With 2020 drawing to a close, we have taken a look back at what was an extremely unique year in the sporting world.
The past 12 months were supposed to be full of major sporting competitions with the European Championships and Olympic Games scheduled for the summer. However, the global coronavirus pandemic put paid to those plans.
But as they say “The show must go on”… and so it did as sporting bodies across the globe scrambled to ensure events could go ahead once again when it was deemed safe to do so.
Reds End Long Wait for Top-Flight Honours
The Jurgen Klopp era at Liverpool has been full of special moments but few come close to the day they were crowned Premier League champions.
After falling one point short of winning the title in 2018-19, Liverpool came out hungrier than ever for 2019-20 and, with 99 points and a record-equalling 32 wins, they ended a 30-year wait for top-flight honours on June 25.
Liverpool’s hugely impressive form has largely continued into the early stages of 2020-21 and they end the year sitting top of the tree, despite drawing their last two games.
Their unbeaten home league record also still remains intact after winning 15 and drawing two of their Anfield outings to extend their run, which dates back to April 2017, to 67 games.
Matching the joy of 2020 will be difficult as we head into the New Year but the early signs suggest Liverpool, who are priced at
27/20 to defend their crown, could be on track for another successful league campaign.
Arise Sir Lewis
Lewis Hamilton will never forget 2020 as he won a record-equalling seventh Drivers’ Championship with Mercedes, won Sports Personality of the Year for a second time and was given a knighthood.
In what was arguably Hamilton’s most dominant year on the grid, the Brit matched his previous record for victories, winning 11 despite there being fewer races in a shortened season.
He claimed 14 podium finishes and 10 pole positions to end the term 124 points clear of team-mate Valtteri Bottas in second.
Further triumphs look almost certain for the 35-year-old in 2021 as he attempts to become the most successful driver ever in Formula 1 and punters can back Hamilton at
2/5 to win next season’s Championship.
‘Gypsy King’ Reclaims Crown
If 2018 goes down as the year Tyson Fury made his dramatic comeback to boxing, 2020 will be remembered for his return to the top.
After battling to a draw with undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in 2018, Fury left nothing to chance when the duo clashed again in February.
In usual Fury style, he was full of bravado before the bout and he followed through with his promise to become the first man to stop his American rival.
Fury put in a dominant display to prove his credentials as he earned a seventh-round TKO victory at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Paradise.
‘The Gypsy King’ hasn’t been active since that triumph but Anthony Joshua’s recent victory over Kubrat Pulev means the British rivals are set for an almighty undisputed heavyweight clash in 2021.
Thiem Sets Ball Rolling on New Era
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have dominated men’s tennis over the past two decades but the tide might be starting to turn.
Dominic Thiem has been knocking on the Grand Slam door for the last few seasons, losing in the French Open final in 2018 and 2019.
The Austrian also came up just short at the start of 2020 when losing to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open.
But, undeterred, he came back fighting later in the year as he finally achieved his goal of winning major honours when beating Alexander Zverev to lift the US Open title.
With age on his side, Thiem looks to be just coming into his peak years and he’s certainly one to keep an eye on in 2021.
Lebron Leads Lakers to Glory
After a 10-year stint in the wilderness, the Los Angeles Lakers returned to the top in 2020, thanks largely to legend Lebron James.
The 36-year-old signed for the franchise in 2018 and things truly came together this year as they beat Miami Heat 4-2 in the Championship finals.
James helped the Lakers to their first playoff campaign since 2012-13, beating Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets, before securing a spot in the Finals for the first time since 2010.
In James’ ninth Finals appearance in 10 seasons, he earned his fourth Championship and was also named as the NBA Finals MVP.
*All odds correct at time of writing.