SEVERE WX : Frost Advisory View Alerts

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: 99134

Reported Deaths: 2089
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin27728936
Ramsey11209325
Dakota7724127
Anoka6343138
Stearns411925
Washington395055
Scott266333
Olmsted254428
Nobles197916
St. Louis174742
Blue Earth17437
Wright17137
Clay145741
Carver14517
Rice13518
Mower13486
Sherburne118514
Kandiyohi10573
Winona92318
Lyon7384
Waseca7228
Benton5683
Crow Wing56318
Steele5602
Nicollet55317
Freeborn5484
Watonwan5354
Chisago5221
Todd5142
McLeod5032
Le Sueur4804
Beltrami4735
Otter Tail4734
Martin46211
Goodhue3929
Douglas3622
Pine3610
Itasca35616
Polk3344
Isanti3241
Becker2862
Carlton2861
Morrison2802
Dodge2680
Pipestone23910
Chippewa2331
Cottonwood2290
Meeker2142
Wabasha2080
Sibley2033
Yellow Medicine2003
Brown1992
Cass1884
Rock1841
Redwood1805
Murray1762
Mille Lacs1723
Renville1638
Jackson1541
Unassigned15453
Faribault1490
Swift1451
Houston1350
Fillmore1340
Kanabec1318
Hubbard1261
Roseau1250
Koochiching1234
Pennington1201
Lincoln1180
Stevens1071
Pope1000
Aitkin881
Big Stone830
Wadena730
Lac qui Parle721
Wilkin713
Grant644
Lake610
Norman580
Marshall531
Mahnomen491
Red Lake451
Traverse360
Clearwater320
Lake of the Woods241
Kittson120
Cook70

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 88834

Reported Deaths: 1349
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk16204264
Woodbury568268
Johnson520327
Black Hawk455992
Linn4199115
Story350717
Dubuque347443
Scott312829
Dallas286038
Pottawattamie222539
Buena Vista202612
Marshall180235
Sioux17533
Wapello134557
Webster132714
Plymouth119121
Clinton115222
Muscatine113856
Crawford11176
Cerro Gordo107622
Warren9726
Jasper88334
Des Moines8249
Marion7799
Henry7774
Tama75732
Carroll7115
Lee6667
Wright6031
Dickinson5546
Boone5328
Bremer5137
Washington49311
Delaware4663
Louisa43915
Mahaska43520
Lyon3904
Jackson3683
Floyd3575
Franklin35318
Clay3504
Winneshiek3468
Benton3441
Hamilton3373
Poweshiek3278
Winnebago32514
Hardin3111
Buchanan2991
Jones2953
Kossuth2900
Butler2802
Emmet27910
Shelby2781
Sac2750
Chickasaw2741
Clayton2713
Guthrie27110
Clarke2703
Harrison2705
Cherokee2692
Allamakee2656
Cedar2561
Madison2452
Fayette2402
Grundy2294
Iowa2291
Palo Alto2140
Page2080
Hancock2032
Mills2031
Humboldt1963
Calhoun1953
Mitchell1950
Howard1937
Cass1812
Osceola1810
Pocahontas1682
Monona1671
Monroe16311
Lucas1596
Union1463
Appanoose1443
Taylor1431
Jefferson1411
Ida1352
Davis1304
Fremont1250
Van Buren1221
Keokuk1201
Worth1100
Greene1090
Montgomery1005
Audubon911
Wayne893
Adair761
Decatur670
Ringgold532
Adams380
Unassigned40
Rochester
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 51°
Mason City
Broken Clouds
55° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 55°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
52° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 52°
Austin
Scattered Clouds
54° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 54°
Charles City
Broken Clouds
54° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 54°
Cooler and cloudier for Thursday, isolated rain chances
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events