Simply the best?
Liverpool are Premier League champions for the first time.
Not only that, but the manner in which they won it prompted questions about who the greatest side in Premier League history is.
This list is by no means definitive in settling that argument, but looking at which teams collected the most points in any given season certainly helps inform the debate.
Points totals can mean very different things from one season to the next – and everyone starts a new season back at zero – but some will at least earn you a place on this slideshow...
So where does Jurgen Klopp's side come on this list? You'll have to get to the end to find out. (That's a hint.)
20. Tottenham 2016-17
86pts (+60), 2nd
Rival supporters and even most neutrals are tired of reading claims that Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham were England’s best team for a couple of years, so we won’t make that claim. Nor will we say that Spurs ‘deserved’ to be 2016-17 Premier League champions, because that isn’t how it works.
Points win prizes, and in 2016-17 Chelsea got more of them. Tottenham took 53 from 57 available at home in White Hart Lane’s farewell season, scored more goals and conceded fewer than every other team, and recorded the second-highest points tally of any non-champions – enough to win them the league in a third of all Premier League seasons.
19. Manchester City 2013-14
86pts (+65), 1st
Overshadowed by both the simultaneous melodrama at Anfield and the frantic finale to their own final-day triumph two years earlier, Manuel Pellegrini’s title-winning side are easily forgotten. They laid in wait for the most part, rarely top of the league by virtue of having a game in hand from early February through to the final week. Then, with all of the focus on Merseyside, Pellegrini’s men won a friendly final five fixtures with considerable ease.
Yet the 2013-14 champions deserve anything but indifference. City won 17 from 19 at home, which included beating Arsenal 6-3 and Spurs 6-0. Their 102-goal haul fell just shy of the Premier League record, but 156 (!) across all competitions set a new one.
18. Chelsea 2009-10
86pts (+71), 1st
Carlo Ancelotti has only won four domestic titles in 21 seasons of management, with his most impressive triumph coming at Stamford Bridge in 2009-10.
The Italian’s Double-winners set a Premier League goals record that still stands… for now. Hitting 17 without reply in their final three fixtures took them to 103 in total and an astonishing goal difference of +71 – another record.
It hinted at Chelsea’s dominance in a season where they also conceded just once in six FA Cup games, following a summer in which Daniel Sturridge and Yuri Zhirkov represented their only major signings.
17. Chelsea 2014-15
87pts (+41), 1st
Although Jose Mourinho’s Blues went undefeated at home and lifted the trophy in April, they did so with much less swagger than they had 10 years earlier.
It wouldn’t be fair to dismiss Mourinho’s second Chelsea outfit as dull – as the Portuguese himself told FourFourTwo, he considered his team “dominant” rather than boring – but the champions did embody an underwhelming Premier League season that offered precious little intrigue anywhere in the table. Remarkably, the west Londoners rose to top spot after the opening weekend and weren’t knocked off it for the rest of the campaign.
16. Arsenal 2001-02
87pts (+43), 1st
If Arsenal’s Invincibles are criticised in some quarters for drawing their way into the history books, the same accusation can’t be levelled at this Double-winning vintage. On February 2, 2002, Arsenal set a new record by scoring for the 26th consecutive match, only for Jo Tessem of Southampton to cancel out Sylvain Wiltord’s strike. It was the final game of the 2001-02 league campaign that Arsenal failed to win.
They could hardly be called a one-man team, either. Robert Pires was named Footballer of the Year, Freddie Ljungberg won Premier League Player of the Season and Thierry Henry was awarded the Golden Boot, while Arsene Wenger scooped seasonal gongs from the Premier League and LMA alike.
15. Manchester United 2007-08
87pts (+58), 1st
A total of 17 home wins from 19 helped Cristiano Ronaldo and friends outgun Chelsea in England and abroad. Manchester United were frugal in defence, conceding 22 goals in the Premier League and only two in seven Champions League knockout matches, while Ronaldo plundered 42 goals in all competitions, thriving alongside Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez.
