Carabao Cup, Wembley
This will be the third time Liverpool and Chelsea face each other in a League Cup final: Chelsea won in 2005 while Liverpool conquered the 2022 edition Andrew Fosker/Shutterstock/Via

SEATTLE - This weekend, over 80,000 people are expected to gather on the streets of northwest London to witness a clash between two of the biggest teams in England, vying for this year's Carabao Cup trophy. For the third time in the history of the competition, Liverpool and Chelsea will face off in a League Cup final. The Blues emerged victorious in the initial encounter in 2005, while Jürgen Klopp's side claimed the title in the 2022 edition.

An ancient rivalry that has reached its peak during the 21st Century, Liverpool and Chelsea have played 196 games prior to this year's League Cup final, with the Reds leading the head-to-head with 85 wins compared to Chelsea's 65. Both teams have also tied in 46 occasions, including in seven of their last eight games in all competitions. Liverpool ended the streak of seven-straight draws thanks to a 4-1 PL win at Anfield last month.

Liverpool FC, Carabao Cup
Liverpool won its 9th League Cup title against Chelsea in 2022, extending their own record as the team with the most titles in the history of the competition

A fierce rivalry that really intensified during the early 2000s when Liverpool and Chelsea met each other in five straight UEFA Champions League seasons, this year's final will have a different feeling with the involvement of so many South American players.

In Liverpool's side, four Latinos have a chance to be involved in this year's final. Colombian Luis Díaz, Uruguayan Darwin Núñez, Argentine Alexis Mac Allister and Brazilian Alisson Becker form part of Liverpool's roster this season. On the other hand, Chelsea counts with three first-team Latinos in Enzo Fernández, Ecuadorian Moisés Caicedo and veteran defender Thiago Silva. Out of those, only Alisson and Silva are set to miss the final due to sustaining muscular injuries.

With a list of injuries that seems to get bigger by the end of each game, Liverpool will be hopeful to have Darwin Núñez ready to go for the final, after the Uruguayan missed the team's last PL match due to a muscle injury.

Núñez and the Colombian Luis Díaz have been in good form this season, both reaching double-figures in goals so far. 'Lucho' continued his patch of good form against Luton Town earlier this week, scoring his 10th goal of the season. In his last 5 PL appearances, the Colombian has had a hand in six goals (3 goals, 3 assists).

Liverpool became the first team in Europe's big-five leagues to have five players reach 10+ goals in all competitions this season; two of them are Latinos (Darwin Núñez-13, Luis Díaz-10) Via @OptaJoe on X/Twitter

With Núñez racing against time in order to be fully fit for the final, it will be interesting if the Uruguayan starts the game or is used as a weapon off the bench. He's had a good season himself, participating in 24 goals for Liverpool this season (13 goals, 11 assists). If Liverpool want to win a fourth-consecutive final against Chelsea, they will need Darwin to be as clinical as possible.According to FBref, the Uruguayan is underperforming in terms of goals considering the quality of chances he has had. His 9 PL goals out of an expected 12.3 (xG) put him in third place among PL players with the worst differential between goals and expected goals (-3.3) this season.

From a Chelsea point of view, Moisés Caicedo and Enzo Fernández will be the only Latinos set to participate in this year's final, as Brazilian Thiago Silva continues to recover from an injury that sidelined him from Chelsea's game against Manchester City just last week. After a rocky start to the season, both Caicedo and Fernández seem to have adapted better to Mauricio Pochettino's system in the last few weeks.

The South American duo has been key in Chelsea being able to turn their season around. Since Christmas, Fernández and Caicedo have started in the middle of the field in 10 of the 12 games Chelsea has played during that period. Since December 25th, the Blues have gone 7-3-2 W-L-D in all competitions, including a 1-1 draw in their most recent game against Manchester City.

Enzo Fernández has been one of the standout players for Chelsea during that run. The young Argentine is having one of the best seasons of his career in terms of goals. Only Cole Palmer (12), Nicolas Jackson (9) and Raheem Sterling (8) have scored more goals for Chelsea this season than the Buenos Aires native. Only during 2021-22, his third season as professional, has Enzo scored more goals than this year.

Enzo Fernández, Chelsea
Enzo Fernández' Chelsea ranks in 2023-24 (all comps): 4th in games played (31), 4th in goals scored (7) and 5th in minutes played (2,297), Via Enzo Fernández @Enzo13Fernandez on X/Twitter

In the event of Chelsea winning the trophy on Sunday, it would mark only the second time a South American manager has guided his team to League Cup glory. Pochettino would join Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, who won the competition with Manchester City in 2014, as the only South Americans to accomplish it.

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