Paul Merson fears Mauricio Pochettino has little option but to persist with struggling midfield duo Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo.
Chelsea broke the British transfer record to sign the Argentina World Cup star from Benfica 12 months ago and then did so again when they beat Liverpool the signing of Caicedo in the summer.
The pair have struggled to gel, however, and were given a sobering taste of what might have been in midweek at Anfield.
Both players were coveted by Jurgen Klopp at various points over the last 12 months but were swayed by Chelsea’s sales pitch and have since struggled to live up their fees and expectations.
Nobody, bar goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic and goalscorer Christopher Nkunku, emerged from Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat with any credit but the performances of Fernandez and Caicedo were particularly concerning.
Chelsea face Wolves on Sunday hoping to bounce back from their Merseyside mauling and Merson believes Pochettino can’t afford to take either player out of the firing line.
He said: ‘Chelsea were terrible against Liverpool and deservedly lost 4-1. They were absolutely all over the place and went to Anfield without a center forward.
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‘As for their midfield, Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo cost a combined €225 million, so how does one leave them out even if they underperform?
‘Caicedo was signed for €4m by Brighton a few years ago, now suddenly he’s the most expensive player in Premier League history? You can’t improve that much in 2-3 years, it’s impossible.
‘You watch Caicedo and compare him to Declan Rice – it’s like chalk and cheese! For that fee, you have to grab games by the scruff of the neck and make your presence felt, and I can’t remember him doing that too many times at Chelsea.
‘The Blues’ midfield was absolutely ripped to shreds against Liverpool and it was embarrassing, to say the least.
‘That said, Chelsea’s home form has improved over the past month or so, so I think they’ll win this game 2-1.’