Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge has claimed that Chelsea are not realistic contenders for the Premier League title as they are over-reliant on star attacker Eden Hazard.
Most fans and pundits did not expect Chelsea to mount a title charge this season after their sixth-place finish last term, but with Maurizio Sarri’s side having won five and drawn two of their opening seven Premier League fixtures, they are now being tipped to compete for English football’s biggest prize.
However, Aldridge reckons that a lack of goals from other players aside for Hazard, and doubts over the Blues defensive solidity, means that the title race will be a two horse race between Liverpool and defending Champions Manchester City.
“If Hazard stays fit throughout this season and continues to perform as he is, maybe Chelsea can get in the mix to challenge for the title, but I look at David Luiz at the back and he will give you a chance and they don’t have a top class striker to share the goal burden with Hazard,” Aldridge told the Irish Independent.
“Van Dijk handled Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata comfortable on Saturday and there will be times when Hazard doesn’t fire and that is where Chelsea will slip-up.
“They have some good players, but they essentially look like a one-man team to me and that’s why I believe the two teams who will go into battle at Anfield next Sunday will contest the title come May.
“Manchester City were hammered by Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals last season and well beaten in the Premier League when they came to Anfield last January, so those mental scars will still be there.
“Liverpool need to come through their mid-week trip to Napoli in the Champions League without injuries to key players and then hope Salah and Mane find their shooting boots for the Man City game next Sunday.”