Liverpool’s 12 biggest Premier League defeats – and what happened next

Liverpool’s last outing was one which etched a new unwanted record as the club’s biggest Premier League defeat, but it wasn’t the first thrashing – so what were the rest and how did the Reds respond?

The trip to Aston Villa prior to the international break was one where you could justify the ground opening up and swallowing Jurgen Klopp‘s men whole such was the nature of the hiding.

It was the first time since 1963 that a Liverpool side had conceded seven goals, and with only two finding the net for the men in red it earned the top spot on an undesirable list.

Since the Premier League‘s inception in 1992, the Reds have handed out their fair share of batterings, but they too have been on the receiving end of a number.

There are a few that will have left lasting memories, no matter how unwanted, while others will have only left traces.

Here, we take a look back at 12 of Liverpool’s biggest Premier League defeats, and what happened next in their bid to bounce back.


Liverpool 1-4 Chelsea – Oct 2, 2005

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SATURDAY JANUARY 1st 2005: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard looks dejected after losing 1-0 to Chelsea during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chelsea were back for revenge after they were silenced in the Champions League semi-final and as clear leaders at the top of the table, they duly cashed in.

While Steven Gerrard had pegged Chelsea back after Frank Lampard scored from the spot, Damien Duff, Joe Cole and Geremi piled on the pain as Didier Drogba ran rampant.

It wasn’t so much a poor performance on Liverpool’s part, more Chelsea flexing their muscles and showcasing the gulf in quality.

What happened next?

As you’ll soon see, this was the first and last time Liverpool have lost by such a margin at Anfield in the Premier League, as they clearly save humbling defeats for the road.

Rafa Benitez’s men did respond and they would lose only five of their next 32 league games in 2005/06 to finish third, nine points behind Chelsea at the top.


Blackburn 4-1 Liverpool – Apr 3, 1993

Shearer, Sutton, Anfield, Blackburn, title win 1995 (John Giles/PA Archive/PA Images)

This meeting pitted two old Liverpool team-mates against the other, but it was Kenny Dalglish‘s Blackburn who had the last laugh by piling on four goals, and it could have been more.

Ian Rush popped up at the end to add a touch of respectability to the scoreline but it was the manner of the defeat which proved troublesome as Graeme Souness’ side continued to look a shadow of the formidable best that the manager helped create as a player in the early ’80s.

What happened next?

One report at the time felt the result epitomised the “sorry state of affairs at Anfield” with pressure continuing to build on Souness’ shoulders.

Injuries did little to help his cause, but with no real identity and vision for the long-term, Liverpool languished in mid-table for much of the season before finishing sixth, 25 points behind champions Man United.


Chelsea 4-1 Liverpool – Apr 25, 1998

COVENTRY, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 6, 1996: Liverpool's manager Roy Evans against Coventry City during the Premiership match at Highfield Road. Coventry won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chelsea also proved to be the thorn in Liverpool’s side in 1998, this time for Roy Evans as the Blues piled on the misery to move above the Reds into third in the table.

Karl-Heinz Riedle had levelled the scores on the cusp of half-time after Mark Hughes netted the opener, but three goals in 11 second-half minutes would be enough to leave Liverpool in a tailspin.

Chelsea‘s wayward finishing flattered the visitors in the end.

What happened next?

Evans would guide his side to a third-placed finish, his fourth successive top-four finish at the helm.

Changes were coming, however, as Gerard Houllier would arrive to become a joint-manager, a partnership that lasted just four months.

Houllier remained in charge until 2004 and would see the careers of Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard blossom – he finished his tenure with an FA Cup, UEFA Cup and two League Cups.


Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool – Oct 21, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 22, 2017: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (L) replaces Dejan Lovren (L) during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by Paul Marriott/Propaganda)

It was a game which changed everything, although it didn’t quite feel that way at the time. It remains one of the lowest points in Liverpool’s time under Klopp.

The Reds were 2-0 down inside 12 minutes at Wembley, and by the final whistle, the scoreboard read 4-1 as Liverpool were comprehensively ripped apart by Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Dele Alli.

Dejan Lovren was hauled off after just 30 minutes, which says all you need to know in a team performance which lacked cohesion, identity, confidence and purpose.

