Graeme Souness was sceptical on Sky Sports that Chelsea could seriously consider themselves a top four contender with Olivier Giroud leading their attack.

This damning review came shortly after Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Sheffield United yesterday.

The Reds’ next fixture is a huge home tie at Anfield against Chelsea, with massive European ramifications at stake.

Liverpool moved to within a point of the Blues with that victory, who themselves had just played out a subdued 0-0 draw with Manchester United.

This recent stalemate meant Chelsea had only scored three times against the ‘big six’ sides this season.

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 28: Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea reacts during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 28, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Souness highlighted this weakness in Thomas Tuchel’s team and pin pointed Giroud as one of the main culprits.

“Chelsea are a genuine danger [to the top four],” admitted the former Liverpool manager.

“But I still think scoring goals has been an issue against the better teams.

“Giroud. (Maurizio) Sarri didn’t really fancy him. Frank (Lampard) didn’t really fancy him.

“At the highest level, is he going to get the goals?

“I think three serious managers have had a look at him and thought he’s not in the starting 11 for me. And I don’t see that changing or going forward at 34.”

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Chelsea’s French striker Olivier Giroud reacts to a missed chance during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in London on February 28, 2021. (Photo by Ian Walton / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by IAN WALTON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Tuchel is the fourth coach that Giroud has played under since his £18m (BBC Sport) move from Arsenal in 2018.

Antonio Conte, Sarri, and Lampard all passed on the French forward before they were sacked.

But Giroud remains and continues to score goals for whoever is in charge.

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Chelsea’s German head coach Thomas Tuchel (L) greets Chelsea’s French striker Olivier Giroud during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Chelsea at the Arena Nationala stadium in Bucharest on February 23, 2021. (Photo by Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images)

He is on 11 for the campaign, one behind top scorer Tammy Abraham, despite starting less than half the games he’s appeared in.

Granted, the World Cup winner has only netted four Premier League goals this term, which will need to seriously improve if Chelsea are to play Champions League football next year.

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I couldn’t disagree further with Souness to be perfectly honest.

Sarri certainly didn’t overlook him. Take the Europa League run for example; Giroud pretty much single handedly dragged them to the final!

Lampard may have had early doubts, but soon reincluded the experienced striker to good effect, especially post lockdown.  

Tuchel too is discovering Giroud’s quality. I hope he can prove Souness wrong on Thursday night.

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