Second to One: The Best Runners-Up in Premier League History

Whichever one of Liverpool or Manchester City doesn't wind up winning the Premier League title will end up with the greatest second-place finish in league history and join some unenviable company.
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In the history of the Premier League, we have never seen a title race quite like this one. Manchester City and Liverpool have both been more than good enough to lift the trophy. Both are well into 90-point territory, and it's possible that the runner-up winds up with the third-best season of all time. Liverpool has only lost once this season–to Manchester City in a match that included Liverpool being denied a score by a goal-line clearance with the ball 11.7 millimeters from fully crossing. 

Yet one of them has to miss out.

The unlucky side will surely go down as the greatest to ever come up short, topping a list of second-place finishers that in any other season perhaps would have lifted the trophy.

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4. Liverpool 2013/14 (84 Points)


The Premier League has seen few attacking trios strike fear quite like Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge did for Liverpool in the 2013/14 season.

With Gerrard pulling the strings in midfield, this side racked up 101 goals all season and played some of the most attractive football in recent history. It did not matter who they came up against, opponents simply could not handle them.

This was their title to lose, and that's what ultimately played out after poor results against Chelsea (after the infamous Gerrard slip) and Crystal Palace, but that should not distract you from their quality. This Liverpool team, which finished second to Manchester City by two points, was a match for anyone, but it never had a chance to build on its performances, as Suarez was promptly sold to Barcelona that summer.

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3. Chelsea 2007/08 & Man Utd 2009/10 (85 Points)


The Chelsea side from the 2007/08 season was almost the greatest side in Europe at the time, but came up just short against Manchester United in both the Premier League (by two points) and Champions League (losing in the final on penalties).

The Blues began the season well, but a poor run of form in September saw Jose Mourinho leave the club, with Avram Grant coming in to replace him. The adjustment period was uncomfortable, but Chelsea just knew how to win games. 

The squad was arguably one of the strongest in club history, and the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba masterminded wins over some of England's biggest sides.

Two years later, in a reverse of the 2008 title race, Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea lifted the title while United (which had a goal difference of +58) had to settle for second place - also earning 85 points.

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2. Liverpool 2008/09 & Tottenham 2016/17 (86 Points)


After dropping out of the cup competitions embarrassingly early, Liverpool's sights were firmly on the league title in the 2008/09 season. It needed to stop United winning their historic 19th league title, but came up just short.

Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres scored goals for fun, while Pepe Reina and Jamie Carragher helped lead a resolute defense that proved to be one of the meanest in the entire division. Liverpool lost just two league matches all season, one of which was a shock 2-0 loss to Middlesbrough in February 2009. This side's problems was its number of draws –it picked up 11 throughout the season–and it proved costly.

Meanwhile, Tottenham's total in 2017 would have won the league in most campaigns, but it faced a Chelsea side that shattered records for the number of wins in a season (before Man City reset those last season).

Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Christian Eriksen were all electric, creating a fluid attacking unit that just did not stop running. 

Tottenham was clearly ahead of City, Liverpool and Arsenal behind them. However, like Liverpool eight years before, a run of too many draws early in the season cost Spurs. Once they got going, they were almost unstoppable.

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1. Manchester United 2011/12 (89 Points)


In the 2011/12 season, United racked up a stunning 89 points, which is currently the record for a Premier League runner-up, until either City or Liverpool take that unwanted honor at the end of the current season.

As many fans will tell you, this United side was rarely operating at full strength, yet it had a stunning habit of grinding out win after win after win. Wayne Rooney dominated the goalscoring duties for the team, while the likes of Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and Javier Hernandez formed a solid core that just knew how to get the job done.

It finished second to only Man City, which went on to secure the league title on goal difference in the most dramatic fashion imaginable after United threw away an eight-point lead late in the season.