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Nicolas Jackson blocked by Senegal from returning for Liverpool vs Chelsea

Nicolas Jackson holds his hands on his head
Nicolas Jackson will be unavailable for Chelsea - Getty Images/Darren Walsh

Chelsea’s attempt to race Nicolas Jackson back from the Africa Cup of Nations in time to face Liverpool has been thwarted.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino had hoped to have Jackson on the substitutes’ bench at Anfield and Chelsea arranged a place on a commercial flight that would have seen the striker arrive in Manchester on Wednesday morning after Senegal were knocked out of Afcon by Ivory Coast on penalties on Monday.

But it is understood that, following late talks, no Senegal players were allowed to fly back to their clubs on Tuesday evening, giving Jackson no chance of making it back to England in time.

Nicolas Jackson (right) in action for Senegal
Jackson (right) in action for Senegal - AP/Themba Hadebe

The news will be a disappointment to Pochettino, who had joked that he would have been prepared to parachute Jackson into Anfield if it meant having him available.

Pochettino said: “If it means we have a one per cent more chance to win the game for sure we will try it! But I don’t know if he is brave enough to jump.

“We are waiting. All I can say is that maybe he will be there. The other day Ghana lost and were out and Inaki Williams arrived a few hours before and played in the second half to beat Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. Why can’t Jackson arrive and score the winning goal?”

Jackson, who Pochettino admitted had been missed during his time at the Africa Cup of Nations, will now be back in time for Chelsea’s game against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Chelsea are set to loan young midfielder Andrey Santos to their sister club Strasbourg for the rest of the season. Santos was recalled from Nottingham Forest after barely playing at the City Ground and will look to gain experience in Ligue 1.

There is also a chance that Chelsea’s 18-year-old Brazilian striker Deivid Washington could be allowed out on loan for the rest of the season before the transfer window shuts on Thursday night.