Reece James is in contention to play a part, while Mason Mount and Kepa Arrizabalaga should start when Chelsea face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final.
Chelsea will be gunning for their third trophy of the 2021/22 season when they lock horns with Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in the final of the Carabao Cup on Sunday.
Chelsea have been handed a boost heading into the showpiece event as Thomas Tuchel confirmed that apart from Ben Chilwell, he has all his players available for selection. It means Reece James, who has been sidelined for the entirety of 2022 so far, is back in contention, while the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic, who picked up knocks in midweek against Lille, are also fit for the cup final.
“Everybody joined team training from the first to the last minute. We have had at the moment no reactions, just positive reactions, and I hope it stays like this and we have everyone available for Sunday after our last training tomorrow,” Tuchel said in his pre-match press conference.
A big headache for Tuchel is the selection of his goalkeeper. Edouard Mendy is enjoying a fine campaign and remains the first-choice, but Kepa Arrizabalaga has been an ever-present in the Carabao Cup and played a key role in Chelsea making it to the final.
When asked about the situation, Tuchel said, “The very last decision we will take after training like always. There is no need to take the decision now when we have one more training. Kepa did fantastic in the period where we had to be without Edou, so it’s an uncomfortable and comfortable situation. He absolutely deserves [to play] but I cannot get sentimental about it. I have to do what is the best solution for the team.”
Chelsea opted to replace Kepa with Mendy for the FIFA Club World Cup final. However, that is unlikely to happen on Sunday, with the Spaniard expected to get the nod between the sticks. The three-man backline should consist of Trevoh Chalobah, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger, with Andreas Christensen reportedly set to miss out after picking up an injury.
With James available, Tuchel was quizzed about the possibility of the English international starting, to which he replied, “It’s a very good question. Even if I wanted to, I’m not sure I could answer your question right now. He looked brilliant in the last two training sessions. Let’s wait another session, and see if I’m crazy enough to put him on the pitch, or if the reasonable side of me wins and we go step by step.”
Rushing him back right away might not be the best move for Chelsea. As a result, Cesar Azpilicueta should slot in at right wing-back, with James likely to come on in the latter stages if needed. Marcos Alonso is a shoo-in on the opposite flank, while N’Golo Kante and the fit-again Mateo Kovacic should line up in the middle of the park.
Mason Mount returned from injury in midweek and should replace Christian Pulisic in the starting XI. He will have Hakim Ziyech as his partner in the other attacking midfield slot, while Kai Havertz is likely to be preferred over Romelu Lukaku in the centre-forward slot again.
Chelsea Predicted XI: Kepa, Chalobah, Silva, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso, Ziyech, Mount, Havertz