John Terry is hoping Chelsea can 'set the tone' for another championship-winning season by seeing off Liverpool at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Victory would put Jose Mourinho's side eight points clear of Liverpool on Sunday - when fellow heavyweights Manchester United and Arsenal are also up against one another.
Chelsea, beaten by the Reds in last month's Community Shield, believe Liverpool may still be vulnerable after last weekend's surprise 3-0 derby defeat by Everton.
With United riding high at the top of the table, defender Terry is well aware of how many observers are already viewing the 2006/07 campaign.
'I can see why people might be saying the title race is down to us and United if we can both win on Sunday,' he told The Sun.
'Two years ago, we beat United at home in our first game. It set the tone for the whole season early on.
'If you can win a big one early it can be a massive statement.'
Terry knows how much emphasis will therefore be put on Sunday's results.
'We know the other teams will be watching to see if we can go out there and play well against Liverpool and win,' he said.
'If we do the likes of United and the rest will have to stand up and pay attention to us and what we're about.
Terry nonetheless expects Liverpool to arrive at Stamford Bridge on a mission to prove their title bid is for real.
'They got a bit of a thumping in their local derby - which is a massive game for them,' he noted.
'I'm sure their players and fans will all be very upset - and they'll be travelling down here to win something.'
As for Chelsea, Terry acknowledges the time has come for them to prove they are champions both at home and abroad.
'We have to retain the Premiership, but it's getting the state where we have to win the Champions League,' he said, as the Blues set their sights on a third successive Premiership title - as well as a first taste of European glory.
'We can't keep saying `next year will be our time'.
'We've got the experience and we've got the players.
'It's going to be a tough (Champions League) group, never mind a tough competition, but we're desperate to win this trophy.
'It's important to keep doing well in the league; it's important to retain the title.
'It will always be our bread and butter and it's important to maintain the league form and then carry it through into the Champions League.'