Stoke defender Jonathan Woodgate claims that the standard of football in the Premier League has started slipping.
The former England international believes the top flight is not what it used to be with the likes of Stoke and Swansea City nipping at Liverpool's heels for seventh position this campaign.
Chelsea are England's last representatives in Europe after both Manchester United and neighbours City were dumped out the Champions League in the group stages.
Woodgate, 32, suggests the quality has gone out of the top flight more so than in previous seasons although the former Leeds, Real Madrid and Tottenham defender was quick to praise Brendan Rodgers' Swansea side, who have been a breath of fresh air with their style of football.
He said: "I don't think the standard is as good as it has been. You can tell that because teams aren't too far behind Liverpool, and that's no disrespect to Liverpool.
"It hasn't been a great league this season, but I don't know why.
"Athletic Bilbao dominated Manchester United over two games, which has never been seen.
"Maybe the quality has just gone out of the league a bit, although Swansea have been unbelievable.
"I love the way they play football and how they pass the ball no matter where they are on the field.
"Brendan Rodgers is destined for a big job."