Chelsea star Kante aggravates ankle problem

N’Golo Kante is again nursing an ankle injury following Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool.

The midfielder, who has been plagued by injuries in the past couple of years, was substituted at half-time at Anfield, where Reece James was sent off just before the interval.

Kante was recently affected by ankle trouble and suffered a recurrence of the injury during a challenge involving Sadio Mane.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel explained: “He is injured. He needed to go out (of the game).

“He missed the Arsenal game because of pain in the ankle and a little inflammation, so nothing serious because obviously he was back in training and started today.

“But winning the ball I think the opponent fell on his ankle and he twisted it again.

“He had immediately the same pain that he had before the Arsenal game.

“Then he was lacking force to accelerate and we needed to take him off.”

Ten-man Chelsea withstood second-half pressure to earn a point and preserve their unbeaten record this season.

Kai Havertz put them ahead midway through the first half with a superb back-header from James’ left-wing corner.

But the visitors were dealt a double blow when James’ handball led to him being sent off and Mohamed Salah equalising with the resulting penalty.

During a goalmouth scramble in which Joel Matip headed against the bar, Mane’s follow-up was blocked on the line by James, with the ball ricocheting off his thigh onto his arm.

After checking the pitchside monitor, referee Anthony Taylor awarded a penalty and showed James a red card.

Inevitably, Liverpool piled forward in the second half in an attempt to capitalise on their numerical advantage. But Chelsea stood firm.

Tuchel said: “Can there be any harder challenges than going one man down and taking N’Golo Kante off at the same time at half-time at Anfield and then having Liverpool playing towards the Kop?!

“It was a really tough one but we did excellently and we are super happy with how we did and we feel like we deserved the point.”