Sports

Liverpool Champions-How Reds won the Premier League title, game-by-game

Jurgen Klopp’s team have ended a 30-year wait to become champions of England once more, with the Reds adding the league championship to the Champions League trophy won just over a year ago and earlier successes this season in the Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup.

Having come close last season, only to lose out to Manchester City, the Reds had to find even more consistency in 2019/20—and certainly did that with a fantastic run from the start of the season.

They have led the table from the very opening night and are more than worthy winners of the title.

Here’s a game-by-game recount of just how Liverpool became Premier League champions.

  1. Norwich, home, 9 August

The Reds clicked into gear on a Friday night under the Anfield lights by dismantling the newly promoted Canaries 4-1.

An early own goal by Grant Hanley set the tone, before Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi all added first-half goals. Sadio Mane wasn’t even back from international duty over the summer at this point, and the Reds also lost Alisson Becker to injury just before the break, leading to Adrian’s unexpectedly early debut.

  1. Southampton, away, 17 August

A 2-1 win on the road for the Reds, with Mane and Roberto Firmino the scorers. Ex-Reds striker Danny Ings netted the consolation after a howler from Adrian, who passed the ball out straight against the Saints striker’s legs.

  1. Arsenal, home, 24 August

Liverpool put Arsenal to the sword in impressive fashion, winning 3-1 back at Anfield, with Joel Matip scoring the first before Salah added a brace, the first of which came from the spot. Much fanfare was made of Nicolas Pepe dribbling past Virgil van Dijk…into a blind alley down the channel, where he ultimately lost the ball to the recovering defender.

  1. Burnley, away, 31 August

No worries for the Reds as they headed to Turf Moor and kept up their winning start.

An own goal from Chris Wood was added to by Mane and Firmino as the Reds made it four wins from four with a 3-0 result.

  1. Newcastle, home, 14 September

Jetro Willems gave the Magpies an early lead with an absolute howitzer, but the Reds simply steamrollered Newcastle thereafter, running out 3-1 victors.

A Mane brace had turned the game around by half-time, with Salah notching another in the second 45. Divock Origi had started the game but had to be replaced early, while Xherdan Shaqiri also made one of his increasingly rare outings late on.

  1. Chelsea, away, 22 September

What might have been a tough game for the Reds was eventually held up as an example of the different ways they could win, having less chances and possession than their hosts but taking the points with a 2-1 success.

Trent Alexander-Arnold smashed in a free-kick for the first and Andy Robertson teed up Firmino for the second, as Liverpool’s full-backs continued to be the gold standard in productivity and reliability at both ends of the pitch.

Adrian made a number of saves for the Reds, but the big moment came as Chelsea had a goal ruled out by VAR, before the Reds went down the other end to double their lead through Firmino just a few minutes later.

  1. Sheffield United, away, 28 September

Fortune favoured the Reds on this occasion, as a tough-to-break-down Blades outfit were eventually undone by an error from goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

Gini Wijnaldum’s shot somehow squirmed past him and into the net with 20 minutes left on the clock to keep the 100 per cent record intact.

  1. Leicester City, home, 5 October

If fortune played a part in the last match, timing was everything here. Sadio Mane had put Liverpool ahead against former boss Brendan Rodgers before half-time, only for the Reds to miss further chances to cement the three points.

It looked as though that would cost them their winning start after James Maddison equalised late on, but Mane won an injury-time penalty which James Milner emphatically buried into the bottom corner for eight from eight.

  1. Manchester United, away, 20 October

The winning run came to an end but the unbeaten start was preserved at Old Trafford, as late goals continued to play a prominent role in Liverpool’s season.

Marcus Rashford had put the hosts ahead, but it was Adam Lallana who popped up unmarked at the far post just five minutes from time to equalise for Klopp’s team—his last goal for the Reds, as it stands.

  1. Tottenham, home, 27 October

Harry Kane took all of 47 seconds to put Spurs ahead at Anfield, heading in after Son Heung-min had rattled the woodwork with an early deflected shot.

Stand-in Spurs goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga set about with the apparent intent of putting in a career-best performance, making a host of improbable saves against the Reds’ attack, and it was left to Jordan Henderson to half-volley an equaliser from a narrow angle.

Mane then won another penalty with 15 minutes to play and Salah repeated his Madrid heroics of nearly five months earlier by smashing in the spot-kick, leaving Liverpool to beat Spurs 2-1.

