July 16, 2024

Boom :Chelsea handed double training boost ahead of Liverpool Carabao Cup final clash
Chelsea handed double training boost ahead of Liverpool Carabao Cup final clash | Evening Standard

Chelsea duo Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella both took part in partial team training on Friday ahead of this weekend’s Carabao Cup final.

Veteran defender Silva missed last week’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Manchester City after suffering a groin injury while stretching to block a shot during the second half of the 3-1 win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park five days earlier.

With Benoit Badiashile also currently sidelined with his own groin problem suffered in the FA Cup victory at Aston Villa along with the likes of long-term absentee Wesley Fofana, the fit-again Levi Colwill partnered Axel Disasi at centre-back at the Etihad Stadium, with the duo largely thriving up against a misfiring Erling Haaland and Disasi earning man-of-the-match honours.

However, Silva could yet be in contention to return against Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday, with Chelsea confirming via their official website that the 39-year-old Brazilian had joined in with partial team training at Cobham on Friday.

“He has the chance [to play],” Pochettino said of Silva at his pre-match press conference earlier on Friday. “Tomorrow, we will see if he’s ready to play in the game.”

Cucurella also took part in some training on Friday after stepping up his own injury recovery in recent weeks, but it remains to be seen if he will be in contention to play any part in the Carabao Cup final.

The Spanish full-back has not played at all since the 2-0 league defeat by Everton on December 10, having suffered an ankle injury at Goodison Park that required surgery.

“I think we need to assess the players to see if they can be involved on Sunday,” Pochettino said of his squad on Friday. “Yes, I will communicate tomorrow if we have recovered some players from injuries.”

Chelsea handed major advantage ahead of Liverpool Carabao Cup final showdown - football.london

football.london reported that Badiashile and Romeo Lavia were both doing some individual work together at Cobham on Friday away from the main training group, but neither will be in contention to face Liverpool.

Captain Reece James, Fofana, Lesley Ugochukwu and Carney Chukwuemeka are Chelsea’s other absentees at the moment, though Robert Sanchez is back in contention having also been sidelined since early December with a knee injury and then missed the draw at City due to a personal issue.

The Spaniard is available to reclaim his spot as the Blues’ No1 goalkeeper at Wembley, though deputy Djordje Petrovic – backed up by third-choice Marcus Bettinelli – has a strong claim to retain his starting berth against Liverpool after impressing consistently over recent months and during Chelsea’s recent resurgence.

Asked on Friday if he had made his mind up on his starting goalkeeper for Wembley, Pochettino said: “Yes, [I have decided] who is in goal and 99 per cent of my team is in my head.

“No [I haven’t told them], anything can happen and I prefer to tell them tomorrow or after tomorrow.”

Liverpool are battling something of an injury crisis ahead of the final, with the likes of Alisson Becker, Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara, Joel Matip and Stefan Bajcetic all out.

Reds assistant manager Pep Lijnders confirmed in his own press conference on Friday morning that Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Dominik Szoboszlai will all face late fitness tests ahead of the game.

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