Did You Know? Liverpool Have Only Won the Premier League Once

Salah & Henderson of Liverpool
Jordan Henderson & Mohamed Salah of Liverpool FC (Cosmin Iftode / Bigstockphoto.com)

In common with many large, successful football teams, Liverpool FC are a little bit of a Marmite side. Most people hate Marmite, right? Okay, perhaps that is a little unfair. Liverpool, have a huge fan base and in recent times, they have won plaudits from neutrals, pundits and the media for their exciting, attacking football and the passion of their manager.

But there can be little getting away from the fact that lots and lots of people really dislike the club, and that includes a feeling of dislike towards their fans and their manager. As well as fans of rival clubs, such as Manchester United, Everton, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal (we could go on!), even some neutrals are turned off by the club for a range of reasons. Some even go so far as to suggest that everyone hates Liverpool, though that’s perhaps going a little too far.

None the less, many dislike Jurgen’s teeth and maniacal laugh, his constant moaning about referees, penalties and fixture congestion, his aggressive attitude towards reporters, and his inability to accept defeat graciously (again, we could go on). Others feel the club and supporters have a sense of entitlement and feel they are “owed” success, others still feel they are a lucky (rather than great) side; some argue their fans love to wallow in self-pity and last of all their support for the racist actions of Luis Suarez also did them no favours.

So, for all those who are not in love with the club, it must be pleasing to remember that Liverpool have won the Premier League just once. That’s right, the self-styled biggest, best, greatest, most successful, most important, most loved (hang on, is Donald Trump in charge?) club in the world… has won just one, solitary Premier League title.

Which Sides Have More Premier League Wins Than Liverpool?

Wes Brown & Wayne Rooney of Manchester United
Wes Brown & Wayne Rooney of Manchester United (sportsphotographer.eu / Bigstockphoto.com)

As said, Liverpool have only ever, in their entire history, won the Premier League once. If you didn’t know that before, by the end of this piece you’ll have it licked anyway. So, which sides have won it more times than the Reds? Well, here it goes:

Team Premier League Wins Years Won
Manchester United 13 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
Chelsea 5 2005, 2006, 2010, 2015, 2017
Manchester City 4 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019
Arsenal 3 1998, 2002, 2004

So, are Liverpool the fifth most successful club in English football? Well, not quite, because they are actually just the seventh best side in England. That’s because both Blackburn Rovers (1995) and Leicester City (2015) have both also won the Premier League just once each. They both rank ahead of Liverpool, however, as they both won their title earlier, so, as said, that makes Liverpool the seventh best team in English football.

But Football Existed Before the Premier League, Right?

Well, much as the Premier League themselves and the companies that broadcast it sometimes try to make us believe that football was actually invented in 1992, the first season of the competition, it is true that football existed prior to that.

In fact, football and related games go back even earlier than the 1980s, back when Back to the Future II showed us the future that was Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2015. Some suggest it goes back hundreds, or even thousands of years but one thing we know for sure: the English Football League was founded in 1888.

The founding members who were there from the very start are:

  • Accrington
  • Aston Villa
  • Blackburn
  • Bolton Wanderers
  • Burnley
  • Derby
  • Everton
  • Notts County
  • Preston
  • Stoke
  • West Brom
  • Wolves

You will notice that Liverpool are not on that list, chiefly because the club didn’t even exist in 1888. Of course Everton, a club with a longer history and many more years in the top flight (118 to 106) were there from the start but that’s another way in which Liverpool are lagging behind some of their major rivals. We’ll save history for another day.

So, having established that football pre-dates the Premier League, pre-dates Marty McFly and predates Liverpool FC, should we look at the top flight seasons prior to 1992-3? Well, obviously we could but this feature is actually about the fact that Liverpool Football Club have only ever won one Premier League title. As such, other (some might say lesser) competitions and titles they may have won back in ancient history are irrelevant to this. One might even say they are irrelevant altogether.

That said, we are nothing if not fair, so we will look a little further back than just the Premier League era to see if we can uncover at least something to cheer Liverpool fans up. Below you can see the title winners from the years prior to the Premier League.

