Stamford Bridge flooded by intent
It is not often that a team win their domestic league 18 points clear of their second-placed rival. It is rarer still that they do so by winning a staggering 26 of their first 27 matches and staying on top for 37 of the 38 rounds of matches. It is practically unheard of that the same team not be counted on to repeat the feat of at least retaining their crown in the coming season.
Nevertheless, that is the position Liverpool find themselves in.
Although they had wrapped a maiden Premier League crown with almost a quarter of the season to go and marked their first league title in 30 years in 2019/20, the Reds have been overshadowed by Manchester City as the bookmakers' favourite.
That is mainly attributed to a string of below-par performances after the coronavirus enforced break that saw them exit the Champions League in the round of 16 after losing both legs to Atletico Madrid. But a lot of it also has to do with the manner in which Liverpool surged to the title. It is unfathomable that Juergen Klopp's men can repeat the dominance they had at the start of last season, even if they arguably have the most rested players following the extremely short pre-season.
There would be little room for debate about legitimacy had the already-impressive Citizens managed to sign a particular Argentine during the transfer window, but Pep Guardiola's side has an embarrassment of riches. He and his players will be eager to make up for 'only' winning the FA Cup last year.
Yet, both of these teams will be acutely aware of the emergence of a third contender. In just one season, Chelsea have rubbished the notions that they would be just another vassal to the duopoly and Frank Lampard's rebellion at Stamford Bridgnow in full swing.
When Lampard took over at Stamford Bridge, he had to steer the Blues in a direction that they had not gone down in years. A transfer ban had been hanging overhead that disabled them from doing any business and, following a 4-0 loss to Manchester United on the opening matchday, many wrote off their season.
However, Lampard worked diligently and the first proof of his 150-plus IQ came when he decided to give Tammy Abraham a chance. The 22-year-old striker netted 15 times in the league and finished as the team's top-scorer. When things splintered, Christian Pulisic, brought in during the January window, reinvigorated them. The American netted nine times as Chelsea finished fourth.
To that batch of youngsters, including Pulisic, Abraham, Mason Mount and Calum Hudson Odoi, Chelsea paid 53 million euros to add 24-year-old German striker Timo Werner, who decided after 95 goals in 159 appearances that it was time to move away from RB Leipzig. A further 100 million euros were spent on Kai Havertz, an attacking midfielder who stands at 6-feet 2-inches and has the intelligence to play across midfield without his game suffering.
Hakim Ziyech will be more than happy with his decision to leave Ajax after pledging to make the move to London last January.
A blend of youth and experience was also added at the heart of defence in the form of 21-year-old Malang Sarr and 35-year-old Thiago Silva. Fullback Ben Chillwell, signed from Leicester City, adds to the backline.
No team has improved as significantly, if at all. Chelsea's closest rivals last season, Manchester United who pipped them to third, have added only Donnie van de Beek, a player that they hope will harmonise the midfield and free Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.
Liverpool have only added Kostas Tsimikas, while Manchester City picked up midfielder Ferran Torres and defender Nathan Ake.
These moves belie the state of the uncertainty that prevails in the world when it comes to making investments following the coronavirus pandemic. But in uncertain times, Chelsea have moved with certainty. They wrapped up their deals quickly, now the only price left to pay is that of expectation.