Thomas Tuchel outlines the Liverpool weakness that Chelsea can exploit in the FA Cup final
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has said that Saturday's FA Cup final opponents Liverpool do give up a host of chances in games, as seen in the Carabao Cup final earlier this year. The Blues ended up losing that game on penalties but managed nine shots throughout the 120 minutes, with four on target.
Though the game finished goalless, Christian Pulisic spurned a glorious one-on-one having, been denied by Caoimhin Kelleher. Mason Mount also shot wide when it looked easier to score. Mount then hit the post after the break when played through by Kai Havertz.
Liverpool are renowned this season for playing a high line and catching teams offside, but on this instance it failed and Jurgen Klopp's side were fortunate to not concede. They were fortunate again when Havertz's headed goal was ruled out for offside, as was Romelu Lukaku's strike in extra-time.
That Tuchel's side were able to breach the Liverpool backline multiple times is a testament to the way in which the German coach had his players performing that day and he knows that his team will need to be 'perfect' in order to win their ninth FA Cup.
"They allow chances," Tuchel told reporters. "I think they allow chances and we proved it – we had big chances in the Carabao Cup final. But I think they take the risk, it’s their approach. They are the team who get strikers of other teams offside the most by far. So it’s not easy. The point is they only play this high line because they always have pressure on the ball. They are working hard in counter-pressing and pressing situations, so it’s very, very hard to exploit these spaces because you need perfect timing.
"You need the connection between the guy with the pass and the guy who receives it. Then you have to be precise and you are constantly under pressure. That’s why they do it and they have a point. Look at the amount of points and the success they have with it. It’s their style of playing and it’s very difficult to find solutions. But like always you can find solutions if you have a perfect day. We are hoping for it tomorrow."
Chelsea's FA Cup run has seen them play teams in the lower divisions up until the semi-final, where they took on Premier League opposition in Crystal Palace. This has led to rival fans accuse Chelsea of having an easy cup run. But Tuchel hit back, saying it doesn't matter the team got there; all that matters is that they have made the showpiece at Wembley Stadium.
Tuchel asked: "Do you think Liverpool care they played in Champions League against Villarreal and Benfica instead of PSG, Chelsea and Man City, who Real Madrid played? Do you think they care? They arrived in the final.
"We have arrived in a final and it’s our right to compete. I cannot care less how we arrived – and it was a tough one. We played in Middlesbrough."