  • 1991-92 – Leeds United
  • 1990-91 – Arsenal

There you go: even when we broaden the dataset well beyond the Premier League era to the start of the 1990s, the fact remains that Liverpool have won the title just once. This will probably surprise and shock many people from Shanghai, Bangkok and other corners of the globe who have been reliably (not reliably) informed by, well, Liverpool, that Liverpool were the most successful side in history.

Yet our comprehensive analysis and the stats above very clearly show that Liverpool are, in fact, no more successful than Leeds, Blackburn or Leicester. They lag well behind truly big sides, such as Arsenal, Chelsea and the two Manchester greats and, as said, this is very clearly based on the cold, hard facts – what we like to call “the science”.

Calm Down, Calm Down

Okay, we might, perhaps, just maybe, be kidding a teeny, tiny bit. Whilst it is true that Liverpool have only ever, in their entire history, won one Premier League title, they have won its predecessors a number of times. Admittedly, prior to their Covid-affected win in 2020, they had been waiting for a title only three seasons fewer than Everton but in general the 1980s and 1970s were very kind to them.

In those two decades they lifted the First Division, as the English top flight was then known, in the following seasons:

  • 1990
  • 1988
  • 1986
  • 1984
  • 1983
  • 1982
  • 1980
  • 1979
  • 1977
  • 1976
  • 1973

The 70s and 80s really were a golden era for the club and it is this single, lucky phase in their history that is largely responsible for their global fan base. We’ve included their 1990 title as, in fairness, it was the 1989-90 campaign but of the 19 titles Liverpool have collected, a whopping 11 came in these two decades alone.

In many ways, that actually puts them behind Everton and Arsenal in terms of overall titles won in English football. If we discount the 1970s and 1980s, Liverpool’s eight titles is one fewer than the nine the Toffees have achieved and four fewer than Arsenal’s 13. The greatest club in the world? Really?

Top Flight Title Wins

Some Liverpool supporters may incorrectly feel it is unfair for us to discount the 11 titles detailed above. Wrong though such a view is, let us, for the sake of any snowflake Reds who may get upset and have a little meltdown on Twitter, now consider Liverpool’s full record in English football.

Their first big success came in 1894 when they won the Second Division (equivalent to the modern day Championship). Indeed, this is a competition in which they have enjoyed significant success, playing in the second tier for many years and winning it on four separate occasions. As well as 1894, they won the Second Division in 1896, 1905 and 1962.

Coincidentally these four titles match the four seasons in total that Everton have ever been as low as the second tier. But, as said, Liverpool have also enjoyed winning the First Division/Premier League 19 times if you include the fortuitous 11 titles they won during the 1970s and 1980s. The table below shows which English sides have won the most championships overall.

Team Total Titles*
Manchester United 20
Liverpool 19
Arsenal 13
Everton 9
Aston Villa 7^

* – For the purposes of this table we have included Liverpool’s 11 in the 1970s and 1980s although some argue these should be discounted. We have also included their COVID-19 title of 2020.

^ – Note we have not awarded Villa an additional title for their 7-2 annihilation of Liverpool, although some football historians have suggested it would be fair to do so.

As we can see from this table, in terms of the number of top flight English football championships won, Liverpool are a very distant second to Manchester United. Manchester United are clearly and indisputably the best and most successful side overall.

Is There a Difference Between Winning the Old First Division & the Premier League?

English Premier League logoAll joking aside, there is a strong argument that Liverpool’s tally of old- and new-era titles does make them the second best side in English football. Second behind Man United. But should we make any distinction in general between a side winning the First Division and one winning the Premier League? Does a title by any other name still smell as sweet?

Most fans, players, managers and pundits would probably argue that there is no real distinction in terms of prestige and honour when it comes to an English title won before 1993 and from that year onwards. Whatever we call it, this is the biggest prize in English football, contested by all the best teams. Any side going through the whole season and finishing top of the pile has achieved something great (even if, as we have seen, sometimes Liverpool have been very lucky).

Ultimately, we would have to agree with these experts when it comes to assessing the historical debate about who has been the champions of England most often. However, this piece is centred on the Premier League and, therefore, we have to return to a truth that some Liverpool supporters in Mumbai may find disheartening: their club has only won the Premier League on one occasion.

That sorry performance puts the Reds way down in seventh place in the annuls of English football, with a side with more history than them (a founder member of the Football League, no less), Blackburn, looking down on them. But will Liverpool improve on their dreadful record?

