After much speculation it has been revealed that Chelsea FC will indeed feature a “weak” lineup when they travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday. Manager Jose Mourinho had hinted at the idea after the first leg of the Champions League semifinal against Atletico Madrid but mentioned that it would be a club decision, not one made solely by him. Earlier this week reports came out that the Chelsea brass had greenlighted the idea and Mourinho will move forward with a supposedly “weak” lineup when he travels to Anfield.
Players such as Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel will likely play as they are both suspended from the second leg due to yellow card accumulation. The rest of the lineup is still up in the air but it appears both Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o will be given more time to recover from their current injuries. Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are cup-tied so they will also likely feature while Ramires will begin serving the first of his four-match ban for violent conduct against Seb Larsson of Sunderland. Branislav Ivanovic may also feature at centerback to give him some match minutes to cover for the injured Terry.
The real speculation surrounds players such as Marco Van Ginkel, Nathan Ake, and Andreas Christensen who have featured exclusively for the Chelsea FC U21 team this season or have been out due to injury in Van Ginkel’s case. Ake and Christensen as well as youngster Tomas Kalas may get their first taste of first team action on a very big stage at Anfield.
The motives behind Mourinho’s comments and whether he will actually follow through on them is unclear. This may all be posturing by Mourinho to get people talking about the FA’s rigidness when it comes to scheduling or it may be mindgames against Liverpool. Whatever the case may be, this will be one of the most heavily scrutinized team sheets when it is revealed on Sunday morning in a very long time.
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Tags: Ashley Cole Atletico Madrid Barclay's Premier League Branislav Ivanovic Champions League Chelsea FC Chelsea Football Club Eden Hazard Frank Lampard John Terry Jose Mourinho Mohamed Salah Nemanja Matic Petr Cech Samuel Eto'o