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Team News: Potter rules Chelsea duo out of Liverpool clash

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Chelsea boss Graham Potter rules out Reece James and Ben Chilwell vs Liverpool.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter rules out Reece James and Ben Chilwell vs Liverpool

Speaking to the media ahead of the Liverpool game (h/t Football.London), Chelsea boss Graham Potter updated that while fullback duo Reece James and Ben Chilwell are training, they won’t be available for the match at Anfield.

Both players were seen training with the squad on Wednesday, joined by new signing Mykhailo Mudryk. Midfielder N’Golo Kante has also started light raining work after a long lay-off from injury.

Chilwell hasn’t featured for club and country since pulling up his hamstring in the Champions League against Dinamo Zagreb back in early November. James, whose comeback game against Bournemouth on December 27 ended up with him picking up another injury, is yet to feature in 2023.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter rules out Reece James and Ben Chilwell vs Liverpool.
Chelsea fullback duo Reece James and Ben Chilwell are back in training but unavailable for the Liverpool game. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Here’s what Potter said on the availability of both the players (h/t Football.London):

“Reece [James] has joined team training but won’t be involved at the weekend. Same for Ben Chilwell. Everybody else is pretty much where we were.”

The Chelsea boss also updated us about Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who hasn’t played a competitive game since going off injured against Newcastle United just before the World Cup. Here’s what he said (h/t Football.London):

“I would say no. Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] was on the bench in the last match – but only to be on the bench essentially. He is a lot closer now so can play some minutes.”

Since we are not in the FA Cup following the defeat to Manchester City in the third round, there is no game scheduled next weekend. Hence, there is a two-week gap between the Liverpool game and the return fixture against Fulham in the league.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter rules out Reece James and Ben Chilwell vs Liverpool.
Chilwell hasn’t featured for club and country since early November. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

That could be enough time for the likes of James and Chilwell to train well with the team and gain some sort of rhythm before being available for the match-day squad.

We have missed both of them in recent weeks. There is a lack of creativity and running power in wide areas. James can offer a goal threat too from that wing-back position.

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Let’s hope to recall them back for the Fulham game and for them to have an extended run in the side. If the top-four challenge is to be kept alive, the availability of these two players would be important.

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