Neville tells Liverpool how to handle Lukaku after Arsenal man was destroyed

Romelu Lukaku celebrates Chelsea win at Arsenal August 2021

Gary Neville has told Liverpool how to handle Romelu Lukaku on Saturday after the Chelsea man destroyed Arsenal on Sunday.

Lukaku put in a stellar performance on his Premier League debut after his £97m transfer from Inter Milan.

The Belgium star scored a tap in after 15 minutes and only a brilliant save from Bernd Leno denied him a second as Chelsea won 2-0 at The Emirates.

Arsenal’s Pablo Mari endured a torrid time against Lukaku, with the former Manchester United man tormenting him all afternoon.

Neville says he felt some sympathy for Mari, but believes he should have dealt with Lukaku in a different manner.

“We had seen Brentford destroy Arsenal’s centre-backs so we knew that Lukaku was going to have a field day if they were not protected but they did not stop that ball going in,” Neville told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

“I felt sorry for Pablo Mari during the game. I just felt like he was pinned continuously. However, I don’t think that he helped himself. He is an experienced centre-back who has had a lot of years in the game now.

“One thing you can never do as a smaller centre-back up against a more physical player is let that striker dictate the position of where you are going to be.


“He had to be braver and step in front. If he stays up in line with the other defenders, Lukaku has to change his position. It means that the midfield tacklers are also closer to him.

“So he causes himself a massive problem continuously by dropping deeper than his back line because he is fearful of what Lukaku is going to do to him. The braver and more sensible thing to do is to step up past Lukaku and to shift him.

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Advice for Liverpool 

“Liverpool watching this, all the other teams who are going to play against him, you have got to step up there. Mari continuously allowed himself to get pinned one on one and he was never going to be able to deal with Lukaku physically on duels one on one.

“Nobody can. He is unplayable when the ball is played into him. It was a brilliant centre-forward performance, let’s be clear. But Mari got messed around a lot, the Arsenal centre-back.

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“If you are going to get rolled by Lukaku, get rolled on the other side, on his right foot. Not to his left because once he comes inside on that foot you are in big trouble.

“Brilliant by Lukaku but I do think there was a better way of dealing with him.”

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