1 in, 1 out as key Chelsea centre-back joins League Cup final injury list

It is one in, one out for Chelsea ahead of the Carabao Cup final, with Mauricio Pochettino losing a centre-back who had been proving increasingly key.

With less than a fortnight to go until the first Wembley final of the season, both Liverpool and Chelsea will be hoping their injury issues ease.

For Jurgen Klopp, there are new concerns over Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ryan Gravenberch, offset by hopes of an imminent return for Mohamed Salah, Conor Bradley and perhaps Dominik Szoboszlai.

Pochettino, meanwhile, has Wesley Fofana, Reece James, Romeo Lavia and Marc Cucurella as confirmed absentees – now to be joined by Benoit Badiashile.

Badiashile suffered a groin injury in the 3-1 victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup in midweek, with the Evening Standard reporting that he is set for a month out.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 31, 2024: Chelsea's Thiago Silva during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This comes after a growing role for the 22-year-old of late, with Pochettino dropping Thiago Silva in favour of Badiashile as partner to Axel Disasi.

According to the Guardian‘s Jacob Steinberg, “within Chelsea there is a feeling that Silva’s presence forces too many tactical compromises.”

Perhaps fortunate for Pochettino, then, is that Levi Colwill has now returned from a hamstring injury and could partner Disasi in the absence of Badiashile.

Still, there is certainly evidence to show that Liverpool supporters’ insistence over the summer that Colwill was a must-buy was, in fact, not accurate.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 13, 2023: Chelsea's Levi Colwill (L) and Liverpool's Ben Doak during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 20-year-old remains a work-in-progress, and it could be that Klopp and his staff pinpoint centre-back as an area of weakness for Chelsea, who also saw shielding midfielders Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez fall flat in last month’s 4-1 loss at Anfield.

Chelsea should also have Trevoh Chalobah back fit for the final, though he is unlikely to play a major role, while goalkeeper Robert Sanchez could back into contention.

With almost two weeks before the 3pm kickoff, of course, things could well change – but one certainty is that Badiashile will now miss out.