Chelsea's soft centre was exposed by Manchester United at Old Trafford. The ease with which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side countered and scored against the visitors was alarming.
It meant Frank Lampard’s Premier League managerial debut ended in a 4-0 defeat and it was a harrowing experience for centre backs Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen.
That Chelsea team on Sunday was crying out for N’Golo Kante and it is worrying that the Frenchman may not be fit to face Liverpool in Wednesday night’s Super Cup.
Chelsea were crying out for N'Golo Kante in their heavy 4-0 defeat to Manchester United
The loss at Old Trafford was a harrowing experience for Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen
Lampard revealed on Tuesday that Kante needs assessing after picking up another injury following his late introduction as a substitute against United. Zouma and Christensen will desperately hope he is declared fit.
Having Kante is like having two players on the pitch. Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic played in front of the defence against United but neither can do what Kante does. He patrols, he protects and that is what Chelsea’s centre backs need.
Liverpool’s front three will try to stretch their opponents. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will look to exploit the space between Chelsea’s centre backs and full backs.
Frank Lampard revealed on Tuesday that Kante needs assessing after picking up another injury
Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will bomb forward as they usually do and float quality balls into the box. Chelsea’s defence will need all the help they can get and having Kante would be a huge boost.
Lampard, it has to be said, handled losing 4-0 to their top-four rivals with great dignity and maturity. He could have reacted badly to Jose Mourinho’s criticism but he showed class.
Often we learn more about managers and their leadership qualities by how they react in moments of difficulty than when things are going well. His players will have noted how he publicly handled the loss.
Andy Robertson (L) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) will bomb forward and cause problems
Lampard is doing this job with one arm tied behind his back. Chelsea’s best player Eden Hazard has gone to Real Madrid and he cannot sign anyone.
They suffered a bad start against United but now Chelsea should see tonight’s clash with Liverpool as an opportunity.
It is a one-off game and a chance to play in a final.
Don’t go out there fearing another defeat. Go out there believing you can bounce back by beating the team that won the Champions League last season.
That is what Lampard will be telling them.