This time 12 months ago the nation was wearily, queasily familiar with the exact nature of the personal relationships within the Chelsea dressing room, so presumably Fernando Torres knows what he is saying when he claims the camaraderie and professionalism of his new employers compares favourably with the "chaos" he left behind at Liverpool.
Anfield fans would appreciate a period of silence from their former favourite now. Torres made his point eloquently enough when he indicated he wanted to leave, yet he continues to disparage his previous club in public as if seeking to reassure himself that he made the right decision. "There are more personal relationships and jokes between the players at Chelsea than there were at Liverpool," Torres has said. "Everything was much more serious there. Here you don't have to prove you are a professional; it is assumed."
Torres has a talent for comedy if he can say this stuff with a straight face and not even mention the Chelsea dressing room being relaxed enough to permit the occasional air rifle, though his allegation that Liverpool have no sense of humour does not ring true. Scousers generally do and, while there may not be enough of them in the first team at the moment to play up to the regional stereotype, Liverpool always seem a happy squad to the journalists who work in the room next door and can hear the singing that accompanies a win.
Hurtful as his comments may be, at least Torres has a point of view and is not afraid to express it. In fact, he seems to be on a one-man crusade to promote plain speaking in football. "People aren't honest in the world of football," he said. "You can't say the truth or be clear with people. It's a business and nobody is anyone's friend."
These top players do lead sheltered lives. Try to think of another type of business that works differently, or any other walk of life apart from football where a man of 26 can complain that nobody is his friend. That is what the world is like, Fernando, and most people are not paid £170,000 a week to help them deal with it. Perhaps Torres is trying to assuage doubts about whether he joined the right team or when he may start scoring again, unless he simply watched Luis Suárez taking Manchester United to pieces last week and felt a pang at seeing himself so adequately replaced. "I knew I was an idol for the fans but it wasn't the same any more," he said, as if trying to convince himself. "Liverpool needed time. I don't have that."
Fair enough, though estimates of the amount of time Liverpool may need are falling with every performance under the only manager in the Premier League who looks happy in his work. The unmistakable Anfield resurgence has come too late to claim any of this season's domestic prizes but with a couple more signings over the summer and a permanent deal for their new/old manager – why delay the inevitable? – Liverpool could clearly be back among the contenders next time round.
Coupled with United's recent stumbles to let Arsenal climb back into the title race and give even Chelsea hope that all may not be lost, that raises an interesting question. What happens if United do not win their 19th title this season? Sir Alex Ferguson is bound to retire or step aside at some point in the nearest future and for a long time it has been supposed that his final ambition is to complete his perch-clearing operation by taking his side past Liverpool's 18 titles, a monumental achievement considering the score was 16-7 to Merseyside when he arrived in Manchester.
For most of the season United have appeared on course, even if they were taking a somewhat pedestrian route to the most glittering prize of all, but should they fall away again this year, what certainty is there of a 19th title next season or the season after that? By that stage Ferguson will be into his seventies and Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes will not be far behind him.
Suppose Liverpool were to win the 19th title. The possibility may appear remote, given that Anfield has not seen a table-topping finish in over 20 years, yet if United and Chelsea are not what they were, you would have to give Liverpool a chance. Even now you would back Dalglish's Liverpool against Manchester City.
Dalglish, of course, was the Liverpool manager when Ferguson came down from Aberdeen and, as his return has gone better than anyone could possibly have imagined, this already far-fetched story could still turn full circle. Put simply, if Fergie does not win the 19th title this year, he lets his oldest rival in with a chance of stealing his thunder. Just a chance, no more than that, but it is one more worry a 69-year-old does not need. Ferguson has even less time than Torres. He needs his players to put this season to bed.