Thomas Tuchel is considering punishing Romelu Lukaku for his shock outburst by dropping Chelsea’s record signing to face Liverpool on Sunday following talks between the pair.
Sources have even suggested that Lukaku could be left out of Tuchel’s squad entirely, but Chelsea have refused to comment on the situation with Lukaku sweating on his place.
Lukaku has scored twice in Chelsea’s last two games, but that might not be enough to save him from being punished for giving an unauthorised interview in which the striker revealed he has been unhappy with his situation at Stamford Bridge.
Sources close to Lukaku have insisted he will not look to quit Chelsea in this month’s transfer window, but Tuchel did not hide his displeasure with the Belgian international for going public with his frustrations.
The pair are understood to have spoken about the interview and it now remains to be seen if Lukaku has effectively been given a one-game ban as punishment from Tuchel, or whether the German decides to let him off with a verbal dressing down.
Whatever he decides, Tuchel is likely to have the support of the Chelsea hierarchy, who were shocked by Lukaku’s interview and were angry it had been conducted in secret at the player’s house.
Lukaku could also face a fine for giving an unauthorised interview and the club’s record signing was barely visible on a New Year message Chelsea released on social media.
Manchester City pulled 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League table on Saturday by beating Arsenal, which has left Chelsea and Liverpool both needing to win on Sunday to retain any realistic hope of staying in touch with Pep Guardiola’s team.
Tuchel on Friday made it clear what he now expects of Lukaku. Asked how to get the best of Chelsea’s £97.5million signing from Inter Milan, the German said: “Training, training, playing. Training, playing, training, sleeping, eating good, training, playing, sleeping, eating good, drink a lot of water, sleep, train and don’t give interviews.”