Frank Lampard believes Manchester City will "stay the course" and become the first club to break into the top four since Everton in 2005, reflecting Chelsea's hasty ascent when Roman Abramovich pumped millions into the club.
Liverpool's four-match losing streak has only added to the chorus of people claiming that the top part of the Premier League ladder is more open than ever, including ambitious City boss Mark Hughes.
No team outside the traditional heavyweights have qualified for the Champions League since Everton but Lampard said: "I think it is more under threat this year with the emergence of Manchester City and the money they have got. Every year one of the Evertons, Villas or Tottenhams do very well and everyone says it is under threat but normally the four rise to the top.
"I think Man City will be different, I think they will stay the course. If you spend £150million then you should stay the course. We did the same here six years ago and it wasn't easy in year one. Year two and year three is where you really gauge progress and I am sure they are looking at the same things we were at that time.
"They have bought players who have been there before. Individually, if you look at them - Carlos Tevez, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor - they have been in very successful teams before anyway so I don't think that it is the issue. It is just the idea of throwing it all together which is not always easy, but they can do it for sure.''