Liverpool face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on February 25 and in the opposition dugout will be Mauricio Pochettino, despite the Blues’ manager coming under increased scrutiny in recent days.
The Reds’ Wembley opponents currently sit 11th in the Premier League table, a massive 15 points adrift of the Champions League places, and if Pochettino fails to qualify for Europe then questions will be raised inside Stamford Bridge over his position as manager.
Pochettino and his team signed two-year contracts last summer and cutting them loose would cost the club in the region of £10m, a report in the Evening Standard claims.
For now, the Argentine retains the backing of Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, the club’s co-owners, but he has a job on his hands to convince them that any real progress has been made under his watch. A review on the former PSG manager’s position is expected in summer.
He has a record comparable to Graham Potter before the Englishman was relieved of his Chelsea duties with Frank Lampard taking over last April.
“We’re all not good enough. The players need to take responsibility, like I take responsibility. At the moment, we are not matching the history of the club,” Pochettino said after the weekend's 4-2 home loss against Wolves.
Chelsea’s ownership group has spent £1 billion on new signings since taking over from Roman Abramovich but are still waiting to see an impact from their investments.
The club’s hierarchy are reported to be less than keen on making a managerial change mid-season with prizes on offer in the Carabao Cup and potentially the FA Cup too.
Chelsea beat Middlesbrough 6-1 in their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge, overturning a first-leg defeat at the Riverside.
Jurgen Klopp maintains a favourable record against Pochettino, having only lost once to the Argentine in 13 meetings as opposing managers.
The Reds boss has five draws and seven wins in those encounters — including, of course, the 2019 Champions League final.