Sunday’s League Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool is the third time the two will meet at Wembley in the last three seasons. Liverpool won both of the previous fixtures, which came in the 2021/22 League Cup and FA Cup Finals. Since those games, Chelsea has gone under new ownership with Todd Boehly, and its fortunes have dramatically changed for the worse. Poor league placement and early exits from cup competitions have transformed Stamford Bridge into a carousel of managers, with Mauricio Pochettino serving as the fifth manager in total to boss the Blues. A win over Liverpool in this season’s League Cup Final could be the much-needed vindication Chelsea needs.

Chelsea is still 10th in the league, far below expectations set by Pochettino and the ownership of the club. However, form is a powerful thing. Fresh off a massive point on the road against Manchester City, Chelsea has shown some positive results in recent weeks. Despite losing twice to Wolves and Liverpool thrashing the Blues at Anfield, Chelsea has picked up some wins recently. Chelsea had a comeback win over Crystal Palace and went on a three-game win streak at the turn of the year. That was the longest win streak for Chelsea since Graham Potter’s first three league games.

Picking up a trophy on Sunday, Chelsea’s first since the Champions League in 2020/21, would turn emotions at Chelsea. Not only would fans finally have something tangible to celebrate. The players, often seen as a mishmash of expensive talents without cohesion, would have something to rally around. That is something that has been missing for Chelsea in the last 18 months.

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A chance for success after criticism and ridicule

Boehly’s reign has been rife with ridicule and mockery at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea, a club that won the Champions League just three seasons ago, slumped to 12th in the table. All the while, it broke spending records by bringing in players like Moises Caicedo, Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk, Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Christopher Nkunku, Raheem Sterling, Cole Palmer and Axel Disasi. Each of these players cost Chelsea more than $50 million, as Fernandez and Caicedo each broke the Premier League record for the cost of one transfer.

Despite dropping over $1 billion, Chelsea finished the 2022/23 Premier League season 12th. That was the side’s worst finish in almost 30 years. It exited the League Cup and FA Cup after one game. At times this season, Chelsea showed no sign of progression or development. At Christmas, Chelsea was 10th, a spot it still retains as we near the end of February. Yet, the concerns of goal-scoring and a leaky defense are not as apparent.

It is far from perfect. Mauricio Pochettino has yet to develop the consistency that he had with Tottenham when Spurs finished in the top four in four seasons in a row. But, it has been enough in games where it was not last season. The comeback win over Crystal Palace showed resilience on the road, as did the draw against Manchester City.

Now, Chelsea can turn the corner on its season.

League Cup Final can allow Chelsea to end several droughts

If the Blues are looking for something to build on, defeating Liverpool would turn the page on several unwanted metrics. Chelsea’s last win at Wembley was in 2018. While that may not seem like a long time ago, the Blues have played six games at Wembley since then with a trophy on the line. That includes three losses in the FA Cup. One of which was to Liverpool.

Likewise, Mauricio Pochettino has never won a trophy in England. Despite having a massively talented squad at Tottenham, the Argentine came up just short on several occasions. That included a loss in the League Cup Final in 2015. Ironically, that was against Chelsea in Pochettino’s first season in north London.

It has not been smooth for Chelsea in getting to this point of the League Cup. Despite a win over Brighton and Hove Albion early in the competition, Chelsea squeaked by other opponents. The Blues required a stoppage-time equalizer against Newcastle to win on penalties. Then, Chelsea lost in the first leg of the semifinals against Middlesbrough. That is all in the past, and this fixture against Liverpool will undoubtedly be Chelsea’s biggest game under Mauricio Pochettino this season. Moreover, it may be the biggest game of the Todd Boehly era to date.

PHOTOS: IMAGO.