News From Liverpool: Chelsea likely to be without “clear starter” for FA Cup final

The Reds will be without Fabinho for Saturdays cup final after sustaining a hamstring strain at Aston Villa, leaving him in a race to be fit for the Champions League final on May 28.

Its a blow to Jurgen Klopps midfield and he is not to be alone in counting his midfield losses from midweek as Thomas Tuchel watched on as Kovacic was forced off at Leeds on Wednesday.

Kovacic had to be withdrawn after just 30 minutes as he could not carry on after taking a blow to his ankle after a reckless tackle from Dan James, who was shown a straight red card.

Tuchel confirmed the ankle was swollen and the Croatian in a lot of pain after Chelseas 3-0 win, the Blues first victory in four games, with Kovacic now needing a miracle to feature at Wembley.

I tell you not as a coach, not as an expert but I think its very unlikely we see him [in the FA Cup final], Tuchel told reporters.

Once Mateo goes out, he never goes out, he played in the semi-final of the FA Cup with the same injury and tried to play another 15 minutes, which is almost impossible.

He has a swollen ankle and is in a lot of pain. Im not a doctor and we need to wait for the examinations, but its very unlikely. Its absolutely bad news on a perfect evening.

If he misses it, Im very disappointed because he was a clear starter, Tuchel continued. If you look at the quality with him and Jorgi [Jorginho] in the centre of midfield when it was 11 against 11.

It was a strong start and he is a key figure for us. He played against Liverpool in both of the last matches from the beginning, if I remember right, and was always very strong.

#Chelsea Mateo Kovacic injury. Can see the clear contact from Dan James and ankle rolling inwards on pic below.

?Typically damages outer (lateral) ankle ligaments?Same ankle Kovacic injured previously?Tried to play on but unable. Awaiting more info

Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) May 11, 2022

Hes super, super hungry, determined and excited to play these matches. Hes in fear now that he will miss it, we will see. Maybe we have a miracle and it will be possible.

Along with Kovacic, Chelsea are also sweating on the return of NGolo Kante, who has missed their last three games due to injury leaving a number of midfield unknowns for both sides at Wembley.

For Liverpool, one of Naby Keita, Curtis Jones and James Milner are likely to get the nod alongside Jordan Henderson and Thiago following Fabinhos hamstring injury.

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