Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has admitted Chelsea’s “frightening” wealth has left his own club with little chance of winning the Barclays Premiership.
Liverpool, in sixth place, are 15 points behind the west Londoners and six behind fourth-placed Everton.
Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the two clubs, Carragher said: “Chelsea have shifted the goalposts and we cannot keep up with them in terms of finance.
“It is frightening. We are expected here to win Premiership titles and then you come up against a team that is spending vast amounts of money.”
Manager Rafael Benitez accepts the magnitude of tomorrow’s task, but says: “We are working hard for the next match because we know it will be difficult. It is a long race to the title.”
Liverpool hope to have striker Milan Baros available but Harry Kewell is out for five weeks (groin).
Jose Mourinho’s desire to bring glory to Stamford Bridge in 2005 will be tested to the full.
The Chelsea manager refuses to be drawn on whether the club will go back with an increased offer for Steven Gerrard after a previous bid failed.
“I think Gerrard is one of the best in the Premiership,” Mourinho said. “But I don’t think he is better than Frank Lampard. My players are always better than others.”
Chelsea are down to their last 17 players for the trip.
Russian midfielder Alexei Smertin has a virus while left-back Celestine Babayaro is to join Newcastle.
Manchester City defender Stephen Jordan is desperate to overcome a severely swollen ankle and extend his 10-match run in the starting line-up to face Southampton.
Keegan will give the Warrington-born youngster every chance of recovering from an ankle knock before naming his side – and Jordan is keen to keep his run going.
He said: “I come from a family of City fans, so it was always my dream to play for the club, that is why I didn’t want to leave and thankfully it has worked out for me this season.”
Brett Ormerod hopes to make up for lost time and lead Southampton to Premiership safety as they prepare for life without star striker James Beattie.
Ormerod said: “It has been a frustrating season for me, probably the worst spell for me since I came here.
“I got dropped but I have been working hard in training and the new manager has come in and given me a chance. Football is about opinions – one manager may like you and another may not.
“I am enjoying training and feel involved again. It was nice to get a start at Liverpool and put in a good performance.”
Club captain Jason Dodd returns after a back injury, while Mikael Nilsson is also available after a hamstring strain.
Strikers Kevin Phillips and Peter Crouch are expected to return, but Graeme Le Saux, Marian Pahars and Jelle Van Damme are injured.
Greece winger Stelios Giannakopoulos insists Bolton’s long-term future is bright.
The team are in freefall and go into the home game against bottom club West Brom tomorrow on the back of six straight defeats.
Giannakopoulos said: “I knew when I moved from Greece that things might be different and that I could be fighting against relegation.
“I wanted to change my career and do something different. That’s why I chose Bolton and I hope that I will continue to improve. The club has a great future and maybe if I am lucky I can play in Europe.”
Midfielders Kevin Nolan and Ivan Campo could return after being omitted earlier in the week when they went down to Blackburn.
However defender Julio Cesar has been ruled out for up to four weeks after breaking a bone in his foot.
West Brom midfielder Andy Johnson believes team spirit will save his side from relegation.
The Baggies are bottom of the Premiership and have claimed just two points since Bryan Robson took over from Gary Megson as manager.
Johnson said: “We’re a big unit here, we’re all close. There is no divide between the players and the management. We’re together and that togetherness will help us get through what is a difficult season.”