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Chelsea approves Jose Mourinho’s desire to play ‘B Squad’ against Liverpool

Apr 24, 2014, 9:59 AM EDT

Spain Soccer Champions League AP

One glance at this weekend’s fixture list and there’s one Premier League match that sticks out – Sunday’s clash between Liverpool and Chelsea.

For Liverpool, the match long appeared to be a massive hurdle in their march to the title, as the Reds need to take seven of a possible nine points from their last three matches.

For Chelsea, the match appeared to be a last-ditch chance at chasing the title until earlier this week where it became clear that the West London club viewed the fixture as a headache, more than anything else. Despite the Blues 2nd place status in the Premier League if they should win at Anfield they would still need Liverpool to lose one of their final two matches, against Crystal Palace and Newcastle. A Chelsea win on Sunday would therefore serve merely as a means by which 3rd placed Manchester City can coast back into the title race.

And in case you hadn’t noticed, Jose Mourinho is not huge on doing Manuel Pellegrini any favors. Which is why earlier this week ‘The Special One’ announced his intent to play a weakened squad against Liverpool, his punishment for the Premier League’s decision to hold the match on a Sunday rather than a Friday or Saturday.

“We represent English football and are the only team in European competitions,” Mourinho explained after the 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League. “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.”

“The fact that the (Liverpool) 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.”

Mourinho was not entirely committed to the idea, however, noting that he would need the backing of owner Roman Abramovich and the Chelsea board if he was to follow through with the B Squad plan.

On Thursday, the Chelsea hierarchy green lighted the plan.

That means Frank Lampard and Mikel John Obi, who are suspended in Europe on card accumulation, are expected to start along with the cup-tied Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah. Branislav Ivanovic, who was banned in Tuesday’s match, is likely to partner Gary Cahill in central defense due to John Terry being ruled out for the season with an ankle injury. That means Cesar Azpilicueta will move to right-back and Ashley Cole is expected to be handed his first start at left-back since January 11th. Mark Schwarzer will replace the injured Petr Cech in goal while the injured Eden Hazard is expected to remain sidelined and Samuel Eto’o is out with a knee issue.

So much for a title-tilt.

 

  1. dkalev - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    Imagine mourinho still figures a way to win… Wouldn’t put it past him, he is one of soccers all time greatest managers alongside the likes of sir Alex ferguson, Arsene wenger, and pep guardiola…

  2. footballer4ever - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Well, either he feels they won’t be able to catch up LFC or LFC won’t lose any of its futures games. Regardless, that very short-sighted to throw the towel on the Premier Football league title just to concentrate and hope they will have a chance to win the Champions League. I hope LFC puts a spanking for the disrespectful decision to the opponent and the fans who expect better than see q “B” team on the field.

    • imfalliblek - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:31 PM

      Mourinho’s “B” team cost 110M pounds to build, and the team LFC is fielding cost around 88M.

      Mourinho is full of it as usual. His “B” team is a starting XI for 90% of the EPL.

  3. egb234 - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Seems reasonable. Liverpool aren’t going to lose to Newcastle, and even though CP have momentum, I’d still bet Liverpool will beat them. Chelsea doesn’t have a very good chance of winning the CL or the league title, in my opinion, so they might as well put everything into the one that they have more control over. To win the BPL they need to play very well and get a lot of help from other sides. To win the CL they need to play very (very, very) well without depending on other sides. Might as well shoot for the moon.

  4. mazblast - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    I don’t see where Mourinho has much choice, given the injuries and bans. Of course, being Mourinho, he has to make big drama of it.

    Just clear it with your bosses and do it, don’t announce it–but that wouldn’t be Jose, would it?

    In the words of one of my college friends, sometimes starting center on the basketball team, irritated by the antics of the star shooting guard, “Imagine how good you could be if you put half the energy into your game that you put into your act.”

  5. navyeoddavee9 - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    Chelsea B would probably qualify for the Europa League

  6. unclemosesgreen - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    I wonder who the last MF & striker will be. How about Marco Van Ginkel & Demba Ba.

  7. jefnvk - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    As a Chelsea fan, I agree. Heck, I’d agree even if the game were Friday or Saturday. Beat Liverpool, you still need them AND City to drop points. City MAY against Everton, and Liverpool MAY against Newcastle, but to think that both happen AND Chelsea gets maximum points from here out, is not likely.

    Then again, seems the bottom teams want to play spoiler this season, never know what will happen. I’d take beating both Athletico and either Real or Bayern over the above happening, by far, though.

  8. lunasceiling - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    As a City fan, I’m not happy about this, but the decision makes perfect sense. The Premier League title is not just a longer shot at this point, it’s also to a large degree out of Chelsea’s hands. The CL title is still a long shot, given the competition, but the Blues control their own fate. One way or another, they get to decide it on the pitch.

  9. Azodo - Apr 26, 2014 at 4:53 AM

    Best of lucks, José and the boys as well as the fans… Stay 100%focused on At. Madrid game, we’ve greater control over that

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