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Opponent Watch: Chelsea Suffer Double Injury Blow Against Lille

Kovacic and Ziyech both limped off early in the second half.

Chelsea FC v Lille OSC: Round Of Sixteen Leg One - UEFA Champions League Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

In the second half of leg one of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie against Lille, Chelsea stars Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech both limped off with injuries. They are both doubts to play against Liverpool FC in Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final at Wembley.

Kovacic was taken off after a long mazy run with the ball and replaced with Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Shortly after Kovacic’s withdrawal, Ziyech went down in what seemed to be a non-contact injury to his ankle. He tried to play through the pain for around 30 seconds, before going back down. Saul Niguez replaced him from the bench.

Speaking after the match, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was unclear of the extent of the injuries but was hopeful they could make enough of a recovery to be ready for the final:

“I don’t know. I should have substituted Kovacic earlier at halftime so we could have saved one more change. I didn’t see Hakim’s injury, I didn’t speak to the doctor yet but I hope it’s not too much.”

“It’s a little bit of a story of the season, almost every game or every second game we make a substitute just because of injuries and not tactical reasons.”

“Today is Tuesday so Sunday is good, so there are a lot of days for us to recover. We will take care of that to be ready on Sunday. In general, we don’t like to have too many injuries. We would like to have more impact from the bench in a tactical matter, but it is what it is. Let’s see, I hope the guys will be ready for Sunday.”

Liverpool too have injury doubts of their own, with both Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino facing a race to be fit for the League Cup final.

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