Longest Unbeaten Runs In England’s Top Flight: When could Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool break the record?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 17 January 2020, 16:12

Liverpool have accumulated 61 points from a possible 63 available, an unprecedented tally at this stage of a season. Not just in England, but in Europe’s ‘top-five’ main leagues.

If we take the second-half of last season into account, Jurgen Klopp’s juggernaut are unbeaten in 38 league matches, during which they’ve recorded 33 wins and five draws. That’s 104 points from a possible 114; enough to win any Premier League season.

Unfortunately for the Reds that’s not quite how it works, although even the most pessimistic of their supporters will be confident that the runaway leaders can go on and claim their first title in 30 years.

But while the title isn’t quite yet in the Anfield trophy cabinet, Liverpool’s current haul of 38 league games unbeaten has drawn the club ever closer to the three longest unbeaten runs in top-flight history (England): Chelsea (2004 to 2005), Nottingham Forest (1977 to 1978) and Arsenal (2003 to 2004).

Chelsea in their sights

Before we take a look at Forest and Arsenal, Liverpool’s current focus will be on Chelsea.

Under Jose Mourinho the Blues went a whopping 40 matches unbeaten, from October 2004 to November 2005, during which they secured their second Premier League title under the Portuguese coach. 

If Liverpool avoid defeat to Man Utd, Wolves and West Ham, then they’ll have toppled Chelsea’s tally before the month is out.

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Liverpool are closing in on Arsenals' record

Can Klopp catch Clough?

Nottingham Forest’s run in the 1970s, which at the time was a record 42 league games undefeated, was overseen by one of the all-time managerial greats: Brian Clough.

Clough, who led Forest into the top tier the previous season, enjoyed a decent start upon their return to the top-flight in 1977/78 after winning 11 of their opening 16 games. It was then that an unremarkable goalless draw at home to West Brom in November 1977 sparked the most remarkable run England’s top-flight had ever seen, at that point.

It was a simply stunning streak - during which the club won the title - which lasted all the way through to the following December (1978) when they were finally beaten by Bob Paisley’s eventual champions Liverpool.

So, in order for Klopp’s Liverpool to match Clough’s tally they must go undefeated in their next four games against Man Utd, Wolves, West Ham and Southampton. And if so, they then have the chance to go one better (43 games) if they avoid defeat at Norwich on 15th February.

Clough’s Forest held onto that record from 1978 all the way through to 2004 when Arsene Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ strolled into town and went a simply staggering 49 matches unbeaten…

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Managerial Genius

Can Liverpool outgun the Gunners?

The Gunners hammered sorry Southampton 6-1 in their penultimate game of the 2002/03 in a game which saw both Robert Pires and Jermaine Pennant bag hat-tricks.

Arsenal then proceeded to go the whole 2003/04 season unbeaten as Wenger lifted his third Premier League title, something Arsenal have infamously failed to get their mitts on since.

The 539-day run wasn’t ended until October 2004 when goals by Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney gave Man Utd a 2-0 win in the infamously titled ‘Battle of the Buffet, although it was Jose Mourinho who stole the show that season when the Portuguese coach claimed his first of three Premier League trophies.

If Liverpool are to match Arsenal’s record they must go a further 11 games unbeaten through to their duel with Man City at the Etihad on 4th April - which just so happens to be the last venue that they suffered a league defeat, back in the start of 2019.

Should the Reds come out unscathed against the Citizens, they’d then just need to win or draw at home to Aston Villa (11th April) to enter into the English history books with the top-flights new longest ever unbeaten streak (50 games). 

Paddy Power currently have the Merseyside outfit priced at 7/2 to achieve this feat, while they can be backed at 11/2 to replicate Arsenal by going the whole season unbeaten.

Any other records up for grabs?

The longest unbeaten record in England’s 'top-five leagues' was set by AC Milan between 1991 and 1993 when they went 58 league games without defeat under Fabio Capello, who didn’t suffer a single loss in his first Serie A season.

Meanwhile, Celtic hold the British record of 62 matches, recorded between 1915 and 1917 under Willie Maley who was in charge of the club for a gargantuan 43 years.

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Odds Correct as of 2020-02-26 17:53:14

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