Phil Jagielka of Everton tackles Luis Suarez of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
The FA Cup semifinals start early on Saturday at Wembley Stadium with the first of two local derbies.
The FA Cup semifinals have produced two of the most intriguing cup semifinal matchups anyone could have possibly asked for. Things kick off with a Merseyside Derby on Saturday, followed by a London Derby on Sunday. Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea all had expectations for a higher league finish than they're likely to obtain this season, while Everton's best shot at Europe is the Cup. It's been a rocky ride for all four teams this year, and all four would feel like an FA Cup victory salvaged their season.*
*Chelsea and Tottenham are probably both going to be unhappy if they miss the top four, though.
Liverpool vs. Everton
Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. local
TV: FOX Soccer Channel (USA), Sportsnet World (Canada), ESPN (UK)
Everton are flat broke. Even after selling Mikel Arteta, arguably their best player, to Arsenal for £10m, they were still pretty broke. Because they're pretty broke, their manager and Jack Rodwell might finally leave this summer. Incredibly, they're still in a better position than Liverpool. They're below the Toffees in the Premier League and the board is apparently committed to Kenny Dalglish. Fans of all other clubs, rejoice!
Liverpool already have one trophy this year, the Carling Cup, which they won by beating a Championship side on penalties. Don't act like you're not impressed.
The Reds are down to third choice keeper Brad Jones, who narrowly escaped a sending off in the team's league win over Blackburn. Other than their two suspended goalkeepers, they're also without Charlie Adam and Lucas, who are long-term injury casualties. Young defenders Martin Kelly and Jack Robinson are also dealing with injury problems. Rodwell is the only doubt for Everton.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, 6:00 p.m. local
TV: FOX Soccer Channel (USA), Sportsnet World (Canada), ITV 1 (UK)
Giving fans all day to drink before a local rivalry between two teams whose fans live in the city where Wembley Stadium is located. That's a super idea! Expect shenanigans that have nothing to do with football before and after this FA Cup tie.
Tottenham are dealing with injuries to central defenders Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul, while Ledley King is dealing with a combination of problems that include playing poorly and being chronically injured. This means that Tottenham could end up starting Ryan Nelsen and William Gallas in the center of defense, with young central midfielder Jake Livermore as an emergency center back. Chelsea's defensive depth isn't any better at the moment.
John Terry and Ashley Cole could both miss out, with Cole the more likely of the two players to make a start. Branislav Ivanovic is suspended, while backup left back Ryan Bertrand is also dealing with some injury issues. This could mean a recall to the lineup for Paulo Ferreira, who you totally didn't know still played for Chelsea until he had to come on as a sub in the match between these two teams on December. Don't even lie.