On Friday Liverpool ensured their place on top of the PL table at Christmas and extended their unbeaten run to 18 Premier League games at the Molineux Stadium when they beat Wolverhampton 2 - 0.
Every year, while other leagues take a winter break, the English league cranks up the fixture volume and the 2018-2019 season is no different. The teams in the PL are getting ready to play three games in the space of eight days, which means that Christmas Day is just another day to train for the next game. As James Milner explained this past Sunday:
The most important game is your next game, you can only concentrate on one at a time. I think that’s what this group’s been very good at doing this year. No matter what challenges have been in front, whether it’s been Champions League or others or Premier League, home games, away games within a couple of days of each other, the team’s done really well in concentrating on the game that’s in front of them, and that’s something you especially have to do at Christmas.
Christmas is also the time of year when the Premier League table comes under scrutiny among supporters and pundits alike and that is because the spot your team holds on the 25th of December tends to be a good indicator of where they will finish at the end of the season. Further to that, when you take a closer look at the seasons from 2000-01 until 2017-18, you will find that in 12 of those 18 seasons, the team who topped the table on Christmas Day have subsequently gone on to win the League in that season. The teams who accomplished that are:
Manchester United – four times (2000-01; 2006-07; 2010-11; 2012-13)
Leceister City – one time (2015-16)
Chelsea – five times (2004-05; 2005-06; 2009-10; 2014-15; 2016-17)
Manchester City – twice (2011-12; 2017-2018)
However, Arsenal, Newcastle and Liverpool (twice between 2000 – 2018) have never managed to maintain their place when they were top of the table at Christmas, and Manchester United have annoyingly only felt that sting once.
What a difference a year makes
Last season, we found ourselves in fourth place on 38 points after having played 19 games (Wins: 9 Draws: 8 Losses: 2 and a Goal Difference of +18), while Manchester City were in first place and running away with the League on 55 points (Wins: 18 Draws: 1 Losses: 0 and a Goal Difference of +48). Manchester United were in second on 42 points and Chelsea in third on 39 points.
On Friday, the Reds were in the lead by one point but after Manchester City succumbed to defeat in their home fixture against Crystal Palace the next day, Liverpool are now four points clear.
The current PL table looks like this:
Liverpool take on Newcastle on Boxing Day on Wednesday 26 December 2018, followed by Arsenal on Saturday 29 December 2018 with both fixtures at Anfield. Then, on Thursday 3 January 2019, the Reds travel to the Etihad to take on the defending champions, Manchester City in what could very well be a title deciding fixture. (Remember to check your local listings for time and availability and back here closer to the match days for all the team news).
The most successful teams in the PL have always had the strongest defense in the league and this season Liverpool can finally boast that. The Reds may have been unlucky in the past but this season is different. They are now the only team to remain undefeated after 18 PL games and the roles that were lacking in the first team have all been filled. Jürgen Klopp said that he would like for the club to lift a trophy by the end of his first three years and with everything falling into place in a serendipitous way thus far, who or what’s to say that it can’t happen? By now we have all been changed from doubters to believers and in the spirit of Christmas we should hold steadfast in that belief… After all,
We are Liverpool, tra la la la… We’re the best football team in the world!