Thursday 9 January 2020 2:45 pm

Can anyone stop Liverpool from becoming invincible and breaking Arsenal's 49-match unbeaten record?

If Liverpool avoid defeat against Tottenham on Saturday evening, they will have gone 38 league games unbeaten; the equivalent of a full season.

Unfortunately, there are no medals for that in isolation, but there will be a trophy come the end of the season assuming they stay on course to end their 30-year top-flight drought.

They currently sit 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a game in hand and anything but first place now would represent the biggest collapse in modern English footballing history.

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As well as being on course to match Arsenal’s unbeaten 2003-04 season, they are now just 12 games away from equalling the Gunners’ 49-match unbeaten run from the same period.

It was a record that felt unbeatable, particularly given the subsequent increase in the competitiveness of the Premier League. But records are made to be broken and Liverpool now look likely to pull off the impossible for the second time in Premier League history.

City away

If they do go the season unbeaten, they will surpass Arsenal’s 49-game record on the way. But there is a twist: that 49th game will come away to Manchester City at the start of April.

City away was the only fixture in which Jurgen Klopp’s side suffered defeat during the last Premier League season, which effectively earned City the title at their expense and came just over a year ago. Liverpool’s 2-0 win against Sheffield United last week ensured they had gone 12 months without a league defeat.

Liverpool FC v Manchester City - Premier League
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It is difficult to see who other than City could stop the Reds from completing their charge to an invincible season and matching Arsenal’s 16-year-old achievement, making the game at the Etihad Stadium all the more interesting, with the league title likely to have been decided.

Jose Mourinho will be hoping his Spurs side can cause an upset on Saturday when they welcome Liverpool to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but with just one win in five games they are some way off the team that faced the Reds in last season’s Champions League final, despite a short-lived new-manager bounce under Mourinho.

League matches between the two have been close of late, the last three edged 2-1 by Liverpool, including last year’s fixture at Anfield decided only in the 90th minute by a Toby Alderweireld own goal.

Liverpool face Tottenham this weekend and have beat them 2-1 in their last three league matches, including at Anfield earlier this season as Toby Alderweireld scored an own goal in the 90th minute

But despite the apparent competitiveness between the two – until this season at least – Spurs have only beaten them once in 16 matches over the last seven years. The omens, then, are not in their favour.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are on an incredible run of 28 wins from their last 29 league matches.

Should they go the season unbeaten it will supersede Arsenal’s record by virtue of games won; the Gunners drew 12 on their way to becoming invincible, albeit that a number of these came with the title already wrapped up.

The United threat

The only occasion on which Liverpool have dropped any points since last March was a draw with Manchester United earlier this season.

So could Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side be the one to end their magnificent run? Liverpool welcome them to Anfield next weekend and United have caused their long-term foes plenty of problems over the years, despite falling from grace since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

The pair have drawn six of their last eight meetings, with one win apiece. Amid a disappointing season, ending the unbeaten run of their bitter north-west rivals could well represent a highlight of the campaign. It was they, too who famously ended Arsenal’s run in 2004.

Beyond that match, the level of Liverpool’s opposition would appear to ease up until the trip to City.

Trips to Everton and Arsenal

The following fixture against Wolves will not be an easy task given Nuno Espirito Santo has navigated a historic double over City this season among other high-profile results, but Liverpool will take comfort from having beaten the Midlands outfit 1-0 just before the New Year.

Further down the line Liverpool will also face trips to Goodison Park and then the Emirates Stadium, while simultaneously having to juggle their defence of the Champions League and an FA Cup run, depending on how far they progress.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal face Liverpool on the third to last matchday and will have the chance to prevent Liverpool matching the invincibles of 2003-04.

But Everton haven’t beaten their Merseyside rivals since 2010 and, on the evidence of last weekend’s FA Cup third-round tie, are unlikely to change that anytime soon.

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Arsenal have also endured a disappointing season so far, but look rejuvenated in the early days of Mikel Arteta’s reign.

When the Gunners host Liverpool, Klopp’s side will have either already surpassed the 49-game record or suffered a defeat, but Arsenal will have the opportunity to prevent them going a season unbeaten on the third to last matchday if others have failed.

While those games are some way off, a visit to north London to face Tottenham is imminent and is perhaps the first significant test among Liverpool’s remaining fixtures that will challenge their claims to invincibility.