Carlo Ancelotti is giving serious consideration to dropping Didier Drogba for Monday night's Barclays Premier League clash at Fulham.
The Chelsea manager tried to accommodate new ?50million signing Fernando Torres alongside Drogba and Nicolas Anelka when his side met Liverpool at Stamford Bridge eight days ago.
Making way: Drogba (right) could be left out on Monday night to help Torres
After losing that encounter with Torres's former club, the Italian insisted he would persist with the formation that sees Anelka deployed behind two strikers.
It had worked successfully at Sunderland when Anelka had played behind Drogba and Salomon Kalou and he insisted it could work again.
Slow start: Torres struggled on his debut for Chelsea against his former employers last weekend
But after a week examining theformation in training Ancelotti is no longer convinced it is a systemthat best suits his new British-record signing and he wants to give theSpaniard the best possible chance to succeed.
That leaves Drogba in a vulnerable position. He has not been in his finest form since recovering from malaria - certainly not in the form of Anelka, who had scored in four of the previous five games prior to the defeat by Liverpool.
Under threat: Terry could make way for new boy Luiz
Abandoning the new system isunlikely to go down well with Drogba, especially when he will alreadysee Torres as the player who has been brought in to eventually replacehim. Drogba, after all, is 32.
ButAncelotti, who will make his decision this morning, is under pressure.Not just to turn Torres into an instant success and so prove that RomanAbramovich was right to smash the British transfer record to buy himbut to make sure Chelsea do not lose touch in the race for ChampionsLeague football next season. With Tottenham winning at Sunderland onSaturday, Chelsea are three points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.
Ancelotti also revealed that captainJohn Terry is no longer an automatic choice due to the arrival of ?25msigning David Luiz. He insisted signing the Brazilian means he canrotate his central defenders and said his team 'will not have a problemin the centre of defence in the future'.
Ancelotti added: 'With Luiz we can have more rotation with our players and maintain more fresh defenders. 'Now we have a lot of opportunities to choose players and give someone else a rest, and to maintain every defender's fitness for the rest of the season.
'When a good player with a lot of skill comes to improve the squad, everyone is happy. 'Obviously in top teams there is competition. This is normal. It's a good motivation.'
Luiz, 23, and Terry, 30, will start at Fulham tonight. But the expected return from a knee injury of Brazil defender Alex, 28, in time for the second leg of Chelsea's Champions League clash with Copenhagen on March 16 will put extra pressure on Chelsea skipper Terry.
Right back Branislav Ivanovic, 26, who signed a five-and-a-half-year contract last week, can also play at centre half. Terry, who earns ?150,000 a week, will demand to play if he is fit, but Ancelotti knows the former England captain needs two or three days to recover from each match.
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?Explore more:People: Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Nicolas Anelka, Carlo Ancelotti Places: Copenhagen, Liverpool, United Kingdom, Brazil
Source: Daily Mail
Source: Daily Mail