Mateo Kovacic has added to Chelsea’s already hefty injury concerns in midfield after hobbling off with a lower leg injury late in the first half of the FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to Liverpool.
The Croatian was unable to continue following a collision with Neco Williams and Sadio Mane in the 40th minute. The injury appeared to be to his left ankle and he limped to the dugout after receiving some treatment from the West Londoners’ medical staff.
His issue will deepen Frank Lampard’s concerns in the middle with N’Golo Kante still sidelined by an injury and Jorginho banned for the next two Premier League games along with the Champions League round of 16 second leg away to Bayern Munich.
Billy Gilmour started in Jorginho’s position against Jurgen Klopp’s side, with Kovacic on his left and Ross Barkley on the right.
Mason Mount replaced Kovacic but should he be ruled out of Sunday’s Premier League game at home to Everton it seems likely that Gilmour will get more minutes against Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Reece James is also capable of playing as a holding midfielder, having done so while on loan at Wigan Athletic last season, but Lampard views him as a better option at right back.
Chelsea were leading the cup tie 1-0 at the time of Kovacic’s injury thanks to a Willian goal in the 13th minute that Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian, formerly of West Ham United, fumbled into his own net.
Kepa Arrizabalaga had already made a succession of impressive saves to keep the Premier League leaders at bay.