Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea: The worst Premier League title defences


Liverpool currently look unrecognisable from the side that cruised to the 2019/20 Premier League title by 18 points. 

The champions slumped to their third successive home defeat with a 4-1 loss against Manchester City on Sunday, following the low bar they'd set against Burnley and Brighton. 

Recent wins over Tottenham and West Ham had ostensibly got Jurgen Klopp's side back on track. 

Yet the Reds suddenly find themselves back in the midst of a crisis with their title defence all but over. 

They now sit 10 points behind City, with Pep Guardiola's side also having a game in hand. 

How have they fallen so far behind? Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have obviously played a massive part. 

It also says a lot that Mo Salah's penalty against City was his side's first home goal of the calendar year. 

Ultimately, it leaves City as huge favourites for the title, particularly as contenders Manchester United were also held by Everton on Saturday. 

As for Liverpool, the contrast to their form last season couldn't be much starker - they currently have 27 fewer points than they did at the same stage of their title-winning campaign. 


According to stats experts Opta, that's "the biggest drop by any reigning champion at this stage of a campaign in English top-flight history". 

It was always going to be tough for Klopp's men to keep up the momentum from the last three years - don't forget, they also won the Champions League in 2019, missed out on the title by just a point that year, and reached the European Cup final in 2018. 

Unfortunately, that means they are now mounting a pretty poor defence of the crown for which they had waited 30 years. 

They wouldn't be the first time who have nosedived after winning the Premier League, though. Far from it. 

Remember Jose Mourinho's meltdown after guiding Chelsea to glory in 2015? Or Leicester's brutal sacking of Claudio Ranieri as they flirted with relegation the following year? 

How about Manchester United's inevitable downturn when the post-Fergie era began in 2013? 

If you've forgotten just how bad any of those title defences were, we've got you covered. 

8. Manchester City 2014/15

Manuel Pellegrini remains the only South American to win the Premier League. His reign fizzled out really, epitomised by that speech he gave in front of an empty, (rather ungrateful) stadium in his last home game. 

City's transfer business left a lot to be desired that season, bringing in Wilfried Bony, Fernando and Eliaquim Mangala. 

Points finished behind eventual champions Chelsea: 15


7. Manchester City 2019/20

Liverpool had run City close the year before, but suddenly, the tables turned. There were question marks against whether Guardiola would stay on at the Etihad as his side lost nine games. 

If anything, they only finished 18 points behind the Reds because Klopp's side eased off a little towards the end. 

Points finished behind eventual champions Liverpool: 18

6. Blackburn Rovers 1995/96

The big change at Ewood Park was Kenny Dalglish's move from manager up to the boardoom. Ray Harford had nowhere near as much success and Rovers only won 18 of their league games. 

They ultimately finished seventh. 

Points finished behind eventual champions Man Utd: 21

5. Manchester United 2013/14

In hindsight, David Moyes' reign was just the start. The only major signing of the summer was Marouane Fellaini and Moyes found Sir Alex Ferguson's boots were simply impossible to fill. 

Moyes was sacked and Giggsy was given it 'til the end of the season, in the words of the iconic Andy Tate. Long-term replacement Louis van Gaal failed to turn things around either, though he did get United back in the Champions League. 

Points finished behind eventual champions Man City: 22


4. Chelsea 2017/18

Antonio Conte revolutionised Chelsea with his 4-3-3 in 2016, but the Italian couldn't keep it up. There were rows with Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic's departure also dealt the Blues a blow.

Chelsea scored just 62 goals that season, with new signings like Tiemoue Bakayoko, Alvaro Morata, Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater all failing to gel. 

Points finished behind eventual champions Man City: 30 

3. Chelsea 2015/16

Here we had a case of a classic Mourinho 'third season syndrome'. Having steered Chelsea to the title for the third time, the Portuguese went on to fall out with his players, with Eden Hazard going missing. 

It all culminated in a chaotic 2-1 defeat to Leicester - which seemed a huge shock at the time, though they did go on to win the league. Mourinho looked a broken man in his post-match interview. 

Points finished behind eventual champions Leicester: 31

2. Leeds United 1992/93

Howard Wilkinson's Leeds had reigned supreme in 1992. Unfortunately, the departure of Eric Cantona proved an insurmountable blow and the next year, they finished 17th. It's worth noting that this was in a 42-game Premier League season, so their 33-point deficit isn't quite as bad as it sounds. 

Points finished behind eventual champions Man Utd: 33

1. Leicester City 2016/17

The magic of the Foxes' 5000/1 shock title win in 2016 dried up pretty quickly. They had been among the favourites to get relegated that year. The following season, they looked like they actually might drop down to the Championship as Claudio Ranieri floundered.


The Italian was brutally axed, and replaced with Craig Shakespeare. They did stay up, but they lost a lot of the good will they'd acquired from rival fans.

Points finished behind eventual champions Chelsea: 49

Of course, this trend isn't exclusive to the Premier League. Just look at how France and Germany defended their respective 1998 and 2014 World Cups. 

Liverpool are in fairly good company - but that won't make it any easier to swallow if they relinquish their title at the first time of asking. 

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