In one of the division’s most competitive title races (Arsenal finished third with 83 points and Liverpool fourth with 76, once a championship-winning total), United did the business. Again.
14. Manchester United 2012-13
89pts (+43), 1st
The idea that David Moyes ruined an amazing team would appear substantiated by this healthy points tally in Alex Ferguson’s final season – but 89 points doesn’t tell the full story. A goal difference of +43 is measly by modern title-chasers' standards: United conceded as many goals (43) as they did under Moyes the following season, and won 16 games by single-goal margins.
It was still more than enough to win the league, though. Fergie outmuscled champions Manchester City to sign Robin van Persie, who scored 26 league goals; if those goals were scratched from the record, United would have been an astonishing 28 points poorer.
13. Manchester United 2006-07
89pts (+56), 1st
Eight – eight – Red Devils featured in the PFA Team of the Year as United finished six points ahead of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. Those PFA picks were Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, for the record.
Further fun fact: Alex Ferguson won as many Manager of the Month awards in the 2006-07 campaign (three) as Mourinho has in his entire Premier League career. Not that Jose’s the type to get bothered by that sort of thing.
12. Manchester United 2011-12
89pts (+56), 2nd
In 2011-12, Manchester United were eight points clear at the top with six matches remaining. Then a shock defeat by Wigan and a 4-4 draw with Everton reduced that margin to three points ahead of the Manchester derby, with only two games to follow it.
Monday Night Football on April 30 saw Alex Ferguson drop a striker and bring his men to City in a rare 4-5-1 formation. Five attacking players sat on the bench as Wayne Rooney cut a lonely figure up top and, for the first time in three years, United failed to have a shot on target and City won 1-0. Roberto Mancini’s Blues went top on goal difference – and that was that.
11. Manchester City 2011-12
89pts (+64), 1st
The drama of the 2011-12 final day is fairly well known. Suffice to say, Sergio Aguero scored late on as Manchester City beat QPR 3-2 to scoop the prize.
Roberto Mancini had admitted with six games remaining that the Premier League trophy looked out of reach. But with the pressure off, victories over West Brom, Norwich and Wolves gave City the impetus ahead of the Manchester derby – and the rest is history.
United and City finished the 2011-12 season with identical records of 28 wins, five draws and five defeats. If City’s famous 6-1 win at Old Trafford had ended only 2-1, they’d also have finished with identical totals in the goals scored (89) and goals conceded (29) columns.
10. Manchester United 2008-09
90pts (+44), 1st
If the mark of champions is finding a win by any means possible, Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United wore that stigma with pride. They matched Liverpool’s 18 league titles and pushed a facts-spouting Rafa Benitez into second by winning 16 of their 38 fixtures by a single goal, giving new meaning to the concept of fine margins.
The defence kept things tight by necessity: of those 16 narrow wins, 10 finished 1-0. Edwin van der Sar’s record number of consecutive clean sheets came during a winter run-in which United didn’t concede for 14 league games, while their final six fixtures of 2008 brought four goals, four wins and two draws. Economical.
9. Arsenal 2003-04
90pts (+47), 1st
That’s right: The Invincibles are only ninth. Drawing every third game will do that. Perhaps it’s a mere quirk of statistics that Arsenal’s 2003-04 side are considered the greatest Premier League team; after all, they did lose six games in the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.
Still, unbeaten across a 38-game league campaign – not bad, is it? And while they didn’t exactly crush many teams – a 5-0 triumph over relegated Leeds being the only time they helped themselves to more than four goals in one sitting – Arsenal did do the double over second-placed Chelsea.
8. Chelsea 2005-06
91pts (+50), 1st
In Jose Mourinho’s second season, Chelsea led continuously from August to May, having won 20 of their first 22 matches to see off the early challenge of new boys Wigan (seriously, they were still second in late November).
Like Arsenal’s Invincibles, Chelsea scored five in a game only once. Still, they’d be higher up this list if they hadn’t followed up the title-clinching win over Manchester United by losing their final two matches to goals from Steven Reid and Titus Bramble, presumably for the purposes of banter.
