Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said N’Golo Kante is not fit for tomorrow’s Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield.
The 29-year-old’s absence appears to be longer than previously expected and he will now miss five consecutive games due to a hamstring injury.
“N’Golo is not fit,” the manager told the media (Chelsea’s official website). “He’s not ready for this game.”
Kante started the first five games since the Premier League restart at the base of the midfield three; the position he had never played before under Lampard.
With Billy Gilmour out for about four months after knee surgery, Lampard is left with Jorginho and perhaps Mateo Kovacic as options for the No.6 role.
After mixed results since Jorginho’s return to the team, Lampard opted for a three-at-the-back system in the FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United on Sunday.
The system worked well for the Blues, as an extra defender provided Jorginho and Kovacic the licence to roam and stop Ole Gunnar’s Solskjaer’s men building from the back.
And some fans on Twitter have urged the Chelsea manager to stick with the new system for tomorrow.
Play the exact same team and formation against Liverpool, don’t bring back Kepa. Pulisic maybe in for Willian.
— CFC (@Werner_Burner) July 21, 2020
— Muzsea (@muhsin_iqbal) July 21, 2020
We stick with a 3-4-3 formation against Liverpool and we could actually leave with a good result, I'm confident about the game, we play better against bigger opponents.
— Mod (@CFCMod_) July 21, 2020
The 3-4-3 for Chelsea is perfectly suited for the current group of players at the club.
The wing backs have the added attacking presence, plus less onus on Alonso to defend and be exposed. Also Azpilicueta is in his best position in the right side of a back three.
— George p (@gpriestman1998) July 21, 2020
Stick with 3-4-3 https://t.co/7PwrpJe20N
— CFCDaily (@CFCDaily) July 21, 2020
Really hoped Kante would be fit for this one, he always shows up vs Liverpool and this is a massive game for us. Well, if he's still out, I guess we're going for a 3-4-3 again.
— Tudor Gadalean (@TudorGadalean) July 21, 2020
Whether the system would work as well against Jurgen Klopp’s side is another story, however.
Unlike Manchester United, who rely on short passes in setting up their attack (87.5% of their passes – Whoscored), Liverpool recorded the joint-most crosses per game (24 crosses per game, equal with Manchester City).
Chelsea wing-backs Marcos Alonso and Reece James would likely have bigger defensive responsibility than they had against Manchester United where they were often found in the attacking third.