  1. Aston Villa, away, 2 November

Of all the very, very late turnarounds Liverpool had produced to this point, none were quite as dramatic as this haul of three points.

Villa had led since midway through the first half, right up until the 87th minute—and still the Reds emerged 2-1 victors.

Andy Roberston powered in a close-range header on the run for the first, before Mane completed the job in stoppage time to leave the home support aghast at how they’d contrived to take nothing from the game at all.

  1. Manchester City, home, 10 November

Naturally, the game was billed as an early indicator of the title’s destination; the Reds were already opening a gap at the top and City were the defending champions.

A quarter of an hour into the game, there could be little doubt at the shifting balance of power.

Fabinho sent an absolute missile into the net from range, before Salah doubled the lead on 13 minutes from an inch-perfect Robertson cross. A Mane diving header made it three and underlined the Reds’ superiority, despite a late Bernardo Silva consolation for 3-1.

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  1. Crystal Palace, away, 23 November

Another game, another late win. The Reds took the lead through Mane against former boss Roy Hodgson, only for Palace to equalise with Wilf Zaha’s strike, eight minutes from time.

That’s a positive eternity to defend against this attack, however, and Firmino duly sealed the points and a 2-1 win with five minutes still on the clock.

  1. Brighton, home, 30 November

It was all going swimmingly for Liverpool in the first half, after Virgil van Dijk notched a brace inside the opening 25 minutes.

Lewis Dunk then had more than one chance to pull a goal back and make the game awkward for the Reds, before they instead made that the case themselves. Alisson raced out of his area and instinctively handled to prevent an attack progressing, leading to a straight red card. Dunk did then pull one back in contentious fashion, shooting from the resulting free-kick while sub keeper Adrian was still readying himself on the line, but the Reds held on for another 2-1 win.

  1. Everton, home, 4 December

Liverpool went into the derby without Alisson, Firmino, Salah or Henderson in the starting lineup as Klopp opted to rotate—and it resulted in the Reds’ highest-scoring result of the season, a 5-2 victory.

Origi netted a half-hour brace either side of Xherdan Shaqiri’s first goal of the season, with Mane adding a fourth before the break. Michael Keane and Richarlison netted for Everton, but Gini Wijnaldum wrapped up the thumping and Toffees boss Marco Silva was duly sacked two days later.

  1. Bournemouth, away, 7 December

A rather more routine win for the Reds this time, a 3-0 success which sent them an impressive 11 points clear at the top. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain latched onto a brilliant Henderson through-ball to nudge in the first, before Salah back-heeled to Naby Keita to double the lead.

Keita then returned the favour for Salah to net, in one of Liverpool’s most straight-forward victories of the campaign.

  1. Watford, home, 14 December

The Reds were heading to Qatar after this match for the Club World Cup, but a job remained to be done. Thankfully for Klopp and Co, Salah absolutely loves playing Watford at Anfield and bagged both goals in a 2-0 win.

Aside from that, the game is notable for being Shaqiri’s last league start for the Reds—he has been largely sidelined by calf issues since.

  1. Leicester, away, 26 December

Boxing Day brought a challenging fixture for the Reds after their successful exertions against Monterrey and Flamengo, with the Foxes mounting a challenge in the top three and some, at the time, suggesting they were candidates for the title.

Liverpool responded with a breathtaking display, arguably their best all-round performance of the league season, and certainly the best individual game from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s perspective.

The Reds won 4-0, with the right-back providing a goal and two assists on the night. Firmino scored twice from Trent crosses, either side of Milner clipping in a penalty—then the rampaging No. 66 buried the final goal himself with a low drive.

It was arguably the match which led to many acknowledging that Liverpool looked the real deal for the title, given the travel and fixture demands they had faced and the ease with which they had seen off a perceived rival.

  1. Wolves, home, 29 December

The Reds made it a half-season unbeaten by seeing off Wolves 1-0 at Anfield.

Sadio Mane scored the only goal, but VAR played a central role after Adam Lallana was originally adjudged to have handled in the build-up. He didn’t, and another three points were added to the tally.

  1. Sheffield United, home, 2 January

A Robertson cross for Salah, a Salah pass for Mane.

As routine as it gets with Liverpool absolutely dominant and only lacking a clinical edge to win by far more than a 2-0 scoreline. The win sent them 13 points clear with their first game of the new calendar year.