Liverpool were ninth in the table after this one.

What happened next?

For all the doom and gloom the result brought upon its immediate end, it proved to be the game-changer.

It was the second heavy defeat of the campaign, but it would lead to a subsequent run of 14 games unbeaten.

And beyond that, the 105 top-flight fixtures which followed on from that horrible day at Wembley up until the last game of the title-winning season would see the Reds lose just seven.

You read that right, just seven.

It was a watershed moment which paved the way for defensive improvement and a resilient mentality, with four trophies added to the cabinet in the years since.


Man City 4-0 Liverpool – Jul 2, 2020

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 2, 2020: Liverpool’s goalkeeper Alisson Becker (L) and Joe Gomez looks dejected as Manchester City score the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. This was Liverpool's first game as Premier League 2019/20 Champions. (Pic by Propaganda)

This was one of those seven abovementioned defeats, one which came in the immediate aftermath of Liverpool officially being crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years.

It was a diabolical outing at best, but one which was immediately placed into the bigger picture, quickly forgiven yet still bookmarked for the unusually loose team defence on show.

What happened next?

It was the first of two defeats in the final seven games of what had been a truly formidable 2019/20 campaign.

While holding little significance as nothing was truly on the line, it was the start of individual mistakes creeping back into play and a firm reminder that if you’re even just one percent off you can be punished.


Chelsea 4-0 Liverpool – Dec 16, 2001

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 26, 2003: Liverpool's manager Ge?rard Houllier pictured against West Bromwich Albion during the Premiership match at the Hawthorns. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool were once again left to lament a slow and sloppy start in a game which they entered as Premier League leaders, with Phil Thompson on managerial duties in the absence of Houllier.

Graeme Le Saux, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Sam Dalla Bona all scored for Chelsea as Liverpool looked toothless without Michael Owen, and perhaps lamented the departure of Robbie Fowler.

They showed fight, but it was not enough.

What happened next?

It came as an anomaly within an otherwise steady and consistent season, but it set the Reds’ pursuit of the title off-kilter as a place at the top was then followed by a drop to fifth before ending the campaign in second.

Liverpool would finish seven points behind champions Arsenal, who they lost to in the immediate aftermath of this heavy defeat as the first of three losses in the final 22 games.


Tottenham 4-0 Liverpool – Sep 18, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 18, 2011: Liverpool's goalkeeper Jose Reina looks dejected after his mistake handed Tottenham Hotspur the third goal during the Premiership match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This was an afternoon which went from bad to worse.

Luka Modric had opened the scoring and in the time between Jermain Defoe adding the second in the 66th minute, both Charlie Adam and Martin Skrtel had been handed a red card.

With the Reds on nine men, Spurs upped the ante and piled on a further three unanswered goals to inflict Dalghlish’s biggest-ever defeat as Liverpool manager.

What happened next?

With it being only the fifth game of the season, there was plenty of time to recover as Dalglish continued to settle back into the role, having been awarded a permanent contract after taking over from Roy Hodgson at the start of 2011.

Merely eight months and an eighth-placed finish later and Dalglish was out, with Brendan Rodgers in.

But Dalglish’s lasting legacy from a second spell in charge would be the arrival of Luis Suarez, who went on to almost guide the Reds to a league title in 2014.


Man United 4-0 Liverpool – Apr 5, 2003

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 5, 2003: Liverpool's Stephen Gerrard and Emile Heskey kick-off 2-0 down to Manchester United during the Premiership match at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s downfall was self-inflicted, with Sami Hyypia conceding a penalty and receiving a red card all within the first five minutes.

A second penalty would come for Ruud van Nistelrooy in the second half, before Ryan Giggs and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer added the finishing touches late on, allowing United to avenge their League Cup final defeat from a month prior.

What happened next?

Liverpool would win their next four games by an aggregate of 12-2, but they would finish outside the top four in what proved to be Houllier’s penultimate season in the dugout.

A summer of change was in store before then, with Patrik Berger and Emile Heskey both departing while Steve Finnan and Harry Kewell were added to the fold.


