Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger was substituted in the 69th minute of their match against West Ham today owing to what looked like a groin injury. A prolonged absence for the German central defender would not be ideal for Chelsea, with two big matches against Liverpool coming up and more Europa League action around the corner. The Reds, for their part, may be more concerned with their own fitness issues, with Virgil van Dijk still grappling with a minor rib bruise.
For those looking to predict lineups, it appears that Rüdiger may miss Chelsea’s midweek Carabao Cup visit to Anfield, but should be good to return for the arguably more important weekend Premier League matchup. In his post-match press conference, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri downplayed concerns over the defender’s injury, indicating that he wanted to speak with their medical staff first, but did not believe the issue to be serious.
Sarri reports that he does not think Toni Rudiger's injury is serious and that he maybe back in a few days. He adds that Pedro, who was out today, is an important player and they are trying to have him back at the end of the week. #WHUCHE— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 23, 2018
Sarri was also asked about the importance of the weekend meeting against Liverpool, but refused to be drawn into any overly dramatic statements, noting instead that “must win, in football, doesn’t exist.”
“We have to play against a very, very good team,” said Sarri. “Against a team who have worked with the same coach for three or four years – I don’t remember exactly.”
”They are a step forward of us at this moment,” the Chelsea manager added. “We have started to work all together 35 or 40 days ago . . . less 10 for the international break, so for us it’s a bit early.”