It’s an all Premier League affair in the 131st final of the oldest cup competition in football this Saturday, as Carling Cup winners Liverpool face Champions League finalists Chelsea (coverage from 3:15pm on ITV1; kick-off 5:15pm).
Both sides have glorious FA Cup histories – the south Londoners have won it six times, the Merseysiders seven – but they’ve never met in the final before.
So what do Chelsea’s talismanic midfielder Frank Lampard and Liverpool’s defensive stalwart Jamie Carragher think of their teams’ chances? Match of the Day Magazine’s Paz and Bez met them to find out…
Bez chats to Frank Lampard:
Chelsea v Liverpool is one of the biggest games in English football, isn’t it?
“We’ve played them about 10 or 15 times in the Champions League, the FA Cup and everything. It will be very tough. It’s going to be a massive game and we’ll have to play with the same focus and desire that we played with in the semi-final to beat them!”
How big would it be for Torres to face his former club?
“We all know when you play against your old club there’s focus on you. But you don’t want to focus on it too much because it’s really about two teams playing against each other in a big game!”
What about Didier Drogba, he scored a fantastic goal in the semi-final against Spurs…
“There’s no-one in the world that controls the ball on their chest and then moves instantly on to it better than Didi. He’s hit some iconic goals for Chelsea in the years and his semi-final goes right in there with them!”
Finally, you’ve got three winners medals already so you know how to win it don’t you?
“Yeah, but I’ve lost a couple of cup finals as well, so it does come with the territory. But it makes you even more determined to try and win them!”
Paz chats to Jamie Carragher:
How much did it mean to beat your local rivals Everton in the semi-finals?
“It was massive. We’ve had Champions League finals, League Cup finals but that was right up there because of who we were playing and because it was at Wembley. It was more of a final than a semi-final!”
Why have you struggled in the league but reached two cup finals?
“We’re not as good as the teams at the top of the league, but in certain one-off games, we can get a result. I don’t think what we did in the semi-final was because of the players’ ability, I think it’s just a character thing!”
What do you mean by that, Jamie?
“We just find a way to win big games. I don’t know how we do it. Liverpool have always done it in the past and we will always continue to do it in the future. I don’t think many clubs have got that. Man. United have got it, we’ve got it, just finding a way to win big moments!”
What kind of a role has Kenny Dalglish played in getting you to this final?
“We were on our knees when he came back to the club. We hadn’t won a cup for six years, we hadn’t even played at new Wembley, but now we’ll have three appearances there in 12 BIG months. We’ve won the Carling Cup, and now we have a chance to win another trophy!”
This will be Chelsea’s fourth FA Cup final in six years – they’ve won the last three they’ve played in.
But Liverpool have the edge in recent times – they’ve won the last four meetings between the clubs.
If Chelsea win, it will be their seventh FA Cup triumph, drawing them level with Aston Villa and Liverpool in fourth place on the list of all-time winners. If Liverpool lift the cup, their eight wins will see them joint third with Tottenham Hostpur behind Manchester United and Arsenal.
Get loads more build up to the big game in this week’s MOTD mag, on sale now. Plus catch Paz and Bez on MOTD Kickabout this Saturday at 7:40am on the CBBC channel or 11:40am on BBC2.
The FA Cup final is on ITV1 tomorrow at 3:15pm (kick off 5:15pm)