A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
Both Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill could feature in Sunday’s match against Liverpool after the pair returned to training this week. Marko Marin is also available, with Oriol Romeu the only absentee in from Chelsea’s squad. Benitez is expected to rotate his side after Wednesday’s win over Fulham.
Liverpool are also mostly free of injuries, with Stewart Downing, Martin Kelly and Jon Flanagan all expected to be fit for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Eden Hazard and Juan Mata have both made the six-man shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year award, with Hazard also being nominated for the Young Player award. Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan from Chelsea at West Brom, is also on the Young Player shortlist.
Demba Ba believes he and Fernando Torres could be effective if they started together against Liverpool on Sunday, after they combined well in Chelsea’s second half display against Manchester City last weekend:
“We combined against Brentford earlier in the competition, too, so I don’t believe it would be a problem for us. Most of the time we have to fight against the two central defenders on our own. If you have an extra body there, it makes it easier.”
Pepe Reina says he is relishing the prospect of another match with Chelsea, with the two clubs forming a strong rivalry over the past ten years. This will be the 27th time that the Spanish goalkeeper has faced Chelsea since moving to Liverpool in 2005.
Rafa Benitez has said it will be emotional for him to return to Anfield, but he is there to win:
“I will try to do the best for my team and that is Chelsea. I am a professional and that is what I have to do. I cannot forget the time I spent there and the feeling, the atmosphere, the success, the link with the fans and the city - it is my home - but I will try to win.”
Liverpool midfielder Lucas has similar sentiments, saying it will be strange to line-up against Benitez as the Spaniard was so important for his career, but that he is out to ruin his former manager’s day on Sunday.
Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed they are in discussions with Chelsea about the possible transfer of German forward Andre Schurrle. Sporting Director Rudi Voller has been in London this week to negotiate a summer move for the 22 year old.
After the lukewarm reception to the idea of Manuel Pellegrini taking over at Stamford Bridge next season, on HITC today we look at whether the idea that the Malaga manager could bring Isco with him could turn around fan opinion.
John Terry refused to shake FA Chairman David Bernstein’s hand today as Chelsea officially handed back the Champions League trophy in Whitehall. Terry is believed to be aggrieved at Bernstein’s role in his court case last year.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald