Chelsea team news: Expected line-up v Liverpool as Tuchel ‘drops’ Lukaku despite injuries

Klopp previews Chelsea

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel might have been relieved to have Romelu Lukaku, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mateo Kovacic return in recent weeks. However, the German saw two more players suffer injuries during the Blues’ 1-1 draw with Brighton as the club’s crisis took a fresh turn. 

Tuchel’s side face Liverpool on Sunday without Reece James and Andreas Christensen.

The defensive pair were withdrawn with hamstring and back issues respectively. 

A controversial Romelu Lukaku interview also hangs in the backdrop of the build-up to the crunch top-of-the-table clash with the Reds. 

Lukaku has angered Chelsea’s fans by hinting at his unhappiness. 

Tuchel has said that the incident will be dealt with behind closed doors and it remains to be seen whether the 28-year-old will face Liverpool. 

Express Sport looks at who Tuchel might start.

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Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy

Premier League clubs were granted an extension to release their players for the Africa Cup of Nations, so Mendy can start for Tuchel’s side. 

He does not need to join up with the Senegal squad until Monday. 

The 29-year-old has made a couple of errors in recent weeks but surely still starts ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga. 

Defenders: Trevoh Chalobah, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger

Tuchel will need to cobble together a back three to start against the Reds. 

Andreas Christensen was taken off against Brighton with a back problem. That followed Thiago Silva’s withdrawal against Aston Villa on Boxing Day. 

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Chalobah replaced Christensen in the disappointing draw with the Seagulls and will likely start.

Azpilicueta will shift across to the middle of the back three. 

Midfielders: Christian Pulisic, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Marcos Alonso

Tuchel suffered a fresh setback with Reece James suffering a hamstring injury against Brighton. 

The England star started at left wing-back due to Ben Chilwell’s serious knee injury but was replaced by Alonso before half-time. 

Pulisic started on the right and could perform the unusual role again against Liverpool. 

Kante returned from a knee injury to make a short cameo appearance in the week and could be in line for a start. 

Attack: Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi

Romelu Lukaku is set to be dropped from the starting XI after his controversial interview.

The striker raised eyebrows when he admitted to being ‘unhappy’ under Thomas Tuchel. 

The Chelsea boss will reportedly now drop Lukaku for Sunday’s match, with Kai Havertz likely to take place after returning from a period of isolation.

Timo Werner could also be in the mix, but only recently returned to full training.

Hudson-Odoi, meanwhile, will hope to keep up his impressive form since recovering from COVID-19, while Mount will most likely make up the final place in the front three. 

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