/ Soccer

Jose Mourinho may field weakened side against Liverpool

Updated: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 10:36 | Comments

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has been ruled out for rest of season
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has been ruled out for rest of season

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is considering surrendering the Premier League title to Liverpool by fielding a weakened team at Anfield on Sunday to prioritise the Champions League semi-final second leg with Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea's first-leg stalemate at the Vicente Calderon Stadium came at a cost on Tuesday night as goalkeeper Petr Cech was ruled out for the season with a dislocated shoulder and captain John Terry suffered an ankle injury to rule him out of next Wednesday's second leg.

The injuries added to problems for striker Samuel Eto'o (knee) and Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard (calf), while midfielders Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel will miss the second leg through suspension.

Chelsea lost 2-1 to Sunderland in the Premier League last Saturday to leave the European Cup they won in 2012 their most likely trophy chance this term.

Given the Blues are five points behind Liverpool with three games to go and ahead of the trip to Anfield, Mourinho believes Europe is now the priority.

But he will consult the Chelsea hierarchy before deciding which players to field.

"I can't decide by myself," said Mourinho, who was again critical of the Premier League for not changing the date of the Liverpool fixture to benefit his side's European ambitions.

"I think that's a decision I have to listen to the club. I'm just a piece, I'm just the manager and no more than that.

"I think the fact that the match is on Sunday puts the problem out of my hands.

"We represent English football and we are the only English team that is European competition. Spain has four and gave them all the conditions to try to have success.

"I know what I would do but I have to speak with the club. I would play with the players that are not going to play Wednesday."

Cech suffered a dislocated shoulder after 18 minutes and was replaced by Mark Schwarzer.

After visiting hospital, Cech travelled back with the team on their evening flight to London.

Terry, meanwhile, will only play in the Champions League again this term if Chelsea reach the 24 May final in Lisbon against either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

Mourinho said: "Petr Cech's season over. And John – we have to play the final for him to play with us.

"We had problems before the game, we had problems during the game, we lost four players during the game, two with injuries, two with yellow cards, but we will fight."

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone conceded his side were unable to break down the Blues, but will chase victory at Stamford Bridge.

"We knew the way they were going to play away and our intention was to try to break their defence," Simeone said.

"It was impossible, they did their job really well and this leaves the qualification open."

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