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From Top to Flop: Tumbling Down the League in 2021From Top to Flop: Tumbling Down the League in 2021

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Martin Armstrong

While all attention is currently on Liverpool's fall from grace at the elite end of English football, there is another club in the midst of an even more dramatic change of fortune.

Carlisle United have picked up just one point in their last six games and, even accounting for games in hand, you wouldn't think the Cumbrians had been sitting pretty at the top of League Two as recently as 2 January. The momentum the club had built up to that point ebbed away in drastic fashion as a series of Covid-related postponements appear to have taken the wind out of their sails, likely ending what had been a genuine title push for a club stuck in the fourth tier since 2014-15. They are currently in 12th position.

Back to Liverpool though, and a club enduring a perhaps unprecedented injury crisis. The Reds had also been at the top of the league at the end of 2020 but what started as a draw against West Brom on 27 December extended to a run of five games without a win, leaving them in fourth place and looking upwards to their two bitter Manchester-based rivals fighting over the top spot which had once been theirs. Fast forward to 5 March and Liverpool have picked up just 11 points since that draw, leaving them languishing in 7th place with manager Klopp having already admitted that his team's title defence is over.

Both clubs can at least take some solace from knowing that similar, albeit less dramatic, scenarios have also been playing out across Europe. Probably the most bitter of which being the plight of Bayer Leverkusen. Momentarily breaking Bayern Munich's long-term grip on German football, Leverkusen were top of the table going into their 19 December match against Bayern - only to lose to a goal scored in the third minute of injury time. A look at the club's more recent games, and the manner in which some of them were lost, tells the rest of the story of their frustrating journey from first to sixth.

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