If you check the latest odds on the Premier League from Betfair, you’ll find Liverpool the overwhelming favourites for the title this season. Not a massive shock as they ran Manchester City close last year and already find themselves 14 points ahead of their rivals, who sit in third. But this season has brought a number of surprises at both ends of the table. As we gear up for the festive season and the winter break, let’s take a look at the biggest shocks so far.

1. Liverpool runaway leaders

While it’s no surprise that Liverpool are where they are in the table, their dominance so far has been incredible to watch. 16 matches played and just two points dropped in a 1-1 draw away to Manchester United, Jürgen Klopp’s side find themselves eight points ahead of Leicester City in second. Slightly more surprising is that no other team is challenging for the title. Pep Guardiola’s City have lost four Premier League matches, while Chelsea in fourth have lost five. The ‘big five’ is in disarray with North London clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal in seventh and ninth respectively. You can’t see beyond Liverpool at the moment and if they carry on their rich vein of form, the title could be won as early as April.

2. Sheffield United pick of Premier League new boys

Pre-season, nobody would have expected Sheffield United to do as well as they have – in fact, they were amongst the bookies’ favourites for relegation. Aston Villa spent big in the transfer window and it appears they are the Fulham of this campaign, currently sitting precariously above the drop zone with a superior goal difference to Southampton.

Blades’ boss Chris Wilder has had plenty of experience and success in the lower divisions, winning the Conference play-offs with Oxford United, as well as the League Two title with Northampton Town. He was the man to guide Sheffield United from League One to the Premier League in three seasons and they are currently eighth, level on points with Arsenal.

3. Watford’s managerial merry-go-round

After an 11th-place finish and runners-up medal in the FA Cup last season, it’s fair to say this term has not gone to plan for Watford. The Hornets sit rock bottom of the Premier League, six points from safety, having won one match all season. Failing to win any of their first four games, Javi Gracia was sacked and replaced with former boss Quique Sánchez Flores.

After coming from two goals down at home to Arsenal, the Hornets secured a point, but followed that up with an 8-0 loss to Manchester City. With just one win from 10 matches, the Spaniard was dismissed. Nigel Pearson has since taken charge, teaming up with his old assistant at Leicester, Craig Shakespeare.

4. Chelsea’s kids are alright

Rocked by the news that they would be unable to make any signings in the close season, Frank Lampard returned to Stamford Bridge with a challenge on his hands. Having guided a young Derby County side to the Championship play-off final, it appears he has worked his magic again with his Chelsea youngsters.

Tammy Abraham, fresh from a successful season-long loan spell at Aston Villa last campaign is thriving in the top flight and has continued his goalscoring form, bagging 11 goals so far. With their ban now lifted and Roman Abramovich keen to splash the cash, it will be interesting to see if Lampard brings anyone in, because as the adage goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

5. Wolverhampton Wanderers juggling campaigns well

It’s going to be a long old season for Nuno Espírito Santo’s side but it’s so far so good for the Midlands club. Wolves sit sixth in the Premier League table and it could so easily be higher, but for dropped points. They are the league’s draw specialists, having drawn nine of their 16 games so far and their inferior goal difference keeps them from automatic qualification to the Europa League.

With a game to spare, Wolves have qualified for the knockout stage of Europe’s second-tier competition, having won three and drawn one of their five games. They were knocked out in the League Cup round of 16, but still contest the FA Cup, facing Manchester United next month. The pressure will continue into the New Year and Santo will need to look to rotate his side before fatigue sets in.