It’s already been 29 long years since Liverpool last won the top flight title in England. So long, in fact, that the Premier League was still two years away from its inception.
For a club of their stature, that’s a stat which has haunted them for almost three decades and, despite some epic European nights in the meantime, it’s the one trophy that everyone connected with the Reds wants to win.
Forget the fact that Manchester United have overhauled them as the most successful club in English football since that last title. Forget too the Steven Gerrard slip against Chelsea, which undoubtedly cost them the title not so long ago.
For the last year and a half, although they still don’t have the title in their pocket, they’ve been the most consistent side in the country.
It’s frightening to see them in full flight and the quality that they have in all areas has to make them one of the most feared teams on the continent again.
Virgil Van Dijk is a masterful centre-back but in Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Anderson, Jurgen Klopp possesses arguably the world’s best full-backs, stationed either side of the Dutch colossus.
In Alisson Becker, they have a custodian who deserves to sit at the top table alongside the likes of Ederson, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Jan Oblak and Manuel Neuer.
Liverpool’s midfield are hard-working and industrious and everything that’s needed for a team challenging for the championship. They provide a mix of guile and steel that allows their incredible front three to flourish.
As a unit, there’s simply no one to touch Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane when all three are on song. Not even Messi, Suarez and Greizmann. Barcelona might have the big names, but Liverpool’s attacking togetherness raises them to the top of the tree.
With all of that in mind, one might suspect that Klopp’s swashbucklers would be nailed on favourites for the title now? After dismissing Manchester City at Anfield, they’re certainly in the box seat being eight points ahead. However, we’re only 12 games into the season.
City, because of a succession of injuries to crucial players, don’t seem to have the menace about them that we’ve seen over the last couple of campaigns, but when those players are back, that could all change.
Prior to the international break, the set of results that saw City drop to fourth also saw Chelsea and Leicester into second and third and, given that the pressure is on neither of those, it could well be the Londoners or the Midlanders that give Klopp his biggest headache.
Of course, with 26 games still to play, there’s an awful lot of points at stake, and the biggest question that will be asked of Liverpool is whether they can continue playing at the incredibly high level they have since the start of last season, to the end of this one.
Only one loss in the league, to Man City, in all that time is an incredible run of consistency but will count for nothing if Liverpool aren’t in the shake up in May 2020, the 30th anniversary of their last title triumph.
In football, it’s all about timing. We saw it with Newcastle back in the 90s, as they soared ahead. Slowly but surely, Manchester United reeled them in, and caught them at the death.
Perhaps Liverpool have last season’s disappointment and experience to lean on in that regard, though quite how trying to retain their Champions League will impact on their Premier League aspirations is anyone’s guess at this point.
So, are Liverpool finally on the cusp of the EPL title?
Only a fool would write them off now, it really is theirs to lose, but they have to learn lessons from the past. From being the only team top at Christmas to go on and lose out. From being 10 points clear to go on and lose out.
Lightning can’t strike again surely, and with Klopp at the helm you suspect it won’t. The charisma and man-management skills that he brings to the top job means that any title win is as much his as the players.
Look at the way he has united a city, brought together a special group of players and taken them from also rans into world beaters in five years.
It’s his time. It’s their time. It’s time.