Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku will not be part of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side to take on Liverpool.
Both sides come into the tie knowing neither a draw nor a loss will help cut the gap between them and table toppers Manchester City but Tuchel has chosen to drop his £97.5m worth striker who has recently returned from Injury plus Covid due to the striker’s comments some weeks back that was published on Thursday.
Lukaku who had privately arranged a conversation with a Sky Sports journalist in London went on to make headlines on Thursday criticizing his manager’s tactics.
He had further talked up a possible return to Inter which has led to being greeted by a complete outburst among the Chelsea fanbase home and abroad.
“I’m not happy with the situation and that’s only natural,” Lukaku told Sky Sport Italia. “The head coach has decided to play a different system and I mustn’t let up, I need to keep working hard and be professional.
“I’m not happy with the situation but I’m a grafter and I mustn’t let up.”
Although reports indicate neither the club nor the player’s representatives knew of the interview beforehand.
But Tuchel who had earlier revelled in Lukaku’s return after the win against Villa has opted to drop the Belgian forward for their crunch tie against Liverpool.
Speaking on Friday, Tuchel had revealed he was going to have a discussion with the former Inter striker and it is believed that he has made his decision to drop him after the discussion:
“We will do it behind closed doors. We will speak openly like I think the relationship is and always has been,” Tuchel said.
“Maybe we here can take the time to try to understand what’s going on. Because it does not reflect his daily work, it does not reflect his daily attitude, it does not reflect the daily behaviour which Romelu shows here at Cobham.” the former Mainz and Dortmund boss added.
Whoever wins today’s tie will keep alive title hopes but whoever loses will sees his dreams disappear into the wind.
Belgium international Lukaku has scored seven goals in 18 appearances, but will now be missing for the Blues as they look to reduce the gap to league leaders Manchester City to eight points with a victory.
Lukaku had missed more than a month of action with an ankle injury sustained against Malmo in the Champions League on October 20 before testing positive to Covid-19 after his initial injury return.
The forward’s first match after his Covid return was against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, where he came off the bench at half-time to inspire a comeback 3-1 win. Also he scored Chelsea’s only goal in their 1-1 draw at home to Brighton during the week.