Why history is with Liverpool in thrilling English Premier League title race

The English Premier League title race caught fire Thursday after ...

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 12:57 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2019 12:57 PM

The English Premier League title race caught fire Thursday after Manchester City beat Liverpool 2-1 to reduce the Reds' lead at the top of the table to four points.

Victory for Jurgen Klopp's men would have put the league leaders 10 points ahead of the defending champions and hot favorites to clinch the club's first league title for 29 years.

Continents and regions

England

Europe

Football (Soccer)

Liverpool

Manchester City FC

Northern Europe

Premier League

Sports and recreation

Sports organizations and teams

United Kingdom

Jurgen Klopp

Sports figures

But though the finishing line will now feel a long way off for Liverpool's players, and fans, there are plenty of reasons, specifically statistics, to suggest that this is the season the Merseyside club will win a first EPL title.

Visit cnn.com/motorsport for more news and videos

Stats and more stats

First, to the most startling statistic of all. To over a century of convention.

Only once has an English club reached the new year unbeaten and not won the top division -- Sheffield United in the 1899-1900 season -- and no team in Premier League history has been seven points clear on New Year's Day (as Liverpool was) and failed to win the title.

For Liverpool fans starting to feel hot under the collar after their team's first league loss of the season, there's more.

Liverpool's haul of 54 points is the club's best return at the turn of the year in any season -- and the third-best by any side in top-flight history. Indeed, Liverpool is the first team to win all seven EPL games in December, a congested month in English football.

The stars are aligned, it seems. Or are they?

READ: Man City beats Liverpool to reignite title race

In eight of the past 10 EPL seasons, the leader on December 25 has gone on to win the title. The exceptions being, yes, you guessed it, Liverpool in 2008-09 and 2013-14.

But Klopp's side is different to the coruscating team of 2013-14 which was led by the brilliant Luis Suarez. The Reds have already kept more clean sheets this season than they did in the entire campaign under Brendan Rodgers four years ago, when City ripped the crown from their grasp.

Indeed, in that swashbuckling 2013-14 season Liverpool had conceded 50 goals -- just 10 goals have been shipped so far in this more measured campaign.

On paper, Liverpool has a favorable fixture list in January -- Brighton, Crystal Palace and Leicester -- but the Reds have lost 10 of 25 matches in all competitions under Klopp in the first month of the year which, according to Opta, makes up 29% of the German's defeats as Liverpool boss. Ominous?

READ: Holding Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia 'disgusting'

Statistics aren't everything, however. Though a first EPL defeat of the season was a setback, Liverpool wasn't outplayed by City. It was a tight contest between the two best teams in the country. Fine margins decided the match. In the first half it's estimated Liverpool were just 11.7 millimeters from taking the lead following a Sadio Mane shot that was cleared off the line.

As Klopp reflected post-match: "We were unlucky in our finishing moments. Unluckier than City I would say. [Leroy] Sane scores [off the post] and the situation with Sadio [Mane] when he hit the post [and misses].

"It was not our or City's best game, because we both made it difficult for the other team. I have already said to the boys this is OK. We lost it but it will happen. It is not nice but it is not the biggest problem."

Liverpool has to start winning again immediately (the next league fixture is away at Brighton on January 12), but so does City and third-placed Tottenham.

After victory at the Etihad Stadium, City boss Pep Guardiola told reporters: "Everything is open. Now it is tight again. Now we can rest and relax. I don't remember a league so tough, there are so many huge contenders fighting for the title. Every game is a final."

It would be unprecedented for Liverpool not to win the league from such a position of strength. For the optimistic neutral at least, whatever happens from now until May in the most intriguing EPL title race in years, the history books will be rewritten.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 40767

Reported Deaths: 1533
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13054790
Ramsey5127233
Dakota257094
Stearns248119
Anoka2360111
Nobles16766
Olmsted123518
Washington122840
Mower9742
Rice8738
Scott8234
Clay60138
Kandiyohi5871
Blue Earth5442
Wright5165
Carver4421
Todd4022
Sherburne3445
Lyon3322
Freeborn3090
Watonwan2450
Steele2431
Benton2353
St. Louis21816
Nicollet19112
Martin1725
Cottonwood1380
Goodhue1388
Winona13615
Le Sueur1191
Pine1110
Crow Wing11012
Chisago1051
Otter Tail1041
McLeod990
Dodge970
Carlton890
Polk863
Unassigned8638
Isanti800
Chippewa791
Waseca750
Douglas690
Itasca6912
Murray680
Pipestone674
Meeker621
Morrison621
Faribault610
Becker570
Jackson570
Sibley572
Pennington530
Beltrami430
Brown432
Renville372
Mille Lacs362
Wabasha350
Fillmore310
Rock310
Yellow Medicine310
Houston290
Swift291
Grant240
Norman210
Redwood210
Roseau210
Wilkin213
Cass192
Big Stone170
Koochiching171
Kanabec161
Wadena160
Aitkin150
Lincoln130
Marshall120
Pope120
Clearwater100
Mahnomen101
Stevens100
Hubbard80
Lake60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle40
Red Lake40
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34080

Reported Deaths: 742
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7196182
Woodbury331744
Black Hawk245759
Buena Vista173311
Johnson14058
Linn136683
Dallas136531
Marshall108019
Scott100210
Dubuque91822
Story8515
Pottawattamie80612
Wapello71431
Muscatine68544
Crawford6793
Sioux4970
Tama48229
Wright3971
Louisa36513
Plymouth3455
Webster3454
Jasper33717
Warren3111
Dickinson2953
Cerro Gordo2661
Washington2499
Hamilton1981
Boone1641
Clay1481
Clarke1433
Allamakee1384
Clinton1301
Shelby1200
Mahaska11917
Carroll1101
Poweshiek1108
Bremer1067
Pocahontas1061
Franklin1040
Des Moines1002
Emmet950
Cedar941
Henry933
Hardin890
Cherokee821
Taylor810
Monona780
Marion770
Floyd762
Benton741
Guthrie734
Jones690
Osceola660
Sac650
Butler642
Buchanan621
Jefferson620
Calhoun612
Iowa611
Humboldt591
Hancock581
Harrison580
Delaware561
Fayette560
Jackson560
Lee542
Madison532
Monroe517
Lyon500
Clayton483
Palo Alto480
Grundy470
Mills470
Winneshiek450
Mitchell440
Davis421
Kossuth410
Union380
Howard370
Lucas344
Winnebago330
Greene300
Chickasaw290
Cass270
Unassigned270
Ida230
Keokuk231
Worth220
Appanoose213
Van Buren210
Page200
Adair170
Audubon161
Ringgold151
Decatur130
Montgomery112
Wayne110
Fremont100
Adams80
Rochester
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 60°
Mason City
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 60°
Albert Lea
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Austin
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 61°
Charles City
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 68°
Severe Thunderstorm Watch Until 8 P.M.; Sunday looks great
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Dave Main 10p Wx

Image

Virtual campaigning during pandemic

Image

Former NIACC coach Travis Hergert back in big league camp with the Phillies

Image

New ICE guidelines causing concern for international students

Image

Dave Main 6p Weather 7/11

Image

Connecting with a loved one with dementia during the pandemic

Image

Bruins set to host all-star game

Image

COVID-19 Cases Expected to Spike in North Iowa

Image

Training hard for a season that might not happen

Image

Sean's 6pm Weather 7/10

Community Events