Romelu Lukaku ‘has been dropped entirely’ from Chelsea’s squad to face Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
Manager Thomas Tuchel has reportedly left the Belgian striker out after he gave an interview in which he expressed unhappiness with his role at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel did not hide his irritation that £98million striker Lukaku had gone public with his displeasure and said he would hold ‘behind closed doors talks’ to sort out the situation.
But, according to The Athletic, Lukaku has been left out of the Chelsea squad for the crunch top-of-the-table clash as a consequence.
Romelu Lukaku has reportedly been left out of the Chelsea squad to face Liverpool on Sunday
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is less than impressed by Romelu Lukaku’s bombshell interview
Lukaku gave an interview at home to Sky Italia which upset supporters and staff at Chelsea
‘Physically I am fine. But I’m not happy with the situation at Chelsea,’ Lukaku told Sky in Italy.
‘Tuchel has chosen to play with another system – I won’t give up, I’ll be professional. I am not happy with the situation but I am professional – and I can’t give up now.’
Chelsea’s record signing has scored in his last two games against Aston Villa and Brighton having returned to the side following an ankle injury and a bout of Covid-19.
But he will apparently play no part in a match against fellow title hopefuls Liverpool that neither side can afford to lose.
Leaders Manchester City moved 11 points clear of Chelsea with their 2-1 win at Arsenal on New Year’s Day.
Lukaku rejoined Chelsea for £98million in the summer after winning Serie A with Inter Milan
Sunday’s match with Liverpool is crucial for both sides with Manchester City pulling away
The interview with Sky Italia was taken at Lukaku’s property and Chelsea are said to have not had prior knowledge of it, leaving them fuming.
As well as talking up his unhappiness in Tuchel’s system, Lukaku also gushed about the prospect of one day returning to Inter Milan.
He added: ‘I really, genuinely from the bottom of my heart hope to come back to Inter, not at the end of my career, but while I am still at the level to win more trophies.’
Speaking at his press conference on Friday when asked about Lukaku’s comments, Tuchel said: ‘I don’t like it because it brings noise we don’t need. We need a calm environment and focus, and it does not help.
‘On the other side we don’t want to make it more than it actually is.
Tuchel said Lukaku’s interview had disturbed the focus ahead of the big game with Liverpool
‘This is today’s world, and everything you say is out there in public if you are such a big player like Romelu, — he is an experienced player and should know what kind of value it has when he speaks out like this.’
The Chelsea boss added: ‘You will find not a lot of system changes, if any.
‘Romelu played when he came, he got injured, caught Covid and he played with no training.
‘That’s why I’m surprised. I don’t enter in these discussions like there’s something going on because there is absolutely zero going on.’
Lukaku has scored seven times in 18 matches since returning to Chelsea for a club record transfer fee in the summer.
A mural of Lukaku was defaced by Inter fans who were upset at him leaving for the Blues
In part two of his interview, released last Friday night, Lukaku said he turned down an offer from Manchester City more lucrative than his current £220,000-a-week deal at Chelsea in 2020 to stay at Inter.
‘When I was at Inter, at the end of the first year, I turned down an offer from Manchester City which was higher than Chelsea’s this summer,’ Lukaku said. ‘I did it because it had only been a year, it wasn’t the right time to leave and I didn’t want to.
‘I was in a deep hole at Manchester United, things weren’t going well.
Lukaku also opened the door to returning to Inter Milan – the club he left last summer
‘I was a big investment for Inter but we did great things together. I went to speak with club chiefs and asked for a new contract but they didn’t want to extend my contract.
‘So I told myself that there is only one team where I could possibly see myself — Chelsea. I wasn’t thinking about going there, but they came in for me and so I asked (boss) Simone Inzaghi to leave. ‘If Inter offered me a new contract, I would have stayed 100 per cent.’