Luis Suarez celebrates another goal.

Luis Suarez celebrates another goal. Photo: Reuters

Jose Mourinho calls it an ''unbelievable championship''. The great democracy of the 2013-2014 Premier League title race approaches the midway point with Liverpool fractionally in front and Manchester United still within striking range from eighth position.

Squeezed between Liverpool's rise and United's fall are a mass of dreams for the eight clubs who will lace up on Boxing Day with some hope of finishing top in May, however faint.

''It is a unique situation, an unbelievable championship because we are all there,'' says Mourinho, whose Chelsea side is only two points behind Liverpool and Arsenal and have returned to its macho past.

Chelsea and Manchester United have won all bar one of the last nine Premier League titles. The lone interjection came in 2012 from Manchester City, at a cost of perhaps £1 billion to their absentee owner, Sheikh Mansour. City's asset - and burden - is that it sports the deepest and most impressive squad of all the contenders and therefore under the most pressure to prevail.

Sumptuous displays against United and Arsenal this season contrast with a poor away record of four defeats and one clean sheet in nine. If quality is the real determinant, City will win the league this year if its players decide to.

In other words, Manuel Pellegrini's side will regain the crown it lost to United in 2013 if the players display the resolve they showed from January to May 2012, and its manager makes the right calls in his rookie English season.

City's rivals will hope Pellegrini makes new-boy errors. They will bank on him being discombobulated by the sheer intensity of a Premier League run-in. And this one could be more melodramatic than ever if Tottenham improves under Tim Sherwood, Everton and Newcastle can hold their ground, United regains its focus for David Moyes and Arsenal can overcome the signs of fatigue apparent in a 6-3 loss to City.

At Stamford Bridge, Mourinho has drawn a line under annoying defeats caused (he will say) by too much creativity and not enough old-school Chelsea solidity. ''OK, we don't go to Christmas as leaders, but we go with evolution,'' he said at Arsenal on Monday night.

''Now, we are there. Manchester United and Tottenham are not in this top four but they should be. We are completely alive, especially if you compare it with this point last season where Chelsea were 11 points behind.''

The big historical picture is fascinating. Over the past 10 years England's top division has come to look like a spending league, in which success correlates to extravagance. But Everton, Liverpool and Newcastle have all made strides on budgets substantially smaller than those of Chelsea, City, United and Arsenal, who abandoned parsimony with the Mesut Ozil transfer, not to mention Spurs, who splurged the Gareth Bale windfall on seven players, who are yet to compensate for his absence.

In a winter when the Premier League was unable to rule out the possibility of match fixing, no outside hand could shape this title race. But hope overflows for more than two or three contenders, which feels like a Christmas gift. Of the eight, Newcastle is the ''rags'' at 500-1 and City the favourites. A season to be thankful.