Thibaut Courtois's hopes of starting next season as the Chelsea No.1 have been enhanced by the confirmation that goalkeeper Petr Cech will require surgery to correct a shoulder problem which has prematurely ended his season.

Cech was replaced by Marc Schwarzer during the goalless draw against Atletico Madrid after falling awkwardly following a collision with Diego Costa on Tuesday and is expected to miss the remainder of the campaign.

The 31 year old has been the mainstay of the Chelsea first-team since his arrival from Sparta Prague in 2004 but with Courtois having impressed during three seasons on loan in the Spanish capital the Belgian stopper has been linked with taking over upon his return to Stamford Bridge.

Though Cech was expected to return for Chelsea for the start of next season, the Czech Republic international faces surgery on the shoulder problem which will extend his spell out and could open the door for Coutrois to take the No.1 jersey.

"Petr Cech 's season is over," Mourinho said ahead of the Premier League trip to Liverpool "They [the medical team] are analysing the situation but it looks like yes [he will have surgery]."

With injury to Cech followed by a foot problem for captain John Terry which had originally ruled him out of the remainder of the Premier League season but could yet see him return against Atletico next week, Mourinho faces fielding a weakened team for the visit to Anfield.

Ramires will serve the first match of a four-game suspension after being banned retrospectively by The Football Association after striking Sunderland's Seb Larsson while both Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto'o are out also.

Mourinho may be forced to hand appearances to Tomas Kalas and Nathan Ake in defence, while Henrique Hilario could feature against league leaders Liverpool in order to protect Schwarzer.

The 51 year old Mourinho is expected to go unpunished by the Premier League for fielding a weakened team after rules were relaxed but the Chelsea boss faces conceding the title to a Liverpool side who require seven points from their final three games to win a first championship in 24 years.

"I lost the goalkeeper, I lost John Terry, I lost Hazard, I lost Mikel, I lost Lampard," Mourinho explained. "You think if lose one more player I have any chance to play in the final? I don't think we have a chance. I can't lose more players, certainly in some positions because I don't have them.

"I can tell you that for example in attack we have Torres, we have Demba, we have Schurrle, we have Oscar, we have Willian, we have Salah. We have other ones but they are positions where we don't have another one."