Having been in the top two in the Premier League since 28 September 2008, and having topped the table throughout December and into the new year, with Manchester United outside of the top two during this period, Liverpool were replaced at the top by Manchester United in the weekend of 18/19 January 2009, and slipped to third behind Chelsea last night. Aston Villa are fourth, just three points behind Manchester United.
On the four occasions that Liverpool and Manchester United finished the top two in England, Liverpool finished ahead of Manchester United on every occasion.
On the three previous occasions when Manchester United and Aston Villa finished top two, Manchester United won the title on each occasion.
On the three previous occasions when Manchester United and Chelsea finished top two, Chelsea won the title on the first occasion, but Manchester United won the title on the other two occasions.
Year 1st 2nd 1907-08 Manchester Utd Aston Villa 1909-10 Aston Villa Liverpool 1910-11 Manchester Utd Aston Villa 1946-47 Liverpool Manchester Utd 1963-64 Liverpool Manchester Utd 1979-80 Liverpool Manchester Utd 1987-88 Liverpool Manchester Utd 1989-90 Liverpool Aston Villa 1992-93 Manchester Utd Aston Villa 2005-06 Chelsea Manchester Utd 2006-07 Manchester Utd Chelsea 2007-08 Manchester Utd Chelsea
Liverpool and Chelsea have never finished as the top two, nor have Chelsea and Aston Villa.
On the ten other occasions that Liverpool and Manchester United both finished in the top three in England, Manchester City were champions on the first occasion. Liverpool won the title the next three times. Manchester United finished champions in three of the other six seasons while Arsenal (twice) and Chelsea won the title on the remaining three occasions.
There have been seven other occasions when both Liverpool and Manchester United have finished in the top four in England. Liverpool and Manchester United each won the title on two of those occasions, while Everton, Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal won the title once each on the remaining three occasions.
Year 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 1967-68 Manchester City Manchester Utd Liverpool Leeds Utd 1975-76 Liverpool QPR Manchester Utd Derby Co 1981-82 Liverpool Ipswich Manchester Utd Tottenham 1982-83 Liverpool Watford Manchester Utd Tottenham 1983-84 Liverpool Southampton Nottingham F Manchester Utd 1984-85 Everton Liverpool Tottenham Manchester Utd 1985-86 Liverpool Everton West Ham Manchester Utd 1994-95 Blackburn R Manchester Utd Nottingham F Liverpool 1997-98 Arsenal Manchester Utd Liverpool Chelsea 1999-2000 Manchester Utd Arsenal Leeds Utd Liverpool 2000-01 Manchester Utd Arsenal Liverpool Leeds Utd 2001-02 Arsenal Liverpool Manchester Utd Newcastle Utd 2003-04 Arsenal Chelsea Manchester Utd Liverpool 2005-06 Chelsea Manchester Utd Liverpool Arsenal 2006-07 Manchester Utd Chelsea Liverpool Arsenal 2007-08 Manchester Utd Chelsea Arsenal Liverpool
Based on “precedent”, Manchester United will only win the title if Liverpool finish outside the top two. 🙂