Jurgen Klopp’s backtracking vindicates Tuchel outrage as Mateo Kovacic forces return from injury – Anita Abayomi


Chelsea fans have felt hard done by as the Premier League openly rejected Chelsea’s plea to have their match against Wolverhampton suspended over the weekend. Seeing as they had a vast number of players out after testing positive for Covid-19, it’s only fair for the team to put their health first and cancel their game right? Wrong.

The Premier League didn’t see a reason to postpone Chelsea’s match which subsequently forced them to field a weakened team.

If Chelsea’s battle with the league wasn’t enough, Jurgen Klopp said some things that fans have not taken too well to. The Liverpool manager drew up an argument for his team having to play under similar circumstances which is absurd.



WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel speaks to the media before the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea at Molineux on December 19, 2021 in Wolverhampton, England.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel speaks to the media before the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers

Prior to their clash against Tottenham over the weekend, Jurgen Klopp’s team was hit with three positive Covid-19 cases. Right before the match, Thiago was reported to have also tested positive.

Klopp took to the press after the match to highlight the issue at hand. He said,

“The Premier League tells us these are pretty much the best numbers in the league, I saw Arsenal and Chelsea play and they have, for me, their first line-ups, pretty much, on the pitch, but for us, it’s not exactly the same.”

Normally, I’d be raging. I mean, come on. 7 first-team players out due to testing positive, yet we had our first lineup? I had to question the former Premier League champion there. It doesn’t seem right to assume this was the case considering the fact that we had to field N’Golo Kante who is fresh from injury and Mateo Kovacic who is just recovering from his previous COVID-19 battle.

The Liverpool boss did backtrack, however. In a later interview with Sky Sports. He had sympathy for Thomas Tuchel after taking a look at the full squad. The tune changed as he partnered in solidarity with the Chelsea boss. He said,

“Thomas Tuchel… I saw the bench today from Chelsea, come on… he has to play [Mateo] Kovacic, he has to come back from a long-term injury,”

That should be the level of sentiment from other Premier League managers in a title run. There’s a level of distaste when players are being forced to play under extenuating circumstances that could be settled by powers above them.

You have to sympathize with Tuchel who was openly dejected at the thought of playing his players who shared dinner and a bus journey with one of the players who tested positive.

Mentally it is draining for players such as Kovacic to come back from a long-term injury and recover from Covid simultaneously. Furthermore, Chelsea was unable to play with a known striker and was forced to use Christian Pulisic as their false 9. The Blue’s also were forced to play returning Trevoh Chalobah in midfield before Kovacic and Saul made appearances off the bench for Chalobah and Hakim Ziyech who both picked up knocks during the match.

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The assumption that Chelsea had fielded a strong side is clouded by the fact that their forwards look better than the opponents on paper. Unfortunately in this day and age, it’s not always about the individuals, but how well a team works together in a system.

Whilst Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and Ziyech look like a menacing trio on paper, they are not the best attacking combination that the Blues could have fielded. As well as a fresh from injury Kante and Chalobah holding the midfield.

I am all but tired of making excuses for the Chelsea players, and so is Tuchel. The fact is that it was not safe for Chelsea to play against Wolves but they did. The boss has made his feelings crystal clear surrounding the safety of his players and I echo them wholeheartedly. Hopefully, the league does better to avoid situations like this going forward.

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