Chelsea predicted XI for Carabao Cup final - should Lukaku and Mendy start?

Thomas Tuchel will have to leave out some of his big stars for the final against Liverpool.

Chelsea will hope to shut out the noise generated by their owner, and his reported relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, by beating Liverpool to win the Carabao Cup.

The Blues are aiming for their sixth triumph in the cup competition, while Liverpool are hoping for their 11th.

Both teams made the final having overcome big teams at the semi-final stage, with Chelsea beating Tottenham and Liverpool dispatching Arsenal.

Lukaku missed out on Chelsea’s win over Lille

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has big calls to make when it comes to picking his team, for example who does he start upfront - Romelu Lukaku or Kai Havertz?

Then there is the delicate issue of the goalkeepers with first choice Edouard Mendy returning from the Africa Cup of Nations.

Kepa Arrizabalaga has been a great servant in the cup competitions and there is a strong pull to let him finish what he started.

The Blues would not be in the final but for the heroics of their Spanish record-signing goalkeeper.

Thomas Tuchel has been boosted with the return of Reece James, and the fact that Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic all avoided injuries in the last game and are fit for the final.

Chelsea's Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga (R) replaces Chelsea's French-born Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

There had been concerns over their fitness and availability after they both came off the game against Lille with knocks.

The Chelsea boss was delighted to have almost everyone on board going into the final at Wembley.

Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea gives their team instructions during the Premier League match (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

He said: “We had training today with everyone out on the pitch except for Ben Chilwell which is brilliant news and this is pretty much it.

“Both [Ziyech and Kovacic] okay, since today.

“They were not only on the pitch with separate programmes, everybody joined team training from the first to the last minute. We have no reactions at the moment but positive reactions.

“I hope it stays like this, we have another training tomorrow and everybody is available for Sunday.”

So with everyone except the long-term injured Ben Chilwell out, here is how Chelsea are expected to line up.

Predicted starting XI: Mendy, Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso, Ziyech, Havertz, Pulisic