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Premier League pundit believes Chelsea will finish top four despite Liverpool loss

Paul Merson is backing Chelsea to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League after their spirited performance against Liverpool.

First-half goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino saw the Reds seize control of the clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. But Frank Lampard’s side rallied after half-time and halved the deficit through the returning N’Golo Kante.

While Chelsea failed to find an equaliser, Merson was impressed by the Blues’ performance and says they should be buoyed by how they fared against the Premier League leaders.

‘People know I’m a Chelsea fan, and I was pleased with their performance on Sunday – not the result, but there’s a lot of positives to come out of that game,’ Merson told Sky Sports.

‘Look at Chelsea now and you think they could get in the top four. They’ve given a lot of people heart, and it’ll give Frank heart. I think expectations have gone up now.

‘After that performance, you’re looking at top four. When you see what’s around, you’re looking at top four. With losing the game, it’s backfired in a way – the expectations have gone up rather than down. I’ve seen enough yesterday to say they’ll be in the mix.’

Arsenal hero Merson added: ‘Chelsea looked like one of the better lot of the six yesterday. The other two are head and shoulders above, head and shoulders. But they haven’t been able to buy anyone, other teams are spending 80, 90, 100 million quid. It’s about bringing the kids through.

If Frank’s not the manager, Tomori, Mount and Abraham wouldn’t just be in the team, they’d be out on loan. ‘He could’ve easily played the experienced players and made life easy for himself. He’s put the club ahead of himself.’