Common belief suggests that leading the Premier League when heading into the Christmas schedule means also being at the top of the table at the end of the season. Generally, in recent seasons, it’s been true, except for one time. Liverpool, the current leaders, were ahead five seasons ago, but eventually ended up behind Manchester United.
Liverpool don’t even hold the most solid of leads right now. They’re only ahead thanks to goal difference, mostly due to Luis Suarez running rampant over the last few weeks, scoring 10 goals in December. There are also very few people who’d consider them as the best team in the league – Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City have more talent and a deeper squad. When trying to look at this logically, it’s not going to be a surprise if the Reds don’t see this through.
The 2008-2009 season was a special one for Liverpool, who have rarely found themselves involved in the title race, usually dropping out quite early since the inaugural Premier League season. That year they lost only twice in the league – Tottenham and Middlesbrough, but despite winning 10 out of their final 11 matches and going undefeated against the top 4 that season (four wins, two draws), a stretch of only five wins in 14 matches between November and February, which included five home draws against the likes of Fulham, West Ham, Everton, Hull City and Manchester City allowed Manchester United to take the lead that season.
This year? They haven’t been through all of their big tests yet – away matches against Chelsea and Manchester City. It does promise mostly playing at home against the big clubs except for Manchester United in the 2014 half of the season, but it might suggest Liverpool aren’t as good as their record so far points to. There’s also the concept of needing to pick up the points against the small clubs that’s more important, and Liverpool have been doing quite well in that aspect so far.