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What won't happen in FA Cup final: Downing dominates
Liverpool and Chelsea have met regularly in recent seasons, particularly during the Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez eras, so instead of telling you what you could already guess about the FA Cup final, we pick out ten things that just won't happen...
Stewart Downing, the £20 million man with no goals or assists in this season's Premier League, dominates the contest to such an extent that the famous 'Stanley Matthews final' is never spoken of again at Wembley. The Liverpool midfielder, flitting from flank to flank and tormenting both full backs with his mesmeric running, delivers pin-point crosses with both feet, and never - yep, not even once - gets his head down and powers down blind alleys. But still, obviously, he doesn't score.
Liverpool triumph, and their surly Scottish manager Kenny Dalglish decides to open up to the media. "It's all for you guys," he enthuses, cradling the cup in one arm and slowly pointing at each journalist, throwing off a wink. He stays behind way beyond the scheduled end of the press conference to answer questions about the merits of Maxi Rodriguez taking left-wing corners.
Reds legend John Barnes, finally realising that hip-hop is the best vehicle for his rapid-fire style of speech, comes out to rap the national anthem. An agitated Barnes, having stayed out of the rap game too long, gets lost in music and absent-mindedly drifts into "World in Motion". "You can be slow or fast, but you must get to the line," Barnes advises a confused royal box.
A landmark day for commentary, as the microphone masters decide to embrace potential pitfalls, and resolve to just get things plain wrong for 90 gruelling minutes. Thus, Dean Sturridge starts high on the left for Chelsea, while Roy Carroll spearheads the Liverpool attack.
Not a dry eye in the house as Stephen Hendry, the now-retired multiple-time snooker world champion, steps out at half-time to receive the adulation of the crowd. The Scot demands a microphone and pours out the anecdotes, his bottom lip trembling as he recalls missing a tricky green down the Dog and Duck in 1992. The second half is cancelled as a rapt crowd demands more insight into the ways of the baize.
Meanwhile, Liverpool chairman Tom Werner continues his neat line in contradictory sentences. Carrying on from where he left off with "we never talk publicly about our transfer targets. However, any team would be lucky to have Clint Dempsey", Werner says: "Of course we're not looking to sell Andy Carroll. I'll accept literally any sum."
Damn that Dirk
Having been denied a place in the starting XI, angry Liverpool substitute Dirk Kuyt enters the pitch and flounces about like you would not believe, clearly with one eye on his (rumoured) summer move to Hamburg. As Ashley Cole hares past him for the third time in as many minutes, the Dutchman swivels to stare at an irate Dalglish, casually brushes his shoulder and sits down in an offside position. Still Dalglish refuses to replace him with Jonjo Shelvey.
Years of hard graft pay off for David Luiz, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles as Chelsea are crowned the team with the absolute worst haircuts in sport history. All three heroes express regret that Andre Villas-Boas, he of the bouffant ginger crop, is not around to share a slice of the glory. Carlos Valderrama beams as he points at his locks: "All this can be yours, boys".
Hodg your bets
In tribute to new England boss Roy Hodgson, both teams line up in a regimented 4-4-2 formation and stand off the opposition, arrowing long balls from full-back to striker whenever possible. All agree that a draw is a damn good result, while Paul Konchesky and Bobby Zamora are ushered onto the field to conduct the pre-match handshakes.
Dugout boxing, pioneered by the now-sacked Fiorentina boss Delio Rossi, continues to prove a hit (yeah, sorry) as enforcers on the bench strap the gloves on, with Liverpool assistant Steve Clarke's jab-right hook combo on tough southpaw John Flanagan a real highlight.