Full Match - Aston Villa 6-1 BrightonSep 30
After a summer spending spree, Joao Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk and Benoit Badiashile have all been brought in this month with Graham Potter’s side in the middle of an injury crisis.
And BT Sport’s Joe Cole is eager to see Mudryk in action, with the Blues travelling to Anfield to take on Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime.
“I’m really excited about Mudryk - he’s one of the brightest young prospects in the game,” Cole tells BTSport.com.
“I’ve always been an admirer of Joao Felix too - I thought he was brilliant against Fulham and then he mistimes a tackle and gets sent off. It happened to me on my Liverpool debut so I know exactly how he feels. It was the same type of challenge as well, just a late one.
“And Badiashile I thought performed very well [against Crystal Palace]. For a centre-back to come in and play like that on his debut, he’s done well.
“Chelsea’s problem will be balancing the squad and getting players out to other clubs. That may be a challenge for the new owners because it’s a huge squad and you can have too many players. But the ones coming in I’ve been impressed with.”
Mudryk is in contention for a place in the team against Liverpool, which would provide a welcome boost for Chelsea after a difficult few weeks since the end of the World Cup.
Both sides are level on 28 points in ninth and tenth place respectively, ten behind Newcastle in fourth.
“It’s important for both teams not to lose the game,” Cole says. “Both teams are hanging on to aspirations of getting into the top four, so they won’t want to lose.
“Chelsea are in a better position because they’ve got players coming back from injury. I don’t know if Liverpool are going to spend money in January - you hear talk of the owners trying to sell the club and when that’s the case it’s always hard to get your business done.
“Chelsea have got through that stage, they’ve got new owners in, so you’re seeing players like Felix and Mudryk arrive at the club. Their problem at the moment is the horrendous injury crisis. As the days tick along they’ll be getting more and more players back.
“It’s not a must win but it’s a must-not-lose game.”
He adds: “There’s still plenty of games to play. I just feel Chelsea have got over that sticky spell, the initial change of owners and they’re bedding down plans.
“Liverpool have uncertainty around the ownership and that does trickle down if you’re Jurgen Klopp and trying to plan forward.
“But they’ve got quality players all over the park, I’m a big admirer of them. I’m just stunned they’ve only won one league title - it just shows the quality of Man City and the Premier League.
“You look at the spine of Liverpool’s side and there’s so much quality and that’s still there, but they’re going to have to add to that to move forward. Klopp will want to do business and rebuild the team.”
Cole played for both clubs during his career and remembers the fixture as one of fine margins, with very little to separate the two teams.
“It was a different style of football when I played,” he says. “Football’s moved on, it’s a lot more open, a lot more goals and more expansive.
“It was always a tactical game, draining and tense. They weren’t good games for the purists. I think Chelsea and Liverpool fans watched the games behind the sofa trying not to look.
“You knew it was going to be one goal either way to win it. We went to Anfield once and put them away 4-1 but apart from that, they would win by the odd goal and we’d win by the odd goal.
“Two very well-matched teams, fantastic clubs, fantastic history, and the rivalry has just taken off. It’s become one of the new football rivalries over the last 20 years.”