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Maurizio Sarri names the two clubs that will finish above Chelsea this season

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Maurizio Sarri has played down Chelseas Premier League title chances (Getty Images)

Maurizio Sarri has played down Chelseas chances of winning the Premier League this season by suggesting that Manchester City and Liverpool will finish in the top two.

Both City and Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League this season but so too are Sarris Chelsea with the Italian presiding over eight wins and four draws since succeeding Antonio Conte.

A 0-0 draw with Everton before the international break meant that Sarri made Premier League history by enjoying the longest unbeaten run from a new manager in the competition – a record previously held by Frank Clark with Nottingham Forest in 1994.

Chelseas form and the manner in which their players have adapted to Sarris tactical demands, have heightened expectations, but Sarri insists that the gap between his side and last seasons runaway champions remains a big one.

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“I think there is a team above, which is Manchester City, then a very good team in Liverpool. For sure, Liverpool will be in the first positions,” Sarri said.

“Then four or five teams that will have to fight for the Champions League positions – Arsenal, Tottenham, United, someone else. Sometimes, usually there is a surprise.

“For me they [City] are stronger than us at the moment and we have to work, work very hard to try to recover the gap, but at the moment the gap is still there. We have to do it.

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“We can recover but I dont think in the first season we can recover 30 points [the deficit between the sides last season].”

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Chelsea have already played Liverpool this season, drawing 1-1 with them at Stamford Bridge after Daniel Sturridge scored a remarkable late goal for the visitors, while they will host Manchester City on December 8.

Despite Sarris pessimism, Chelsea are only four points behind league leaders Manchester City and just two off Liverpool in second place, although they have a testing London derby with Spurs to come at Wembley on Saturday.

Chelsea slipped out of the top four in each of the two subsequent seasons that followed their Premier League title victories in 2014-15 and 2016-17, yet they appear to be heading in the right direction under Sarri once more.

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Sarri was handed a boost ahead of this weekends showdown against Spurs with NGolo Kante signing a new five-year deal with the club.

More: Chelsea FC

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