Weaker Blues would escape sanction

Chelsea are unlikely to be punished by the Premier League if Jose Mourinho carries out his proposal to field his second-stringers at Liverpool on Sunday to safeguard their Champions League hopes.

With the Blues five points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool with three games to play, Mourinho wants to prioritise next week's semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid after drawing the first in Spain 0-0 on Tuesday.

Third-placed Manchester City, who could overhaul Liverpool if Chelsea win and they win their game in hand, could be angered if Mourinho opts not to utilise his frontline players at Anfield.


But the Blues, who insist they have quality throughout the squad, are not expected to infringe regulations that were relaxed after Blackpool were punished in 2011.

Clubs can select any player in their 25-man squad list without fear of sanction; action would likely be taken only if a number of younger players from outside the list are selected.

Mourinho is without goalkeeper Petr Cech (dislocated shoulder) for the remainder of the season and captain John Terry (ankle) for at least a week. But Frank Lampard, Jon Obi Mikel, Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are among those who are likely to feature at Anfield.

Lampard and Mikel are both suspended for the Atletico clash after picking up first-leg bookings, while January-signings Matic and Salah are ineligible in Europe. - PA Sport.