What's the story?
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has provided a fresh update on his return from injury, stating that he will be representing the U-23s against Liverpool in the PL2 later tonight. The 26-year-old is nearing full fitness after being named on the bench in Chelsea's Super Cup fixture against the Reds.
In case you didn't know...
Rudiger has not featured in a single game for Chelsea since the Blues' clash against rivals Manchester United back in April, owing to a knee injury that also saw him undergo surgery in May.
He is now closing in on a vital return, just when his team's refurbished defense seems to be drawing criticism from the wider football world. Although he was included in the squad that traveled to Istanbul for the UEFA Super Cup, Rudiger did not feature as Chelsea lost 5-4 on penalties after earlier settling for a 2-2 draw.
The heart of the matter
Speaking to Chelsea TV after the 1-1 draw against Leicester City, the German sounded confident about his imminent return to action:
"I know I need to be patient. There is no need to rush anything because as we all know we have a long season to go. I am happy because I am going to have some minutes with the Under-23s against Liverpool. I'm very pleased with that."
Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi, who hasn't played a single minute under Frank Lampard either, is slated to feature alongside Rudiger in the game against Liverpool.
The development squad will take on Liverpool as they chase their third successive victory, having already beaten Swindon Town (in the EFL Trophy) and Derby County away from home.
As Rudiger returns to the scheme of things, it's just going to be a matter of time before he solves Chelsea's defensive woes by slotting into Lampard's backline. The center-back might not be in action against Norwich City this Saturday, but he's all but certain to man the heart of defense against Sheffield United on 31 August.
The Blues currently have just one point from two games in the Premier League.Published 19 Aug 2019, 19:48 IST