Paul Merson identifies major Romelu Lukaku problem after Chelsea flop’s seven touches

Paul Merson identifies major Romelu Lukaku problem after Chelsea flop's seven touches

Chelsea don’t need Romelu Lukaku to win the Carabao Cup final – and he could end up being a failure at Stamford Bridge.

I watched Lukaku playing against Crystal Palace last weekend – and you can’t touch the ball seven times in a game as a striker.

If I played for Chelsea against a team like Palace, at 53 years of age, I would touch the ball more than seven times!

Lukaku doesn’t get involved in the play enough. If the ball is on one side of the pitch, your job as a centre forward is to come over to that side and show up. He doesn’t do that.

That is a major problem and that’s why he’s not touching the ball. He needs to get more involved in the game.

Lukaku does well for teams when there’s a lot of grass in front of him to run into. But you don’t get that at Chelsea.

You kick off at Stamford Bridge and all of a sudden teams are dropping off and putting 10 behind the ball.

That’s not his game and he’s always going to struggle in games like that. He’s more of a handful away from home because teams have a go more.

That’s why he had chances when they played at Manchester City. He had space to run into.

Now he’s out of the team and I can’t see him getting back in against Liverpool at Wembley.

At times the other day against Lille in the Champions League, when he was on the bench, some of Chelsea’s football was outstanding.

The movement from Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech was absolutely outstanding.

I haven’t seen that from Chelsea for a while – and I don’t think Thomas Tuchel will play Lukaku now against Liverpool.

Virgil van Dijk had Lukaku in his pocket when they played at Anfield, and it was Havertz who scored in that game.

Havertz brings a lot more to the party at the moment. He’ll come short and he’ll drag you out of position.

You don’t really want to play right up on Van Dijk like Lukaku does because you’ve got no chance. You want to drag him around a bit.

That’s the kind of work Havertz will do, and he will go in behind as well. I think he starts at Wembley.

And I think Chelsea have the edge in midfield against Liverpool. If they can get on top there, it could be their day.

You would like to think Lukaku will turn things around. If you pay nearly £100million for a player you have to change to suit him.

But if he was Tuchel’s first-choice buy in the summer he’d be playing every week, because you don’t want to embarrass yourself as a manager – so I don’t think he was.

Conte needs to get out of Spurs – they’re going nowhere

Antonio Conte already looks like he wants to get out of Tottenham. And to be honest – maybe he should!

I’d be shocked if he’s there next season. How can you go and beat Manchester City and then lose to Burnley?

He’s not going to sit around at a club where he can’t win things. He’s sitting at Spurs, who are a million miles away from winning things, thinking: “What’s the point?”

Conte must have thought it would be much easier than this. It’s Spurs all over to beat City and then lose to Burnley. That’s why they never win anything.

I think he thinks he needs to get out of there because the club is going nowhere. This is not an ex-Arsenal man having a dig at Tottenham, I’m just telling it how I see it.

He’s not the type to celebrate coming fourth or fifth. He wants to win trophies. That’s what he does. I think he’s already trying to get out.

I like it. He’s a winner. Too many people are getting by now on trying to finish fourth. It’s a cop-out. At least with Conte, you know he wants more than that.

I think it’s refreshing. He’s not here just to pick his wages up and finish fourth. Where’s football going if that’s success? Conte wants to win things.

Burnley battlers odds-on to survive

Burnley are fighters. They never give up – and I think they will survive this season now.

They lost their star striker to a rival when Chris Wood went to Newcastle but it was clever business getting Wout Weghorst. He’s big, he’s strong and he’s got great feet.

I don’t see them going down now because they have made their games in hand count and they’re breathing right down the necks of the teams above them.

The way they play, you don’t have to rely on confidence. The other teams down there are all trying to roll it out from the back and that requires confidence.

But Burnley can scrap and that is a right kick in the teeth for their rivals who thought they might be having a holiday.

I don’t see Brentford doing a Burnley and scrapping out many wins or draws. Their game against Newcastle is a cup final.

And look at Leeds – they’ve just let in ten goals in two games, and the manager hasn’t changed it. But Leeds fans clapped them off against Manchester United!

They’d just conceded four goals against their biggest enemies! It was extraordinary. Is everyone getting the wool pulled over their eyes here? Leeds are in trouble.

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