Havertz absence explained as Lukaku starts Chelsea vs Liverpool FA Cup final

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.

Chelsea are without Havertz as the forward struggles with hamstring issues, while 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 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 United 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, 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.

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