From 1901 to 2020: Liverpool FC’s 19 title-winning seasons in review

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Liverpool are league champions for the 19th time, 119 years after their first and 30 years after their last – but how did each come to be?

Jurgen Klopp‘s men ended a three-decade-long wait for a league triumph in remarkable fashion having signed, sealed and delivered the trophy with seven games remaining.

The 2019/20 season followed on from an agonising runners-up finish last time out, and the Reds made their intentions clear at the start with a run of 27 games unbeaten.

Jordan Henderson is now the 10th Liverpool captain to win the English top-flight title and the first to lift the Premier League trophy.

Each of the 19 title-winning seasons, however, have been remarkable in their own right and here’s a brief review of Liverpool’s illustrious history with the top-flight title.

 

2019/20

Liverpool players celebrate with the Premier League trophy after the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. (Laurence Griffiths/PA Wire/PA Images)

Manager: Jurgen Klopp
Captain: Jordan Henderson
Top goalscorer: Mohamed Salah (19)
Points total: 99
WDL: 32-3-3


While the Reds have petered off at the end, records tumbled in their wake throughout a historic campaign which restored Liverpool back to the top of English football.

A 27-game unbeaten run coupled with a season without defeat at Anfield and a club record 99 points are only three notable returns for the world, European and English champions.

A team which will forever be enshrined in Liverpool’s illustrious history.

 

1989/90

Liverpool celebrate winning the first division title. 1990.

Manager: Kenny Dalglish
Captain: Alan Hansen
Top goalscorer: John Barnes (22)
Points total: 79
WDL: 23-10-5


The 11th title in 18 dominant years came in a campaign in less exhilarating circumstances than the last, but they were still unmatched by their counterparts having finished nine points ahead of Aston Villa.

The second-ever season with 38-games would return title No. 18, and few knew it at the time, but it would be 30 years before the next league trophy would arrive at Anfield.

 

1987/88

Ronnie Moran, Roy Evans, , Dalglish. Celebrate winning the title, 1988 (All Action/EMPICS Entertainment)

Manager: Kenny Dalglish
Captain: Alan Hansen
Top goalscorer: John Aldridge (26)
Points total: 90
WDL: 26-12-2


The 40-game campaign was one which thrilled the masses as a record 29-match unbeaten streak was coupled with an undefeated home record and a total of just two defeats – where Man United finished nine points behind Liverpool.

John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and Ray Houghton all arrived, with the former two establishing an electric and ruthless relationship with John Aldridge in attack to lead the club to the title.

 

1985/86

1986: Liverpool player-manager Kenny Dalglish (second l) shows off the League Championship trophy as teammate Mark Lawrenson (third l) displays the FA Cup during the team's celebratory open-topped bus journey through the city, the day after they completed the Double. The other players are Ronnie Whelan (l), Alan Hansen (second r) and Craig Johnston (r) ( PA Photos/PA Archive/PA Images)

Manager: Kenny Dalglish
Captain: Alan Hansen
Top goalscorer: Ian Rush (33)
Points total: 88
WDL: 26-10-6


A change at the top would reap the same returns for Liverpool as Kenny Dalglish became the club’s first player-manager and led his team to a revered ‘double’ after adding the FA Cup to the Reds’ 16th league title.

A perfectly timed run came at the death as a 12-game unbeaten streak ensured Everton were pipped at the post by just two points – the very side they toppled at Wembley in the cup final.

 

1983/84

Manager: Joe Fagan
Captain: Graeme Souness
Top goalscorer: Ian Rush (32)
Points total: 80
WDL: 22-14-6


Smokin’ Joe would answer his critics in emphatic fashion in his first season at the helm, with a European and League Cup securing an unprecedented treble alongside the First Division title.

Liverpool mastered the art of continuity and consistency once more having called on just 15 players throughout the 42-game campaign, five of whom featured in every fixture.

Rush went on to win the Golden Boot after netting 32 league goals, 10 more than his closest rival in Gary Lineker, but he finished the season with a remarkable 47.

