His side are chasing a ‘Fab Four’ that has never been done before, so no wonder Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says talk of winning the quadruple is “crazy”.
But an amazing clean sweep is still on the cards for the Reds and, with only 10 weeks of the season to go, they are already much closer than most teams ever get to what would be a historic trophy haul.
In total, there have been 120 other attempts by 15 different clubs over the past 62 years to become champions of England, conquer Europe and win the FA Cup and League Cup in the same campaign.
The feat has eluded everyone so far, and few even reach this stage – we are not in April yet and, date-wise, Liverpool’s bid is already the fifth-best since 1960.
Rank/seasonTeamPL/Div 1FA CupLeague CupCL/ECBid over1. 2006-07Chelsea2ndWinnersWinnersSF1 May2. 2008-09Man UtdWinnersSFWinnersFinal19 Apr=3. 2018-19Man CityWinnersWinnersWinnersQF17 Apr=3. 2020-21Man CityWinnersSFWinnersFinal17 Apr5. 2021-22Liverpool2nd*QF*WinnersQF*20 Mar*6. 1960-61Burnley4thSFSFQF15 Mar*Liverpool’s bid will last at least this long. If they beat Nottingham Forest in their FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday, their attempt will be alive until 12-13 April, and the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final. The FA Cup semi-finals take place on 16-17 April.
We are many miles into uncharted territory for Klopp, who is in his sixth full season at Anfield and had never previously made it past Christmas while still involved on more than three of these fronts.
Somewhat surprisingly, though, for a club with such an illustrious past, this is new ground for Liverpool too.
This is the Reds’ 24th attempt at a quadruple in the 47 seasons it has been possible since the League Cup was established in 1960-61 – the joint-most with Manchester United, who were denied an attempt in 1999-2000 when they did not take part in the FA Cup.
While Liverpool won one of the required trophies in seven of those seasons, did a double of some kind in four more and also managed one treble of League, European Cup and League Cup in 1984, until now they had never reached March with their hopes of winning all four still alive.
The club’s other recognised treble, of 2000-01, is a notable achievement in its own right but does not count as a quadruple attempt because they were not in the Champions League that season. They won the Uefa Cup, FA Cup and League Cup, while finishing third in the league.
Rank/seasonPL/Div 1FA CupLeague CupCL/ECBid over1.1982-83Winners5RWinnersQF20 Feb2.1981-82Winners5RWinnersQF13 Feb3.1983-84Winners4RWinnersWinners29 Jan4. 1980-815th4RWinnersWinners24 Jan5. 2004-055th3RFinalWinners18 JanWhat’s on the menu for ‘hungry’ Reds?This is by far Klopp’s best attempt at an English quadruple, but that is not really saying much.
He has had four other opportunities since arriving at Anfield in October 2015, but his lack of interest in the domestic cups meant those previous bids never got off the ground.
Rank/SeasonPremier LeagueFA CupLeague CupChampions LeagueBid over2017-184th4R3rFinal19 Sep2018-192nd3R3rWinners26 Sep2019-20Winners5RQFL1617 Dec2020-213rd4R4rQF01 OctThis season is different – Klopp is in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time and the Carabao Cup is already in the bag, prompting this message from Reds defender Trent Alexander-Arnold immediately after their win over Chelsea at Wembley in the final:
What’s next on the menu? Nottingham Forest lie in wait in the FA Cup this weekend and Liverpool are safely into the last eight in Europe, where they will meet Portuguese side Benfica. If they progress, they will play Villarreal or Bayern Munich in the semi-finals.
In the Premier League, they are a point behind leaders Manchester City but play them on 10 April and know they will be crowned champions if they beat them and win their eight other remaining games.
Liverpool have won their past nine Premier League games. Their remaining league fixtures this season are against Watford (h), Man City (a), Aston Villa (a), Man Utd (h), Everton (h), Newcastle (a), Tottenham (h), Southampton (a) & Wolves (h)As well as the opposition, one of their biggest obstacles will be fatigue – mental and physical. Liverpool have already played 46 times this season and, if they go the distance in the FA Cup and Europe, they will play their 63rd game on 28 May, the date of the Champions League final.
Just as well, then, that they have what Klopp calls “the strongest squad”external-link of his time at the club. It has got them this far and, with a possible 16 games in the space of 56 days after the upcoming international break, their task only gets harder from here.
Alexander-Arnold out with hamstring injuryCity’s depth of quality has made them the current masters of landing multiple trophies in the same season – they have managed it in three of the past five campaigns, including a domestic treble in 2018-19, and are still going for a Premier League-Champions League-FA Cup treble this time around.
