Liverpool’s win over Sheffield United meant they have gone a calendar year unbeaten in the Premier League.
On the anniversary of the Reds’ last league defeat, the PA news agency takes a look at the numbers behind the third-longest unbeaten run in the Premier League era.
The record books
Having narrowly missed out on one record run, Jurgen Klopp’s side are now in pursuit of another.
Their 17 successive wins – nine to finish last season and the first eight games of this term – were just one shy of the mark set by Manchester City in the 2017-18 campaign.
A draw with Manchester United denied them at least a share of that record but did not halt their unbeaten sequence, which has now reached 37 games.
One more against Tottenham will make it the equivalent of a full season while three – also avoiding defeat against United and Wolves – would see them match Chelsea for second place on the list.
The record is 49, set by Arsenal’s “Invincibles” and including the full 2003-04 season, so the Reds trail by 12.
Tantalisingly, that would see them looking to equal the record against City on April 4 – if they have not lost by then – before potentially breaking it and bringing up a half-century against Aston Villa the following week.
Tale of the tape
Liverpool have won 32 and drawn only five of the games during their run, an astonishing 86.5 per cent win rate and 2.73 points per match.United are responsible for two of those draws, 0-0 in February and 1-1 in October with Liverpool needing a late Adam Lallana equaliser to salvage a point and their run.
Leicester, West Ham and Everton are the only other teams to take points off the Reds, whose win rate compares favourably with Chelsea (33 out of 40, 82.5 per cent) and Arsenal (36 out of 49, 73.5 per cent) in their unbeaten runs.
Their success has been built on strong foundations at either end of the pitch, with a defence anchored by Virgil Van Dijk conceding just 0.7 goals per game and even compensating for the lengthy injury absence of goalkeeper Alisson Becker earlier this season.
Their front three, meanwhile, have scored freely as Sadio Mane has 25 goals in the 37 games, with Mohamed Salah not far behind on 19 and Roberto Firmino contributing 10 as Liverpool have racked up 89, or 2.4 per game.
While they are still waiting to wrap up a Premier League title, Liverpool have won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup in the last 12 months.
They have lost five matches in other competitions since the start of their league run – though some proved ultimately inconsequential while others had mitigating circumstances.
Wolves 2 Liverpool 1, FA Cup, January 7
A much-changed Reds side went down to near full-strength Wolves in the third round.
Barcelona 3 Liverpool 0, Champions League, May 1
A vintage Lionel Messi display helped Barca open up a first-leg lead in the semi-final – but Liverpool stunningly won the return leg 4-0 at Anfield and went on to beat Tottenham to lift the trophy.
Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1 (City won 5-4 on pens), Community Shield, August 4
Joel Matip cancelled out Raheem Sterling’s opener but the Reds lost the curtain-raiser on spot-kicks.
Napoli 2 Liverpool 0, Champions League, September 17
Late goals from Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente secured victory for the Serie A side but Liverpool still progressed as group winners.
Aston Villa 5 Liverpool 0, Carabao Cup, December 17
With Klopp’s first team away at the Club World Cup, under-23 coach Neil Critchley led a young shadow squad – whose 18 squad numbers totalled 1,289 – into domestic action.
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