With 28 players out on loan this season, Jose Mourinho may even be struggling to field a team of kids in Chelsea’s upcoming Premier League game with Liverpool.
His threat to play a weakened team when travelling to Anfield to face the 1/6 Premier League title favourites has unsurprisingly had an impact on the match betting for this fixture and caused outrage in the blue half of Manchester.
Liverpool are now 8/11 to put one hand, three fingers and a thumb on the title with a victory over Chelsea, which will extend their winning streak to 12 games in the top flight.
Chelsea are now 7/2 to triumph and 11/4 to secure a point, having already kept clean sheets on road trips to Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United this season.
However, even if Mourinho does decide to rest some of his biggest names for the pivotal Champions League semi-final second leg with Atletico Madrid just three days after the Anfield clash, his team will still be competitive.
Below is a team that Mourinho could start with and it is only really in defence where he may line-up heavily depleted.
In his three central midfield berths, John Obi Mikel and Frank Lampard are both banned for the Atletico return after being booked in Spain, while Nemanja Matic is cup-tied.
There is no reason not to play this trio, unless Mourinho wants to give some first-team experience to Marco van Ginkel, who has only just returned from a lengthy injury,
Mohamed Salah is also cup-tied in the Champions League and will probably play from the right, while as third-choice striker in a one-striker formation, Demba Ba is the prime candidate to lead the line.
Andre Schurrle should start from the left, especially if Eden Hazard is expected to be fit for the Atletico clash. If not, John Swift or Lewis Baker are arguably the most likely youngsters to be called upon.
Mark Schwarzer will also start in goal in preparation for facing Atletico.
With all of Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Ashley Cole and David Luiz likely to start the second leg too, it is not so easy working out which of these will get the Liverpool game off to rest and avoid injury.
Tomas Kalas has made two substitute appearances this season and is a probable starter at centre-half and he could be partnered by young left-footed Dutchman Nathan Ake, who played a little in midfield in the first team in the latter part of last season.
However, given that Ivanovic may be required to play in central defence against Atletico and it is a position he has only played sparingly in the last two years, he may be asked to re-establish himself with the role against Liverpool to shake off any rust.
Commentator’s dream Isak Ssewankambo and Adam Nditi have been the full-backs of late in the under-21 side and could also be asked to step up, while Ake has played left-back previously.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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