Chelsea must win without Shevchenko

Chelsea are discovering what it is to live on the brink, with Andriy Shevchenko ruled out of tonight’s Champions League semi-final with a groin injury. In each of Jose Mourinho’s seasons in charge they have had Premiership titles to protect them from hurt of defeat elsewhere. It looks as if that safety device is gone in this campaign and nothing will protect them from the hurt of failure at Liverpool this evening.

The manager argued otherwise, but his advocacy surely cannot persuade even himself because the anguish would be even more intense than when Liverpool knocked Chelsea out at the same stage in 2005. There is no pessimism from Mourinho, whose side won the first leg 1-0. “We must scare and score,” he said of his intention to seize the initiative.

All the same, best mens canada goose parka there are sensitive issues. Shevchenko was ready to canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day diet risk playing despite the continuing groin problem but best canada goose coat for women Mourinho was not prepared to brave the danger of losing him for the rest of the season and the forward has stayed behind in London. The manager best ideas about canada goose outlet on pinterest might have been tempted to prefer his understudy Salomon Kalou in any event; he was sharper during the 2-2 draw with Bolton Wanderers at the weekend. The deepest trouble lies in buy canada goose jacket cheap the loss of the centre-half Ricardo Carvalho to a knee injury and Chelsea will come under prolonged aerial attack.

Mourinho remarked that a line-up of “Peter Crouch plus 10 players” would be picked by his opposite number, Rafael Benítez. “He has a player who is two metres tall,” said the Chelsea manager. “He knows Carvalho is not playing. I think he is intelligent if he plays a direct game to Crouch.”

The route one approach is not really part of the Anfield heritage but the crowd reaction will be intense if Chelsea flinch beneath it. These supporters are indignant about Mourinho’s characterisation of Liverpool as habitual also-rans in the Premiership who are therefore fresh for the Champions League. The Portuguese, though, would like to highlight another of his observations.

“They have to be very happy with me,” he declared. “I told you that it is impossible to compare Chelsea and Liverpool because Liverpool have a history of success in Europe and Chelsea are not even close. I think I deserve big applause.”

He will, of course, be ready for an reaction of a different sort as he makes for the dugout. Mourinho, overlooking this season’s Community Shield, observes that his Chelsea have always got the better of Liverpool when they have scored the opening goal. The Anfield audience will see more relevance in Carvalho’s absence.

Without him Chelsea were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool in January. The midfielder Michael Essien had to step in at centre-half that day, as he is expected to do tonight, but the parallels are not perfect. John Terry will be beside him this evening rather than a right-back, Paulo Ferreira.

“John is more powerful in the air,” said Essien in a marked understatement, “and he will defend it.” The Ghanaian will canada goose coat 1000 calorie bariatric diet have to win such jousts as well our web page, though, and he recently told French journalists that he had trouble seeing crosses in January as Crouch blocked out the view.

Mourinho does have a recognised centre-half, but Khalid canada goose coat 1000 calorie diet Boulahrouz is not in favour and has made only two Premiership appearances in 2007. The Chelsea manager has to relieve the pressure on his back four by other means.

“We will attack,” he promised. “We know if we do not concede goals we will be in the final and of course that is an objective, but if we score we have an advantage because we did not concede at home. You cannot defend perfectly for 90 minutes. I think that a very canada goose coat 1000 calorie diet good way to play this game is to scare the opponent.”

Mourinho was at pains to minimise the burden of significance that this occasion best price canada goose jacket outlet usa online store will place on his players. “We have won the Carling Cup and we have a very special FA Cup final [against Manchester United] to play,” he observed. “I don’t think this is the game of the season.”

He then went on bu sees a spike in canada goose jacket thefts to agree that a Champions League final appearance would be historic for a club who have never featured in one. That is the perspective of the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who identified the tournament as his priority this year. Not everyone is convinced Mourinho’s position at Stamford Bridge is completely safe, although the manager claims Abramovich should be satisfied whatever the outcome: “He wants the team to give everything in every game in every competition. I think he has to be very happy and very proud. This team, with so many [injury] problems during the season, has arrived at May with one cup, one final, one semi-final and second position in the Premiership.”

Chelsea are favourites to take their place in the Champions League final in Athens, but if this game goes wrong it is difficult to envisage goodwill towards Mourinho in Abramovich’s heart.