Brendan Rodgers claims Chelsea are the best side Leicester have faced this season.
The Foxes were thumped 3-0 at home by Thomas Tuchel’s team in November, with the Blues at the time looking set for a concerted title challenge.
Injuries and off-field issues have knocked Chelsea back somewhat, with Manchester City and Liverpool now way over the horizon at the top.
But Tuchel has secured Champions League football again and Rodgers expects another big challenge from Chelsea next season.
“I’m a big admirer of Chelsea and the team and the work Thomas has done there,” said Rodgers, who takes his Foxes side to Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
“I would go as far as to say they are the best team we have played this season. When we played them early on in the season they were at the top of their game. I thought they were outstanding.
“Not long after that moment they lost some players. I’ve said it before, even with squads like Chelsea’s you need your top players available.
“Over the course of the time they have had players out, key players who make the systems function to the highest level.
“Then obviously there’s the distractions behind the scenes and of course that’s a challenge.
“But what I do know is they’ve got an outstanding manager who has done a fantastic job since he’s been there. They’ve got a group of really good players, top, top talents.
“I saw them lose in the FA Cup final but they have so much courage because they keep getting there. And you’d rather be in there and losing finals – of course you want to win – but you’d rather be arriving there knowing it’s going to drop your way and you’re going to win in the future.
“So they are a top team, with top players and they are in the Champions League next season, and I expect them to be up there challenging again next season.”