chelsea, while he could also be sidelined when Liverpool face Manchester City next month.

Alexander-Arnold’s absence will come as a major boost for Chelsea, given just how much Liverpool have lacked creativity when he has not played this season. They struggled to carve out chances in both Carabao Cup semi-finals against Fulham, particularly in the home leg when they were rescued by Jurgen Klopp‘s inspired second-half changes.

Conor Bradley will be the obvious choice to start at right-back against Chelsea after impressing when he has been called upon so far this season. However, it is not just Alexander-Arnold who will be missing for Liverpool, with Dominik Szoboszlai also set to be watching from the stands as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

It means that Wataru Endo or Harvey Elliott will likely start in midfield in the Carabao Cup final, representing a downgrade in spite of how well the pair have done in recent months. Chelsea will certainly be looking to capitalise on the absence of two of Liverpool’s most creative players, with a good result at Wembley potentially able to save Pochettino’s job.

The Blues manager has seen his position come under scrutiny over the last few weeks, with Chelsea stuck firmly in mid-table despite spending billions of pounds on transfers. A trophy in his first season might be enough to stave off the threat of being sacked for now, but it remains to be seen if Chelsea will get the job done against a team they have failed to beat since 2021.

Pochettino recently insisted that he will need more time to get Chelsea firing on all cylinders, with a long-overdue victory against Liverpool able to go a long way towards securing his future at Stamford Bridge.

“We need time and people need to understand why we need time,” said Pochettino after Chelsea’s lacklustre defeat at home to Wolves earlier this month.

“It’s about creating a team. It’s like building a house. You need to be sure of all the steps you take. We are building from zero. Always it takes time. Look at the project of Manchester City or Liverpool. It’s always about time and a very clear leadership like Pep [Guardiola] or Jurgen [Klopp]. It’s so clear from there you build these projects.”

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