Former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is at the top of Chelsea's shortlist of contenders to replace Andre Villas-Boas, if the Portuguese boss is sacked, according to The Daily Mail.

With their title challenge having failed to get off the ground, and with the club having failed to tie up the fourth Champions League spot, Villas-Boas has endured a difficult season.

Reports that players are still in contact with former boss Jose Mourinho and the form of Fernando Torres have also contributed to the club's dire fortunes, which could see Roman Abramovich call time on on the 34-year-old's tenure.

The likes of Avram Grant and Carlo Ancelotti have both been sacked by Abramovich, despite bringing short-term success to Stamford Bridge.

Benitez is thought to be one who can inspire Torres to his best form, having brought him to the Premier League during his time at Anfield.

Furthermore, Benitez has experience of having won the European Cup, the one trophy Chelsea have gone without since Abramovich took over in 2004.

Villas-Boas' progress with the Blues will be further scrutinised when his side take on Napoli in the Champions League knock-out stage.

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