• Premier League

Terry back for Chelsea, Cole still sidelined

ESPN staff
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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."

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.

Chelsea have not beaten Liverpool in the league since the 2009-10 season, with the Reds completing a league double during the last campaign. The Blues did win last season's FA Cup final against the Merseysiders, but Di Matteo admits it is not a fixture he particularly relishes.

"They are our bogey team because they always seem to play exceptionally well against us and get results," he said. "It's always a difficult game against Liverpool and it'll be difficult to beat them.

"We'll have to make sure we're very focused and we'll need to play a very good game to win it."

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