By Patrick Kidd
Ever since the 2008/09 English Premier League season, the team at the top of the log on Christmas Day, has been most likely to win the entire tournament. This has occured 8 out of 11 times. The remaining 3 times, Liverpool FC were the favourites to win during the Christmas period. This bizarre statistic has led many to believe that the Merseyside club is bewitched
with “the Christmas Curse”.
This curse first emerged during the 2008/09 season, when Liverpool succumbed to Manchester United, despite being a point clear on Christmas. The 2008 squad was arguably Liverpool’s most talented, led by the likes of Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres. Torres and Gerrard accumulated a total of 30 goals between them, resulting in Liverpool securing 86 points on the season and a second place overall. Liverpool maintained admirable form after Christmas, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United were inexplicably excellent and claimed the title with 90 points, much to the dismay of the Liverpudlians.
The curse transpired again over the period of 2013/14. On Christmas, Liverpool narrowly led Arsenal by goal difference and neither team ended up with the trophy. This squad boasted the league’s top 2 goal scorers, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, who accounted for 21 and 31 goals respectively. Despite their ferocity on attack, it was their frail defence that cost them the league, conceding 51 goals on the season. The curse prevailed on 27 April 2014 at Anfield Stadium, when Steven Gerrard infamously slipped on the turf, allowing Demba Ba to score a heart-breaking winner, handing Chelsea FC the 3 points and Manchester City the title.
The curse appeared once more in the recently concluded 2018/19 season. Ahead of Manchester City by 4 points on Christmas, it seemed the Reds were finally due to win their first league title and break the curse. Liverpool’s tally of 97 points would have been more than sufficient in securing them the trophy. However, Liverpool unfortunately found themselves an anomaly. The curse struck early in January, during Liverpool’s only loss of the season against eventual champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. The Reds eventually succumbed to City’s 98 points on the season, a draw or win at the Etihad would have granted Liverpool the League.
Liverpool are advancing ever closer towards 30 years without a league title, having last won the first division in 1989/90, before the inception of the Premier League. Despite their obvious misfortune, Liverpool appear to be ever improving and the claiming of their first Premier League title seems imminent. With their second Champions League final approaching, the Reds under Jürgen Klopp, have solidified their reputation as world beaters. With high expectations and increased pressure, can Klopp finally break the curse and secure Liverpool the elusive League title in 2020, or will misfortune triumph?