Liverpool and Manchester City are still involved in a two-horse race for the Premier League title despite the emergence of Chelsea and Leicester City, according to Jason McAteer.
The Reds opened up an eight-point lead at the summit after beating City at Anfield 3-1 last Sunday, leaving Pep Guardiola’s side languishing in fourth spot.
Leicester have risen to second in the standings on goal difference ahead of Chelsea, with both sides defying pre-season expectations to emerge as genuine top-four contenders
Some fans and experts have even suggested that the high-flying pair could end up fighting for the Premier League crown, but McAteer is not convinced they have the staying power.
The ex-Liverpool midfielder praised Frank Lampard and Brendan Rodgers for the jobs they are doing at Stamford Bridge and the King Power Stadium, but thinks City will bounce back from last week’s setback to challenge his old club again.
McAteer told the Racing Post: “What Brendan Rodgers is doing at Leicester is outstanding and the job Frank Lampard is doing at Chelsea is probably even more impressive.
“I remember speaking to Frank when Chelsea and Liverpool played the Super Cup in Istanbul and you could hear his concerns. “Where were the goals going to come from? Could Mason Mount do for Chelsea what he had done for Derby? Would he miss Antonio Rudiger? But he and his players have answered all those questions and more.
“I’m a big fan of Frank and think Chelsea can continue to improve but they aren’t title contenders this season.” Liverpool finished second to City last season by the finest of margins, with their 97-point haul just one shy of the defending champions’ final tally.
McAteer thinks the Premier League’s top two have set a new standard of consistency which teams like Chelsea and Leicester cannot hope to match yet.
He added: “Teams such as Chelsea and Leicester could easily go on a run of back-to-back losses or picking up just a couple of draws in three matches, and that can lose you serious ground given the high standard set by Liverpool and City.”
Liverpool return to action after the international break with a trip to Crystal Palace on November 23, with City set to host Chelsea in the day’s late kick-off.
Leicester, meanwhile have the opportunity to close the gap on the league leaders when they travel to Brighton on the same day.