On paper, there’s no denying it – Chelsea seemingly outperformed Liverpool in the summer transfer market.
In direct competition for two players, Chelsea emerged victorious, securing both acquisitions. While Liverpool’s pursuit of Moisés Caicedo always appeared as a long shot, Chelsea’s Todd Boehly also clinched their ‘Plan B,’ Roméo Lavia, who joined the ranks at Stamford Bridge.
However, after four games into the new season, Chelsea hasn’t yet displayed the prowess expected from a team that won the transfer market battle. Naturally, it takes time for new players to acclimatize to their surroundings, but this delay raises its own concerns, with Boehly acknowledging the challenges of squad integration might lead to early dropped points.
Indeed, Chelsea currently finds itself in 12th place in the Premier League standings, despite a relatively favorable fixture list. On the pitch, Caicedo’s performance has been less than stellar, and Lavia is yet to make his debut, struggling to secure a spot in Mauricio Pochettino’s lineup.
Unfortunately, Lavia’s eagerly anticipated debut will be postponed even further due to an ankle injury sustained in training. According to reports from the Mail, he is expected to be sidelined until the end of October.
Undoubtedly, this injury is an unexpected setback that neither Liverpool nor Chelsea could have foreseen when they competed for Lavia’s signature. Nevertheless, Lavia’s return is set to coincide with a challenging period for Chelsea.
November kicks off with Chelsea facing Tottenham, a team undergoing a promising rebuild under Ange Postecoglou. Subsequently, Chelsea faces a grueling fixture list, including matches against Manchester City, Newcastle, Brighton, and Manchester United – arguably one of the most daunting five-game stretches.
This challenging schedule couldn’t come at a worse time. Following the Manchester United game on December 6, the season’s expectations will become clearer, and Chelsea might find itself in a precarious position.
The distant possibility of a classic Chelsea “title comeback” seems to have faded already. With new signings struggling to mesh in the early stages, Chelsea is already six points behind the Champions League qualification spots. Even if Pochettino manages to bridge this gap during Lavia’s absence, there’s the looming prospect of a relentless fixture list eroding any gained momentum.
Given the timing, Pochettino may be apprehensive about the potential consequences of the November challenge, which historically has been a peak period for managerial sackings. Even if Boehly remains patient, Liverpool appears poised to create a significant gap between the two sides by the time the festive fixtures arrive.
While Lavia and Caicedo may eventually find their stride at Stamford Bridge, the once-smug “transfer wins” over Liverpool are beginning to appear elusive. Liverpool wouldn’t trade their acquisitions, Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister, who have both made a strong impact at Anfield.
Chelsea cannot be faulted for Lavia’s injury, which is an unfortunate setback for the player. Nevertheless, legitimate questions will soon be raised about Chelsea’s overall performance in the transfer window. Contrary to initial appearances, Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool side seems well-positioned to establish a substantial lead.