Paul Merson shocked if Chelsea aren't champions in next four years
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Last Updated: 01/07/20 9:28pm
Paul Merson says he would be shocked if Chelsea weren't crowned Premier League champions in the next four years after their seismic title-deciding victory over Manchester City.
Chelsea confirmed Liverpool's ascension to the pinnacle of English football for the first time in 30 years with a thrilling 2-1 victory over the former champions at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
The victory - Chelsea's fourth in a row in all competitions and second since the restart - left the Blues on course for a top-four finish.
Merson believes securing Champions League football coupled with Roman Abramovich's recent financial backing in the transfer market will lay the foundation for greater prizes in the coming years.
"To go and beat Man City was massive," he told Sky Sports. "It was massive because everyone is looking to close the gap.
"Chelsea have got nice fixtures between now and the end of the season, so I don't think there's any way they're not finishing in the top four."
Merson added: "I think Chelsea need a left-back, and they might need another centre-half, and then they'll be a major force next season. I don't think they'll win the Premier League next season, but the gap won't be as big.
"They mean business. The owner has been brilliant; he's weighed it up and gone - bang! Here's your money.
"He's looked at the situation and thought, 'Tottenham are struggling, Pep Guardiola won't be at City forever,' and he's trying to get into the top four, close the gap and challenge when they have their chance.
"With Liverpool putting up records like they have with their players being as good as they are, it's only a matter of time before the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid come calling.
"In three or four years, I'd be quite shocked if Chelsea don't win the Premier League."
Lampard proving big-game credentials
Chelsea's hopes of challenging for the title in Frank Lampard's maiden season in charge were hampered before a ball had been kicked.
The club's summer transfer ban forced the Blues legend's hand as cries for academy players to be given a chance were finally listened to.
On the pitch, Lampard's desire to entertain the Stamford Bridge faithful - just as he did in his playing days - resulted in a number of debilitating results against so-called lesser opposition, but Merson believes valuable lessons have been learned.
"Those odd results against lesser teams were a show of inexperience from Frank at the time," the Sky Sports pundit said.
"Coming into a big club like Chelsea, he wanted to entertain in those games he lost. He was thinking, 'I better entertain the man behind the goal'.
"When you're an experienced manager you know you can't do that against teams who defend deep all the time. But now, he's getting better, he's making big decisions now during games."
Chelsea - title contenders next season?
Gerard Brand on the Sky Sports Football Weekend Review podcast:
'We'd all like to think Chelsea can challenge next season, it would be great to have a three or four-horse race, and it would be a great story with Lampard after the transfer ban. I believe they're a couple years off, though.
'Let's not forget some of the results they've had this season; they've lost against West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton at home without scoring a single goal, and they've also lost to Newcastle away and drawn at Bournemouth and Brighton. They were extremely inconsistent from November to February.
'There's little doubt it's exciting and positive at Chelsea at the moment, but I'd like to see a bit more from them against low blocking teams. That, really, is the key to a title challenge.
'The better Chelsea get on the personnel front, the more high-profile signings they make, the more the majority of the Premier League will put up that sort of defence.'