Jamie Carragher believes Jose Mourinho could turn to Kurt Zouma in an attempt to negate the threat of Marouane Fellaini when Chelsea welcome Manchester United on 18 April.

The imposing Belgian has been in inspired form of late, using his potent combination of size and fearsome power to work the channels, tower over opposition full-backs and help Louis van Gaal's side to lift themselves to third in the Premier League with a run of six consecutive victories.

Having scored and been named as man of the match in the impressive 4-2 derby victory over Manchester City last time out, Fellaini is expected to have a similarly sizeable impact at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho has shown himself to be no tactical slouch, though, and former Liverpool defender Carragher is convinced he will change personnel, and indeed his system, to cope with the considerable danger posed.

"Jose Mourinho very rarely gets done tactically in a big game. His record is fantastic. There's no doubt, he won't go in with just his normal set-up, he'll use something different. I'm convinced of it," Carragher was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports.

"I think there's a case for bringing Zouma into midfield, maybe get him on Fellaini, because Matic is left-footed and he won't want to put him on the right side of central midfield.

"I imagine he will maybe play Ramires instead of Willian and tuck him right in to fill spaces around there. [Mourinho will] play Zouma as more like a third centre-back, but slightly ahead of [Gary] Cahill and [John] Terry just to look after Fellaini.

"I'm convinced he won't allow the space and the problems they cause down that left side to happen. He will set up and stop it, I'm convinced of it."

Zouma ready to make an impact

Zouma joined Chelsea from Saint Etienne in January 2014, yet only officially joined the first-team setup at the end of that season after being loaned back to the Ligue 1 outfit for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign.

While the French centre-back is yet to break into Mourinho's line-up on a consistent basis, he was handed a rare start in a previously unfamiliar defensive midfield role for the League Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley in March.

Chelsea, without the suspended Nemanja Matic following his controversial dismissal against Burnley, were rarely put under sustained pressure during that fixture but Zouma nevertheless earned praise from his manager for a notably mature and disciplined performance.

Trying to shackle an in-form Fellaini will be an altogether different challenge, though, one that would likely test premature claims that the 20-year-old is worthy of comparison with former Blues stalwart Marcel Desailly.

Chelsea currently boast a seven-point lead at the summit of the Premier League and victory over a resurgent Manchester United would extend that comfortable advantage even further with second-placed Arsenal on FA Cup semi-final duty against Championship side Reading.