Arsene Wenger. Pep Guardiola. Jose Mourinho. Now Jurgen Klopp? The Liverpool manager looks set to join this list of record-breaking Premier League-winning bosses and his side are likely to do so in the most emphatic way, with a whole host of milestones in their sights.
They received a scare on Monday as they overturned a 2-1 deficit against West Ham to continue their unbeaten run and keep their hopes of an invincible league season alive. Now 22 points clear at the top of the table, it seems certain that Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a top-flight title will come to an end.
Arsenal’s invincibles are still the only team to make it through a Premier League season without a defeat but they drew a whopping 12 games in 2003/04. To put that into perspective, if Liverpool draw every one of their remaining 11 league games, they will finish with an identical record to the Gunners.
Guardiola’s Manchester City broke the points record when they became centurions, being the first team to hit the 100-point mark having won 32 of their 38 games. Liverpool only need to win seven of their remaining 11 games to match that total, something that could be a breeze given their current run of form.
The rampant Reds will become record breakers this season, but there is one mark they already cannot beat. And it is the most impressive record the Premier League has to offer. In 2004/05, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side won the title in his first season and dominated English football in a way we hadn’t seen before.
On their way to collecting the title, that remarkable Chelsea side conceded just 15 goals in 38 matches. After West Ham scored twice at Anfield, Liverpool have now conceded 17 in their 27 matches so far. This record is almost impossible to comprehend given that it was Chelsea’s first campaign under a new manager and they went down as one of the greatest sides we have ever seen in the Premier League.
They lost just one game that season, 1-0 to Manchester City, and went 10 consecutive league games without conceding a goal as the backline held firm to win them the title. Petr Cech kept a record 24 clean sheets in his debut season to win the Golden Glove while John Terry played a leading role in one of the most dominant title run-ins ever.
Mourinho’s preferred shape, a 4-3-3 with a holding midfield player, allowed his side to dominate English sides who were fixated on a 4-4-2 system at the time. The back four of Paulo Ferreira, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Wayne Bridge were protected by Claude Makelele, a player so good he had a position named after him... at least in English circles. No wonder the opposition barely got a sniff.
Michael Essien and Frank Lampard patrolled the midfield while the talents of Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba and Damien Duff meant that this Chelsea side were far from boring. Yet it was a solid back four that provided the basis for all their success.
Arsenal’s 'Invincibles' could yet be surpassed. City’s 100 points can be toppled. But Chelsea’s defensive record may never be beaten.