Chelsea will be hoping to end the 2021-22 football season with a domestic trophy when they take on Liverpool in the final of the FA Cup final on 14 May.
It will be the second time this season that the two clubs will be meeting in a final at Wembley, with Liverpool beating the Blues in the Carabao Cup final in February.
Tuchel’s side will definitely go into the encounter with revenge at the back of their minds to make up for the painful penalty shootout loss to the Reds.
But it doesn’t get any easier than facing Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in a final, and Tuchel will definitely have a couple of tough decisions to make before the game.
This article will thus be taking a look at four key decisions Tuchel will have to make if the Blues are to lift the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
#1 Goalkeeper decision
One key decision that Tuchel will need to sort out before the encounter will definitely have to be which of the shot stoppers will play in goal against Liverpool.
Both Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga are in contention to play in the FA Cup final against the Reds, with both making two appearances each in the competition this season.
Kepa has been the main man for the domestic cup competitions at Chelsea this season, making a combined eight appearances as against Mendy’s three.
However, Tuchel opted to go for Mendy in the finals of cup competitions, with the only exception coming in last season’s FA Cup final where Kepa was in goal.
Tuchel will definitely have to make the right choice against Liverpool, as he could decide to play Kepa in back-to-back FA Cup finals, or go with first-choice goalkeeper Mendy.
#2 Midfield set-up
Another big decision Tuchel will have to make before the game against Liverpool will be how he sets-up his midfield, which will be key to any chance of a victory.
Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic is a huge doubt for the FA Cup final as seen in the Daily Mail. He picked up a nasty injury against Leeds United in the Premier League at Elland Road.
The injury set-back now leaves Tuchel with Jorginho, Ngolo Kante, Loftus-Cheek and Saul Niguez as the only recognized first-team midfielders for the final.
While vice-captain Jorginho could possibly start judging by his impressive display in his last game against Leeds, the big question will be who partners the Italy international?
The most realistic option to partner Jorginho in a midfield pivot for Tuchel will be either Loftus-Cheek or Kante, with the former fighting against time to be fit for the final.
The French star has been out for 14 days, missing four games for the Blues and could be key against Liverpool if available for the FA Cup final.
#3 Who leads the attack for Chelsea
Another big call Tuchel will need to make is who gets to lead the attack, between Kai Havertz and club-record signing Romelu Lukaku.
Going by current form, Lukaku seems to be the best option to start in attack against Liverpool, as he has scored three goals in his last four games for the Blues.
The Belgian seems to be finding his best form in a Chelsea shirt once again after bagging a brace against Wolves and scoring one goal in the 3-0 win away to Leeds.
Lukaku has also been very impressive in the FA Cup this season, and is Chelsea’s top scorer in the competition with three goals after five games.
However, Havertz has been the man to deliver in the big games for Chelsea, which could prove to be a major selection headache for Tuchel.
The forward has been impressive against Liverpool this season, scoring in the 1-1 draw at Anfield in August and also putting in a standout performance during the Carabao Cup final.
Both players are definitely in contention for the FA Cup final but it’s all up to Tuchel to decide who gets to start between the two players.
#4 Approach for the FA Cup final
Chelsea have faced Liverpool on three occasions this season, with both teams failing to secure a win in normal time during any of their games.
For the Blues, Tuchel has also switched his tactics in those three games against Liverpool and will have to decide which approach will best suit his team in the final.
Recall that Tuchel adopted a more conservative approach during their last meeting at Wembley, as Chelsea sat deep and tried to exploit Liverpool’s high-line which almost paid off.
However, during their second meeting this season in the league, the Blues took the game to Liverpool, as it was the Reds who tried to catch Chelsea open and hit them on the counter.
One thing is certain, and that is the fact that Tuchel’s team has the ability to play both offensively and a conservative approach. However, it all plays down to what the manager wants.
Considering the nature of the game, it’s very much likely that Tuchel will adopt a similar approach to the Carabao Cup final in February, in a bid not to get too exposed by Liverpool.