 

1982/83

Bob Paisley - archive-205330-2

Manager: Bob Paisley
Captain: Graeme Souness
Top goalscorer: Ian Rush (24)
Points total: 82
WDL: 24-10-8


It would be the swansong for Paisley as he oversaw the club’s 14th league triumph, one which ended on a whimper as the last seven games returned five defeats and two draws.

The success was felt no less, however, as by March, the Reds had amassed a 14-point lead over second-placed Watford and with three games remaining their status at the top was confirmed after fellow challengers Man United fell to the wayside.

Paisley would end his tenure with six league titles, three European Cups, three League Cups, one Super Cup and one UEFA Cup.

 

1981/82

WREXHAM, WALES - Wednesday, May 2 1984: Wales and Liverpool striker Ian Rush in action against England during the British Home Championship match at the Racecourse Ground. (Pic by Steve Hale/Propaganda)

Manager: Bob Paisley
Captain: Phil Thompson
Top goalscorer: Ian Rush (17)
Points total: 87
WDL: 26-9-7


The Reds came into the season off the back of a fifth-placed finish but with their third European Cup in tow, in what was a campaign of transition as a fresh-faced Ian Rush made his mark.

Early season form failed to leave an impression as Paisley’s champions sat 12th on Boxing Day, only for a sharp upturn to lead to a 16 game unbeaten run which ensured Ipswich were toppled at the top.

The arrivals of Bruce Grobbelaar, Craig Johnston, Mark Lawrenson and Rush ensured the transition made from the 1970s to the 1980s was a seamless one.

 

1979/80

1979, Liverpool players perform a lap of honour after winning 3-0 to clinch the League Championship for the third time in four years: (l-r) Alan Kennedy, David Johnson, Terry McDermott, Phil Thompson, Ray Clemence (PA Photos/PA Archive/PA Images)

Manager: Bob Paisley
Captain: Phil Thompson
Top goalscorer: David Johnson (21)
Points total: 60
WDL: 25-10-7


While Man United would run Liverpool to the wire, Paisley’s men would once again finish the season at the summit with a two-point margin having recovered from an early-season blip.

Kenny Dalglish, Phil Neal and Phil Thompson were ever-presents in Liverpool’s 12th title triumph, showing an incredible level of consistency to play all 42 games.

 

1978/79

Kenny Dalglish, Bob Paisley - archive-181209-3

Manager: Bob Paisley
Captain: Emlyn Hughes and Kenny Dalglish
Top goalscorer: Kenny Dalglish (21)
Points total: 68
WDL: 30-8-4


This would be the first of six league titles as a Liverpool player for the legendary Kenny Dalglish and a campaign which Brian Clough, manager of reigning champions Nottingham Forest, would declare to Liverpool that: “You are a magnificent example to us all.”

They would finish the season eight points ahead of Forest with a record points total of 68.

The two-time European champions were superior in front of goal and defending their own, with 85 to their name and just 16 against, with only four at Anfield, in 42 games.

 

1976/77

Kevin Keegan leads Liverpool out at Anfield (PA Images)

Manager: Bob Paisley
Captain: Emlyn Hughes
Top goalscorer: Kevin Keegan (12)
Points total: 57
WDL: 23-11-8


A dominant campaign for Liverpool saw the title clinched with one game to spare ahead of Manchester City, their second league triumph in succession.

The Reds were undefeated at Anfield, dropping points on just three occasions as they coupled their league success with their first European Cup.

 

1975/76

Manager: Bob Paisley
Captain: Emlyn Hughes
Top goalscorer: John Toshack (16)
Points total: 60
WDL: 23-14-5


Paisley’s dynasty as Liverpool manager kicked off in dramatic fashion, clinching the title on the final day of the season with a win over Wolves, pipping Queens Park Rangers to the post by a single point.

And talk about a formidable side with Ray Clemence, Tommy Smith, Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Kevin Keegan, Steve Heighway and John Toshack all playing their part.

