Liverpool kick off their first title defence in 30 years against Leeds United this weekend after storming to Premier League glory with a stunning 99-point haul last time around.
Given their absolute dominance during the coronavirus-hit 2019-20 season, it is hardly surprising Jurgen Klopp has chosen not to tinker with his squad during the shortened off-season, with only Konstantinos Tsimikas arriving from Olympiacos so far.
That means the same group of players who amassed 97 points on their way to second place in 2018-19 and won the title last season will be tasked with achieving a hat-trick of monster points totals.
Only Manchester City have won back-to-back league titles since Manchester United made it three in a row in 2008-09. Klopp will hope his side fares better than some recent attempts from their Premier League rivals.
WE’RE PREMIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!! pic.twitter.com/qX7Duxoslm— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 25, 2020
2013-14 – Manchester United
Points: 64 (22 behind champions Manchester City)
Not only did United fail to defend their crown but they were nowhere near the title picture, with David Moyes' dream job and a six-year contract brought to a shuddering halt before the season was out. A 2-0 defeat to Everton in April ended any faint hope of United qualifying for the Champions League and the Old Trafford board had seen enough, as Liverpool and eventual winners City took the Premier League race to the wire.
2015-16 – Chelsea
Points: 50 (31 behind champions Leicester City)
It had long been known that Jose Mourinho sides had a tendency to fall away during his third season in charge but the capitulation of his Chelsea side in 2015-16 raised - or lowered - the bar. The tone was set by his public lambasting of club doctor Eva Carneiro, which was duly followed by a string of abysmal results. He was sacked in December following a 2-1 defeat to eventual champions Leicester City, with Guus Hiddink brought in to restore calm.
Leicester City. Champions of England. pic.twitter.com/WRwfysTn2N— Leicester City (@LCFC) May 2, 2016
2016-17 – Leicester City
Points: 44 (49 behind champions Chelsea)
Few expected Leicester to conjure up a repeat of their incredible title win, but their descent towards the relegation zone and Claudio Ranieri’s dismissal amid accusations of player betrayal came as a shock. Craig Shakespeare took over from the Italian in February, guiding the Foxes away from the drop zone.
2019-20 – Manchester City
Points: 81 (18 behind champions Liverpool)
Most teams would be more than happy with an 81-point haul, but Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are not most teams. After claiming the Premier League title in back-to-back seasons with 100 and 98-point tallies respectively, many expected them to make it three on the spin. A relentless Liverpool outfit had other ideas, though, with Klopp's men never looking back after a 3-1 win over City in November opened up a nine-point lead at the summit that they would go on to double.Published 11 Sep 2020, 11:30 IST