Premier League: why Liverpool face the toughest task to win the title

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New study reveals how the league’s top four are breaking records

Liverpool are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table after making one of the best ever starts to the Premier League season – but their rivals in the top four are also setting new standards.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side have won 54 points from their opening 21 matches, and this record has only been bettered by three teams since the 1905-1906 season when the English top-flight had at least 20 clubs in it.

Aiming to win the title for the first time since 1990, Liverpool are four points clear of defending champions Manchester City, six clear of Tottenham Hotspur and ten clear of fourth-placed Chelsea.

However, according to a new study published by Gracenote, Liverpool may be top of the tree but their title rivals City, Spurs and Chelsea are also breaking points records after 21 matches played.

In fact Liverpool’s lead is an historically low four points for a team with at least 52 points at this stage of the season.

Reds are favourites

The Euro Club Index states that Liverpool have a 59% chance of winning the Premier League. Manchester City have a 32% chance and Tottenham 8%. But even fourth-placed Chelsea cannot be written off yet as the Blues have a 1% chance of a shock title win according to the index.

Records to be broken?

This season’s Premier League top four are on course to win more points than ever before and could break the record of 333 total points scored between them (2.19 points per match), a tally that was reached in each of the last two seasons.

The Gracenote study stated: “Since the Premier League reduced to 20 teams in 1995, the number of points claimed by the top four has shown an upward trend. Only one of the eight seasons between 1995/1996 and 2002/2003 saw the top four average two points per match whereas of the last eight seasons, only Leicester’s title-winning year saw the top four average less than two points per match.”

Breaking records: what the title race study revealed

Gracenote used its English football database to look at the contenders and found that Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea are the most dominant top four ever after 21 matches.

Top: Liverpool

Liverpool’s 54 points from the first 21 games is the fourth-best record at this stage since the English top flight has had at least 20 clubs in it (1905-06). Every club with at least 52 points at this stage went on to win the league but Liverpool’s lead (four points) is the smallest of any of those 11 teams.

Second place: Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s defending champions are the first top-flight team to win 50 points or more from their first 21 matches and not be top of the league.

Third place: Tottenham

Spurs’ total of 48 points is two more than any team in third place has ever managed by this stage. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are yet to draw this season and are the first team to have played the first 21 matches without a draw since Burnley in 1953-54.

Fourth place: Chelsea

No team in fourth place has bettered Chelsea’s 44 points after 21 matches. Only Arsenal two seasons ago have had as many points as the Blues and only been fourth.

Reds on course for the title?

How Liverpool’s record compares to the clubs who had at least 52 points from 21 matches (since 1905-1906). All teams went on to became the champions.

2017-18: Manchester City
  • Points: 59 from 21 games
  • Closest challengers after 21 games: Chelsea (45 points)
2005-06: Chelsea
  • Points: 58 from 21 games
  • Closest challengers after 21 games: Man Utd (45 points)
1960-61: Tottenham
  • Points: 56 from 21 games
  • Closest challengers after 21 games: Wolves, Burnley, Everton (43 points)
2018-19: Liverpool
  • Points: 54 from 21 games
  • Closest challengers after 21 games: Man City (50 points), Tottenham (48 points)
1907-08: Manchester United
  • Points: 53 from 21 games
  • Closest challengers after 21 games: Sheffield Wednesday (38 points)

Note: all seasons recalculated to three points for a win
Source: Gracenote

This weekend’s Premier League fixtures

Saturday 12 January (3pm unless stated)
  • West Ham United vs. Arsenal (12.30pm)
  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Liverpool
  • Burnley vs. Fulham
  • Cardiff City vs. Huddersfield Town
  • Crystal Palace vs. Watford
  • Leicester City vs. Southampton
  • Chelsea vs. Newcastle United (5.30pm)
Sunday 13 January
  • Everton vs. AFC Bournemouth (2.15pm)
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United (4.30pm)
Monday 14 January
  • Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (8pm)

 

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