Paul Merson says Thomas Tuchel was wrong to drop Romelu Lukaku for Chelsea’s must-win game with Liverpool, despite the striker’s controversial interview.
In an interview with Sky in Italy that was recorded a few weeks ago but first aired last Thursday, Lukaku said he was unhappy with his role at the club and would like to return to Inter Milan in the near future.
The striker has since apologised publicly for his comments and is in contention to face Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, but was omitted from the Chelsea squad altogether for their crunch title clash with Liverpool on Sunday.
The Blues came from 2-0 down to salvage a point in that game, but the two they dropped has left them 10 points behind leaders Manchester City and needing a shock reversal of fortunes to reignite their title challenge.
Sky Sports pundit Merson explains why he was unimpressed with Tuchel’s decision to isolate Chelsea’s record signing for such an important game – and looks ahead to a huge London derby as Antonio Conte makes his first return to Stamford Bridge, live on Sky Sports Football.
- Lukaku to stay at Chelsea after clear-the-air Tuchel talks
- Antonio Conte: I’ve nothing to prove on Chelsea return
‘Lukaku should have played in Chelsea’s biggest game of season’
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When asked if the handling of the Lukaku situation was a victory for Tuchel, Merson said: “No, not really. Why would it be a victory?
“Chelsea had to beat Liverpool to have any chance of winning the Premier League. They had to beat Liverpool and then Manchester City in their next game to have any chance, but for me, he’s chopped his nose off to spite his face.