Pele gives Liverpool 'kiss of death' by backing them to win Premier League

The 72-year-old's checkered past when it comes to making predictions may make many Reds fans nervous over his birthday wishes to Kenny Dalglish

Brazil legend Pele has backed Liverpool to win the Premier League even after they were held to a draw by Everton on Sunday.

However, some Liverpool fans might be concerned with the support given the three-time World Cup winner's past history of false predictions.

The mood around Anfield has already darkened somewhat after the Reds dropped two points with a goalless draw in the Merseyside derby with Manchester City having grabbed a late winner against Burnley the day before. 

Despite that disappointment, Pele tweeted on Monday: "Happy birthday to Liverpool hero, Kenny Dalglish. I backed @LFC to win the Premier League from the start. I still think they will do it."

The race for top spot is still extremely tight with City leading Jurgen Klopp's side by just one point, but some regard Pele's backing as a jinx for the Reds.

One of the former striker's biggest past blunders was his assertion that an African team would win the World Cup by 2000.

That prediction is now 19 years overdue and an African side is yet to make it past the quarter-final stages, with no country from the continent able to make it past the group phase in Russia last year.

Pele once made the claim his own country would fall in the group stages too. That was in 2002 when they went on to win the whole tournament on their own soil.

The same year, he did put his faith in China to make it to the round of 16, and they promptly failed to gain a point or score a goal in three group games. 

And Pele's incorrect foresight has also extended to the careers of some of football's young stars. The now 72-year-old actually dubbed Nii Lamptey as "the new Pele" after he stared for Ghana at the Under-17 World Cup in 1991. 

Lamptey went on to have a journeyman's career which included short spells at 13 different clubs, including Coventry City, Aston Villa and PSV, before eventually hanging up his boots in 2008.

Nick Barmby was tarnished by the same brush when Pele said he would become a world-class player and compared him to Zinedine Zidane and Paolo Maldini. Barmby received 23 England caps in his career and appeared most for Hull City during a 20-year career.

And even in fiction the Brazilian managed to make wrong predictions. In the film Escape to Victory, Pele – playing himself – is forced off injured and states there is no way he can continue, before coming back for the second half and scoring a bicycle kick.