Coventry City 5-1 Liverpool – Dec 19, 1992

Graeme Souness, Liverpool manager, 1991 (Picture by Ross Kinnaird EMPICS Sport)

This was a far-from-an-ideal Christmas present in the inaugural Premier League season and it was enshrined in history for all the wrong reasons as the club’s biggest defeat for more than 16 years.

Coventry headed into the game without a win in their last 11 but they made Souness’ defence look like witches’ hats in training the longer it went on, as they were three goals to the good before Jamie Redknapp pulled one back in the second half.

Two more Coventry goals would follow, however, as would a red card to the Reds’ sole goalscorer.

What happened next?

There would be no immediate response in the games to follow as Souness’ side would win just one of their next 12 in all competitions, which included five defeats to see Liverpool languish in 15th position.

They would pick themselves back up in the final quarter to finish sixth in 1992/93, which included another record defeat, but it would be the start of the end for Souness as patience started to run thin.

After another poor winter run a year later saw him resign in January 1994.


Man City 5-0 Liverpool – Sep 9, 2017

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 9, 2017: Liverpool's Sadio Mane looks dejected after being sent off during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A game widely remembered and defined by Sadio Mane‘s red card on the cusp of half-time.

Liverpool had looked dangerous and shown signs that they too could pick Man City apart, but Mane’s dismissal changed the complexion of the game despite Sergio Aguero’s early goal.

Gabriel Jesus would add a second in the ensuing first-half stoppage time and it was all that was needed to see the stack of cards tumble in dramatic fashion, with Jesus netting another alongside a Leroy Sane brace.

What happened next?

It was a performance which highlighted the significant shortcomings of Liverpool’s defence, which included Simon Mignolet, Ragnar Klavan and Alberto Moreno.

It would take a little while for the Reds to click back into gear, which required another dismal display as aforementioned, but they would sign Virgil van Dijk that January, make it to the Champions League final and then add Alisson to the mix – swiftly becoming world-beaters.


Stoke City 6-1 Liverpool – May 24, 2015

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 24, 2015: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard walk off dejected as his side are losing 5-0 to lowly Stoke City during the Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Humiliating, embarrassing and not how you send off an undisputed club legend in Steven Gerrard.

By the time the skipper netted a consolation you were already peeking through your fingers just begging for the final whistle to come.

Not that anyone could forget, but Liverpool were 5-0 down at half-time. Ex-Reds in Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch both scored for the hosts and even Steven Nzonzi rifled one in.

It was a capitulation of epic proportions that encapsulated all the club had become, with Rodgers deploying Emre Can at right-back and no specialist forward as Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho were instead given the task of leading the line.

What happened next?

Despite the withering end to a lacklustre season, Rodgers was kept in place as his backroom staff was instead put on the chopping block, Christian Benteke was added to the fold for an eye-watering £32.5 million and belief was at an all-time low.

The summer did see the early beginnings of some key figures, though, whether we knew it at the time or not.

Pep Lijnders was promoted from the academy to the first team and Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Joe Gomez all arrived.

But Rodgers would last only 11 games as he would be given his marching orders following a draw at Everton and it would emerge that FSG were playing the long game as they hired a man by the name of Jurgen Klopp in his place.


Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool – Oct 4, 2020

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 4, 2020: Liverpool’s goalkeeper Adrián San Miguel del Castillo looks dejected as his side lose 7-2 during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If you weren’t sure whether to cry or laugh with this one, don’t worry, you weren’t alone.

After setting the gold standard in the Premier League the season prior, this uncharacteristically sloppy performance and the void of pressure caught fans off-guard – and the players as well, seemingly.

One mistake at the back proved to be the start of the end as Villa ran riot, and to an uninterested onlooker would have appeared to be the reigning champions rather than the team who escaped relegation on the final matchday of the season.

What happened next?

Time will tell. History and this side under Klopp have proved that it can be considered a one-off, a glitch in the matrix, but like the boss said post-match: “The proof of that will be in the next couple of weeks or months.”

They will, of course, have to do it without their No. 1 between the sticks and in a period which will see seven games played in 21 days, but they have done it before and there is no reason to doubt that it could, if anything, be a timely wakeup call.

Let’s hope Everton are on the receiving end of our wrath.