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Liverpool’s slim quadruple hopes are alive entering Premier League finale

Liverpool kept its quadruple hopes alive after last week's FA Cup victory over Chelsea. (Glyn Kirk/AFP)
3 min

Three times in the past eight years, the English Premier League title race has come down to a final sprint between Liverpool and Manchester City on the last day of the season. But when the two clubs vie for the league crown Sunday, history will be on the line for Liverpool, which has a chance to win a quadruple if it wins and City slips.

Just one team, Scottish club Celtic in 1966-67, has achieved a quadruple of major European trophies — the capture of the European Cup, a domestic league trophy, a domestic cup and a domestic league cup — during the same season.

Liverpool defeated Chelsea on penalties last Saturday to win the FA Cup, its second of two domestic cup trophies this year. It trails first-place Manchester City by a point entering the final game of the league season and will face Real Madrid for the continental title May 28.

Liverpool ends its league schedule against Wolverhampton and needs City to lose or draw against Aston Villa in its season finale to keep its quadruple hopes alive.

“We never gave up, and we’ll give it a try,” Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp told reporters Tuesday. “It’s our home game, last home game of season. The atmosphere will be outstanding. We’ll try to use it. We have to do our job.”

Such an achievement seemed unlikely four months ago, when Liverpool trailed City by 14 points. It has hardly lost since, but one of its two draws could prove costly. That result, May 7 vs. Tottenham, was thought to have ended its Premier League title chances, though a City draw eight days later rejuvenated a bit of hope.

“We had a reset in January when we were so far behind, and we went for it. We had a mental reset, and we’ve really pushed,” midfielder James Milner told reporters. “City are an incredible team to go up against. Whatever happens, we’ve done ourselves proud. All we can do is try to win our games.”

Liverpool checked the first trophy off its list by topping Chelsea in February, 11-10 on penalties after a 0-0 draw, to win the Carabao Cup, the lower-profile of England’s two domestic tournaments. That led to last week’s FA Cup win, in which Liverpool again beat Chelsea on penalties after another scoreless draw.

Winning three major titles in a campaign is rare, although nine European teams — including Celtic — have won the European Cup, a domestic league and a domestic cup in a season. German club Bayern Munich was the last to do it in 2019-20. Barcelona in 2009 set a different standard, winning the treble during the 2008-09 season in addition to the Spanish Super Cup, the Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup during that calendar year.

Still, that team never won the quadruple for the same reasons others in some of Europe’s top leagues never will. Whereas England has two domestic cup competitions, France, Germany and Spain have abolished league cups in recent years — or, in Spain’s case, decades.

Sunday will mark the ninth time in the past 30 years that the Premier League champion has been decided in the last round. City clinched the title over Liverpool on the final days of the 2013-14 and 2018-19 seasons. The Reds topped City in more decisive fashion in 2019-20.

Entering these final games, history favors Manchester City. The first-place team has won the championship each of the previous eight times that it came down to the last day.

“We really kicked on from January and gave it everything,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson told reporters. “In January, if you said it would go to the last game, we’d have taken that.”