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Nkunku to miss Chelsea’s Premier League opener against Liverpool, avoids long-term injury

Chelsea new-boy Christopher Nkunku will miss the start of the campaign after sustaining a knee injury during their pre-season match against Borussia Dortmund.

However, the Evening Standard claims early medical assessments indicate Nkunku will be out for only a few weeks.

The French international returned to London on Thursday for further evaluation.

The incident occurred during Chelsea’s final pre-season fixture at Chicago’s Soldier Field. 

Nkunku had to leave the field in the 22nd minute. He clutched his knee following a collision with Dortmund’s Mats Hummels.

Questions have arisen over the suitability of the playing surface itself. Before the match, players and staff expressed concerns about the pitch conditions. 

The stadium is home to the NFL’s smallest team and had recently hosted a massive Ed Sheeran concert.

The show attracted a crowd that swelled its capacity to 73,000. These conditions may have played a role in Nkunku’s injury.

Despite the setback, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino refused to blame the pitch.

However, the club will likely miss Nkunku’s presence in their opening match against Liverpool on August 13.

The 25-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge this summer in a £52 million transfer from RB Leipzig and has looked the part in pre-season.

Among the contenders to replace Nkunku in the first team are Mykhailo Mudryk and Ian Maatsen.

Both players will be eager to seize the opportunity to make their mark in Nkunku’s absence.

Chelsea must now face the Reds without one of their marquee signings but will be happy his injury is not long-term.

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