When it comes to assessing the legitimacy of a title challenge, a comprehensive home victory over Watford isn't necessarily the measurement of success. Regardless of the relative stylishness of the win, teams in the traditional top six should expect, more often than not, to take three points from what is far from an established Premier League side. That said, Liverpool were nothing short of dashing on Sunday, and the manner of their 6-1 triumph over Walter Mazzarri, Troy Deeney, Etienne Capoue and co. has set hearts racing on Merseyside. It's become a dreadful cliche at this point, but we like to imagine that Liverpool supporters still occasionally whisper their fabled refrain: "Lads, this could actually be our year."
While their hammering of Watford might not substantiate such a claim in isolation, the way the game fits into the wider pattern of Liverpool results suggests there could be genuine cause for optimism this season. Having suffered dozens of false dawns over the past couple of decades, it's little wonder that Liverpool fans have had the fresh, warm piss ripped out of them for the disconnect between their title hopes and the cold, hard reality of their league finishes. Now, however, they find themselves top of the league after 11 games, and look well equipped to stay there. Their ambitions are founded on more than anticipated triumphs over sides in the bottom half of the table, which is more than could be said of some of the less illustrious Liverpool teams of recent times.
Not only have Liverpool avoided defeat on all but one occasion this season, they have also notched up wins against Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as a couple of respectable draws against Tottenham and Manchester United. Where previously they have been the weakest of the traditional top six, they are now fostering a near-impeccable record against their closest rivals, and putting in performances that sparkle brighter than Roberto Firmino's new teeth. Couple that with the showing they produced on Sunday, and the significance of the trend becomes apparent. Jurgen Klopp has got them beating the best sides in the Premier League and – barring a frustrating slip up against Burnley – bullying the teams towards the other end of the table. While their rivals struggle to perfect the formula, Liverpool seem to have all the right ingredients for winning the league.
While they are yet to show whether they can source those ingredients for the duration of the league season, the fixture list gives them as good a chance as any. Liverpool now face seven league games that, on current form, they will be expected to win, or at least navigate without defeat. Then comes a New Year's Eve clash with Manchester City at Anfield, where the Sky Blues haven't claimed victory since 2003. Win that and – stop sniggering at the back there – this could actually, seriously be Liverpool's year.