Liverpool's Diogo Jota will miss the Carabao Cup final - but this player can win them the trophy instead

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Liverpool will look to pick up their first trophy of the season when they face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final this weekend.

With Jurgen Klopp due to leave Anfield at the end of this season, Liverpool have one last run to win as many trophies as possible under the iconic reign of the German boss. Their first opportunity will come this weekend, when a very familiar foe in the form of Chelsea will await at Wembley to battle it out for the Carabao Cup.

The Reds knocked out Bournemouth, West Ham and Fulham in their route to the final, which will take place this Sunday at 3pm GMT. It will be a repeat of the 2022 final, which saw Liverpool claim the title after a nail-biting 120 minutes and a 21-kick penalty shootout.

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After both Premier League giants dispatched their ten spot-kicks from the outfield players, the pressure fell on the goalkeepers. Caoimhín Kelleher rifled his attempt past Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was substituted on especially for the shootout. The Spaniard couldn't keep them out and he couldn't find redemption with his own attempt either, unleashing his shot right into the stands and stamping Liverpool's name on the trophy.

With such a memorable win only two years ago, and the fact they hold the honour of the most League Cups won, Liverpool would typically be heading into this clash with unwavering confidence. However, their injury record this season has not been kind to them and Klopp is set to be without a number of his most reliable players.

The boss has confirmed that Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai will both miss the trip to London, as well Alisson, who is not due back for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, rising star Conor Bradley has relished his opportunities to stand in at right-back and has impressed with his recent performances. Kelleher is also a solid deputy to Alisson and has been Klopp's choice in every single Carabao Cup match this season.

The midfield is a little concerning as two usual starters in the form of Szoboszlai and Curtis Jones are ruled out for Sunday. Jones was taken off the pitch against Brentford last weekend and has a 'bone/ligament issue' with no specified return date just yet. However, this opens up the floor for Ryan Gravenberch and Harvey Elliott to step up and put in a memorable performance.

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The main problem is the potential lack of attackers on the roster. Luis Díaz and Cody Gakpo are the only ones confirmed fit for the final, as little information has been provided on the late injury worries for Mohamed Salah and Darwin Núñez.

"With others, we will deal with it day by day," Klopp said, casting at least a sliver of hope on the duo being eligible to step out at Wembley. Diogo Jota, however, is arguably the biggest injury blow for Liverpool ahead of facing Chelsea. The Portugal international has snatched the spotlight for the Reds recently, contributing five goals and three assists in his last eight Premier League appearances, including a goal against the Blues last month.

Jota's effort have earned him praise of the highest order from pundits, with Jamie Carragher even daring to claim the ex-Wolves star is a better finisher than Michael Owen, Fernando Torres, Luis Suárez, and even Robbie Fowler. Liverpool will be forced to adapt their attack without him though, as Klopp has confirmed Jota will be out for 'months' with a knee injury. A huge blow ahead of their first chance to win a trophy this season.

The winger in his red hot form will be a massive miss but Liverpool still have a top class attack even without him. Put it this way, imagine being a Brentford player and seeing Jota go off injured, only to be replaced by Salah.

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If Salah is fit enough to face Chelsea, he will naturally be the key threat in Liverpool's presence in front of goal. This could also be a golden opportunity for Núñez to silence those who are still casting doubt on his ability as a goalscorer. Even with 13 goals and 11 assists across all competitions this season, many still can't help but focus on his missed opportunities. The Uruguayan has squandered 21 big chances in the league alone this season, more than any other player in the division, apart from Erling Haaland who shares the statistic.

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Of course, there is room for improvement with how accurate and clinical he is in front of goal, but Núñez is a dangerous player who shouldn't be counted out based on how many times he's fluffed his lines. With Jota absent, the 24-year-old could make a big statement at Wembley, providing he is given the green light with his fitness. He was substituted off at half-time against Brentford, reportedly as a precaution, and he will hopefully be fit to take on Chelsea.

Liverpool have won every single league match that Jota has provided a goal or an assist in this season. His ability to float between any position up front, teamed up with his effortless finishing makes him an unquestionably important player for the Reds. But they need to have a plan without him.

Salah's efforts have carried the team on multiple occasions and rival fans know how good he is, whether they like to admit it or not. There is something inevitable about Salah, but Liverpool cannot afford to rely solely on the Egyptian this time. This is Núñez's calling, and a power shift to help Liverpool win the Carabao Cup will send waves around opposition clubs.

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