Premier League stats: Manchester United end Liverpool’s winning run
“It was always going to happen at some point. Now we can stop talking about that and start a new series.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp saw his side’s impressive 17-match winning streak in the Premier League come to an end against Manchester United on Sunday, a 1-1 draw meaning they fall one victory short of equalling Manchester City’s top-flight record.
Unbeaten after nine games and six points clear at the Premier League summit, failing to match City’s tally is unlikely to cause Klopp and his players to lose too much sleep.
But was their 225-day run always destined to end at Old Trafford?
After all, there does appear to be something about games at Manchester United that is beginning to bug the Reds.
Despite their lowly league position – starting the day one point above the relegation zone – a spirited United were able to extend their unbeaten home run against their bitter rivals to six games.
And three wins and three draws have brought about their longest unbeaten sequence against Liverpool at Old Trafford since they accumulated 10 between 1991-2000.
Individually, after four draws and one defeat in all competitions, Klopp is yet to taste victory at Old Trafford.
And while there is still something about this fierce rivalry which captures the imagination, is it still delivering from an entertainment perspective?
Five of the past seven league meetings have now ended in draws – three of those goalless – while in a previously all-or-nothing contest only four of the preceding 36 encounters had seen the spoils shared.
|Date||Premier League results||Combined Goals||Combined expected goals (xG)|
|20/10/19||Man Utd 1-1 Liverpool||2||1.9|
|24/02/19||Man Utd 0-0 Liverpool||0||0.8|
|16/12/18||Liverpool 3-1 Man Utd||4||3.3|
|10/03/18||Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool||3||1.5|
|14/10/17||Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd||0||1.8|
|15/01/17||Man Utd 1-1 Liverpool||2||2.3|
|17/10/16||Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd||0||0.8|
As shown in the table above, only two of those seven games since October 2016 have had a combined expected goals (xG) of over two – and only on two occasions has either side managed at least two goals.
It is against their fiercest rivals that Liverpool appear to struggle most.
Of the sides Liverpool have faced at least five teams since that 0-0 draw three years ago, their meetings with Manchester United have the lowest combined expected goals. Only in games against Everton have there been fewer goals scored.
Liverpool’s run broken down
Sunday’s draw is the first time Liverpool have surrendered points to a Premier League rival since 3 March, against Merseyside neighbours Everton.
During their winning run they defeated Chelsea, Newcastle, Burnley and Southampton twice, scoring 45 times in all and conceding just 13.
But Manchester City’s 18 successive wins between August and December 2017 remains the mark to beat.
And in scoring for Liverpool, Adam Lallana took their unbeaten league run to 26 games.
That is almost halfway to the record 49 undefeated matches achieved by Arsenal between May 2003 and October 2004.
Avoiding defeat in their next four matches against Tottenham, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Crystal Palace would see Liverpool match City’s best in that regard (30).
Another landmark Liverpool missed out on was becoming only the second side (behind Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2005) to win their opening nine Premier League matches.
Positives for United, but worst start rumbles on
Since Liverpool’s winning run began on 10 March, United have won just four league games.
Though they began the match dangerously close to the relegation zone, United were never in danger of actually dropping into the bottom three on Sunday after other results went their way at the weekend.
United have spent 11 days in the relegation zone in Premier League history – and never once outside of August.
With their point they are now two points clear of safety, but next travel to a 19th-placed Norwich City side that – with victory – could move level with them on 10 points.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to reiterate the long-term project at United. True to form, he named United’s youngest ever side to start against Liverpool in the Premier League (prior to Axel Tuanzebe’s injury in the warm-up).
But his team have now won just two of their past 14 league matches – and have earned 18 points from 17 top-flight games since Solskjaer was appointed on a permanent basis.
Perhaps inexperience has played its part, as no side has dropped more points from winning positions this season than his side. And that likely has much to do with United’s failure to score more than once since the opening day.
In failing to win, United recorded their worst start to a league campaign since 1986-87 – the season Ron Atkinson was eventually replaced by Sir Alex Ferguson as manager – though they did extend their record of never having lost a home Premier League game when they have been winning at half-time.
That’s now 265 wins, 18 draws. Not bad.
Indeed, they are yet to lose a home league game after leading at half-time since falling to a 2-1 defeat against Ipswich way back in the pre-Premier League days of May 1984.