And there is little doubt that some in Merseyside will continue to wonder from now until the last weekend in May, and possibly beyond, whether Jurgen Klopp’s men might well have put the title to bed with victory over Manchester City at the Etihad on January 3.
However, attempts to explain away such a turnaround as Liverpool ‘bottling it’ are as misleading as they are disrespectful.
Yes, City have managed to get the better of 2019 so far but consider the way the two have pulled clear of the pack.
On January 1 Liverpool led City by seven points with two back to Spurs in third. Ahead of this weekend’s limited Premier League programme one point separates the top two with 12 points back to Spurs in third.
If evidence were needed this is battle between unblinking heavyweights still has life in it, then that provides it.
What has happened then?
City have undoubtedly hit the afterburners in respect of goals scored. In five out of their nine Premier League games since the win over Liverpool they have scored three or more and in the Cup competitions they have been on fire both domestically and in Europe hitting seven twice and nine once.
While Liverpool have have scored three or more in four of their nine since, they have failed to score twice as their front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino hit a bit of a sticky patch in late January and early February.
Signs are that they seem to be back in form now but stalemates against Everton and Manchester United and 1-1 draws against Leicester City, West Ham stole momentum.
Both teams have suffered their share of injuries but City’s greater depth off the bench in midfield appears to have helped.
On that point it is understandable if Pep Guardiola is a little concerned about Ilkay Gundogan not wishing to renew his deal (which runs out in 2020) given how well he has slotted in to Fernandinho’s shoes at the base of midfield.
On the whole, City’s interchangeable personnel has seemed a little more well oiled than Liverpool’s with every player able to replicate the attacking 4-3-3 system.
At Anfield Fabinho has been excellent as a Jordan Henderson replacement (or makeshift centre half) but Naby Keita has been in and out and Xherdan Shaqiri alters the way Liverpool play a little too much for comfort.
The latter is a terrific impact sub but not a starter that Klopp appears happy to name in the XI.
Up front City’s Gabriel Jesus fits the Aguero role as well whereas at Liverpool Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi change the method.
City certainly seem well-grooved and ominously for Liverpool another example of third season syndrome for their manager.
In his third year in charge at Bayern Munich in Germany following his breakthrough at Barcelona, the Bundesliga outfit played some of the best football seen in Europe since… er, Guardiola’s time at the Nou Camp.
City have suffered one defeat in 17 since beating Liverpool, picked up the Carabao Cup and progressed with plan in the Champions League (as have Liverpool).
With just three extra games in their schedule if they progress to the FA Cup Final than Liverpool, relative tiredness should not now come into it.
Much will depend on how much energy the pair have to expend in the Champions League but as Klopp has said on a couple of occasions now, shaking off Liverpool will not be easy.