Premier League: Liverpool finally end their title drought. Whose turn is it now?
- As Liverpool celebrate their first league title in 30 years, here are four top English teams who need to end their own long wait to become champions
When Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson lifted the Premier League trophy on 22 July after doing his customary celebratory shuffle, it was a cathartic moment for the players, the club and its fans. The Reds had conspired to somehow miss winning the league for thirty years, making it one of the longest title droughts in the history of club football. And especially so for a club of Liverpool’s size and history. Between 1970 and 1990, Liverpool won the title eleven times and came second five times. Between 1990 and 2020, despite winning seventeen other trophies, the league passed them by, with just three runners up finishes. In these thirty years, arch rivals Manchester United have won thirteen league titles, Chelsea have won it five times while Arsenal and Manchester City have won it four times each. This is also Liverpool’s first league win in the Premier League era, which began with the 1992-93 season. So now that Liverpool’s long title drought is over, which clubs are next in line to end their own long wait for the Premier League trophy?
Tottenham Hotspur (59 years)
Of England’s top six clubs, none have waited longer than Tottenham to lift the trophy. To put it in perspective, Spurs last won it before The Beatles had their first hit! Over the decades since, they’ve had some amazing teams and won many memorable tournament victories. Except the league. In recent years, Tottenham have come closer than ever before to ending the drought, on the back of big investments in the squad and stadium. But the main reason behind them finishing third, second, third and fourth between the 2015-16 and 2018-19 seasons was their manager Muricio Pochettino. One of the most highly rated managers in the world, he led the team to not just successive top four finishes, but also to the Champions League final last year. He was sacked earlier this season after a string of poor results, and it’s difficult to see when Spurs can put together a run of form that can break the 59-year hoodoo. In Jose Mourinho, they have another managerial great in charge now, but barring some drastic turnaround, it’s more likely that Tottenham will continue to be a top five team without making that crucial next step.
Everton (33 years)
Liverpool’s cross-city rivals Everton have largely been a mid-table club in the Premier League era. As a result, casual followers of the league often forget that the Merseyside club is the fourth-most successful club in England, with nine top division wins. The latest of these came in the 1986-87 season. In the mid 80s, Everton and Liverpool had formed something of a duopoly in the league, winning it between them in successive seasons. Since the 1990s however, Everton entered a prolonged period of stagnation as Liverpool and especially Manchester United and then the London clubs left them trailing in their wake. The Toffees have endured many false dawns in the past thirty years, most notably under managers David Moyes and Roberto Martinez, but the club have always fallen short of joining the country’s elite clubs. Their current manager Carlo Ancelotti is certainly one of the very best around. He’s won the Champions League thrice—the only manager to ever do so—while managing such illustrious clubs like AC Milan and Real Madrid. But whether Ancelotti can help Everton take that elusive step up is anybody’s guess.
Arsenal (16 years)
At the end of the 2003-2004 season, when Arsenal last won the league, their 12th, the future seemed unimaginably bright for the Gunners. Led by their innovative and charismatic French manager Arsene Wenger, Arsenal had just completed an unbeaten season, were playing breathtaking football and with the likes of striker Thierry Henry, midfielder Patrick Vierra and wingers Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg, had one of the most feared squads in world football. The next season they came second to Chelsea. But then, they slumped into a pattern of playing great football without getting the results they required. And this continued for season after season. As Wenger went from innovative to obstinate, Arsenal went from champions to just another big club. In recent years they’ve not even made the top four regularly, and the first word that comes to mind when thinking about the modern Arsenal is erratic. A club in perennial transition, Arsenal seem destined to wait a while yet.
Manchester United (7 years)
Can you call seven years a drought? Well, for a club that won thirteen league titles in 20 years, including twice winning the league three times in a row, seven years is an eternity. United have suffered a longer drought before, when the club had to wait 26 years between 1967 and 1993 for a league championship, but the club would certainly not want to emulate that record. In the seven years since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired after leading United to their 20th career league championship in the 2012-13 season, United have suffered a dramatic fall by their own relentless standards. In the last seven years United have had five different managers, and have finished outside the top four, four times. Despite being the richest club in the world, United made a series of unwise investments in players and in a revolving door of managers without a tactical blueprint. Under current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær, United are showing some signs of turning the corner with a coherent squad and tactics, but challenging for the title will need to wait for at least a few more seasons.
FIRST PUBLISHED23.07.2020 | 11:00 AM IST
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