7. Manchester United 1999-00
91pts (+52), 1st
How do you follow the Treble? With the Quadruple, clearly. But if you can’t do that – because, say, you’ve withdrawn from the FA Cup so that you can lose to Vasco da Gama in FIFA’s inaugural Club World Cup – then winning the league by a record 18 points will have to do.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Manchester United’s 1999-2000 triumph, apart from that winning margin and 97 goals scored, was that they did it without a Peter Schmeichel, a David de Gea or even a Tim Howard.
The Premier League’s seventh-highest points tally was earned despite Mark Bosnich playing in 23 games, being replaced in three of them by 36-year-old Raimond van der Gouw, who probably didn’t expect to be quite such a busy substitute goalkeeper.
6. Chelsea 2016-17
93pts (+52), 1st
Antonio Conte isn’t alone in debuting with a title, but the Italian did it with a team who had just finished 10th in a season that was supposed to see Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola battle it out for the title.
A 3-0 defeat by Arsenal in September was, famously, the catalyst for Conte’s switch to a back three, the most decisive tactical switch in Premier League history. The Blues promptly won their next 13 matches and didn’t concede a goal for two months, battering Manchester United 4-0 along the way. Chelsea never let up: they got ahead and stayed ahead.
5. Chelsea 2004-05
95pts (+57), 1st
Take your pick of preposterous statistics from Jose Mourinho’s first Premier League season: 25 clean sheets, with just 15 goals conceded in their other 13 matches; 11 1-0 wins; only one defeat; Champions League qualification confirmed in mid-March with a 30-point lead over fifth.
Mourinho’s side were ruthlessly efficient. After taking 20 points from their first eight fixtures despite averaging one goal per game, Chelsea grew in confidence and ended up winning 4-0 or 4-1 on seven occasions.
Their Champions League dream ended at the hands of an Istanbul-bound Liverpool team, but a 95-point Premier League campaign was astounding. Better than the Invincibles? Yes.
4. Liverpool 2018-19
97pts (+67), 2nd
Even Liverpool's most ardent rivals found it hard not to feel a tad sorry for Jurgen Klopp's terrific side in 2019.
The Reds became the best runners-up in Premier League by a considerable margin, beating Manchester United's haul of 89 points in 2011/12 by a fairly enormous eight.
But such is life battling with Pep Guardiola's Manchester City team.
Liverpool built their success on the defensive solidity inspired by Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson – but the firepower up front wasn't bad either: Mo Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino nabbed a combined 56 Premier League goals.
3. Manchester City 2018-19
98pts (+72), 1st
They lost four times that season and yet this astonishing team still beat a brilliant Liverpool to the title with one of the highest points totals in Premier League history.
Beating 2017-18's record-breaking achievements was always going to be tough, but City didn't fall short by much.
Eight players scored at least five league goals that season: Sergio Aguero got 21, Raheem Sterling 17, while Leroy Sané also reached double figures. Relentless.
2. Liverpool 2019-20
99pts (+52), 1st
Simultaneously breaking the records for title win with the most games left and latest title win in history, Jurgen Klopp's men won Liverpool's first league for 30 years.
The champions sealed the Premier League triumph with seven matches left to play, and at that point were just 15 points off setting a record points haul.
But their form post-coronavirus hiatus was only the sixth-best in the league, leaving them agonisingly short.
They have firmly cemented themselves in any conversation about the Premier League's best ever sides, but in this system at least, they will always be one short...
1. Manchester City 2017-18
100pts (+79), 1st
The greatest: a terrifying killing machine that hit three figures for points in a Premier League season, becoming the first team to do so.
We'll just tell you the 11 Premier League records they smashed, shall we?
Most points, most goals scored, biggest winning margin, earliest title win, biggest goal difference, most wins, most consecutive wins, most away wins, highest average possession, most passes – and to cap it off for Pep, the most Premier League Manager of the Month awards scooped in a single campaign (four).
Some of those records – which not so long ago looked like they would be a permanent fixture in history books – have already been broken by the team back in second place. But the one record that really matters still has Manchester City's name on it...
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