After three long and difficult months, football fans across the world can look forward to Premier League football once more.
The English top-flight is set to restart on June 17 and the remaining 92 fixtures will be crammed into just six weeks.
It is a nine – or for some ten – game scramble, and a slow start could be hugely damaging for any side as they try to adjust to the abnormal conditions.
There is plenty at stake for every club, so we have looked at what each Premier League side has to lose during the remainder of the 2019/20 season.
Liverpool’s form in the top flight over the past 18 months is truly remarkable: Jurgen Klopp’s side have taken 108 points from the last 114 available.
It’s why they will win a first Premier League title when the campaign resumes. The problem is what happens next.
Liverpool could play as many as eight games with top spot wrapped up. And with little at stake and empty stadiums, the Reds could understandably coast until the campaign’s conclusion and results may suffer.
If that happens, the momentum built up over the past year and a half could be lost. Klopp will want to make sure that doesn’t happen.
City are all but set to finish second.
But there remains a situation outside of Pep Guardiola and his players’ control, one that could have lasting effects on the coaching staff and squad.
This week Manchester City’s legal team presented their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a two-year ban from European competitions and €30m fine.
City were hit with the punishment by UEFA in February for ‘serious breaches’ of Financial Fair Play regulations but have always maintained their innocence.
A verdict is expected in July and if the sanctions are upheld, not only will City be ruled out of the Champions League for two years – or potentially one if UEFA compromise – but several star players could look to move.
Brendan Rodgers has done an excellent job at the King Power Stadium and the Foxes are in a strong position to secure a Champions League spot.
What will be of concern, however, is prior to football’s suspension, Leicester had won only two of their previous eight Premier League games.
The break should have given Rodgers’ side an opportunity to recharge and arrest that slump. But if their form doesn’t improve and they were to slip out of the top four, then that becomes a major issue.
Not just because of the finances on offer at European football’s top table. But also with several Leicester players attracting interest from the Premier League’s traditional top six.
If Champions League football wasn’t on offer at the King Power the club would find it far harder to keep their young, exciting squad intact.
The final nine matches of the Premier League season are going to be very important for Frank Lampard.
As things stand, there is plenty of optimism at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are on course to qualify for the Champions league, Hakim Ziyech will arrive in the summer from Ajax and is expected to be joined by Timo Werner.
However, Chelsea are only five points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United and if they were to slip out of the top four and finish below Ole Gunnar Solskjaer side, serious questions will be asked of Lampard and his young side.
They want to be in Europe’s premier club competition next season; Roman Abramovich demands it.
Earlier in the season, Manchester United fans were told by their club that no matter the results or performances, they were going to stick with Solskjaer.
It was all part of a long-term project, one that started to pay off prior to football’s suspension; United were unbeaten in their last eleven outings in all competitions and January recruit Bruno Fernandes had sparkled.
When the top flight resumes, Solskjaer will also be able to call on the previously injured Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba. The pressure will be very much on.
So if United do miss out on the top four, questions will once more be asked of the long-term project.
The ten-year plan laid out by Wolves executive chairman Jeff Shi in 2018 is very much ahead of schedule.
After clinching promotion from the Championship in 2017/18, Wanderers’ first campaign in the top flight resulted in an impressive seventh-place finish which secured Europa League football.
This term they are on course to better that. Wolves are currently sixth in the Premier League, just five points off the Champions League places. The club will want to ensure that upward momentum is maintained, that there is constant improvement.
It’s why a strong end to the campaign is important for Wolves. They don’t want to start going backwards.
Their opening three matches – against sides in the bottom five – will make or break the remainder of their season.