Thomas Tuchel provides fitness updates on Hakim Ziyech, Mateo Kovacic & Reece James

Krishan Davis
Thomas Tuchel's squad is close to full fitness
Thomas Tuchel's squad is close to full fitness / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has allayed fears of any fresh injury concerns, revealing he has a near-full complement of players to choose from ahead of Sunday's Carabao Cup final against Liverpool.

Both Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic hobbled off in Tuesday's Champions League last 16 first-leg victory over Lille, while wing-back Reece James has not played in 2022 after tearing his hamstring in late December.

However, speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the EFL Cup final at Wembley on Sunday, Tuchel confirmed everyone except long-term absentee Ben Chilwell was back in training and available for selection.

"We had everyone training except Ben Chilwell, which is brilliant news," he said. "Ziyech and Kova are both OK, everybody joined team training from the first to the last minute with no reactions."

Tuchel admitted James had excelled in training since making his comeback, although he was coy about whether the England international would be involved for Chelsea against Jurgen Klopp's side.

"He looked brilliant in the last two training sessions," he continued. "Let's wait another session and let's see if I'm crazy enough to just put him on the pitch. It would be a huge step.

"He looked so strong in training that you are tempted to do it."

The German coach was also asked whether back-up goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga would continue in goal having played in every round of the competition so far.

"First of all I will not tell you," he joked. "We will take the decision late. Kepa played in the Club World Cup semi-final and brought us to the final but then we took the decision to go with Edou [Edouard Mendy] for the final, who was back from the Africa Cup of Nations.

"It's a similar decision for us now. Kepa did fantastic in the period where we had to be without Edou, so it's an uncomfortable and very comfortable situation to be in. It is both things - he absolutely deserves [to play] and [but] I cannot get sentimental about it."

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