Darren Bent has advised Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel to start Romelu Lukaku in in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid. The Blues will head into the second leg on the back of a 3-1 defeat to Los Blancos at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Karim Benzema scored a brace early in the first half before Kai Havertz halved the Spanish club's advantage in the 40th minute. Benzema completed his hat-trick in the 46th minute to cap off a brilliant night for Madrid.
Romelu Lukaku was left out of the starting line-up for the first leg. The Belgian striker was brought on as a second-half substitute in the 64th minute but missed two golden opportunities to score.
The former Inter Milan star has suffered a massive dip in form, which has resulted in him starting just two of Chelsea's last seven games. He is behind Kai Havertz in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
Despite his run of poor form, Darren Bent believes Lukaku should be included in the Blues' starting line-up for the second leg. He would also like to see Mateo Kovacic in the playing XI.
"Kovacic has got to play from the start [against Madrid]. I would even throw in Lukaku from the start," Bent told talkSPORT.
Lukaku joined Chelsea from Inter Milan for a club-record fee of £97.5 million last summer. The Belgian has thus far failed to live up to his price tag, scoring just 12 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions.
Kai Havertz, on the other hand, has scored six goals in his last eight games in all competitions. The German is therefore likely to retain his place in the club's starting line-up for the second leg against Real Madrid next week.
Romelu Lukaku could make a case for his place in Chelsea's starting XI for the game against Real Madrid this weekend
Thomas Tuchel is expected to rest Kai Havertz this weekend for the game against Southampton in the Premier League. Lukaku is expected to take the German's place in the starting line-up. He would have the opportunity to make his case for a starting berth for the game against Real Madrid next week.
Chelsea's clash with the Saints is crucial for the team from west London as they will head into the game on the back of an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Brentford last weekend. The Blues will be keen to tighten their grip on third place in the Premier League table. They are five points ahead of fourth-placed Tottenham.
An impressive performance against a well-drilled Southampton side could provide Romelu Lukaku with the confidence he lacks at the moment. The 28-year-old will hope to have a strong finish to the season.
Paul Merson has predicted the results for Chelsea vs Tottenham and other GW 2 fixtures! Click here