Chelsea omit Lukaku for Liverpool PL game

Chelsea have omitted Romelu Lukaku from their squad for game against Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

In an interview with Sky Italy recorded a few weeks ago but aired this week, Lukaku said he was unhappy with his role at the club and would like to return to Inter Milan in the near future.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel said on Friday the comments by Lukaku, re-signed by Chelsea for a club-record £97.5m from Serie A champions Inter in August, are “just not helpful”.

Lukaku, 28, has scored in his last two Premier League appearances – against Aston Villa and Brighton – following his return to the Chelsea squad after testing positive for Covid-19.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Lukaku told Sky in Italy in December that he was ‘not happy’ with the situation at Chelsea and talked up the prospect of returning to Inter.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Thomas Tuchel says comments made by striker Romelu Lukaku in a past interview about his place in the squad have not been helpful, but may have been taken out of context.

Chelsea host fellow title hopefuls Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday at 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

Live Renault Super Sunday

Sunday 2nd January 4:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

    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.

    Earlier this season, Lukaku missed more than a month of action with an ankle injury sustained against Malmo in the Champions League on October 20.

    Lukaku & Tuchel: The timeline as tensions grow

    Lukaku was an injury concern after withdrawing from Belgium duty in early October due to “muscle fatigue”, and though he then played 77 minutes against Brentford on October 16 an ankle sprain against Malmo four days later led to a spell on the sidelines.

    Before the Malmo match, Tuchel had already said Lukaku was “mentally tired”, blaming a dry spell in front of goal on the fact he was playing too much football.

    After six games out, there were then four league matches where Lukaku was in the matchday squad, coming on as a substitute each time – against Manchester United, Watford, West Ham and Leeds – racking up 77 minutes but failing to find the target.

    He started and scored in the 3-3 draw with Zenit in Chelsea’s final Champions League group game, but after a brief cameo against Leeds, he then missed three matches due to Covid, against Everton and Wolves in the league and Brentford in the Carabao Cup.

    The forward’s first match after his return from Covid was against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, where he came off the bench at half-time to inspire a comeback 3-1 win.

    Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

    FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s win over Aston Villa in the Premier League.

    Speaking to Sky Sports after the victory, Lukaku spoke of his frustration at being stuck on the sidelines.

    “I think I needed a performance like this today, it has been difficult as every player wants to play,” he said.

    “The manager has his reasons but I kept working hard. Today it was good for us to win, and I am happy with my performance.”

    Meanwhile, Tuchel said Lukaku’s 45 minutes against Villa went against medical advice and voiced his concerns over whether it would impact the striker’s return to full fitness.

    Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

    Thomas Tuchel was hugely frustrated following Chelsea’s win at Aston Villa, asking why the Premier League is the only league in Europe not to allow five substitutions and winter breaks.

    “He [Lukaku] had a very good performance, he was very helpful, but it’s not fair,” Tuchel said. “He’s not ready for that even if he wants it.”

    Tuchel was hugely frustrated following Chelsea’s win at Aston Villa

    “We just put the players in but we don’t know [what the impact is]. He was a game-changer today.

    “There is no doubt he is super-important. Romelu will be a key player. Last time he started for us was in October, not because of quality or that we have any doubts we are better without him. He is unlucky to get injured.

    “When he was struggling to come back in the schedule we have, he caught Covid. It [45 minutes] was more than the fitness and medical department recommended for him but we thought we could take the risk and be more offensive.”