Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has fitness concerns over N’Golo Kante, Willian and Antonio Rudiger ahead of their UEFA Super Cup clash against Liverpool.
The Europa League champions face the Reds, who won last season’s Champions League in Istanbul, on Wednesday – a game you can listen to LIVE on talkSPORT from 8pm.
Lampard’s men go into the game off the back of a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Manchester United to kick off their 2019/20 Premier League campaign.
And Lampard will not have a fully fit squad to pick from when they face Jurgen Klopp’s men at Vodafone Park.
Kante will be handed a late check to see if he can be involved having picked up a fresh problem when appearing as a late subsititute against United while Willian and Rudiger are likely to be on the bench.
“The selection of Kante on the bench [against Manchester United] was because he’d missed a big part of pre-season and the whole of his off-season so he wasn’t ready.” Lampard said.
“He actually picked up another small injury in the game, which is always a danger when you’re trying to bring players back, so we’re assessing that for tomorrow and I have to make a decision with him this evening.
“Willian and Rudiger are here with us but they’re in different stages of recovery. Willian is not far from being fit, his injury has healed but it’s tough to bring him back for such a high-intensity match.
“He’ll be working through this week to build his fitness and will be on the bench tomorrow.
“It’s a similar situation with Rudiger but we felt it was important for us to bring them here because they were a big part of the success last season.”
However, these potential injury setbacks have not put Lampard off from trying to get in an early trophy as Chelsea boss.
He said: “I’m optimistic because I believe in the players and we are here in the final because we deserve to be.
“I’m very proud to be managing this team. But we know it’s going to be a big test.
“It means a lot to the club, I know that because I lost two finals. I understand the feeling of when you work hard to get into this game, that you give your all to try to win it.
“It’s another trophy for the club and will give us a feeling that if we can beat Liverpool and win a cup, we can go on from there.”
LIVE on talkSPORT
talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here’s what’s coming up this week…
- Liverpool vs Chelsea (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
- Huddersfield Town vs Fulham (Friday, 7.45pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Arsenal vs Burnley (Saturday, 12.30pm) – talkSPORT
- Sunderland vs Portsmouth (Saturday, 12.30pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Norwich City vs Newcastle United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday, 5.30pm) – talkSPORT
- Reading vs Cardiff City (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
On the defeat to the Red Devils on Sunday, Lampard said: “In terms of the defeat I think you always learn as a manager.
“The clear lesson for everyone was if you make defensive errors against good teams it will cost you.
“The second message to the players was they did so many good things in the game, in terms of how we played in the game – if you take out the mistakes for the goals there were lots of good things.
“We need to be much better at not conceding errors.”
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The Blues do have Spaniard Pedro available, who won three Super Cups with previous club Barcelona.
Pedro said: “We need to read the game well, and when we create chances we need to score.
“It’s a great opportunity to win a trophy for us.”
Defender Cesar Azpilicueta added: “This is a trophy, a European trophy, you don’t have a chance to be here unless you win the Europa League or the Champions League.
“We lost the finals in 2012 and 2013 so hopefully we can change that. We know it’s an important trophy. It’s a great way to start the season and hopefully we can win it tomorrow.”