By Joe Harker
Liverpool have won the Premier League with seven games to go after Manchester City failed to avoid defeat against Chelsea, making any attempts at a successful title defence mathematically impossible.
Nobody was really expecting Jurgen Klopp's side to come out of the lockdown in any danger of surrendering top spot in the title race, they were on 82 points before the pandemic-enforced break while the next closest team had a tally of 57.
It's Liverpool's first league title in 30 years and their first ever Premier League title, while the club has the potential to gain the highest points total ever seen in the competition.
This is a side which in the last three seasons has reached the Champions League final, hit a total of 97 points in the Premier League which would have been enough to win it in all but two seasons and now they've gone and won it.
After winning a competition the responsibility shifts to defending the trophy. Liverpool are no longer the club aiming to overtake Man City, now they'll be the club in pole position against whom all the prospective title challengers measure themselves against.
Can Liverpool turn their dominance of this season into more Premier League titles?
When a club wins the league with more than 20 points between themselves and the next closest side it's an indication of just how much better they have been than everyone else.
Liverpool have plenty of quality on the pitch and are well versed with how their manager wants them to play.
Where other teams hoping to challenge for the title have glaring issues they need to solve or a more general malaise where things just aren't working right, Liverpool have got on with the business of showing everyone just how good they are.
If you want to catch them you have to be like them, a team with pretty much no glaring issues and everything moving in the right direction.
Since he was appointed as manager on Merseyside in 2015, Jurgen Klopp has been steadily building this team, keeping a handful of players from the Brendan Rodgers era but overhauling practically every area on the pitch.
Liverpool's Premier League title is as much a testament to Klopp's ability to build a team as it is his talent for coaching one. Over the course of five years he has created a new squad with strength and depth in every area.
It's actually quite difficult to see how the club can drastically improve, and perhaps the bigger challenge is keeping such a successful squad together so they can go on to enjoy several years of dominance. If Liverpool can keep hold of their players then the next title is theirs to lose.
The Counter Claim:
It should be remembered that we were saying these things about Pep Guardiola's Man City team just two years ago as they hit a record high of 100 points and looked set to dominate English football for the forseeable future.
Liverpool finished that season in fourth place with 75 points and defeated by Real Madrid in the Champions League final, but they made improvements and rose to the challenge City posed to the rest of the league.
In 2018 the message was clear, if you wanted to challenge for the league title you had to get on City's level. Liverpool rose to that challenge, finishing just one point behind Guardiola's side last season, then surpassed a side tipped to dominate domestic football.
This season City failed to clear the high bar they themselves set as the new standard, and have suffered as a result. Liverpool should be wary that other clubs fancying themselves as title challengers will attempt to raise their game and take advantage of any lapses.
City still have a very strong squad which can't be counted out after two excellent seasons and one relatively disappointing one, while Chelsea and Manchester United have been identifying transfer targets to get them from top four challengers to title contenders.
Liverpool's strength demands challengers raise their game just as Klopp's men did in the face of City's record breaking season, they will have to maintain their high level in the face of clubs improving as a response to their success.
Klopp's team have set a number of Premier League records this season, including the best ever start, the most points won over a 38 game period and the biggest lead at the top of the league. This is also the earliest a team has won the title in terms of games played.
They could still set even more records, including the most wins in a season, the largest margin of victory and the highest tally of points.