LONDON -- Antonio Conte has confirmed that Branislav Ivanovic is considering an offer from another club, but said that the Serb and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic will be part of Chelsea's squad to take on Liverpool at Anfield unless their situations change.
In what may prove to be his final Chelsea appearance, Ivanovic scored a goal and won a penalty as a second-half substitute in Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round win over Brentford, while Begovic also started despite Conte confirming that Bournemouth had made a bid to sign him in January.
Conte, who insists that Begovic will not be allowed to leave unless Chelsea manage to sign a replacement, says he has not spoken to Ivanovic about his future but expects both men to be available for the trip to Anfield.
Asked if Begovic and Ivanovic were still part of his squad, Conte replied: "Until now, yes. Yes. Then I will have the training session [on Monday afternoon] and, after the training session, I'll see about this."
Pressed on Ivanovic's situation, he added: "Honestly, I didn't speak with the player about his decision. For sure, you know, we know he's talking with another club. But until now I don't know nothing. We have to wait.
"He played a lot of games for this club. He won a lot for this club. He's 32 and I think he can play for many [more] years. He's able to continue his career in the right way at the top level, yes. But it's important also to respect the decision of the player, above all for this type of player: a legend of the club.
"If you are not playing a lot, you can decide to make another decision, to go in another team. But I have great respect for him and for this type of player."
Asked if he would be sorry to see Ivanovic go, Conte said: "Yes, for sure. When you start the season, working with a squad and a group of players, for sure you try to create a link between the players and my staff and me. For sure, we are sorry if someone decides to go away.
"The same for Oscar, for example. Also for [John Obi] Mikel. But we know this is football, and we are prepared for every situation."
Chelsea are actively looking for a new backup goalkeeper to allow Begovic to join Bournemouth and have been pursuing Celtic No. 1 Craig Gordon, but Conte expects the situation to drag on into the final hours of the transfer window -- an unwelcome distraction as his team takes on Liverpool.
"It's very strange," Conte said of the scheduling. "Very strange for it to finish after our game, the transfer window, with a tough game against Liverpool.
"Until now, I haven't news about Asmir. I think we have to wait until tomorrow, and we'll see the situation then. But the situation is the same: Asmir wants to go to play because he wants to play every game, but also Asmir knows really well our situation.
"If we are able to find a good replacement, he'll go. Otherwise, he'll stay with us and fight until the end with the other teams to win the title and find a place as champions."