Even they haven’t managed to win all four, though – and, as Klopp has been at pains to point outexternal-link whenever he is asked about it, his biggest rivals are proof of how difficult it will be to complete the clean sweep, even when you are as good as they are.
Rank/SeasonPremier LeagueFA CupLeague CupChampions LeagueBid over=1. 2018-19WinnersWinnersWinnersQF17 Apr=1. 2020-21WinnersSFWinnersFinal17 Apr3. 2013-14WinnersQFWinnersL169 Mar4. 2017-18Winners5RWinnersQF19 Feb*Not including the delayed 2019-20 season
Ignoring the 2019-20 campaign, when the pause in the season because of the Covid pandemic meant Pep Guardiola’s side technically had the chance of a quadruple until late June, it is Chelsea who have stayed in contention the longest of any club.
In 2006-07, their hopes were alive until 1 May before they went out on penalties to Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals.
Two years later, Manchester United also went deep, date-wise, when they lost to Everton, again on penalties, in the FA Cup semi-finals on 19 April.
That United team won the Premier League and League Cup and made it to within three wins of all four major trophies, losing to Guardiola’s Barcelona in the Champions League final, and had to settle for ‘only’ two in the end.
Who has tried before? When Burnley went closeBurnley, shown here with their trophy after winning the 1960 league title, were the first team to try to win the quadruple in 1960-61, and no other side got closer for 46 yearsBefore the Premier League and Champions League era began in 1992, Burnley went closest to a quadruple, in 1960-61 – the first season four trophies were up for grabs in England – when they made it as far as 15 March before losing to Hamburg in the quarter-finals of the European Cup.
Back then, quadruple opportunities were far more limited – the European Cup was restricted to just the league champions or holders and, for eight out of 10 seasons between 1961 and 1971, the clubs who qualified did not enter the League Cup.
There was no chance of completing it between 1985 and 1991 either, as English clubs were barred from Europe for five years, and league champions Liverpool served an extra year’s suspension in 1990-91.
Three English teams – Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City – have achieved different trebles that involve winning the league title. But United’s capture of the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in 1999 – recognised as the actual Treble in English football – is widely regarded as the greatest of themSince then, some great teams of the modern era have had a go at winning all four trophies – and have fallen short.
United’s famous Treble of 1998-99 included the FA Cup, not League Cup – they went out of that competition to Tottenham in the quarter-finals, on 2 December.
City’s ‘Centurions’ – the Guardiola side that broke the 100-point mark and set an all-time English top-flight record for most points in a single campaign in 2017-18 – had their bid ended by Wigan Athletic, of League One, in the FA Cup fifth round on 19 February.
Arsenal’s legendary ‘Invincibles’ went the entire league campaign undefeated in 2003-04, but that was the only silverware they secured that season and their quadruple hopes were ended on 3 February by Middlesbrough, who beat them 3-1 on aggregate in the League Cup semi-finals.
The Gunners’ best attempt at a clean sweep actually came in 2010-11 – and is a warning to Liverpool of how quickly things can go wrong.
Arsene Wenger’s side were within a point of Premier League leaders Manchester United on 23 February but, after a shock defeat by Birmingham in the League Cup final scuppered their quadruple hopes on 27 February, they managed only one more league win in March and April and ended up finishing fourth.
Barcelona beat them in the last 16 of the Champions League on 8 March and United knocked them out of the FA Cup in the quarter-finals four days later, meaning a season that promised so much unravelled in the space of two weeks.
Liverpool cannot end up completely empty-handed like that, but this season will hardly be seen as a success if the Carabao Cup is the only trophy they have secured come the end of May.
rank/clubAttemptsBest attempt?Bid ended?1. Chelsea162006-071 May2. Man Utd24 2008-0919 Apr3. Man City*12 2018-19 & 2020-2117 Apr4. Liverpool242021-2220 Mar**5. Burnley1 1960-6115 Mar6. Arsenal21 2010-1127 Feb7. Nott’m Forest31978-7926 Feb8. Tottenham52018-1924 Jan9. Newcastle31997-9810 Dec10. Leeds41974-7513 Nov11. Aston Villa21981-8219 Jan12. Blackburn11995-9629 Nov13. Derby21972-739 Oct14. Leicester12016-1720 Sep15. Everton12005-0624 Aug*Does not include delayed 2019-20 season ** Liverpool’s bid will last at least this long
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