Will Liverpool Win the Premier League Again This Season?

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool Manager
Jurgen Klopp (sportsphotographer.eu / Bigstockphoto.com)

Of course, Liverpool’s paltry, meagre, solitary title may well change and they could claim a second in 2020-21… yeah, right! At the time of writing, the “mighty” Reds may well be top of the table but some of their performances have been pretty woeful.

Recently, they only managed a draw with West Brom, a team that were beaten 3-0 by Villa before their game with Klopp’s “boys” (as he annoyingly insists on calling his players, including James Milner, who must be at least 40). After the 1-1 draw on the “hallowed Anfield turf” (that phrase is virtually trademarked by some Liverpool fans but Anfield was actually Everton’s original home), West Brom then lost 5-0 to Leeds and 4-0 to Arsenal. We mean, Arsenal… come on!

As a slight aside with regards Anfield, until reasonably recently a search on Google Maps for the term “gobshites” (Everton fans’ pejorative take on Liverpool’s preferred Kopites), took you to Anfield. Sadly, Google have stopped the fun but it was good whilst it lasted.

Back to the chances of Liverpool claiming a second Premier League title (did we mention, they have actually only won it once?). As said, they are top at the time of writing, but both Manchester clubs can overtake them due to games in hand and Liverpool are certainly not playing like champions. If you disagree you can get odds of 11/4 on the Gob… err, sorry, Kopites but City are generally odds-on, which gives you an idea of where the bookies expect the title to end up.

More to the point, this is Liverpool. The team that bottled it beyond measure in 2014 when they threw away a three goal cushion against Palace with just 11 minutes left to draw 3-3. And, let’s not talk about Steven Gerrard’s slip. Oh, go on then, let’s…

Prior to the Palace debacle, it seemed that Brendan Rodgers was set to end decades of hurt and deliver the title. But then club stalwart, legend “Stevie G” decided to mis-control the ball, slip, crawl on the floor a little and allow Chelsea to score. Watch it below. It’s so unlucky. Just such bad fortune to happen to a one-club hero like Gerrard. Even worse for it to be the deciding moment in the game that turned the title race Man City’s way.

Could this be any more poignant? Well yes, actually, because just a couple of weeks earlier, following a rousing 3-2 win over Man City at Anfield, Gerrard called the players into a huddle. It was a bit of a Churchillian moment for this real leadership from Gerrard, holding back tears of joy and relief but determined to get his message home to players who perhaps might not understand just what a first Premier League title would mean to the club, to the fans. And, what did he say?

Hey, this does not f*****g slip now. This does not f*****g slip. Listen, listen. This is gone. We go Norwich. Exactly the same. We go again. Come on!

Oops. Poor choice of words Steven. Of The Slip, the now-Rangers boss said, “That was the most difficult day in my life and still is. No matter what happens to me to the day I die that will be the most difficult day of my life because it is difficult to erase it.”

The midfield ace went into more detail in his autobiography, from which the following passage is taken. The heart truly (not truly) bleeds.

I sat in the back of the car and felt the tears rolling down my face. I hadn’t cried for years but, on the way home, I couldn’t stop. The tears kept coming. I can’t even tell you if the streets were thick with traffic or as empty as I was on the inside. It was killing me. I felt numb, like I had lost someone in my family. It was as if my whole quarter of a century at this football club poured out of me. I did not even try to stem the silent tears as the events of the afternoon played over and over again in my head.

So, no, don’t expect Liverpool to win the EPL in 2021. But will they ever taste glory again?

Will Liverpool Ever Win a Second Premier League?

Anfield Stadium
Anfield Stadium (coward_lion / Bigstockphoto.com)

Well, Liverpool are a big club with fans all over the world, mostly in Asia with a small scattering on Merseyside. They have vast resources and American owners determined to be successful. The occasional trophy helps with the accumulation of wealth and so you heard it here first: yes, Liverpool will, one day, claim a second Premier League title (have we mentioned that they currently have just one in the cabinet?).

Given they had to endure a 128-year wait for their first one, we confidently predict that Liverpool will next win the title in 2148. Congrats, guys – well done. Perhaps Stevie G will have stopped crying by then and old Jurgen might even have ceased moaning… but don’t bank on it.