 

1972/73

Liverpool manager Bill Shankly holds aloft the League Championship trophy at Anfield today, and the joy on the face of the young supporter says it all. Liverpool just clinched the title by drawing 0-0 with Leicester. 1973 (PA Images)

Manager: Bill Shankly
Captain: Tommy Smith
Top goalscorer: Kevin Keegan and John Toshack (13)
Points total: 60
WDL: 25-10-7


Following a seven-year stretch without a single piece of silverware, the Reds’ league triumph, the last of Shankly’s reign, was also coupled with a UEFA Cup.

Only seventeen men played for Liverpool in a season which catapulted the club into greatness for the remainder of the 1970s.

 

1965/66

Manager: Bill Shankly
Captain: Ron Yeats
Top goalscorer: Roger Hunt (29)
Points total: 61
WDL: 26-9-7


A seventh league title and the second under Shankly was secured with a seven-point buffer, with Roger Hunt’s return of 29 goals earning him a place in the England squad who went on to win the World Cup – the first Liverpool player to do so.

Notably, only 13 players were used throughout the campaign.

 

1963/64

Manager: Bill Shankly
Captain: Ron Yeats
Top goalscorer: Roger Hunt (31)
Points total: 57
WDL: 26-5-11


After overseeing a remarkable transformation of the club, Shankly ended a 17-year wait for a title in just the second season back in the topflight.

The triumph signalled the return of the club as a force to be reckoned with and the fans at Anfield were in fine voice as they secured the title at Anfield with three games to spare, serenading cameras with renditions of ‘She Loves You’ to ‘When The Reds Go Marching In’.

 

1946/47

Willie Fagan, Liverpool inside forward, 1947 (S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

Manager: George Kay
Captain: Willie Fagan
Top goalscorer: Jack Balmer (24)
Points total: 57
WDL: 25-7-10


A 24-year wait for a title was ended as the Reds pipped Man United and Wolves to the post by one point in what was the first full season after the end of World War II.

A rare moment of triumph within a turbulent period for the club as Liverpool would go on to be relegated to Division Two in 1954.

 

1922/23

Manager: David Ashworth
Captain: Don Mackinlay
Top goalscorer: Harry Chambers (22)
Points total: 60
WDL: 26-8-8


The club’s first back-to-back league titles came off the back of another impressive defensive display across the campaign, with just 31 goals conceded in 42 games.

From the sixth game of the season onwards, Liverpool were untouched at the top of the table, even though Ashworth would depart mid-way through the campaign and hand the keys to Matt McQueen.

 

1921/22

Liverpool team group: (back row, l-r) Dick Johnson, Tom Miller, Willie Cunningham, Jim Penman, Peter McKinney, Billy Lacey (third row, l-r) Trainer W Connell, Dick Forshaw, Harry Chambers, Elisha Scott, Harold McNaughton, Jock McNab, Billy Matthews, George Patterson (second row, l-r) Manager David Ashworth, Jackie Sheldon, Jack Bamber, Tommy Lucas, Ephraim Longworth, Donald McKinlay, Tom Bromilow, Bert Pearson, Secretary (front row, l-r) Jones, Bill Jenkinson, Lancashire Cup, Liverpool Cup, Harry Lewis, Walter Wadsworth

Manager: David Ashworth
Captain: Don Mackinlay/Ephraim Longworth
Top goalscorer: Harry Chambers (19)
Points total: 57
WDL: 22-13-7


This was the first season the Reds were crowned champions after the competition was stretched to 42 games.

A six-point margin separated Liverpool from Tottenham in what was the first of two league titles for manager David Ashworth.

 

1905/06

Manager: Tom Watson
Captain: Alex Raisbeck
Top goalscorer: Joe Hewitt (24)
Points total: 51
W-D-L: 23-5-10


A second league title was secured in a campaign which saw Liverpool notch the joint-best unbeaten run alongside Blackburn Rovers, which lasted 10 games.

It was a milestone triumph as the Reds had only just returned to the First Division at the first time of asking.

 

1900/01

Manager: Tom Watson
Captain: Alex Raisbeck
Top goalscorer: Sam Raybould (17)
Points total: 45
W-D-L: 19-7-8


Only nine years after the club’s inception, John Houlding’s Reds are champions of England.

In mid-February, Liverpool were eighth in the table before going on a 12-match unbeaten run to secure the title on the last day of the season.

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