When the final whistle blew at Anfield on Sunday, January 19, it was met by two things: the familiar roar of support for yet another win but for the first time this season, Liverpool fans finally felt confident enough to burst into “We’re gonna win the league” as they moved 16 points clear.
They finally seem to believe what everyone else has been telling them, that May will probably see the return of the league title to Anfield for the first time in 30 years.
There is no doubt the relentless winning machine that Jurgen Klopp has created has the potential to be the greatest Premier League side ever – but how do they compare to some of the great Premier League teams of the past?
Manchester United 1998-99
At the start of the 1998-99 season Sir Alex Ferguson was just plain old Alex Ferguson but the achievements of his Manchester United team that season ended up with the proud Scotsman getting the royal seal of approval.
While their final points tally didn’t set the world alight or break records, they have to be included because of their so far unmatched ability to win the three biggest competitions in one season.
In the space of two-and-half-weeks they were crowned league champions, FA Cup winners and lastly and most dramatically, Champions League winners in a memorable final at the Camp Nou, Barcelona.
They won the league on the final day of the season when they came back from being a goal down to beat Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
They beat Arsenal to the title by just one-point thanks in a large to the point to the 18 goals scored by their Trinidadian striker Dwight Yorke.
Arsenal were also their opponents in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park which will live long in the memory thanks to Ryan Giggs scoring one of the best goals the competition has ever seen
Their other key men that season were Peter Schmiechel, Roy Keane and David Beckham.
When Wenger came to London from Japan in 1996, he could only have dreamt of building a team as good as his side of 2003-04
The “Invincibles” as they became known are the only team in the history of the Premier League to go unbeaten for an entire season racking up an impressive 90 points in the process – Chelsea were a distant second 11 points back
They still hold the record for the longest run of unbeaten games reaching 49 before they lost at Old Trafford in the following season.
Their resilience was proven time after time but most notably when they trailed Liverpool 2-1 at Highbury on April 8.
After half-time they quickly hit back scored three goals in 22 minutes and the game finished 4-2 with Thierry Henry scoring a hat-trick.
Henry won the Golden Boot with 30 goals and proved crucial throughout the season scooping the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) player of the year award as well.
Wenger’s team also contained the talents of Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Patrick Viera and the brick wall of Sol Campbell.
The public only had to wait a matter of weeks to see the birth of another great Premier League team in Chelsea’s side of 2004-05.
It was Chelsea’s first Premier League title and they raced to the prize in style.
Led by the enigmatic Jose Mourinho in his first season as a manager on English soil, they recorded a ground-breaking total of 95 points.
Their success was largely built on being strong at the back, conceding just 15 goals in the 38-match season, a record, that it is yet to be broken.
They lost only once all season, a surprise result away at Manchester City.
Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard provided most of the goals, but the defence led by a young John Terry was most impressive.
Claude Makelele played a crucial role in protecting his back four and Petr Cech was outstanding in goal.
Manchester United 2007-08
Sir Alex Fergusons second team on the list is his Manchester United side that won the title in 2007-08.
Led by a front three consisting of: Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez they were blistering on the counter-attack.
Gary Neville, who played in both this team and the treble-winning outfit, but he believes that this was a much more complete side.
It was Cristiano Ronaldo’s star that shown brightest that season, scoring 31 goals in just 34 games on his way to winning a second consecutive PFA player of the year award.
The defence was solid as well as a one of the Premier League’s greatest partnerships was coming into fruition – the link between Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic was crucial to their success.
They beat Chelsea to the title by two points before beating them on penalties in Moscow to win the Champions League and claim a second European title in nine years.
Manchester City 2017-18
Pep Guardiola, the most successful manager of recent times, came to England knowing that to conquer the Premier League would be his greatest achievement as a manager and in his second season.
He created arguably the greatest team the Premier League has ever seen.
The 2017-18 title race seemed to be over before it began such was City’s brilliance – the only question towards the end of the season was would they be the first team in Premier League history to bring up a century of points or not?
They won the title by a record-breaking 19 points leaving the rest of the league trailing in their wake.
They brought up their historical hundred with a last-minute goal in the last game of the season, queueing wild celebrations in the away end at Southampton.
They scored a staggering 106 goals and went on a record-breaking run of 18 wins in a row from August to December on their way to the title.
The quality of their attacking football had pundits purring with pleasure from the start – Kevin De Bruyne was at the heart of so many good things that season and was key in driving City to the title.
Three City legends were also pivotal to the success of this team, skipper Vincent Kompany, David Silva and their record-goal scorer Sergio Aguero.
New goalkeeper, Ederson, was also vital – he showed a wonderful passing ability and most importantly a talent for shot stopping.
In January it would seem slightly presumptuous to be talking about a new team joining this list, but this season’s Liverpool team are so good we can do just that.
At the time of writing, Liverpool have played 23 games and only dropped two points. This level of near-utter perfection has never been seen before.
There are three big barriers on Liverpool’s road to going invincible: A trip to Manchester City – the only place they lost last season and a game that if they stay unbeaten will match Arsenal’s run of 49 games; They visit Everton at Goodison Park on March 14 where it is possible they could wrap up the title; Arsenal will be desperate to keep their record of being the only club to go a whole season unbeaten when the face-off on May 2.
Since his arrival Virgil Van Dijk has exerted a calming influence on a Liverpool defence that was previously capable of some very dodgy moments.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has fast become one of Liverpool’s best assets the 21-year-old full back has become the first defender in Premier League history to assist more than 10 goals in consecutive seasons.
Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Alison have all been vitally important to Klopp’s Liverpool side through-out this campaign stepping up in the key moments.
It is impossible to tell which is the greatest side ever to win the Premier League title because they all played against differing levels of opposition.
If Liverpool manage to keep their current run going they will be dubbed “The Greatest Premier League team ever” by the media and it will be a hard case to argue against.
By Alex Brinton
Featured image credit: Piqsels