Chelsea have fallen off the pace in the Premier League title race.
While Liverpool remain unbeaten, Chelsea have lost twice in December and are now 11 points behind the leaders.
The Blues weren’t considered one of the favourites for the title at the start of the campaign but it will have disappointed Maurizio Sarri that his side was unable to keep up with the Reds.
That’s not to say that the league is out of reach, but it will be a very difficult task to recover the deficit.
Still, they are through to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup and there’s another opportunity for silverware in the Europa League.
So Sarri’s debut season has included positives. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has played in eight league matches and five Europa League contests; Callum Hudson-Odoi has also been given a chance to show what he can do.
And there have been moments on the pitch where Chelsea have looked very, very impressive.
Chelsea beat the press
Sarri arrived as a keen tactician and in the 2-1 win against Watford on Boxing Day, his side delivered a lesson in how to escape a high press.
Fans have wondered why Jorginho is preferred in a defensive midfield role to N’Golo Kante but the answer to that came when Watford applied pressure to Chelsea’s backline.
Just look at how composed Chelsea’s players are as they work the ball out from the back.
That’s how it’s done.
Sarri wants Hazard's future settled
There’s every chance that Chelsea can compete for the title if Sarri is backed in the transfer window - a new striker is a necessity - but his focus now is on keeping Eden Hazard at the club.
Th Belgian’s contract expires in June 2020 and he’s been frequently linked with a move to Real Madrid.
“It’s time to decide,” Sarri said this week, via The Guardian. “We have to solve this problem if we want to programme the future.”