The 30-year wait for Liverpool to become champions of England once again in over. The Reds will lift the 2019/20 Premier League trophy after Manchester City’s defeat at Chelsea meant City could no longer catch Jurgen Klopp’s red machine.
They have been the runaway leaders from day one, never slipping from their perch at the top of the table. Just one defeat so far has seen the Reds record the earliest title win in Premier League history (and technically the latest too, in terms of the date).
Here, we take a look back at five of the key games that saw Liverpool rise to the top again.
Five Matches That Ended Liverpool’s 30-Year Drought
1. Liverpool 4-1 Norwich City – August 9, 2019
Norwich City had rightly been applauded for their Championship success in 2018/19 under Daniel Farke. However, with very little transfer business conducted over the summer, their squad always looked weak in comparison to many others in the division.
To say the line-ups were a mismatch would be harsh on the Canaries. They had earned the right to compete against the best, after all. In reality, though, Liverpool were far superior on the night and that trend has continued through the season, with Norwich looking likely to be the first side relegated.
The Reds were without Sadio Mane in the starting 11, meaning the previous season’s super-sub, Divock Origi, came in. Even without their desired front three, though, Liverpool blew Norwich away in the first half and the three points were massively deserved.
Grant Hanley‘s unfortunate own goal after just seven minutes set the tone for the game. Mohamed Salah, so efficient in front of goal in his two prior seasons, then got off the mark again before 20 minutes had elapsed. Virgil van Dijk headed home and third and Origi added the fourth all before the break.
Norwich did pull one back in the second half through Teemu Pukki, who has gone on to arguably be their most important player this season. Even with that second-half lapse, the sheer dominance of Liverpool’s performance was enough to suggest that they were serious about beating Manchester City to the title this time around.
2. Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City – November 10, 2019
By this point in the season, Liverpool were in full flow. They had played 11 games prior to the visit of Manchester City in early November and had dropped points just once – a 1-1 draw away at Manchester United.
Three of their four games before the City one had also resulted in 2-1 wins, and two of the winners in those games had come in second-half stoppage time. The winning formula had certainly been found and now it was a question of whether they could apply it against the reigning champions.
They did so, and with aplomb. A scorcher from Fabinho and a classy header from Salah had Liverpool 2-0 up inside 13 minutes. Manchester City will sure have been wondering what they’ll have to do to get back in the game, but possibly in the back of their minds could’ve been another question – how do we stop these from winning the league?
A third goal from Sadio Mane early in the second half effectively finished City off, even though they did find the net through Bernardo Silva to perhaps set off a few nerves around Anfield.
This result put Liverpool eight points clear at the top of the table. At this point, City were lagging behind in fourth, with Leicester City and Chelsea ahead of them. Pep Guardiola‘s side recovered to beat Chelsea in their next game but were slightly derailed again before the new year thanks to a draw at Newcastle United and defeats to Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
3. Leicester City 0-4 Liverpool – December 26, 2019
In arguably their most complete performance of the season, Liverpool thrashed second-placed Leicester City on Boxing Day to move 13 points clear at the top.
The Reds capitalised on their opponents’ 3-1 defeat at Manchester City five days previously and the consecutive defeats proved to be a slight unravelling for the Foxes. They had been on a run of nine games without defeat, which included the stunning 9-0 success away at Southampton.
A 1-0 lead at the break, courtesy of Roberto Firmino, was probably fair, but three goals in seven second-half minutes underlined how decisive, energetic and dominant this Liverpool team could be.
James Milner sparked it off from the penalty spot and likely made the game safe at 2-0, but a second from Firmino three minutes later and then Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s magnificent finish rubbed salt into the wounds for Leicester.
It was this game that made everyone think the title was most definitely going back to Merseyside, such was the brilliance of the display. If the team in second (at the time, at least) could get nowhere near them, how was anyone else meant to?
4. Liverpool 3-2 West Ham United – February 24, 2020
So many questions were being asked of Liverpool right now, but the main one was whether they could go an entire season unbeaten. This proved to be the end of their longest winning streak of the campaign (18 straight games) and their were slight murmurings of a late-season wobble.
A defeat in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Atletico Madrid and a far from convincing win at Norwich saw Liverpool take to the field against West Ham United a little out of sorts (relative to the domination we had come to expect from them at this point).
The constant pressure of all the questions seemed to be getting the better of them against David Moyes’ relegation-threatened side. Even though they took the lead through Gini Wijnaldum on nine minutes, Issa Diop levelled shortly after and the Reds did not look convincing at all.
Worse was to come in the second half when Pablo Fornals, an underperformer in this West Ham side all season after his move from Villarreal promised so much, beat Alisson to put the Londoners into an unlikely lead.
The best teams battle until the end though, and this is the game that showed Liverpool have all the hallmarks to become worthy champions. Even though their performance was under par, they found a way through sheer determination and, decisively, a bit of luck.
Mohamed Salah’s equaliser squirmed through the hands of Lukasz Fabianski and there was fortune too around how the ball well to Sadio Mane to tap home the winner with nine minutes remaining.
It proved to be the end of the run for Liverpool, though, as they went on to suffer their first defeat of the season against Watford in the next game, eradicating any chance of an invisible campaign.
5. Liverpool 4-0 Crystal Palace – June 24, 2020
Three months after Liverpool got back on track with a 2-1 win against Bournemouth at home, they were back at Anfield for the first time following the Coronavirus-induced break from Premier League action.
Their first game back in Project Restart was actually the Merseyside Derby away at Everton, which they can count themselves very lucky to have not lost. Luck was on their side this time though and they came away with a 0-0 draw – just the third time this season they have dropped points.
There was nothing lucky about this win against Crystal Palace, though (unless you count Wilfried Zaha‘s early exit due to injury). Even without the backing of the Anfield crowd, Liverpool were comfortable in effectively sealing the title against Roy Hodgson’s side.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, the local boy who will have dreamt about this moment from childhood, opened the scoring with a sweetly-struck free-kick that bent around the Palace wall. Mohamed Salah then came in to slot home his 17th of the season before the break.
A Fabinho scorcher then made it three and Sadio Mane rounded things off late on to leave the Reds just two points away from glory.
The rest of the job was then done for them last night as Chelsea edged past ten-man Manchester City, leaving too big a gap for Guardiola’s men to make up.
The win underlined everything Liverpool have been about this season – pace; power; quality; patience; determination, all in abundance.
Fittingly, Liverpool’s next match is against the side they have wrestled the title off of. Manchester City will be welcoming the Reds to the Etihad and giving them a guard of honour as they enter the pitch next Thursday night.
With so many exciting academy products coming through, and with five substitutes to use them in, this is an excellent time to experiment with the squad and have nothing to lose by doing so.
There’s no doubt there will be a proper celebration to come soon, too. The Coronavirus has meant the team are yet to celebrate with those around the city, but once social distancing is over and crowds will be able to gather again, there will be a huge party in Liverpool to celebrate the ending of 30 years of hurt.