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Chelsea title hopes hang by a thread after Jose Mourinho rest threat

Chelsea are 25/1 outsiders to win the Premier League title following manager Jose Mourinho’s comments about resting players for the Champions League semi-finals.

In the wake of Sunderland taking a point from a trip to Manchester City, Coral had the Blues as short as 3/1 to be top-flight champions. Chelsea subsequently lost to the Black Cats themselves, however, and leaders Liverpool (odds-on 1/6 favourites) defeated Norwich.

Mourinho, whose side are five points behind the Reds with three matches left, could be forsaking the Premier League trophy for the European Cup. The Blues earned a scrappy goalless draw against Atletico Madrid.

When asked if he intended to rest key names against Liverpool, Mourinho said: “I would play the players that are not going to play next Wednesday.”

‘The Special One’ also bemoaned the scheduling of the crunch Premier League clash with Brendan Rodgers’ boys, accusing the Reds of refusing to play on a Saturday. He was also critical of domestic football authorities.

“The Premier League should [fight for our game to be played on Saturday]. We have a big match on Wednesday that can give Chelsea another Champions League final, we ask, ask and asked again to play on the Saturday.”

Whatever XI takes to the pitch at Anfield on April 27th, Chelsea will be without injured duo Petr Cech and John Terry. Both were casualties of the Atletico match, and neither will feature in their Premier League run-in.

Midfield pair Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel must sit out the Champions League semi-final second leg through suspension, while January signings Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are cup-tied, so that suggests they all will play against Liverpool.

The Blues remain 9/2 outsiders to lift the European Cup, and are still even-money to reach the final of this elite continental competition. Chelsea have earned Champions League and Europa League glory in each of the last two seasons respectively.

Mourinho has also been backed by punters into 14/1 from 33/1 in Coral’s next permanent Manchester United manager market.