'Blow for us': Graham Potter explains key Chelsea player's absence v Liverpool

Chelsea manager Graham Potter explained Mateo Kovacic’s absence in the 0-0 draw with Liverpool on Saturday.

Potter’s decision to start Lewis Hall in midfield at Anfield certainly raised a few eyebrows.

While Hall is naturally a midfielder, it was his first start in this position for the senior team.

The 18-year-old unsurprisingly had a hard time dealing with Liverpool’s pressing and made quite a few errors that led to the opposition attack.

Potter, however, did not exactly have many options but to trust the teenager.

Alongside on-loan midfielder Denis Zakaria, Kovacic was out due to an injury.

Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

“He felt a little tightness in his calf,” the manager told Chelsea TV when asked about Kovacic’s situation.

“We’re hopeful [that he will be back] for Fulham. He felt it at the end of the [Crystal] Palace game.

“So, that’s a blow for us, but we managed it quite well, and credit to the boys that came in.”

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was among the substitutes in the game, but considering he just returned from a calf injury, starting him would have been very risky.

Fortunately for Chelsea, there is plenty of time before their next match against Fulham on 4 February for some of the injured players, including Kovacic, to recover.

Potter was dealt another injury scare after Trevoh Chalobah had to be taken off in the second half against Liverpool, but journalist Nizaar Kinsella claims that the defender had cramps, rather than an injury.

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Gerry is a Chelsea supporter who has more than five years of experience in online publishing. He started out writing for Chelsea fan blogs during his high school years, before writing for several local sport news outlets. After graduating in NCTJ-accredited sports journalism MA at the University of Sunderland, he has worked as a freelance writer for The Chelsea Chronicle since 2020. He is a big fan of football statistics and strongly believes that sooner or later, the xG Gods always catch up. He is also a proud member of Michael Ballack fan club.