Chelsea take on Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final clash.
The west Londoners defeated Spurs 3-0 earlier this season but the Lillywhites have since hired veteran coach Antonio Conte – who won a Premier League title as well as an FA Cup during a two-year stint in Chelsea’s managerial hot seat before being sacked in 2018.
The Blues will be hoping to spoil Conte’s return to Stamford Bridge and help Thomas Tuchel reach his third final with the club 12 months after succeeding Frank Lampard as head coach.
Ahead of tonight’s match, football.london takes a look at the injury headaches that Tuchel will have to deal with against the north London outfit.
Centre-back Andreas Christensen has been struggling with a back injury in recent times, even receiving injections in his hopes to return to full fitness.
The former Borussia Monchengladbach loanee struggled throughout the first half during last month’s 1-1 draw with Brighton before being substituted at the break.
Christensen is yet to be pictured at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground since, making a return to action unlikely.
What Tuchel said before Liverpool: “Andreas Christensen has the same back pain that he had before and which made him miss some games before but Thiago Silva is back in training.”
Reece James was another casualty during the aforementioned draw with Brighton, colliding with Seagulls midfielder Yves Bissouma before clutching his hamstring as he hobbled off the pitch.
The goalscoring wingback was then filmed leaving Stamford Bridge on crutches, a devastating blow for Tuchel, who was already short of options in defence.
football.london understands James suffered a hamstring tear, and while reports suggest he may not need surgery, he could be out for a significant period of time.
What Tuchel said: “Reece [James] has a hamstring injury, muscle, with always the examination is a bit later. The images are better if we wait. We will know more today [Friday].”
Expected return date: Six to eight weeks.
English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been absent since facing Everton at the start of December.
The 25-year-old suffered an ankle injury and also contracted Covid-19 but was pictured in training during Monday’s session, meaning he could return to the squad against Tottenham
What Tuche said before Liverpool: “Ruben is not back in team training so it will be a close one.”
Expected return date: 5th January.
German international Timo Werner tested positive for Covid-19 before the 1-1 draw with Rafa Benitez’s Everton last month.
The pacey frontman is yet to feature for the Blues since, with Tuchel suggesting that the former RB Leipzig star has struggled since getting the virus.
What Tuchel said before Liverpool: “Timo does not feel good. He’s the one who suffers the most from Covid and who is still struggling physically.”
Expected return date: N/A
Former Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell is set to miss the rest of the season after requiring surgery on his torn ACL.
The west London side had hoped surgery would not be necessary and waited to make a more informed decision but their worst fears were realaised.
Chilwell has since posted a positive update since undergoing his surgery but we are unlikely to see him feature in a Chelsea shirt for a considerable amount of time.
What Tuchel has said: “Chilly [Ben Chilwell] of course had surgery and has our best wishes. Seems like [for him] the season is over.”
Expected return date: Summer 2022
Young defender Chalobah was forced off on Sunday against Liverpool in the second half due to a hamstring injury.
football.london understands that the talented centre-half was a major doubt for the match against Jurgen Klopp’s men, but decided to risk his involvement before being substituted after 70 minutes.
The 22-year-old now appears likely to miss the clash against Spurs tonight at the very least unless he can pass a late fitness test to face the north Londoners.
Expected return date: N/A