Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola has provided a positive update on Antonio Rudiger’s prospective return to the pitch, following the injury picked up by the stopper during his side’s defeat at Liverpool last weekend.
Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea
Maurizio Sarri’s men travelled to Anfield on Sunday, for a crunch Premier League matchup.
The fixture marked a vital one in the race for both the English top-flight title, and a spot in next season’s Champions League.
Ahead of kick-off, Liverpool had been replaced by Manchester City atop the Premier League table once again, with Tottenham having leapfrogged Chelsea into 3rd.
As such, both sides headed into proceedings on Merseyside absolutely desperate to secure all 3 points.
And, when the 90 minutes were said and done, it was hosts Liverpool who emerged victorious.
On the back a tightly-contested first-half, during which clear-cut chances were few and far between, Sadio Mane got on the end of a dinked Jordan Henderson delivery to the back-post to put the hosts in front shortly after the interval.
And Mohamed Salah rounded out the day’s scoring just 2 minutes later, cutting inside from the right to unleash an unstoppable drive beyond Chelsea shot-stopper Kepa from 25 yards.
26 – This was Liverpool’s 26th Premier League victory of the season, equalling their record from the 2013-14 campaign under Brendan Rodgers. They last won more in a top-flight season in 1978-79 (30 wins). Inspired. #LIVCHE pic.twitter.com/l6MjGWJQp2
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 14, 2019
‘Not that bad’
On an all-round dismal day for Chelsea at Anfield, meanwhile, the Blues were also dealt a blow on the injury-front, after Antonio Rudiger was forced off shortly before half-time.
The German international picked up a knee problem, with initial reports having suggested that Rudiger may not play again this season .
However, in a much-needed boost to Chelsea’s top-4 prospects, Blues’ assistant manager Gianfranco Zola has since confirmed that the former Roma man’s injury is not as serious as had been first feared, and that Rudiger could yet return to face Manchester United next weekend:
‘It looks not as bad as we thought, luckily. When he came off limping, we were worried. Apparently it’s not that bad. He’s a strong boy and he’ll be back sooner than you expect.’
‘Yes, there is a strong possibility that we see him [against United]. He’s a warrior and won’t want to miss a game like that. The next few days will be very important to see if he can continue recovering.’
‘He’s an important player for us. I saw Antonio improving in many ways – the way he handles the ball, the way he is defending – so he will be missed.’
‘But we have already alternated the three defenders many times. When Christensen played with Luiz, he’s done very well. He’s grown so much in security and confidence. He will be missed, but the ones playing will do well.’
Quotes via Football.London.
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