Blues welcome Terry back, Cole sidelined
Roberto Di Matteo confirmed on Friday that John Terry is likely to return to the Chelsea starting line-up against Liverpool, but Ashley Cole will almost certainly miss out.
Terry has missed the last four Premier League games due to suspension, picked up after the FA found him guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. Chelsea's defence - in all competitions - has been leaky without their skipper.
The Blues conceded seven goals in two games against Manchester United, they shipped another at Swansea and were penetrated twice more by Shakhtar Donetsk. It is likely that Di Matteo will sacrifice either David Luiz or Gary Cahill to accommodate Terry.
"He'll be available for Sunday, for sure, and he'll be in a good position to be involved," Di Matteo said, before adding in relation to Terry's recent off-field troubles: "We can focus on the football [now] and try to achieve things on the pitch."
Di Matteo did state that, as with all members of his squad, Terry was not guaranteed a place in the team.
"He's certainly a fantastic player for us and he will continue to be so and continue to be our captain and our leader when he plays.
"I don't think anybody's guaranteed a starting place. They all have to work and be fighting for their place in the team. We've got a lot of competition in the team and they're all internationals. We've got an England international playing or a Brazil international, or a Serbia international.
"So, all of them are international players that have a lot of quality and they are at a very high level.
"To play every three or four days is very tough and demanding for everybody. And while we've got the options to change and bring in fresh players with the quality that we have in our squad, I think it's right to do so. Otherwise, we'll hit the wall at some point.''
Left-back Cole missed Chelsea's last outing at home to Shakhtar due to a hamstring problem, and Di Matteo did not completely rule out his return at Stamford Bridge, although it looks likely that Ryan Bertrand will continue in the England man's absence.
"Sunday's probably too early for him but hopefully he'll be back for the next game against West Brom," the Italian said of Cole's progress.