Liverpool, Newcastle, Spurs or Man United? Remembering the best teams who didn’t win the Premier League

Although Manchester United have dominated the Premier League since its formation, the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle United have never won the competition that replaced the First Division back in 1992.

Here, we remember some of the greatest squads that missed out on the Premier League title.

Leeds United 2000-02

Although this period of time may have signalled the end of Leeds United’s time as a force in English football, it was also a time when they looked destined to win the Premier League.

After reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League in the 2000-01 season (they were beaten by Valencia), Leeds hoped to build on their fourth-place finish by mounting a serious title tilt the following year.

With the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell, Nigel Martyn and Jonathan Woodgate and a strong start to the season, it looked as though David O’Leary’s side could make their dream a reality.

Despite looking like the best team in the country before Christmas, they capitulated early in 2002, finishing fifth and missing out on Champions League qualification, despite having spent serious sums of money, assuming they’d be at Europe’s top table for years to come.

The next year, they finished 15th. The year afterwards, they were relegated. They’ve yet to return to the Premier League, let alone win it.

Manchester United 1997/98

When Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side were out in front, it was usually a given that they’d get over the line in the end.

But they managed to lose out in the title race, despite being 11 points clear in March. Arsenal chased United down to win their first Premier League title.

United’s side boasted Peter Schmeichel in goal, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane in midfield, Andy Cole up top and the Class of ’92 (David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil and Gary Neville), but still couldn’t bring the title home.

The following season, United would win the treble, their greatest ever achievement.

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Arsenal 1998/99

Which brings us onto this Arsenal side. They were beaten by one of the greatest teams ever to play in English football, and United also dumped them out of the FA Cup too.

Most of the great Arsenal players of the 1990s played in this side, with Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, David Seaman, Marc Overmars and Dennis Bergkamp all first-team regulars.

With two games to play, Arsenal handed the initiative to United when they were beaten by Leeds United. United won their final game of the season after drawing with Blackburn Rovers to reclaim the title.

Liverpool 2008/09

Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Jamie Carragher are all Liverpool legends. And they were all pretty close to the peak of their powers in this season at Anfield.

Liverpool were top of the pile on Christmas Day, but their form faltered in the New Year. They began to struggle to put teams away, and Rafa Benitez’s infamous ‘facts’ rant seemed to trigger a further decline in the final stages of the season.

Man United were waiting in the wings to pounce, which, of course, they did.

Liverpool 2013/14

Steven Gerrard was an integral member of this squad too. Which makes it all the crueller that he was the player to make the mistake that effectively handed the title to Manchester City.

Thanks to Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and the unplayable Luis Suarez, Liverpool mounted a late surge towards Premier League glory. They took the initiative when they beat title rivals City 3-2 at Anfield, with a stunning finish from Philippe Coutinho, but were beaten at home by Chelsea when Gerrard slipped, allowing Demba Ba to score and, as a result, handing City a route back into the title race.

As Manuel Pellegrini’s City side ruthlessly went about their business, Liverpool’s season unravelled, and a draw at Crystal Palace left their title dreams in tatters.

Newcastle United 1995/96

Another season when Ferguson’s mind games seemed to play a huge part in one of Man United’s rivals’ downfall. Newcastle looked like a force to be reckoned with under Kevin Keegan, with players like David Ginola and Les Ferdinand at their best.

Newcastle’s dominance was incredible in the first half of the season, and they’d opened up a 10-point gap at Christmas. But Keegan’s side dropped off a cliff, with five defeats in an eight-game run that allowed Ferguson’s side back into the race.

Rattled, Keegan exploded live on Sky Sports with his ‘I will love it’ rant and United won the title by four points. A season that showed why you should always have been wary of a Ferguson United side.

Tottenham 2016/17

Unlike many teams on this list, it wasn’t the final stages of the season that cost this Tottenham side their title.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team started the season with a lethargy you wouldn’t associate with the hungry young side. Harry Kane was banging goals in for fun, Dele Alli looked like the No 10 England had been crying out for, and Christian Eriksen was pulling the strings like a young David Silva.

They had steel at the back too, with Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld shielding France No 1 Hugo Lloris.

But Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side looked too good throughout the season. Even when they didn’t play well, they were picking up points, and in the end they never allowed Spurs a sniff.

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alexhorlock

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