Liverpool need cup final win over Man City to salvage season
It has been a campaign of highs and lows for the Merseyside outfit, but the collective feeling is that head coach Jurgen Klopp is steering the Anfield club in the right direction.
Hopes were high that a top-four finish could be achieved in 2015-16, but a slow start under Brendan Rodgers and a bedding-in period for his replacement have all-but ended the chance of Champions League qualification.
As such, winning a cup competition would represent a positive return for the sleeping giants and give the club’s ardent fans something to shout about.
Liverpool’s American power brokers will be in attendance at Wembley, with principal owner John W. Henry, chairman Tom Werner, and Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon all set to travel to London for the game.
This will add an air of expectation, with a potential victory securing a second piece of silverware in FSG’s ownership of the club after Liverpool won the Capital One Cup in 2012.
A 1-0 victory against Bundesliga side Augsburg in the Europa League on Thursday night has set up a captivating clash with domestic rivals Manchester United in the last 16.
However, the exertions in Germany could well see some of Liverpool’s stars suffering from fatigue as Klopp looks to manage his playing personnel.
City have their eye on bigger prizes, with the Etihad Stadium outfit still having ambitions of grandeur in both the Champions League and Premier League.
A 3-1 win away to Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday night has Manuel Pellegrini’s side in a commanding position to make the Champions League quarter-finals, but the Citizens have ground to make up in the Premier League title hunt.
PELLEGRINI: “To win a title in February gives you a lot of trust to continue fighting for other competitions.” #mcfc— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) February 26, 2016
City have considerable injury concerns ahead of the clash at Wembley, but their starting line-up will still be loaded with international stars.
The Reds have had the edge in recent times against Pellegrini’s side and spectacularly won 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season.
City have only won two of their last ten games against the Merseysiders, but have two meetings with Liverpool in quick succession as their Premier League clash will be played next Wednesday.
Cup glory would mean more for Liverpool than City, given the clubs’ respective standings, with a high-quality clash at Wembley expected.