Liverpool FC travel to Stamford Bridge for a matchup with second-place Chelsea today, and both sides will be looking at it as a must-win. Manchester City have opened up an 11 point lead at the top of the table, and a loss for either side today makes already dwindling title hopes look out of reach.
Chelsea will reportedly be going into the match without striker Romelu Lukaku. Sky Italy aired an exclusive interview with the Belgian this week in which he openly admitted he wasn’t happy at Chelsea, and hopes to return to Inter Milan. This has understandably caused a rift in the dressing room.
As the Blues and manager Thomas Tuchel deal with the fallout of the explosive interview, they have decided to leave Lukaku out of the squad to face Liverpool, according to Sky Sports. With the distraction the interview has provided in the last few days, it’s easy to see why Chelsea would choose to sit the striker, even if the timing is quite inconvenient for them.
Lukaku has missed some matches thanks to an injury and a positive Covid-19 test, but he has been effective when he has played, bagging seven goals and adding two assists in 18 appearances for a side who don’t play the most attack-oriented style of football.
So, Chelsea’s loss will be Liverpool’s gain. The absence of Lukaku’s goal threat will be a plus, and the cloud of the entire situation hanging over their opponent’s heads is likely to be an edge to the Reds as well. And, given Liverpool’s own problems with injuries and Covid-19, they’ll be happy for every small advantage they can get.