Michael Owen thinks Chelsea will be out of the Premier League title race if they lose against Liverpool on Sunday.
Danny Welbeck’s added-time header stunned the embattled Blues to steal Brighton a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Romelu Lukaku’s early header ensured Chelsea leapfrogged Liverpool into second place, but the Blues only lead Jurgen Klopp’s men by one point with the Reds boasting a game in hand.
Reece James suffered a nasty-looking hamstring injury and Andreas Christensen a back problem to lengthen Chelsea’s list of absentees, with seven players still out due to Covid isolation.
Chelsea have now slipped to four draws in their last five home league matches, to drop eight points behind leaders Manchester City.
And Owen doubts the Blues will be able to recover to mount a serious title challenge if they lose to Liverpool over the weekend.
“You’d have to think that they [Chelsea] have to get four points out of those two, otherwise they could be the first team out of the big three to drop out of contention,” Owen told Premier League productions.
“Liverpool are sat there, a point behind, but they have got a game in-hand. That game at Stamford Bridge – wow. That could be almost an eliminator.
“Even if Liverpool lose that one, I think they’re capable of going on a run like Man City are right now, but I don’t think Chelsea can afford any more slip-ups now. I think they need four points out of the next two.”
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 31, 2021
And it sounds like Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel would agree with Owen after the German complained about his side’s covid cases and injuries.
Asked if the Blues can still compete for the title on Wednesday, Tuchel replied: “How should we be in it? We have seven Covid cases. We have five or six players out for six or more weeks. How should we compete in a title race?
“Everyone else who has a full squad, everybody in training has the full power to come through this league.
“We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries and just play, and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players.”