Alvaro Morata has to start for Chelsea against Barcelona, says Frank Lampard, with the Spaniard being backed to emulate Fernando Torres’ heroics from 2012.
Six years ago, the Blues headed to Camp Nou for a crunch Champions League clash with a big-money frontman within their ranks.
Torres may have struggled to justify his £50 million fee, but he netted in Catalunya to book a final place and edge Chelsea one step closer to an historic European triumph in Munich.
Morata is now hoping to tread a similar path, with the Blues’ current record signing looking to step back into Antonio Conte’s side and prove his worth amid a testing run of form.
Chelsea legend Lampard wrote in a column for the Evening Standard on the selection posers facing his former club: “It is for big occasions like this that Chelsea bought Morata from Real Madrid for £58m last summer in the first place.
“There is obviously a question over whether coach Antonio Conte will play with a striker or revert back to the false nine he used in the first leg.
“I would certainly consider picking Morata to lead the line with Eden Hazard and Willian behind.
“The striker has to play better than he has done in recent weeks. He needs to be physically stronger and hold the ball up more. He has the physical attributes and technical ability to do this.
“But what Morata can also provide is a target for Chelsea players to aim at and someone who can run in behind.
“He can do that job more naturally than Hazard, who without the responsibility of playing up front can get more involved in the game himself.
“What Fernando Torres did in 2012 shows what a recognised striker can give you against Barcelona. There is that opportunity to play balls over the top to get out.”
Morata has failed to find the target in his last 12 games for Chelsea, with more red cards collected in that run than goals.
Only one of his last seven outings have been as a starter, as Conte has favoured other options, but he may get the opportunity to play his way back into form on the grandest of stages on Wednesday.