(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes his side are a long way short of the levels of Premier League Champions Liverpool and Manchester City, who have set the benchmark in terms of consistency.
Lampard’s Chelsea, currently third in the league, visit title winners Liverpool on Wednesday, chasing the three points they need to secure Champions League football next season.
Liverpool go into the game having dropped eight points in their past five matches, but still remain 30 points clear of Chelsea.
When asked how far his team had to go to compete with Liverpool and second-placed Manchester City, Lampard said: “A long way.
“We have to be realistic about that as a club, as do many of the other clubs, because themselves and Manchester City, particularly Liverpool this year, have shown an incredible consistency that only comes through hard work and time with fantastic players and fantastic coaching.
“We are at a different point in the curve. You are talking about probably the two best club teams in world football, up there with a couple of others in European football.
“The points don’t lie over the past few seasons. We are realistic but we have targets and we want to close that gap.”
Chelsea have already spent big in the transfer market to recruit attackers Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner for next season.
The club have been linked with a move for Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Kai Havertz in the British media but Lampard refused to discuss transfer speculation.
France midfielder N’Golo Kante will remain on the sidelines for the Liverpool clash, having already missed Chelsea’s last four matches in the league and FA Cup due to a hamstring injury.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis