As Chelsea gears up for an exciting Premier League kickoff against Liverpool this Sunday, manager Mauricio Pochettino finds himself grappling with a selection puzzle due to the unfortunate injury sidelining Christopher Nkunku.
Nkunku, the £52 million summer signing from RB Leipzig, underwent surgery after a meniscus injury that is set to keep him out of action for the next four months. This leaves Pochettino in a bind, contemplating the need for a replacement attacker, potentially from the transfer market. However, with the imminent clash at Stamford Bridge, the squad’s internal options must be weighed carefully.
Among the potential choices, Mykhailo Mudryk emerges as a strong contender to take up the mantle on the left wing. Supporting the frontline attack, we may witness Carney Chukwuemeka and Nicolas Jackson teaming up alongside the formidable Raheem Sterling. Exciting news on the injury front includes Armando Broja’s return to training after rehabilitation. Although Benoit Badiashile is on the cusp of recovery from a demanding hamstring setback, his involvement against Liverpool appears uncertain.
Regrettably, the talented Noni Madueke’s participation hangs in the balance due to a nagging hamstring issue, which has persisted throughout Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the United States.
On the defensive front, Chelsea’s stalwart Reece James now assumes the role of club captain and is poised to anchor the right side of a robust back four, accompanied by the experienced Thiago Silva, the promising Levi Colwill, and the dynamic Ben Chilwell. Midfield orchestrations are likely to see Enzo Fernandez alongside Conor Gallagher, a partnership that promises to add flair and stability.
While the anticipation around the return of Romelu Lukaku, Hakim Ziyech, and Callum Hudson-Odoi is palpable, the trio continues to train separately from the first team at Cobham. These players remain on the transfer list, hinting at potential changes.
As we speculate about Chelsea’s potential lineup against Liverpool, the expected XI shapes up as follows: Kepa between the posts, flanked by the indomitable Reece James and the experienced Thiago Silva in central defense. Levi Colwill secures a spot alongside them, providing defensive solidity. The midfield engine room is set to feature Enzo Fernandez and Conor Gallagher, while the attack comprises the electrifying Raheem Sterling, the energetic Carney Chukwuemeka, the skillful Nicolas Jackson, and the up-and-coming Mykhailo Mudryk.
The season’s curtain-raiser is laced with intrigue, and Chelsea fans await with bated breath to witness the unfolding drama on the hallowed grounds of Stamford Bridge. The challenge is formidable, but the Blues’ spirit remains resolute, ready to face Liverpool head-on and lay the foundation for a compelling Premier League campaign.
Chelsea predicted XI: Kepa, James, Thiago Silva, Colwill, Chilwell, Fernandez, Gallagher, Sterling, Chukwuemeka, Jackson, Mudryk
Time and date: 4:30pm BST on Sunday August 13, 2023
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