Wednesday , February 5 2020

When can Liverpool win Premier League title?

‘We’re going to win the league?’ – the Liverpool fans believe, but Jurgen Klopp is not taking anything for granted just yet

“We’re going to win the league!”

That was the chant booming down from the Kop on Sunday as Liverpool fans celebrated a 2-0 win against Manchester United that puts them 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League, with a game in hand.

After 30 years of slip-ups and near misses, Reds fans – or a decent number of them – now believe a first title since 1990 is tantalisingly within their grasp, even if manager Jurgen Klopp is refusing to celebrate just yet.

But just when Liverpool fans thought their season could not get any better, the prospect of sealing the title at the home of their nearest rivals Everton, or the current champions Manchester City, is now a very real one.

BBC Sport has crunched the numbers to work out when and where Liverpool could become champions again.

What needs to happen for Liverpool to win the title at Goodison Park?

Jordan Pickford made a crucial save to deny Mohamed Salah during last season’s goalless Merseyside derby at Goodison Park

To put it simply, Liverpool need to keep winning while Manchester City keep slipping up.

Liverpool have an impressive points-per-game ratio of 2.9, while Manchester City are averaging 2.08.

If both sides continue at this rate then Liverpool could seal the title with a win over Everton on 14 March as their likely lead would be between 23 and 25 points, with just 24 points to play for after that game.

The triumph would be extra sweet for Reds fans given it was a goalless draw at Goodison Park last year that was one of the matches that proved critical in their failure to snatch the title from Manchester City.

The stalemate in early March was the last time Liverpool dropped points, with nine successive wins still not enough to overhaul Pep Guardiola’s men, who claimed the title by a single point on the final day of the season.

What needs to happen for Liverpool to win the title at Etihad Stadium?

Could Jurgen Klopp take the Premier League title from Pep Guardiola’s grasp in his own stadium?

If both teams win all their upcoming games, Liverpool could clinch the title at the Etihad on 4 April.

Liverpool, who have a game in hand on City, could go into that match on 91 points with the champions 19 points adrift on 72.

With just 18 points to play for after that game, Liverpool would only need to avoid defeat to wrench the title away from City in their own backyard.

When is the earliest Liverpool can win the league?

Liverpool could, in theory, win the title away at Watford on 29 February, their 28th Premier League game of the season. Though that would require Liverpool to win all their matches in that time while Manchester City lose theirs – which seems unlikely.

Even if City lost their next five games the likes of Leicester City, third at the moment, would surely pick up enough points to keep the title race alive, just.

Whatever happens, Liverpool know that 10 wins from their remaining 16 games will be enough to be crowned champions.

What’s the earliest a team has won the Premier League?

Manchester United’s 2001 triumph was the second of three successive Premier League title victories

To make things even better for Liverpool, if they win the title at Goodison or the Etihad they will break a record held by another great rival – Manchester United.

The Red Devils hold the record for the earliest Premier League title win, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s men claiming victory in 2000-01 on 14 April.

The earliest Premier League title win by games remaining, rather than by date, is five – a record also set by Manchester United in 2000-01, as well as Manchester City in 2017-18.

If Liverpool win the league against Everton they will do so with eight games remaining, while there are six games left after the City match.

What’s the biggest lead after 22 games?

Chelsea were utterly dominant in 2006 as they secured back-to-back Premier League titles

Liverpool have rewritten the record books on several occasions already this season and their win over Manchester United has seen them achieve yet another milestone.

Their lead of 16 points after 22 games is the joint highest by any Premier League team at this stage of the season, matching the achievement of Chelsea in 2005-06, with Jose Mourinho’s side going on to claim the title by eight points.

What is the biggest lead a team has had WITHOUT going on to win the title?

Kevin Keegan – the most high profile victim of Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘mind games’?

“I’d love it if we beat them, love it.”

Who can forget Kevin Keegan’s famous on-screen rant as his Newcastle side saw their lead slowly chipped away by Manchester United during the second half of the 1995-96 season?

Keegan’s swashbuckling Magpies team led the table by 12 points at the start of 1996, but finished the campaign four points behind Manchester United in second. That remains the biggest lead a side has had in the Premier League without going on to win the title.

Now that is a record Liverpool do NOT want to break.