  1. Tottenham, away, 11 January

Liverpool had been dominant and created a host of chances against Spurs before Firmino finally smashed in the only goal of the game, with Spurs flattered by the eventual 1-0 scoreline.

Even so, Giovani Lo Celso almost rescued a point for Jose Mourinho’s team late on—but the victory made it 38 unbeaten in the Premier League for Liverpool, dating back into last season.

  1. Manchester United, home, 19 January

The Kop fully gets on board the title train as Virgil van Dijk scores early and Mohamed Salah nets late, to give the Reds a 2-0 win over their fiercest rivals.

United escaped a bigger beating thanks to VAR giving David de Gea a get out of jail card after he fumbled a catch which led to Firmino netting, while Salah also missed from close range and Henderson rattled the post from range.

Alisson’s assist for Salah’s clincher saw the goalkeeper sprint upfield to celebrate in iconic style as the home crowd belted out “we’re gonna win the league.”

  1. Wolves, away, 23 January

Captain Henderson headed the Reds ahead early on, but it needed one of the Reds’ 2019-style late winners to secure the points after Adama Traore had inspired a Wolves revival.

Raul Jimenez headed an equaliser, but Firmino produced some dazzling footwork to notch his 10th away goal of the season to notch yet another victory for the Reds.

Takumi Minamino made his Premier League debut as sub.

  1. West Ham, away, 29 January

Klopp’s team opened up a 19-point lead at the top with a straight-forward win in London.

Divock Origi won a first-half penalty which Salah dispatched, before a classic Liverpool counter saw the Reds go from defending a corner to scoring a goal in three passes and four players—Oxlade-Chamberlain netting the killer second.

Trent Alexander-Arnold hit his own post after Alisson produced a good save, in West Ham’s most dangerous moment in a 2-0 scoreline.

  1. Southampton, home, 1 February

The rampant Reds were in full flow and inspired by an irrepressible Firmino as they battered Southampton 4-0.

Firmino claimed three assists for goals by Oxlade-Chamberlain first, followed by Henderson and Salah—with the former setting up the latter for the game’s other goal.

All four goals came in the second half and by this time it was abundantly clear that the Reds would be taking the title.

  1. Norwich, away, 15 February

The Canaries proved difficult to break down and two moments of quality proved the difference.

At one end, Alisson stood his ground and saved a two-against-one as Norwich brought their own counter-attacking game to the fore; at the other, Mane produced a brilliant first touch and spin to rifle in a near-post winner for 1-0.

  1. West Ham, home, 24 February

Another game Liverpool looked in danger of losing, but eventually won.

Wijnaldum’s early goal was cancelled out by goals from Issa Diop and Pablo Fornals and the Reds still trailed with 22 minutes left.

The Reds clicked into gear and needed Salah and Mane to provide a finishing touch to keep the winning run going—18 league games in a row after this 3-2 comeback win.

  1. Watford, away, 29 February

Ismaila Sarr celebrates after scoring Watford’s opener (Getty)

That win streak came to an end in surprising fashion, as Watford’s pace and power proved too much for Liverpool to handle.

Media talk of Liverpool going through the season unbeaten came to naught as Ismaila Sarr’s excellent display led to a 3-0 win for the Hornets; he scored twice and Troy Deeney once.

  1. Bournemouth, home, 7 March

Liverpool were expected to produce a response after the loss to Watford, but Callum Wilson put Bournemouth ahead early on to lead to murmurs of a loss of form.

Those murmurs were quickly silenced, as Salah and Mane completed a turnaround 2-1 win. Liverpool were 25 points clear when the league was postponed the following week.

  1. Everton, 21 June

After what felt like an eternity, the Premier League resumed after a three-month lockdown of the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was as low-key and incident-free as several other games had been in the first weekend back, with a 0-0 draw taking the Reds to within five points of confirming the league title.

A derby like no other behind closed doors.

  1. Crystal Palace, 24 June

Form and formidable style returned as the Reds ran riot in front of a banner-bedecked Kop.

No fans, but plenty of flair as Salah and Co. ran out 4-0 winners to move within two points of the title, pending Manchester City’s own result the next day.

It was a performance which reminded many just why the Reds were so far out in front at the top in the first place, as Palace failed to even have a touch in Liverpool’s penalty area.

Compiled by Independent

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