Liverpool leads the Premier League by 16 points over defending champion Manchester City, and they are a midweek match away from matching City’s 24 matches on the season. They haven’t lost a Premier League match since 3 January… of 2019, which was their only loss in the Premier League last season. They’ve just been better at converting draws to wins this season – through 23 matches last season, the Reds were 19-3-1 – and that has put them on the precipice of winning their first Premier League title, and first league title in England since the 1989-90 season in the era before the Premier League began.
With about four months left in the season, I think it’s time to start asking if Liverpool will lose again this season. And we’re going to focus on the Premier League only; while they are the defending Champions League winners, and are currently favored to repeat, the draw through the knockout stage is important going forward, and we don’t know who they’ll be facing in future rounds. (They also lost a match during the group stage, so perfection is not on the table there). And while they are still alive in the FA Cup (against League One side Shrewsbury Town in the fourth round), the domestic treble is off the table because of an ugly loss in the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup, albeit by what was effectively their U23 club.
Since nearly every match from this point forward is a repeat of an earlier match from this season – they have two matches against West Ham United, currently 17th in the table – we wanted to take a look at the remaining slate of matches and see if we can identify the “trouble” matches remaining for the Reds, at least based on earlier season results. Just how long will they be able to extend their current 40 match (35-5-0) unbeaten streak?
Match 24 (29 January) – at West Ham United (17th) – As mentioned, these clubs haven’t played yet this season thanks to a delayed match earlier in the season. Last season, however, Liverpool had the upper hand, winning 4-0 at home and drawing 1-1 in London. In fact, West Ham has not defeated Liverpool since January 2016, completing the double over the Reds that season. Since then, Liverpool has outscored 19-5 while compiling a 4-2-0 record. Projected Win (23-1-0)
Match 25 (1 February) – vs Southampton (9th) – Way back in the second week of the season, Liverpool won 2-1 in Southampton, conceding a late, meaningless goal to miss out on the shutout. And despite their relatively lofty spot in the league table at the moment, the Saints have a negative goal differential (-11). Expect that to expand a bit in this match at Anfield. Projected Win (24-1-0)
Match 26 (15 February) – at Norwich City (20th) – This match could represent the nail in the coffin for the Championship winners of last season, dooming them to a return to tier two. When the clubs met at Anfield in Match 1, Liverpool gave the Canaries a rude welcome in their return to the Premier League, netting four goals in the first half on their way to a 4-1 victory. Not expecting any different this one. Projected Win (25-1-0)
Match 27 (24 February) – vs West Ham United (17th) – See above for the history. This might not quite be the first squad with the knockout stage of Champions League kicking off on 18 February in Spain against Atlético Madrid, but I still think a deep bench will lead to a win for the Reds. Projected Win (26-1-0)
Match 28 (29 February) – at Watford (19th) – This Leap Day matchup should be a repeat of their earlier match at Anfield: a 2-0 victory featuring two Mo Salah goals. The only question is if the score will be the same. Projected Win (27-1-0)
Match 29 (7 March) – vs AFC Bournemouth (18th) – Another match against a cellar dweller fighting to avoid relegation, another potential match for rest with a Champions League match looming the following week. Liverpool won 3-0 in Bournemouth earlier this season, so expect much the same here. Projected Win (28-1-0)
Match 30 (14 March) – at Everton (12th) – Their earlier match this season was a bit of a barnburner; a 5-2 Liverpool victory at Anfield that was 4-2 at halftime with a goal from each side in the last moments of the first half. The five goals are the most scored in a Premier League match this season for the Reds, and the only time this season they’ve surrendered two goals. Liverpool should win in this one as well. Projected Win (29-1-0)
Match 31 (21 March) – vs Crystal Palace (11th) – Earlier this season in London, Palace drew even at 1-1 with a goal in the 82nd minute, getting close to splitting the points against the top club. But Robert Firmino found the winner less than three minutes later to seal the 2-1 victory. Anfield should be friendlier to the hosts, and another win expected. Projected Win (30-1-0)
Match 32 (4 April) – at Manchester City (2nd) – This is the first potential stumble for the Reds on their hopeful march to an unbeaten season. Their earlier match was a dominant performance at Anfield; Liverpool scored the first three goals before yielding a late Bernardo Silva goal to get to the 3-1 final score. This match should be one of the best of the season; I’m already jealous for the folks in the stands. But I think it will end even, with Liverpool a slight favorite to get three points again. Projected Draw (30-2-0)
Match 33 (11 April) – vs Aston Villa (16th) – Aston Villa actually led against Liverpool earlier this season, scoring in the 21st minute and holding that lead until the 87th minute. The draw was not to be after Sadio Mané scored four minutes into added time to steal the three points from Villa. Now, Aston Villa is fighting for survival, while Liverpool is fighting for perfection. Anfield will be the setting for what I expect to be a huge Liverpool win. Projected Win (31-2-0)
Match 34 (18 April) – at Brighton & Hove Albion (15th) – In a match where Alisson, the Liverpool keeper, was sent off with a red card, Brighton could not overcome two early Virgil Van Dijk goals, falling 2-1 at Anfield back in November. The change of venue won’t help Brighton either, and unless Liverpool is resting folks or recovering from a Champions League slate, I expect another win here as well. Projected Win (32-2-0)
Match 35 (15 April) – vs Burnley (13th) – Burnley closed out August with a 3-0 loss to Liverpool at Turf Moor, so expect a similar result when the action shifts to Anfield. Projected Win (33-2-0)
Match 36 (2 May) – at Arsenal (10th) – Arsenal’s struggles this season could be traced to a Matchday 3 loss to Liverpool, where only a goal in the 85th minute prevented a clean sheet for Alisson in a dominant early season performance from the Reds. By this point in the season, Arsenal could be fighting for European position and need the three points; with the match at Emirates Stadium, I’ll split the difference and give them a point after a draw. Projected Draw (33-3-0)
Match 37 (9 May) – vs Chelsea (4th) – Chelsea will also be looking to shore up their European position, or could already have it sealed at this point. They fought hard to come back from a 2-0 halftime deficit back in September, coming up short and falling 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. Another draw is likely in the cards here, though I would not be surprised to see a Liverpool win. Projected Draw (33-4-0)
Match 38 (17 May) – at Newcastle United (14th) – The Reds will be looking to cap their unbeaten season in Newcastle, against a club that they beat 3-1 back in September on three unanswered goals. Expect much the same, and a win to cap the most dominant season in Premier League history. Projected Win (34-4-0)
Thirty-four wins. 106 points. A goal differential likely approaching 70 goals. It helps to have a back half of the schedule littered with clubs currently in the bottom half of the league table. We’ll keep an eye on what happens down the stretch, but where do you see a loss? Manchester City (at home)? At Emirates Stadium three matches from the end? I can’t see it right now. But there is a reason they actually play the matches, but buckle up regardless to see what happens.
Until next time…