Liverpool’s remarkable 3-0 defeat at Watford brought to an end a 44-game unbeaten run in the Premier League – just five games short of Arsenal’s top-flight record.
It also meant they failed to secure an English league record 19th consecutive win, finishing their run on 18 – joint with Manchester City’s landmark.
Liverpool’s previous top-flight loss came when they were beaten 2-1 by eventual champions City on 3 January 2019 – 422 days ago.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were the third Premier League team to manage more than a year without losing. Arsenal – whose 49 games included the entire 2003-04 season – and Chelsea (from October 2004 to November 2005) are the others.
Liverpool’s only domestic defeats in that period were against Wolves in the FA Cup last January and their young team losing to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup in December. If you include penalties you can throw in this season’s Community Shield too.
Despite that unbeaten run, Liverpool did not win any domestic trophies in 2019. Their success came in international tournaments, becoming the first English side to hold the Champions League, Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup titles simultaneously.
The numbers behind Liverpool’s incredible 422 days
Liverpool won 39 of their 44 matches at a rate of 2.77 points per game during their unbeaten run. When Manchester City set a record total of 100 points in 2017-18, they did so at a rate of 2.63 points per game.
The Reds won nine straight games at the end of last season but still missed out on the title. The Anfield side’s total of 97 points was the third highest in Premier League history and the most achieved by a runner-up.
That winning sequence continued into this season – a further eight successes stretching their run to 17 straight victories.
A 1-1 draw at Manchester United in October meant they fell one game short of City’s record of 18 consecutive wins. They won every game since then to equal that record – but that ended with the defeat at Vicarage Road on Saturday, 29 February.
Liverpool still sit 22 points above Manchester City, with no real danger of missing out on the title.
Liverpool’s dynamic front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have been at the heart of their success over the past 14 months, with no other player scoring more than seven goals.
The Reds, who had scored in their previous 36 Premier League games, registered 104 goals in total in their unbeaten run, with only Mane (27), Salah (24) and Firmino (12) making it into double figures.
Virgil van Dijk (seven), Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi (five each) are the only others to hit five or more.
Twelve other players managed to score, with three own goals too.
The top assisters will not surprise you – Trent Alexander-Arnold (21), Andrew Robertson (14) and Firmino (10) are the only ones in double figures.
Where does this rank with the great unbeaten runs?
Twelve teams have gone a year or more unbeaten in Europe’s top five leagues (excluding sides whose run lasted fewer than 32 games like Preston in 1888-89). Of those, only three – including Liverpool – have failed to win a title during that year.
The Reds fell 14 games short of AC Milan’s remarkable unbeaten Serie A run from May 1991 to March 1993 – a sequence of 58 games lasting for 672 days.
Liverpool’s record is the fifth longest in Europe’s top five leagues, behind Milan, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Juventus.
Liverpool ended five games, and more than 100 days, short of Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten run – including the Invincibles season of 2003-04 – which is the record for any team since the Football League began in 1888.
Their record is the second longest in the history of English professional football, edging past Huddersfield’s League One run of 43 games unbeaten.
Unlike the Reds, the three top-flight teams to have unbeaten runs of longer than 32 games all had their streaks ended by one of their main rivals. Manchester United ended Arsenal and Chelsea’s runs, with Liverpool beating Nottingham Forest.
They fell way short of the British record of 62 league games unbeaten by Celtic between November 1915 and April 1917. The Glasgow club almost matched it again two years ago when they went 56 Scottish Premiership games – and 69 domestic matches – without defeat from May 2016 to December 2017.
The European record was always likely to be out of Liverpool’s grasp. Steaua Bucharest went 104 league games (and 119 domestic matches) unbeaten between 1986 and 1989 – including three whole top-flight seasons.
Europe’s longest chronological unbeaten league run is Lincoln Red Imps’ 1,959-day (more than five-year) streak in the Gibraltar Premier Division from May 2009 to September 2014, a run of 88 matches.
In terms of points per game, Liverpool have the best record of any of the six English league teams to go 34 or more games unbeaten.
Whose unbeaten runs have not produced any silverware?
Two other European teams who have had an unbeaten run of 37 games or more failed to win the title in that time – Real Sociedad and Perugia.
Perugia have the distinction of going an entire league season unbeaten without ever winning the title. Their 11 wins and 19 draws from 30 games in 1978-79 saw them record their best finish of second in Serie A, to a Milan side that lost three matches.
Real Sociedad would go on to win the following two La Liga titles after the end of their unbeaten run during the 1979-80 campaign.
Huddersfield Town’s 43 league games unbeaten between December 2010 and November 2011 – the third best run in English history – was ultimately fruitless. They started and finished the run third in League One, with their 3-0 play-off final defeat by Peterborough United in the middle not counted as a league game.
What records can Liverpool still break?
Liverpool will break the European points record with ease if they continue with this form for the rest of the season.
The Reds will get 107 points if they continue their average of 2.82 points per game.
The most points in a league campaign in Europe is Celtic’s 106 in 2016-17. The second and third? Barry’s 105 in 1996-97 and 104 the following season in the Welsh top flight.
Celtic (103 in 2001-02), Juventus (102 in 2013-14), Real Madrid (100, 2011-12) and Barcelona (100, 2012-13) are the only other teams in Europe to reach 100 points, according to a Uefa article in 2014.
Manchester City also reached that landmark in 2017-18.
The Reds are only 19 points away from their record of 98 in 1978-79 (adjusted to three points for a win) – but that was in a 42-game season. The Reds’ best points-per-game return was last season as they picked up 97 at a rate of 2.55 per game.
They can still wrap up the earliest Premier League title win ever – which is currently held by Manchester United who won the 2000-01 title on 14 April.
Liverpool have won their past 21 home Premier League games, equalling the English top-flight record for consecutive home wins, set by the Reds themselves between January and December 1972 under Bill Shankly.