Chelsea will be without the suspended John Terry for tonight’s Premier League trip to Liverpool.
The long-serving Blues skipper, whose contract expires in the summer, may never play for his boyhood club again after being sent off in stoppage time of Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Sunderland.
As ESPN reports, injuries to Diego Costa and Branislav Ivanovic mean that interim boss Guus Hiddink will be forced into several changes. Here, CaughtOffside predicts Chelsea’s starting XI at Anfield.
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GK: Thibaut Courtois
If speculation in The Sun is to be believed, this could be one of the Belgian’s last appearances for Chelsea as he prepares to tell incoming boss Antonio Conte of his desire to leave Stamford Bridge.
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta
Played at left-back at the Stadium of Light, but will be switched back to the right to cover for Ivanovic.
CB: Gary Cahill
The England international is Chelsea’s only fit senior centre-back, with Terry suspended and Ivanovic and Kurt Zouma sidelined. The Blues have conceded five goals in their last two games.
CB: Matt Miazga
Chelsea’s list of absentees means that the 20-year-old American is poised to be given another opportunity. They have kept clean sheets in his two previous Premier League starts.
LB: Baba Rahman
Ivanovic’s injury opens up a spot at left-back, which will probably go to the 21-year-old summer signing, who has failed to live up to expectations in his nine Premier League starts to date.
CM: John Obi Mikel
The Nigerian will have a very important job to do protecting Chelsea’s makeshift defence from the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, who will aim to support Liverpool’s lone striker.
CM: Nemanja Matic
The Serbian scored his first goal since September in the defeat to Sunderland. Hiddink has preferred the double pivot of Mikel and Matic of late, pushing Cesc Fabregas into a more advanced role.
AMC: Cesc Fabregas
And that is likely where the Spaniard will find himself on Merseyside, with Oscar confined to the bench.
The Brazilian’s form has dipped in recent months. He was arguably the only Chelsea player who maintained his standards before Christmas, but has managed only one goal in his last 10 games.
AML: Eden Hazard
According to Sky Sports, Pedro could play in a protective mask after breaking his nose, but Hazard is likely to keep the starting place he earned by putting pay to Tottenham Hotspur’s title chances.
ST: Bertrand Traore
Costa and Loic Remy are out, and what is the virtue of playing loanee Alexandre Pato at this stage? Hiddink should start 20-year-old Traore to give him a chance of adding to his four senior goals.
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