While there are claims that Jose Mourinho’s job as manager of Chelsea hinges on if he beats Liverpool in the Premier League next weekend, the Portuguese’s position actually depends on how Chelsea play against Stoke City in the Capital One Cup tonight.
Mourinho has to make a decision of whether to field the club’s underwhelming stars against the Potters or go with his youths, with one eye on the crunch clash against Liverpool next Saturday.
However, we take a look at how the Blues could line-up at the Britannia Stadium later tonight, with some key changes being made bearing in mind the Liverpool game.
Asmir Begovic should continue in goal, although his brilliants displays have been swept under the radar by the shambolic Chelsea defence. Marco Amelia – who joined the club as a free agent weeks ago – should not risked against the potent Stoke attackers.
Also, Kurt Zouma should be drifted back to his preferred central defence role to partner Gary Cahill, with Cesar Azpilcueta starting at right-back to allow Baba Rahman feature as a starter from the left-back position.
This is where Mourinho will make another big decision of starting youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek alongside Cesc Fabregas in midfield.
Eden Hazard, who has been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, should be given the license of operating from the left-flank and, the Belgian whizz will gladly welcome Oscar to the starting XI as the two have previously combined efficiently for Chelsea.
Ramires is also a shock inclusion to start from the right wing as Mourinho will need Willian to be fit for the Liverpool game.
Radamel Falcao should also get the chance to prove his worth and it is believed this could be the last of his chances at the west London club. The Colombian ace will be handed a start against Mark Hughes’ side tonight and, Diego Costa will be rested for the crucial clash next weekend.