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Sarri hoping for Rudiger, Pedro to be fit, Hazard to unlock remaining 25% of potential

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Chelsea vs Liverpool: Pre-match press conference

Chelsea v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Hello, it’s me, Liverpool. I was wondering if after all these days you’d like to play another game. They say that time’s supposed to heal all wounds but I ain’t done much healing after that 2-1 loss. Still... please?

That’s right, we’re back at it again with another game against possibly the best team in the country right now. Yes, we’re talking about, Liverpool. Although, they flattered to deceive in our last fixture where they had the better chances but none of the killer instinct and the Blues won 2-1 thanks to a wondergoal by Eden Hazard.

It’d be foolish to expect the exact same thing again, especially as both managers had made eight changes. Now, they are both expected to roll with their A-teams. Even Sarri himself was back on media duties after subbing in assistant Gianfranco Zola for the League Cup tie.

First things first: injuries. Chelsea seem to be going through a mini crisis as Rudiger, Christensen, Pedro and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all have some potential concerns. Unfortunately, Sarri himself doesn’t know whether these players will be a part of the game tomorrow but did confirm the report that Christensen, in fact, was not injured but instead had a stomach ache. Gotta stop eating those Pringles, buddy!

“[On Rudiger] I don’t know. Yesterday he had training in the second part with the team. We need to see the last training. There’s the possibility to recover.

“Christensen was not injured, he only had stomach ache during the match. Pedro yesterday had the last part of the training with the team like Rudiger and Loftus-Cheek. We need to see the last training.”

Christensen and Loftus-Cheek are not that big of a concern, since they’ve barely received minutes as it is, but Rudiger and Pedro would be huge misses, especially since they both seem to be in great form under Sarri.

To complicate matters even further, if Rudiger and Christensen both are unable to go, Sarri isn’t all that convinced that he can draft in Gary Cahill to play another 90 minutes after the 90 minutes they just played midweek.

“Fabregas and Cahill played 90 minutes after a long time, so I’m not sure if they’re ready to play another 90 minutes. They will be very useful for me over the season.”

So, who starts in defence? An unfit Rudiger/Christensen? A tired Cahill? Young Ampadu, who’s not played a single senior minute since preseason? Your guess is as good as mine.

Speaking of Cahill, Chelsea’s longest-serving player — and still captain, since he wore the armband ahead of Azpilicueta on Wednesday! — is expected to leave during or after this season, but only in January at the earliest. Sarri has basically accepted this outcome but will need Cahill until at least then.

“I’ve spoken with him. There’s October, November and December, so he has to wait. I was very happy with the performance of Cahill.”

One person who is fit and firing is Eden Hazard, who once was the decider at Anfield as he dribbled past seven million Liverpool players (not an exaggeration), nutmegged another couple million (also not an exaggeration), and scored Chelsea’s winner. Sarri, as he’s said several times before already, believes Hazard could do even more, with a quarter of his potential yet to be unlocked.

“He is one of the best. I’m absolutely convinced he can improve. I think we’ve only seen 75-80% of his potential. If he can improve, he can be the best in the world.

“He’s unique. It’s very difficult to compare him to another player. He has the opportunity to improve more. Technically he’s the best. I want him to be the best in the world.”

Sarri also offered his insight as to how can Hazard achieve this “best in the world” status.

Moving on, Sarri also offered a few opinions on a few things Liverpool, including their manager, their record of never winning the Premier League, and of course the challenge they will pose at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

“[On Klopp] He’s one of the best coaches in the world at the moment. He did very well last season with his players. They are ready to win maybe the Premier League or Champions League.”

“[On Liverpool never winning the PL] Yes. It’s very strange. Now they are ready.”

“[On whether we have the psychological advantage after our win] I don’t think so. Maybe they can increase their determination after Wednesday. It will be a difficult match tomorrow. I think they are ready now to win the Premier.”

-Maurizio Sarri; Source: football.london

Here’s hoping Chelsea are able to repeat the midweek heroics, although, this match does seem to be leaning towards a draw. Call it a hunch.