Jason McAteer claims Chelsea will emerge as strong title challengers to Liverpool next season – if Frank Lampard’s side make one key new signing.
Liverpool’s coronation as champions was confirmed on Thursday night, ending their long 30-year-wait for glory.
And the former Republic of Ireland midfielder has also tipped Chelsea to emerge from the shadows to challenge them.
“One team who definitely look to be heading in the right direction are Chelsea,” McAteer told the Racing Post. “It was a massive step up for Frank Lampard taking the manager’s job. It’s easier at Derby when your reputation as a player means you gain a certain amount of respect. But that’s not the case when there are World Cup winners in the dressing room.
“But I can see them being right up there next season. They needed to boost their forward line but Timo Werner’s signing is a huge statement of intent. I don’t think they can rely on Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud.”
McAteer is also an admirer of Hakim Ziyech and also thinks Kai Havertz could prove the difference.
“I am a big fan of Hakim Ziyech as well and a move for Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz would also be huge,” he added.
“So they are buying well. I think Lampard made a great statement of intent when he let David Luiz go and some of the talented youngsters have gained experience.
“I can see the Blues making great progress in the next 18 months. They are going to be right up there.”
McAteer says Man City will come back stronger
McAteer also thinks much of Liverpool’s success this season comes from the knowledge of just how good Man City have become.
And the pundit also thinks Pep Guardiola’s side will come back much stronger next season.
“Liverpool have won the league this year by a country mile. In a way, some of the credit for that has to go to Manchester City,” McAteer said.
“That’s not necessarily because their mistakes have allowed Jurgen Klopp’s side to establish such a huge lead but rather what went on last year.
“The fact Liverpool pushed City all the way last season has prepared them well for this year. They were always on their tail.
The Reds won the Champions League last season. And I think the main reason for that was they needed to be absolutely on the ball every week in the Premier League title race.
“You see it with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Great sporting rivals produce great levels of excellence because they have to stay in touch with one another. This is what I can see happening again next season.
“There are lots of complications with City’s financial fair play issue and the world situation means we don’t know what’s going to happen. But they can be inspired just as Liverpool has been this year.”