REVEALED: Chelsea's weakened line-up for Liverpool

Paul Gilham

Jose Mourinho has claimed he is seeking permission to field a weakened line-up against Liverpool to save his players for the second leg of the Champions League semi-final. Our sources have received a copy of his plans for the squad.

According to Mourinho's post-match comments after the 0-0 draw, he intends to field an under-strength XI against Liverpool, in order to ensure Chelsea have the best-possible chance of progressing to another European final just days later. The decision isn't his alone, though, meaning he must ask the club's owner for permission to concede the Premier League title to Liverpool. This is what he had to say, reported in the Telegraph:

"I can’t decide by myself. That’s a decision I have to listen to the club. I’m just the manager and I have to listen to the club.

"The fact that the match is on Sunday, I think puts the problem not in my hands but in the hands of those who decide the game should be on Sunday and not Saturday or Friday.

"We represent English football and are the only team in European competitions. Spain has four and gave them all the conditions to try to have success, so I know what I would do. But I’m not the club. I have to speak to them. I would play with the players who are not going to play Wednesday.

"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. My priority is the Champions League."

Looking at the first-team squad, there aren't exactly a lot of weak options, and certainly not enough to rest every player likely to be involved on Wednesday. At least in terms of first-teamers. We could, obviously, turn to the youth teams, but there might be issues with the Premier League in doing so. Therefore, most observers have assumed Chelsea will rest several top players or that this is just another classic Mourinho bluff.

In a shocking twist, our sources understand that Jose is telling the truth, but that Mr. Abramovich will give his blessing to Mourinho's plan. Intriguingly, they've also managed to obtain a copy of his, shall we say, surprising intended starting line-up. The Portuguese will continue with the 4-3-3 formation he used to great effect against Atlético Madrid.

Goalkeeper - Peter Bonetti: Having recently conceded the Chelsea clean sheet record to Petr Cech, the 72-year-old, known as "The Cat" will make a shock return in place of the rested Mark Schwarzer. The first Chelsea Player of the Year is coming out of retirement in an attempt to wrest back control of his creepy hands-with-a-ball trophy from the Czech stopper.

Right Back - Fankaty Dabo: After a string of good youth team appearances, Mourinho has decided to hand the 18-year-old his full début at Anfield. Our sources understand Mourinho simply enjoys saying "Fankaty Dabo", and that he's considering buying the rights to his name for £325,000, after which the youngster will be known as "Trevor Watkins".

Centre Back - Will Ferrell: As a noted celebrity Chelsea supporter, actor, and movie producer, Ferrell is rumoured to have been in talks to star in a film featuring a band of misfits turning out for a Premier League club. Jose is thought to have money in the project, and is willing to let the American use the Liverpool game to get realistic match footage for the film.

Centre Back - Derek Saunders: This 82-year-old veteran of Chelsea's first title-winning team has expressed a desire to dust off his old boots and give it one last go in defence of the Chelsea name against Liverpool. Thought to be something of a weak-link, due to his age, but it's understood that he has a good relationship with his defensive partner.

Left Back - Cesar Azpilicueta: Not the usual one, despite the appearance. Our sources understand Jose's "Eleven Azpilicuetas" comment earlier in the season was a cryptic reference to Roman's clandestine cloning programme. This is Clone No. 6.

Midfield - Brooklyn Beckham, Niall Horan, and Marco van Ginkel: These three, comprising former Chelsea trialist Brooklyn Beckham, and One Direction member Niall Horan, who has rehabbed an injury at Cobham recently, and Justin Bieber look-alike Marco van Ginkel, are part of Jose's cunning plan to dazzle the Liverpool midfield into ignoring the game by looking for teen idol autographs for their kids. Marco van Ginkel may end up doing some prison time for creating fake autographs, but our sources believe Jose feels it's worth the risk.

Forward - Rio Brant: This Chelsea U10s striker has scored 40 goals and provided 39 assists in just 29 appearances this season. That kind of form makes him Chelsea's most-clinical striker, and has earned him a starting place in the League.

Forward - Peter Osgood: Perhaps not the best selection, due to the disadvantage of his being dead, but he will provide a rallying point for the living Chelsea players, and will creep out the Liverpool defence by being a spooky urn sitting on the pitch.

Forward - Roman Abramovich: Sick of seeing his expensive strikers failing time and again, the Russian will finally throw on the blue shirt and do the job for himself. There's no word on whether he'll be sporting a Vincent Tan-style football shirt, slacks, and tie combination, but our sources believe it to be unlikely.

So there you have it. That's Jose masterplan for resting all of his players for the Champions League and still getting a result at Liverpool. Going by his history, he'll probably be successful on both counts. And, who knows, after losing to such a comedically-weakened side, maybe Liverpool will lose the will to keep fighting in the Premier League.

Jose knows.

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