Richard Buxton: Once-formidable Reds and Blues are looking vulnerable
Pool, Chelsea weakened by personnel woes, with Blues needing Super Cup more
European champions cannot display signs of weakness, especially this early into their reigns.
Clearly, both Liverpool and Chelsea either did not receive the memo or failed to read it.
Ahead of the Uefa Super Cup in Istanbul tomorrow morning (Singapore time), the English Premier League heavyweights are looking vulnerable.
The continental kings are dead - long live the threadbare pretenders.
Under-prepared and overwhelmed, Juergen Klopp and Frank Lampard's respective charges are some distance away from the sides that reached the European pinnacle barely three months ago.
If unity is strength and division leads to downfall, then the Reds risk becoming the architects of their own ill fate.
The Champions League holders have already been criticised for not building from a position of strength.
Alisson's calf injury could bring them to their knees.
Whether it is four, six or even eight weeks without the influential Brazilian, Klopp's side could see their renewed bid to wrest the English Premier League title from Manchester City prematurely derailed.
A formidable defensive line was key to Liverpool's unexpected surge towards the EPL's summit, running a Pep Guardiola-driven behemoth closer than any other challenger.
They conceded only one goal fewer than City, yet were still pipped to the top spot by a solitary point.
But a lack of ready-made reinforcements and potential outgoings have left the Reds resembling a house of cards more than the well-heeled ensemble of 12 months ago that seemed destined to end Anfield's 29-year wait for domestic success.
The likely departure of Dejan Lovren for AS Roma this month will further erode the strength in depth of a backline that had succumbed to vulnerability at the midway point of the previous campaign and effectively ceded the impetus in the title race back to the Etihad Stadium.
Lampard, meanwhile, is discovering the pressure of being in the Chelsea hot seat.
He knew what would lie ahead in returning to his former club; he had a ringside view of the scrutiny that numerous coaches faced at Stamford Bridge before being ruthlessly discarded.
Banking 13 years of kudos as a player, at the very least, affords him some breathing space after a summer where the Europa League holders found themselves restricted in the transfer market and stripped of their most creative outlet with Eden Hazard's move to Real Madrid.
Expectations have been lowered as a result; effectively ensuring Lampard a free pass for this season. There is, however, still no escaping the current and harsh realities of an abject start.
Last Sunday's comprehensive 4-0 demolition by Manchester United became a fresh nadir as the worst opening to a Chelsea manager's tenure in over four decades.
It was also a rude awakening that Lampard, like Klopp, cannot rely on vim and vigour alone to see him through.
Decision-making ultimately cost the Blues at Old Trafford and similar lapses in concentration will ensure a repeat of that humiliation in Istanbul.
Lampard's personal experiences of losing consecutive Super Cup finals is likely to add a battle-hardened edge to tomorrow's encounter.
Lifting silverware, even in a competition as largely inconsequential as this, will afford either side some much-welcomed respite following their ominous openings to the new EPL season.
Chelsea arguably need it far more than Liverpool, but football rarely provides such desired outcomes.