Liverpool Vs Chelsea Preview – The Weakened Team Debate

Jose Mourinho is at it again. This time, the Portuguese raised doubts over the quality of the team he will field against inform Merseyside club, Liverpool on Sunday. Jose in his comments after the match against Atletico Madrid suggested that he might have to play a much weakened side as Chelsea continue to push for honours on two fronts – the Premier League and the Champions League.

The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ lost goalkeeper, Petr Cech and John Terry to injuries in the Atletico game. On top of that, Nigerian midfielder, Mikel Obi and Frank Lampard are suspended for the return leg of the Champions League at Stamford Bridge. All these make it increasingly hard for Jose to have a decent side in place for the Atletico game.

From all indications, the Champions League is the priority except something miraculous happens. Its seems logical, just 2 matches and the trophy will be back at Stamford Bridge. Apart from that, everything is in Chelsea’s hands unlike the Premier League where Chelsea are 5 points behind league leaders, Liverpool.

Mourinho suggested that he will have to speak to the club [most likely means Roman Abramovich]. Speaking after the game he said: “I can’t decide by myself. I have to listen to the club. I’m just the manager and I have to listen to the club.”

Then he took a swipe at the English FA for making Chelsea play on Sunday The fact that the match is on Sunday, I think put the problem not in my hands but in the hands of those who decide the game should be Sunday, not Saturday or Friday. We represent English football and are the only team [English] in European competition,” He said

“Spain have four and give them all conditions to try to have success. So I know what I would do. I will play the players who are not going to play on Wednesday. My priority is the Champions League. But I’m not the club. I have to speak to them.” He continued

He pointed out the fact that he had to take permission to hand Liverpool a very rare advantage. It is not clear if the Premier League chiefs will be happy about the development but what Mourinho care about is what his employers will think “I’m not the most important person in the club. Roman and the board – everybody is above me. I work for them and have to follow what my club decides. I’m just a piece. I’m the manager, no more than that.”

“Petr Cech’s season is over. And for John, we have to play in the final for him to play again. We had problems before the game and during the game [Atletico]. We lost four players – two to injuries and two with yellow cards – but we will fight.

“If we have to play the kids, we play the kids. But Branislav Ivanovic is back, Mark Scwarzer showed we can trust him. People like Ashley Cole, with an amazing performance, giving an example”

If Mourinho is granted his wish, we might see players like Tomas Kalas, Lewis Baker, John Swift in the lineup. Looking at things from Jose’s point of view, what he’s about to do is understandable. He’s down to bare bones. The only viable option is to complement the players who won’t be available for the Atletico game with some of the players from the excellent youth team.

In fact, the media are blowing the issue way out of proportion. It is not as if there won’t be senior players. There will be a substantial amount of the usual first team in the lineup. Matic, Salah, Willian, Mikel, Lampard, Cole should all play. Understandably, Manuel Pellegrini and the Manchester City camp won’t be happy about the situation as they need the Blues to beat Liverpool so that the tittle race can be blown wide open. But then again, Jose Mourinho won’t care. Champions League is the priority at this point.

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