Liverpool head into Sunday’s Carabao Cup final aiming to win the first of a potential four trophies this season, while Chelsea target their first domestic trophy for six years.

The game is a rematch of both the Carabao and FA Cup finals of 2022, with Liverpool winning both on penalties.

The Reds lead the Premier League by four points and are into the Europa League last 16 and FA Cup fifth round.

“We’ll go for it,” said Liverpool’s assistant manager Pep Lijnders.

“It’s a special game. Special games need special performances so we have to focus on the performance.”

With Lijnders and manager Jurgen Klopp set to leave Anfield this summer, Liverpool fans are eager for them to enjoy a triumphant send-off having already won six major honours since Klopp took charge in 2015.

“Our philosophy is to give joy and emotions to the fans,” added Lijnders. “I’m really happy that we can give at least a final to start with.”

Defender Virgil van Dijk, who will captain the Reds in a Wembley final for the first time on Sunday, said: “We want to make it a special day and get our first trophy of the season.

“The end of the season will probably be very emotional for a lot of people, including the manager, but we are not there yet. We shouldn’t look too far ahead, we should look at what is in front of us.”

Chelsea’s last domestic trophy was the 2018 FA Cup, although they won four international honours after that, the most recent being the Club World Cup in February 2022 – two weeks before they lost to Liverpool in the 2022 Carabao Cup final.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino, who took charge at Stamford Bridge last summer, can win his first prize in England after previous spells in charge of Southampton and Tottenham.

“It means a lot for us, the coaching staff, to get to the final and challenge a team like Liverpool,” said the Argentine.

“It’s a dream for us, we have the opportunity and we are going to fight. I think the team is ready and we’re going to be very competitive.”

Reds trio face late fitness tests

Lijnders confirmed injury-hit Liverpool will give Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Dominik Szoboszlai as long as possible to recover in time for Sunday’s game after fitness concerns.

But Curtis Jones has joined Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota on the sidelines, so several youngsters and fringe players will feature in the Wembley showpiece.

“It’s always good in life to accept what you have and don’t look at what you don’t have,” said Dutch coach Lijnders. “That’s brought us success in the past.

“Johan Cruyff said that ‘every disadvantage has its advantage’, and we get young players playing who haven’t been playing [regularly] – it’s a compliment to our squad and our academy.

“For me, success is growing. We focus on developing this team, on bringing young players and making them better – and the older ones. Success is a logical result of that.

“Liverpool is a club made for major trophies. Each year we should fight for them and that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Third time the charm for Pochettino? – the stats

  • Liverpool’s win over Chelsea in 2022 meant they regained the record for most EFL Cup wins – nine
  • Chelsea are five-time winners, last lifting the trophy by beating Tottenham 2-0 in 2015
  • Chelsea’s current boss Mauricio Pochettino was Tottenham manager that day
  • Pochettino has only reached one other final while managing in England – the 2019 Champions League final when Spurs lost to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool
  • Pochettino has won just one of his 13 meetings with Klopp – a 4-1 home win in October 2017 with Tottenham
  • Chelsea and Liverpool have met in two previous EFL Cup finals (2005 and 2022) and two previous FA Cup finals (2012 and 2022)
  • Liverpool won both the 2022 finals on penalties after the games finished 0-0 at the end of extra time