John Terry is expected to drop back to the bench when Chelsea visit Liverpool on Sunday despite the interim manager, Rafael Benítez, insisting all his players are capable of playing three times every week, but with selections determined by form and the qualities of the opposition.
The club captain was omitted, along with Frank Lampard, for last weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City but impressed with two headed goals against Fulham in midweek. The 32-year-old subsequently publicly backed Benítez's policy of rotation, with the game at Anfield the 61st of Chelsea's season, but suggested he was fit enough to play more than merely alternate games.
That much has been acknowledged by Benítez, who is expected to select Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz in central defence. "All our players can [play three times a week]," said the interim manager. "They're all fit. I can guarantee there's no issue with John. He's training, is available, and he understands I have to make decisions. He wants to see the team winning games. He's quite positive in training sessions and he's supporting the team and his team-mates. He wants to win, and we want to win. Everybody can play, and the priority is the team. My priority is to pick the best team possible for each match."
Asked if that meant players were selected primarily on form, he added: "Yes. I think only about winning. People said the FA Cup semi-final was big for us, but Fulham [in the Premier League] was a massive game for us. We picked a team with good players on the pitch and other good players on the bench, and we won. This game at Liverpool will be the same."
The presence of players with pace in Liverpool's front line – Luis Suárez, Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho are expected to feature – will shape Benítez's defensive selection, with Terry having appeared comfortable against Dimitar Berbatov in midweek, particularly with the Bulgarian prone to drop deep.
"John understands if I pick another player for the team," Benítez said. "We agree. If I pick him it's because I think he's fine. If not, it's because I think another team-mate might be better for this or that particular game. It always depends on the particular game."