Joe Cole thinks Jurgen Klopp was ‘smart’ to hail Chelsea as Premier League title contenders before the Blues suffered defeat to Everton.
Klopp declared Frank Lampard’s side as the ‘favourites’ to win the title a week ago but his Liverpool team will have the chance to move five points clear of Chelsea with a win over Fulham later on Sunday.
A Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty was enough for Everton to secure a 1-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday and Lampard was left slamming ‘ridiculous’ claims that his side were the favourites.
And Cole, Lampard’s former team-mate, felt Klopp did well to push that narrative onto Chelsea ahead of their loss to Everton.
‘I don’t think there’s a problem with Chelsea,’ Cole told BT Sport. ‘I think he’s right they are somewhere in the middle.
‘I just think the way the league is set up at the moment with nobody running away with it – the season is picking up, this is a little bump in the road for Chelsea.
‘There will be a little bump in the road for Tottenham, there will be a little bump in the road for Liverpool. Manchester United and Manchester City are on the periphery.
‘He’s right to dampen the expectations and I think Jurgen Klopp what he said last week when he named Chelsea as title contenders that was him being smart trying to bring all the other teams but it’s going to be so tight this year.’
Lampard said after the match: ‘That’s life, it’s a long season.
‘When you talk about best squads you have to look at the teams who have won it in the last two or three years, their squads are full of strikers and wingers who scored 30 or 40 goals a season.
‘Midfield players who have won league titles all over the place, experienced people who have won it and Champions Leagues. We have some, we have some, but we also have young players and as a squad we aren’t there.
‘If you ask me in a couple of years and I’m still here and we’ve won a couple of leagues I’d say yes, but at the moment people want to look at our squad and talk about it.
‘It’s gone very quick, I spoke after West Brom and Southampton and we were nowhere near good enough, rubbish, useless. Now last week we’ve got the best squad and we’re going to win it.
‘We’re probably somewhere in the middle that’s the reality of it and we’ll have to work through it. It was a big test for us tonight, we didn’t pass it but we will in the future.’