In the end, it was neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Romelu Lukaku who were the match winners, even though both came off the bench at Stamford Bridge with what appeared to be a narrative already written.
Instead, Chelsea ended 1-1 with Manchester United, although Aaron Wan-Bissaka will kick himself even harder after kicking Thiago Silva in the box to give the hosts an easy way back into the game.
Previously, Man City had beaten West Ham United at Etihad Stadium despite Manuel Lanzini’s last-minute miracle goal, with Pep Guardiola’s side confidently taking the three points against David Moyes’ men.
After Liverpool beat Southampton 4-0 on Saturday it means the table goes like this:
- Chelsea – 30 Punkte
- Man City – 29 Punkte
- Liverpool – 28 Punkte
The best time to judge how a title race is developing, as it is often called, is on Christmas Day. Then who is top? They are said to be most likely there by the end of the campaign.
This isn’t a given, but the point is simple: there are enough games (roughly half of the 38 on the calendar) at this point to separate contenders from contenders.
However, this season it doesn’t feel like we have to wait that long.
Despite losing points to Manchester United at home, Chelsea are spot on with just five league goals.
Liverpool have let in 11 but score a free goal at the other end and at this point they have eight more goals on the board than anyone else – and three of the four top scorers in the Premier League.
Man City are still able to put together a string of straight wins and are in second place between Chelsea and Liverpool.
“We will challenge them again next year,” said Jürgen Klopp in April when the reigning champion had to give up his title. And he was right.
Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City will all be on top and there is still a lot to play.
But what Liverpool and Klopp know – and have known all along – is that there will be two more challengers for the Premier League title this season.
Liverpool can only take care of themselves but the title race is over the distance.