Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said Christian Pulisic could not start against Premier League hampions Liverpool due to a thigh injury.
The American winger came into the game with Liverpool leading 4-1 but his impact was instant as he made an assist and scored goal to reduce the deficit to just a goal.
Pulisic’s omission raised eyebrows given Chelsea needed just a single point to guarantee their place in next season’s Champions League and his absence from Sunday’s 3-1 win against Manchester United was seen as Lampard saving the American for Anfield.
However, after his outstanding cameo, Lampard has confirmed that Pulisic was unable to start against the Reds due to a thigh issue and says he wants the player fresh for Sunday’s league game against Wolves.
Asked about Pulisic’s cameo, Frank Lampard said: ‘Fantastic. ‘Christian would have stayed in the team but he had a small injury in his thigh that kept him out against Manchester United.
‘Today I felt it was a risk to play him for 90 minutes given we have two huge games coming up.
‘When he came on he looked great so i’m really pleased with that in terms of his individual performance. We’ve since that since the restart when he’s been fit and firing he’s looked some player.
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‘So as I say disappointed I haven’t been able to start him in the last two games but we’ve got them coming up.’
Chelsea need only a draw on the final day of the Premier League season against Wolves but the blues have European aspirations of their own.
Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with West Ham means they also need a draw on the last day against Leicester City, who will likely need to defeat the Red Devils to secure their place in the Champions League.