FA Cup final injury latest: Fabinho out for Liverpool but Chelsea get surprising Kovacic boost

Jonny Whitfield
Fabinho, Mateo Kovacic Chelsea v Liverpool February 2022

Liverpool will be without Fabinho for the FA Cup final but Chelsea could welcome back Mateo Kovacic, according to a report.

Both sides have enjoyed varying injury records heading into the business end of the season. Liverpool have had an almost fully-fit squad bar Roberto Firmino for some time.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have suffered fresh injury concerns to add to longer-term absentees Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell.

This week, however, Liverpool lost key midfielder Fabinho to a hamstring injury. The Brazilian came off midway through the Reds’ 2-1 Premier League win over Aston Villa on Tuesday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are of course not only chasing the FA Cup. They are after a cup treble – which is in their hands – and a more unlikely quadruple with the Premier League.

With the Champions League final on the horizon on May 28, manager Klopp revealed his cautious optimism over Fabinho playing in Paris.

“There’s a good chance that he will be back whenever – not for the weekend but whenever,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.

The German had earlier revealed that Fabinho felt “quite positive” immediately after suffering the injury.

Fabinho lasted only 29 minutes at Villa. Meanwhile, Kovacic came off after 30 minutes of Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Leeds on Wednesday.

He suffered what immediately looked a nasty injury in a challenge from Daniel James which prompted a red card.

However, The Times has now claimed that that the injury to the Croatian is not as bad as first feared.

In fact, Kovacic will reportedly return to Chelsea training on Friday in a bid to prove his fitness ahead of the trip to Wembley.

Contrasting Liverpool, Chelsea fortunes

Fabinho; Arturo Vidal Liverpool v Inter Milan

Both Fabinho and Kovacic are instrumental to Liverpool and Chelsea, respectively.

The former plays the holding midfield role brilliantly for Klopp’s side. He covers in midfield battles but also when teams break at Liverpool and their full-backs are high up the pitch.

Kovacic is also a key defensive presence for Chelsea but can operate more centrally too.

Liverpool suffered a similar key injury blow ahead of the Carabao Cup final. Thiago Alcantara did not make it through the warm-up.

And if Kovacic makes it back fit for the second Wembley meeting between the sides of the season, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel will feel delighted at the key boost.

Klopp will nevertheless be confident knowing that Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson can step into Fabinho’s role.