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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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By ESPN Staff

Kenyon warns Scolari about mid-term slump

Chelsea's new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari can expect a testing time in the middle of next season, according to the club's chief executive Peter Kenyon. Kenyon insists there is renewed excitement at Stamford Bridge after the Brazilian's appointment. And he expects the spotlight to be on the club following Scolari's arrival as coach and, after assessing the fixture list, he feels Chelsea's most testing period will be the mid-point of the season. 'There is always a huge sense of excitement before the new season, and this one as much as any,' said Kenyon. 'Obviously with Felipe joining us and new players as well there will be a huge spotlight on us and I think everyone is excited to see how he gets on and we have no doubt that he will do a great job. 'It's always good to start with a home game and I think the way the games are, at the moment, we have a good beginning, good end and a tough middle - but there are never any easy games. 'Then you have to assess the Premier League fixtures and cup fixtures to see how they mix in with the Champions League and to see who we draw in the group phase so it is a hugely exciting time and I get the sense that the fans are excited as well.' Kenyon yesterday confirmed that Inter Milan's £7.95million offer for England midfielder Frank Lampard will be rejected. The Chelsea chief executive also insists that he expects Lampard to honour the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge if they cannot persuade him to sign a new deal. Lampard is alleged to be unhappy that his future at the club remains unresolved but Kenyon is adamant their offer of a contract extension remains on the table. 'The situation is ongoing,' said Kenyon. 'We have always maintained that we want Frank to stay and an offer was made to that effect. 'That offer is still on the table. Frank is under contract and he still has one year to run on that. 'We'd like to hope we can reach an agreement but if we can't we have always worked on the basis that Frank sees out the terms of his contract. 'Chelsea has made its position very clear to Internazionale and they have come back now with a financial offer. That will be rejected.' Chelsea are to begin their pre-season build-up with a tour of Asia and will be taking a full-strength squad to China, Malaysia and Russia. 'We have been to America for the past four seasons so we were always going to Asia at some point because the Premier League and Chelsea are hugely popular so this is an opportunity for our fans there to see us live for the first time in China and in Malaysia again,' explained Kenyon. 'There are a whole host of reasons why this time it was Asia but as always football preparation is the main priority and we are delighted with the level of opposition we will be facing as many of the players would have been back in full training for nearly two weeks.'

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