Last weekend, Liverpool lost 3-0 to Watford and thus will not make history as the new "Invincibles." That said, they will still be crowned Premier League champions, with only the timing and margin in doubt at this point. (The earliest Liverpool could win it? We've got all the information here.)
Despite their general excellence this season, a nagging question remains: Are Liverpool pulverising a substandard edition of the Premier League in 2019-20?
There is a temptation to say the Vicarage Road result is proof of the depth of talent in England's top flight. How else could a team in the relegation places defeat the runaway league leaders? Norwich City's 3-2 win over Manchester City back in September also underlines how unexpected results like that can happen in England. It's all good for the narrative, but those results are perhaps misleading about the general quality of the division.
Outside of Liverpool, all the other top teams are on considerably fewer points than they had at this stage last year. In Arsenal's case, they are 16 points worse off -- in 10th place! -- as the team continues to learn the ways of new manager Mikel Arteta.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is a media darling and his young team were excellent in knocking out Liverpool in the FA Cup. But the fans love of club legend Lampard and his admittedly attractive team disguises the fact that they are producing fAr fewer points than the unpopular Mauricio Sarri last season , when Chelsea were third and won the Europa League.
Likewise, Tottenham have struggled. Injuries to key men -- Hugo Lloris, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son among them -- have obviously hit hard, but Jose Mourinho's team are nowhere near as good as Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs, who finished fourth and also reached the Champions League final in 2018-19.
Manchester United look a better team for the addition of the inventive Bruno Fernandes, who joined in the January transfer window, but they are a thousand miles from being credible title contenders. Even Manchester City, champions in each of the past two seasons and good enough to win away at Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16 first leg, have developed fault lines thanks to a wobbly defense, some key injuries and a lack of composure that leads to a complacent 90 minutes (and bad results) too often for Pep Guardiola's liking.
In all, it is a fair bet that the team finishing fourth this season will do so with a record low points total. (Of course, if Manchester City fail to have their two-year UEFA ban overturned, fifth place will also see a team qualify for next season's Champions League.)
Meanwhile, Sheffield United, tipped by many to go straight back down to the Championship, are actually challenging to qualify for Europe. Wolves, seventh last season, are threatening to make the top four after their recent win at Spurs. Burnley, admirably tenacious, might be surprised to find themselves in ninth, while Leicester City, despite a drop in form since Christmas, continue to remain comfortable in third.
Are those all signs that this is perhaps a less demanding Premier League than several previous ones, even if the entertainment value remains high? Eleven of the 20 teams have a negative goal difference. In such a landscape, a manically motivated Liverpool, hungry to end their 30-year title drought, have been undisputed kings.
Jurgen Klopp's men will rightly be crowned champions and perhaps even top City's record of 100 points. There's no denying they are up there with the best teams of the Premier League era, and considering their 30-year wait, they will not care that they are about to win a less than vintage edition. Not one bit.