Route to the final

A look back at how Liverpool and Chelsea negotiated their route to Wembley for the FA Cup final. For Liverpool it is a chance to claim their second trophy of the season despite dire league form, while Roberto Di Matteo would love to warm up for the Champions League final with silverware.

Liverpool and Chelsea to contest domestic football's oldest trophy

Liverpool return to Wembley with their sights set on a cup double, while victory for Chelsea in Saturday's FA Cup final could be the first stage of a more significant success.

Kenny Dalglish's side lifted the Carling Cup at the home of English football back in February with a tense penalty shoot-out success against Championship side Cardiff. For Chelsea it is a chance to warm up for the UEFA Champions League final with silverware already in the bank.

Read the full match preview here, while below we look back at how both clubs negotiated their route to Wembley.


Third Round (h) v Oldham 6/1/12 - won 5-1

Having gone behind to Robbie Simpson's impressive strike Liverpool hit back through Craig Bellamy and Steven Gerrard before the break with Jonjo Shelvey and Stewart Downing scoring their first goals either side of Andy Carroll's late effort.

Fourth Round (h) v Manchester United 28/1/12 - won 2-1

Daniel Agger's header from Gerrard's corner put the home side in front only for Park Ji-Sung to volley the equaliser before half-time but Dirk Kuyt came off the bench to score the winner with two minutes remaining.

Fifth Round (h) v Brighton 19/2/12 - won 6-1

A bizarre match saw the visitors score three own goals (one of which was later awarded to Gerrard) to give the scoreline a lopsided appearance with Martin Skrtel, Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez on target for the Reds.

Sixth Round (h) v Stoke - 18/3/12 - won 2-1

Suarez's low 20-yard opener was cancelled out just three minutes later by former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch but just before the hour Downing exchanged passes with Gerrard to fire home the decisive goal.

Semi-final (Wembley) v Everton - 14/4/12 - won 2-1

A defensive mix-up allowed Nikica Jelavic to put the Toffees ahead but Sylvain Distin's under-hit backpass presented Suarez with the equaliser and four minutes from time Carroll headed in Bellamy's free-kick.


Third round (h) v Portsmouth 08/01/12 - won 4-0

Chelsea made hard work of their FA Cup opener against Portsmouth before striking three times in the final five minutes to give the scoreline a flattering look. Juan Mata broke the deadlock shortly after half-time but the home side needed a goal-line clearance from captain John Terry - causing a knee injury that ultimately required surgery - to stay ahead before a Ramires double and Frank Lampard drive sealed the win.

Fourth round (a) v QPR 28/01/12 - won 1-0

The match that will be remembered more for the handshakes that never were than for a Chelsea win, the build-up to the west London derby was dominated by the reunion between Terry and QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

The Football Association gave the clubs permission to cancel the pre-match handshake after it emerged several Rangers players were planning to snub Terry over charges he racially abused Ferdinand in October's Barclays Premier League game.

Terry, who denies any wrongdoing, played through the pain of his knee problem as Chelsea won 1-0 courtesy of Mata's hotly-disputed penalty.

Fifth round (h) v Birmingham 18/02/12 - drew 1-1

One of the matches that ultimately cost Andre Villas-Boas his job, the fifth-round tie with Birmingham was arguably Chelsea's most abject performance of the season. A horrible defensive blunder gifted David Murphy a goal and Mata saw a penalty saved by Colin Doyle before Daniel Sturridge's header salvaged a replay.

Fifth round replay (a) v Birmingham 06/03/12 - won 2-0

Roberto Di Matteo's first match in charge came at St Andrew's and he got the Chelsea revival going with a win thanks to a scrambled Mata goal and a Raul Meireles stunner.

Quarter-final (h) v Leicester 18/03/12 - won 5-2

Fernando Torres finally ended more than 1,000 minutes without scoring with two goals in an easy victory after another kind draw for Chelsea. Gary Cahill opened the scoring, his celebration paying tribute to stricken former Bolton team-mate Fabrice Muamba, before Salomon Kalou made it 2-0.

Torres' drought came to an end after the break, Jermaine Beckford pulled a goal back, Torres scored again and Ben Marshall netted another consolation before Meireles wrapped it up.

Semi-final (n) v Tottenham 15/04/12 - won 5-1

Chelsea became beneficiaries of a 'ghost' goal seven years after being the victims of one in their Champions League semi-final against Liverpool. Martin Atkinson inexplicably ruled Mata's shot had crossed the line after Didier Drogba's stunning half-volley had put Chelsea ahead.

Gareth Bale pulled a goal back for Tottenham but Di Matteo's men ran riot in the final 13 minutes at Wembley, Ramires' lovely dink, Lampard's stunning 30-yard free-kick and substitute Florent Malouda's strike completing arguably Chelsea's best performance of the season.