Thomas Tuchel explains Kai Havertz absence as Romelu Lukaku starts FA Cup final for Chelsea vs Liverpool

    Havertz will play no part in the FA Cup final
    Havertz will play no part in the FA Cup final (Picture: Getty Images)

    Chelsea star Kai Havertz is out of the FA Cup final due to ‘hamstring problems’, while Romelu Lukaku starts up front for the Blues against Liverpool.

    The two sides go head-to-head at Wembley for a chance to lift the coveted trophy on Saturday afternoon, in a repeat of the Carabao Cup final earlier this year.

    Liverpool won that clash on penalties, meaning Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea will be out for revenge this time around.

    Lukaku gets the nod up front
    Lukaku starts up front for the Blues (Picture: Getty Images)

    Chelsea are without Havertz as the forward struggles with hamstring issues, while Mateo Kovacic recovers from the injury he picked up against Leeds United in midweek to start and Lukaku gets the nod up front.

    Lukaku has struggled since his £97.5million move from Inter Milan in the summer, but has scored three times in his last two Premier League games.

    Speaking to ITV ahead of kick-off, Thomas Tuchel said: ‘Kai, we tried until the very last minute. This morning he had hamstring problems, not a real injury.

    ‘But he feels if he goes, there will be a real injury so if he says this in front of a final you know it’s serious enough to not start. He is a guy who puts in a lot of sprints so you cannot take the risk.’

    When asked if he picked the side with form in mind, Tuchel replied: ‘Of course, the final is about rhythm and form.’

    Tuchel has made one change to the side that beat Leeds 3-0 at Elland Road, with Thiago Silva replacing Andreas Christensen at the back.

    For Liverpool, Mohamed Salah returns to the starting line-up as one of the five changes Jurgen Klopp has made from the 2-1 victory over Aston Villa in midweek.

    Ibrahima Konate, Andrew Robertson, Thiago and Jordan Henderson all come in, with the injured Fabinho one of the players dropping out of the side.

    MORE : John Motson recalls his favourtie FA Cup memories and gives Chelsea vs Liverpool prediction

    MORE : Timo Werner insists he doesn’t regret snubbing Liverpool for Chelsea ahead of FA Cup final

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