Yesterday, Liverpool secured a dramatic last minute win in the Merseyside Derby to bring them back to within two points of Manchester City. As a fan of the Reds I was delighted at the end of the game, albeit in highly unusually circumstances. As is commonplace, once the final whistle sounded the league table almost immediately appeared on our screens. Liverpool, highlighted in blue, stood in second on 36 points from 14 games.
This got me thinking. Had any team in the Premier League era amassed 11 wins and 3 draws from their first 14, yet still find themselves second!?
The answer is no.
Thanks to friends in OPTA, the data below can demonstrate just how hot the race for the league is this year. It will be very interesting to calculate competitive balance for the 2018/19 season, come May of next year.
Newcastle United are a notable inclusion on the list, during the 1995/96 season, and are the only team not to go on and win the league having accumulated 35 points or more from 14 games. This record will have to fall this year, as either City or Liverpool, or maybe both, fail to win the league having reached 36 and 38 points respectively from 14 games.
The second table lists the seasons since 1992/93, 19 in total, where Liverpool would be top at this stage. The column on the right shows the number of points clear the Reds would be. On two occasions, they would be 9 points clear. One of these is compared to the Liverpool team of Gerard Houllier. On a further three occasions the Merseyside club would now be 8 points clear at the top.