The France midfielder started against the Reds but was replaced at half-time after a challenge by Sadio Mane
Thomas Tuchel has revealed that N’Golo Kante’s early retirement on Saturday was against Liverpool due to the same ankle injury that kept him out of the Blues’ previous Premier League game with Arsenal.
The French midfielder started against the Reds but was replaced at half-time, after a chaotic first half in which the ten men who scored the Blues scored a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
A challenge from Sadio Mane dropped Kante, forcing an early exit, and now Tuchel has confirmed he was removed after sharpening an existing knock.
What was said?
“He was injured, he had to go out,” Tuchel explained during his post-match press conference. ‘He missed the Arsenal game due to pain in his ankle and some inflammation
“[It’s] nothing serious, because he was in training again and, as you could see, he started today. By winning the ball in this situation, the opponent falls on his ankle, [and] twisted it again.
“He immediately had the same pain as before the Arsenal game when he missed it. He did not have the strength to accelerate and we had to pull him out.
‘Could there be more difficult challenges than taking a man down, taking down N’Golo Kante at half-time and getting Liverpool to play against the Head? But we did very well and we are very happy with what we did. “
The bigger picture
Since helping Les Bleus to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Kante has excelled in the club and country, and has been a cornerstone of Chelsea’s success in recent years, culminating in the Champions League League victory of last quarter.
His injury threatens his inclusion in the French qualifiers for Qatar 2022 in France next month, but it could also have longer consequences for the Blues as they prepare to defend their European crown.
Chelsea take on Aston Villa in the Premier League in two weeks, before launching their continental campaign against Zenit.