N’Golo Kante and Emerson Palmieri will be in contention to start when Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge on Sunday evening.
Chelsea will be hoping to return to winning ways when they play hosts to Premier League leaders Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. And, Frank Lampard has greeted some positive news ahead of this weekend’s fixture.
The promising updates start right from defence, with Emerson Palmieri back in contention to feature for Chelsea after rejoining training this week. The Italian international’s return to fitness could signal the reversion to the 4-3-3 formation after a brief experimentation with the 3-4-2-1.
Emerson should thus, start on the left side of Chelsea’s four-man backline, with Cesar Azpilicueta lining up on the opposite flank. The likeliest centre-back to make way from the back-three against Valencia is Kurt Zouma, with Fikayo Tomori and Andreas Christensen forming the central defensive partnership. There is no looking past Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal for Chelsea.
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Up ahead in midfield, Lampard has greeted some more good news, with N’Golo Kante returning to full training. The Frenchman has struggled with an ankle injury so far this season. But, in his pre-match press conference, the Chelsea boss iterated that Kante could start against Liverpool.
“It’s a boost with N’Golo. We all know the importance of him to the team. The question for me is how fit he is. He has had a long time out now, since the back-end of last season. I know he played a couple of games this year, but I wouldn’t count them as such because he missed pre-season.”
“What he did in Istanbul was miraculous, to play how he did without training. Now we just have to manage him, similar to what I said about Mason. But it’s great to have him back around us.”
The magnitude of the game could prompt Lampard to field Kante in the starting lineup, with the midweek EFL Cup allowing him the chance to rest the Frenchman. Kante should have Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic as his partners in midfield.
The news around Mason Mount is positive too, after it emerged that he had not suffered any ligament damage from Francis Coquelin’s horrific tackle in the Champions League. And, Lampard suggested that he will take a late call on Mount’s involvement against Liverpool.
“He’s got a chance. It’s one I’m going to have to call later on just before the game with another 24 hours in the bank. We’re trying, and the good thing with Mason is his attitude, which I keep going on about.”
“We won’t take any risks with him individually, obviously, because there’s a bigger picture, but we will all do our best. He will give everything to get out there and play for this club, particular a game of this size. We will have every opportunity and try to get him there.”
Like Kante, Lampard could take a chance with Mount as well. But, the Chelsea boss might instead view the English midfielder as an impact substitute, with Christian Pulisic starting in his stead against Liverpool. Willian and Tammy Abraham will complete the three-pronged attack.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Tomori, Christensen, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pulisic, Abraham, Willian