The old saying goes: The race to crown yourself Premier League champions is a marathon, not a sprint.
But that’s starting to look a little dated these days. The standards at the top end of English football are so high that teams have to run the entire season to ensure they accumulate as many points as possible.
What was once considered a decent point on the road would now surely be considered as two missing points.
The long soccer weekend makes each game seem more crucial too.
If your team plays on Saturday at lunchtime, or maybe even Friday night, its result can determine how you see the rest of the weekend games and if your team has gained or lost ground against its rivals. .
Take in the dramatic events of this week. In the past, Liverpool’s match with Crystal Palace and Manchester City’s trip to Chelsea would have taken place at the same time, leaving Jurgen Klopp and his players to celebrate their achievement at the end of the match rather than in a hotel.
Not that they cared too much, of course. But the weekly drama is heavily dictated by the whims of television companies’ programming.
Other than when they played each other, do you know how many times Liverpool and Manchester City started at the same time on the same day in the league this season?
Any ideas? Not? The answer is once.
Every two weeks of the game, the games were staggered, artificially increasing the importance.
Now that the search for the Reds is complete, it’s natural to look back and choose the key moments that made it possible.
A 38-game football season equals 3,420 minutes of football per team, and while Liverpool only needed 2,790 to get the job done, clearly parts of it were more important than others.
And perhaps the most vital 10 minutes occurred on the day the two title contenders played simultaneously: Saturday, November 2.
The fans among you may know where this is going, but first, a little context.
At the start of the day, Liverpool was the best with nine wins and a draw in its 10 matches. City was six points adrift, having unexpectedly lost to Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
It would be a key day, full of surprises.
For starters, the top two teams were falling behind at halftime, something Liverpool have only done three times this season. And with five minutes to play, City had equalized but the Reds were still losing.
In fact, this particular match saw Liverpool’s longest deficit in the Premier League season as they lost 66 minutes overall.
They were still behind when Kyle Walker gave City an 86-minute lead at his home in Southampton.
The league table ‘at stake’ showed the champions reaching three points from the Klopp team, with the two sides facing each other at Anfield the following Sunday.
As it was, Pep Guardiola could have reached the level at the top if they had won their next game.
But unfortunately for the Spaniard, the Reds scored twice: Pep and twice; It has been the defining image and the most shared meme of the season.
If you haven’t understood it yet, this is what happened.
Liverpool were at Villa Park, and late goals from Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane saw them snatch a win from the jaws of defeat. Klopp’s team maintained their six-point lead, then beat City in their next game to extend the gap to nine.
It has never been less than that in the 19 weeks of the game since then.
So while a campaign is made up of countless important moments, key saves, and life goals, it’s hard to argue against the period between approximately 4:40 p.m. and 4:50 p.m. on the first Saturday in November 2019 as the final 10 minutes of this unforgettable season.