Premier League fans have been quick to acclaim Liverpool as champions elect following their huge win over Manchester City last weekend that saw Jurgen Klopp’s side open up an eight-point advantage at the top of the table, but history tells us that an early lead makes the destination of the title far from a foregone conclusion.
Here are five of the most famous title collapses in Premier League history, Liverpool fans may want to look away now…
Norwich – 1992/93
Far from their current sorry position at the foot of the table, Norwich actually began the inaugural season of the Premier League in impressive fashion and soon emerged as potential title contenders.
Dave Stringer’s side had surprised many after struggling the previous season, though their strong form saw the Canaries race into an eight point lead just weeks before Christmas.
The festive season would, however, be their downfall. Back-to-back defeats to Manchester United and rivals Ipswich in December started their decline, and a run of six games without a win halted their title charge.
Another poor run of form in April, losing three times in four fixtures, ultimately saw the club finish third though they were some way adrift of champions Man United.
Newcastle – 1995/96
Perhaps the greatest capitulation in the history of the Premier League, Kevin Keegan’s free-scoring Newcastle were seemingly romping to the title during the 1995/96 season.
An exciting attacking side containing the likes of Les Ferdinand, Peter Beardsley and David Ginola had established a 10 point advantage at the top of the division by Christmas, a lead that would be further extended to 12 points by mid-January.
However, a run of five defeats in eight games between February and April ended their charge, inspiring a famed rant from Keegan and the club would eventually squander their lead to finish four points behind Manchester United.
Arsenal – 2002/03
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side had completed a domestic double in 2002 and entered the new season in similarly ominous form, stretching their unbeaten run from the previous season to 30 Premier League games before a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney’s intervention 10 fixtures into the new season.
Rooney’s late winner for Everton was an otherwise minor hiccup, however, as a 12-game unbeaten run between December and March propelled Wenger’s side clear at the top of the division and seemingly on course for back-to-back titles.
Possessing a five-point lead over Manchester United with just nine games remaining, few anticipated the North London side to collapse.
However, defeat at Blackburn was followed by a run of three draws in five games, before a shock home defeat to struggling Leeds sealed their fate. United would win nine of their final 10 fixtures, beating Arsenal to the championship by five points.
Liverpool – 2013/14
Liverpool’s long wait for a league title seemingly looked to be coming to an end as Brendan Rodgers’ free-flowing side embarked on an 11-game winning run between February and April to leave them five points clear at the top with just three games to play.
Third-placed Manchester City would have a game in hand, though with the gap back to Manuel Pellegrini’s side six points the destination of the title was in Liverpool‘s hands.
Second-placed Chelsea would arrive at Anfield in the next fixture though their own title hopes were slim, however, a Jose Mourinho masterclass and a now infamous slip by Steven Gerrard would hand the initiative back to City.
Liverpool would head to Crystal Palace in their next fixture, and after racing into a three goal lead they continued to pursue goals in a desperate bid to recover their inferior goal difference.
Palace would capitalise on their openness and complete an improbable comeback to draw, City’s run of six successive wins at the season’s end seeing them pip Liverpool to the title by just two points.
Liverpool – 2018/19
Perhaps unfair to label a collapse given their relentless winning run, but there can be no denying that Jurgen Klopp’s side were in a favourable position to secure a maiden Premier League title last season.
An indifferent festive period for title rivals Manchester City saw Liverpool top on Christmas Day and the club had opened up an eight-point advantage over Pep Guardiola’s defending champions after 20 fixtures.
Still unbeaten, Liverpool headed to a huge clash at the Etihad on January 3, only to lose 2-1 to a late Leroy Sane goal and see their lead reduced.
Draws with Leicester and West Ham in January would see the momentum swing back in City’s favour and after moving ahead of Liverpool in February, they would finish the season with 14 successive wins to snatch the title by a point.
Liverpool would lose just one game all season and secure a record points haul for a runner-up, though it mattered little as they would once again miss out on the title.
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