Romelu Lukaku left out of Chelsea squad to face Liverpool by Thomas Tuchel after controversial interview
The Chelsea boss has taken action after the £97.5 million summer signing claimed he wasn't happy with his situation at the club. Lukaku will sit out the crucial table-topping Premier League encounter as the Blues take on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, with the Reds just one place and one point behind their rivals.
Thomas Tuchel and Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea during a training session at Chelsea Training Ground on September 16, 2021 in Cobham, England. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
In the explosive Sky Italia interview, Lukaku appeared to hit out at his manager over the team set up and questioned his own role.
“Physically I am fine,” Lukaku said. “But I am not happy with the situation at Chelsea. Tuchel has chosen to play with another system."
Speaking ahead of the game, Tuchel explained his decision to omit the player.
"The thing got too big, the thing got too noisy so close to the match, so I decided to protect the preparation of the match, and that's why he's out."
“We have spoken, we have spoken twice and he has spoken to the lead players and after that we had to realise it's too close to the match and it's too big.
We need to protect the preparation of the match. We have a big match to play, we need full focus, which is anyway hard to get even with this decision, but it is in my opinion easier.
“For sure it was a difficult decision but in my opinion it is the one to take.”
Romelu Lukaku and Thomas Tuchel
Image credit: Eurosport
Lukaku has scored seven times in 18 appearances in all competitions since re-joining the Blues for £97.5 million in the summer but has seen his season impacted by an ankle injury and Covid in recent weeks.
His comments also come at a time when the Blues have seen their title challenge stutter following just one league win in their last four games.
Chelsea team to face Liverpool: Mendy; Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta (c), Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Havertz, Pulisic