CHELSEA are sweating over scan results for Reece James.
The England star, 22, had to be helped off in the first half of Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw with Brighton after damaging his hamstring.
It looked a potentially serious injury as he hobbled very slowly down the tunnel on crutches assisted by two of the Blues’ physios.
Thomas Tuchel will be praying it is not as bad as first feared, particularly in the week when it was confirmed fellow flying wing-back Ben Chilwell requires surgery on a knee problem and will be out for the rest of the season.
Speaking on James' injury after the game, Tuchel lamented, reported by Daily Mail: "It's a hamstring injury. We will not look ahead to Liverpool now. We cannot. We have to try and find players to play. We have no more wingbacks. Everyone is injured."
Chelsea’s problems piled up further with Andreas Christensen coming off at half time with a back issue.
On top of that, Tuchel said the club have seven Covid cases and a number of other long-term injuries.
As a result, the German claimed after the draw with Albion that it would be “stupid” to think the Blues could sustain a title charge with all their selection problems.
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He continued to fume: "How should we be in it? We have seven Covid cases. We have five or six players out for six or more weeks. How should we compete in a title race?
"Everyone else who has a full squad, everybody in training has the full power to come through this league.
"We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries and just play, and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players."
European champions Chelsea are now EIGHT points behind leaders Manchester City, as a result of stuttering to four draws in their last five home league matches.
They have gone ahead in three of those – against Burnley, Everton and Brighton – only to be pegged back.
Lose at home to Liverpool on Sunday and their chances of chasing down City would look extremely slim.
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who made his 450th appearance for the club against the Seagulls, added: “The Premier League is the toughest league in the world, and every opponent is very difficult. But when you don’t get the three points, it’s very disappointing.
“We want to win games and hopefully we can give our fans a good start to the new year in front of the fans against Liverpool.
“It is a tough moment, but we need to stick together and dig in.
“It is not an easy situation but this is how we have to overcome these difficult moments.”
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