DEFENDER Reece James could make a surprise Chelsea return in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Liverpool.

The England wing-back has been out of action since December with hamstring trouble, but has impressed on his return to full training this week.

Manager Thomas Tuchel admitted he is "tempted" to call on James for the final.

He said: “He looked brilliant in the last two training sessions, let’s wait another session, and then let’s see if I’m crazy enough to just put him on the pitch or if the reasonable side of me wins in the end and we go for step by step.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Reece James, left, could play in the Carabo Cup final for ChelseaReece James, left, could play in the Carabo Cup final for Chelsea

“It would be a huge step, but honestly yesterday and today he looked so strong, so confident, and so, so involved in training that you are tempted to do it.”

Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic have shaken off worrying knocks to be available for the Blues, who are only missing long-term absentee Ben Chilwell.

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has been ruled out of Sunday’s match at Wembley having missed the last two games with a groin injury.

Fellow forward Diogo Jota has done some training but still faces a race against time to be fit after ankle ligament damage.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has already confirmed second-choice goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher will start.

Chelsea provisional squad: Mendy, Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Christensen, Silva, Chalobah, Sarr, Azpilicueta, James, Alonso, Kenedy, Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Saul, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Mount, Pulisic, Ziyech, Werner, Havertz, Lukaku.

Liverpool provisional squad: Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago, Salah, Mane, Diaz, Alisson, Adrian, Gomez, Matip, Tsimikas, Milner, Jones, Elliott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita, Minamino, Origi.