Which English Clubs Have Come Closest to Completing the Quadruple?

Very few things remain uncompleted in the world of football. Many thought that Lionel Messi could never be considered the greatest footballer of all time unless he won a trophy with Argentina. Last December, he added the FIFA World Cup to the Copa America he won the year prior to etching his name into the history books.

In Italy, Germany, and Spain, no team had ever won the treble - the league, domestic cup competition, and Champions League - up until as recently as 2009. That ended when Pep Guardiola's Barcelona completed the unprecedented feat, securing La Liga, Copa Del Rey, and the Champions Lague in the iconic Spanish manager's first campaign in charge of the Blaugrana. The following year Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan secured the first-ever Italian treble before Bayern Munich also checked all three boxes in 2013.

The Uniqueness of English Football

In England, only one team has ever completed the treble. That team was of course Manchester United. Heading into the 1999 Champions League final, the Red Devils had already secured the FA Cup and the Premier League. They headed to the Camp Nou aiming to become the first side in the history of English football to secure the treble and they did exactly that courtesy of late heroics from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær sealing a 2-1 victory over their rivals from Bavaria.

But English football is unique in the world of European football. That is because it is the only country in Europe's 'Big Five' that has two domestic cup competitions, meaning that English clubs have the distinct possibility of securing an unprecedented quadruple. But up until 2023, the quadruple remains exactly that... elusive.

Several teams have come close over the years however, they ultimately fell at the final hurdle. This year, Manchester City were made the favorites to lift numerous trophies by online sportsbook websites such as Bovada. But even if they manage to topple in the Premier League title race, they still won't have a shot at immortality as their city rivals Manchester United have already secured the League Cup.

So, which teams have come closest to completing the quadruple? Let's take a look.

Liverpool corner flag

Liverpool 2021/22

Last season, Liverpool came closer than anyone to completing the incompletable and securing their status as immortals. As the campaign ticked into its final weeks, The Reds had already secured both domestic cup competitions, defeating Chelsea on penalties in both the League Cup and the FA Cup finals. Victories against Inter Milan, Benfica, and Villareal also secured their spot in a third Champions League final in four years.

As well as that, Jürgen Klopp's outfit was going toe-to-toe with Manchester City in yet another titanic battle between the two clubs in search of Premier League glory. And with barely ten minutes remaining in both teams' final matches of the season, it looked as though it would be the Merseysiders that secured the title for the second time in two years. But then, their quadruple hopes unraveled.

Liverpool were leading Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield and Aston Villa were 2-0 up at Manchester City courtesy of a double from former Red Philippe Coutinho. Then, the Blues managed to complete the heroic turnaround, winning by three goals to two following a late İlkay Gündoğan brace. That saw the Etihad Stadium outfit secure the Premier League by just one point, and to make matters worse for Klopp and co., his side would go on to lose the UEFA Champions League final to Real Madrid courtesy of a solitary Vinicius Jr. goal to nil.

Manchester City corner flag

Manchester City 2018/19

Three years prior to Liverpool's unsuccessful attempt at securing footballing immortality, their biggest rivals over the last decade Manchester City had an unsuccessful effort of their own. The Blues secured the League Cup in February with the victors once again defeating Chelsea on penalties in the Wembley showpiece. They had also secured a spot in the FA Cup final after defeating Brighton at Wembley on April 6th.

Heading into their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Tottenham Hotspur on April 17th, The Blues were sitting at the top of the Premier League and another English top-flight title was looking likely. And with Ajax waiting for Pep Guardiola's side in the semifinals of the Champions League that year, a spot in their first-ever Champions League final was looking even more likely.

However, unfortunately for Guardiola and his side, Spurs would stun his side at the Etihad. Leading 1-0 following the first leg in North London, Tottenham knew they had a great chance of securing safe passage as well. When a Son Heung-Min double gave them a 2-1 lead on enemy territory after just ten minutes, the traveling fans were in dreamland.

However, by the 59th-minute mark, City had completed the turnaround courtesy of goals from Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, and Sergio Agüero. Then, disaster struck. Fernando Llorente netted a late goal that gave Spurs the lead on the away goals rule, a lead they wouldn't surrender, despite City having a 95th-minute winner ruled out by VAR in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Juan Solamanecer is a freelance writer who writes football articles with great empathy. He writes about topics, clubs and players that interest him and that he finds may interest others. With his base in San Sebastian, he follows the city's pride Real Sociedad extra closely.