You can lose the title in the first quarter of the season, but you can't win it. Or at least that's what we Liverpool fans have been telling ourselves for the last 18 years.
Bliss is leading the Premier League table in late May. Hope is being at the top in January. Delusion is thinking No. 1 means anything in October.
The truth is it's still far too early to say with much conviction that this will or could be the season where Liverpool slays that increasingly heavy albatross around its neck and delivers the club's long-suffering fans the title they so fervently covet.
One loss in the league in the first quarter would represent a sort of giddy, almost incomprehensible, record for the likes of Wigan, West Brom or poor old Spurs. For Liverpool, it's good but not great, exciting but not reason to get TOO excited.
Through the first quarter of the season, Liverpool has played some reasonable football without quite hitting the consistent heights of a stylish side like Arsenal, and has dominated teams without quite looking as ruthless as, say, Chelsea at its recent peak.
There have been genuine signs that this is a team that COULD challenge Chelsea and Manchester United for the title, but probably not enough evidence of a convincing push for a 19th title.
How Liverpool's season has unfolded so far:
High point: Beating Chelsea 1-0, becoming the first side to win at Stamford Bridge in 86 games.
Low point: The 2-1 loss to Tottenham. But somehow doesn't feel so bad because Spurs' recovery under Harry Redknapp was always going to be a great story.
Stud: Steven Gerrard. Where he goes, Liverpool will follow. Though by the end of the season, Fernando Torres' goals will probably get most of the credit.
Honourable mention: Jamie Carragher. Nothing fancy, as usual, but no defender is more important to his team.
Dud: Robbie Keane. Still doing nothing to inspire confidence in front of goal.
Honourable mention: Andrea Dossena. Though he might get better.
Prognosis: The optimistic Liverpool fan points to the return of Torres, the inspiration of Gerrard and, well, sheer hope and sees every chance of a title in May. The cynic worries the side's depth will be exposed, especially if Torres spends more time on the sidelines. Luck plus swags of Torres goals equals the title.
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