It has been a remarkable campaign for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, who have swept aside all before them to win their first championship since 1990
The wait is finally over.
It has been a remarkable triumph for Jurgen Klopp’s men, amid a remarkable campaign both on and off the field.
Here we take a look at the 10 games which defined Liverpool’s march to league championship No.19…
Newcastle 2-3 Liverpool – Saturday May 2, 2019
For many inside Anfield, the 2019-20 season actually started before the end of the 2018-19 campaign had finished.
Three days earlier, they had performed well away at Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, yet lost 3-0. Suddenly, it looked likely that a brilliant season would end in nothing but disappointment.
They laboured at St James’ Park, yet took the lead twice through Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah. But with the Egyptian forced off with concussion, and Salomon Rondon volleying home to bring Newcastle level at 2-2, the problems were mounting.
They found a way to win; substitute Divock Origi heading home an 86th-minute winner to keep them in the hunt. Three days later, they produced the most incredible of comebacks against Barcelona, winning 4-0 at Anfield to book their place in the final.
The message was clear: this team was not prepared to give up. Ever.
Southampton 1-2 Liverpool – Saturday August 17, 2019
The Reds headed to the south coast with problems. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker had pulled a calf muscle in their win over Norwich on the opening weekend of the season, while newly-signed back-up Adrian had bizarrely hurt his ankle celebrating victory in the UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul in midweek.
Liverpool had been pushed hard in that game by Chelsea – a gruelling encounter eventually decided on penalties – and had to dig deep into their energy reserves for a testing trip to St Mary’s.
They got through, though, with Sadio Mane scoring just before half-time and Roberto Firmino netting after the break. Danny Ings pulled one back after an Adrian error, but they held on.
On the way home, they watched as City drew 2-2 at home to Spurs.
First blood to Liverpool.
Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool – Sunday September 22, 2019
Klopp’s first league win as Liverpool boss came at Stamford Bridge, and the significance of this victory in the capital some four years later should not be downplayed.
The Reds had won their opening five league games of the season, but had been sucker-punched away at Napoli in the Champions League in midweek. Chelsea, meanwhile, were attracting attention after an exciting, attack-minded start to life under new manager Frank Lampard.
Liverpool did the damage in the first half. Trent Alexander-Arnold blasted a free-kick into the top corner before Firmino headed home a second after another well-worked set-piece.
The Reds could have extended their lead thereafter, but in the end were forced to hang on following N’Golo Kante’s second-half strike. They did so, maintaining their flawless start to the new season.
Liverpool 2-1 Leicester – Saturday October 5, 2019
As weekends go, this was a big ‘un.
Four minutes into stoppage time, Liverpool were looking at their first dropped points of the campaign. Leicester, who had started the season well, fought back for what looked a hard-earned draw at Anfield.
Then, Marc Albrighton made an error, clipping Mane in the penalty area. Up stepped James Milner, with nerves of steel. Liverpool won 2-1.
They couldn’t, could they?
Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool – Saturday November 2, 2019
Perhaps the biggest single twist in the entire season.
Both sides trailed 1-0 at half-time. With five minutes to go City were leading 2-1 while Liverpool were huffing and puffing, but still behind.
If it stayed the same, Guardiola’s side would move to within three points, and could then take over top spot by winning at Anfield the following weekend.
Then, Mane took over.
First, he crossed for Andy Robertson to head an equaliser – only his second league goal for the club. Then, the Senegal star reacted brilliantly to glance Alexander-Arnold’s stoppage-time corner into the net. The scenes in the Villa Park away end were wild.
One can only imagine how the news went down at the Etihad.
Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City – Sunday November 10, 2019
And so to the following weekend, as City rocked up at Anfield looking to blast their way back into the picture.
There was early drama, Fabinho smashing the Reds ahead from long-range, while City appealed for handball against Alexander-Arnold at the other end. VAR said no infringement, much to Guardiola’s disgust.
Liverpool took full advantage, with Salah adding a brilliant second before half-time. Mane, who had been accused of diving by Guardiola in the build-up to the game, then did exactly that to meet Jordan Henderson’s sublime cross and make it 3-0 after the break.
City pulled a goal back through Bernardo Silva but the iconic image of the day came from Guardiola after another penalty appeal against Alexander-Arnold was waved away.
“Twice, twice, twiiiiiiiiiiiiice!” he roared. His team were now nine points adrift.
Leicester 0-4 Liverpool – Thursday December 26, 2019
There’s always one performance in a title-winning season which stands out above all others, and for Liverpool this was it.
Leicester had emerged, briefly, as potential challengers, impressing in the early months of the season as City, bizarrely, struggled for form.
Brendan Rodgers’ men were second in the table when they welcomed the Reds to the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day, and fancied their chances of an upset, with Liverpool having been in Qatar winning the Club World Cup the previous week.
All the Foxes got, though, was a chasing. Firmino headed the visitors in front early on, and Liverpool ran riot thereafter.
Milner, as he had in the reverse fixture, scored a penalty, Firmino netted again and the outstanding Alexander-Arnold wrapped things up.
It was men against boys. The result underlined the following evening as City surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 away at Wolves.
Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United – Sunday January 19, 2020
“And now you’re gonna believe us…. We’re gonna win the league.”
The song from the Kop was loud and defiant, and hadn’t been heard for some time.
After Salah’s stoppage-time clincher, in which he had raced clear from a quick Alisson clearance, Liverpool fans were ready to celebrate.
They were, incredibly, 16 points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand, City having squandered yet more points by drawing at home to Crystal Palace the previous afternoon. United had done what they could, but Liverpool’s superiority was clear.
Van Dijk headed them ahead in the first half, and Klopp’s side should have had the game well wrapped up by the time Salah went through at the end.
Wolves 1-2 Liverpool – Thursday January 23, 2020
If there is one characteristic which has defined this Liverpool season, it is resilience, the ability to take a setback and, somehow, create a positive outcome from it.
The examples are multiple, but the trip to Molineux in January perhaps best illustrated the squad’s incredible mental strength.
They weren’t great, that’s for sure. Henderson headed them into an early lead, but they lost Mane to injury before half-time, and were clearly unsettled by the speed of Traore and Wolves’ very specific, well-organised style.
Liverpool missed chances to add to their lead, and when Raul Jimenez headed Traore’s cross home for 1-1, it looked just for a moment as if their luck was about to run out.
It didn’t. With six minutes remaining, Henderson fed Firmino, who lashed in the winner. Panic over.
Norwich 0-1 Liverpool – Saturday February 15, 2020
Twenty-five points! In February!
The Reds had been made to work at Carrow Road, Mane’s winning goal arriving with just 12 minutes remaining.
But the gulf in class between Klopp’s team and the rest of the league was painfully apparent.
One glance at the league table was all it took. Liverpool were still opening their Valentine’s cards, but the title race was all but done…