Ahead of quite possibly the most important fixture of the Premier League calendar, The Anfield Talk’s Robin (@robbiemac72) looks at the rivalry that has formed the biggest game in world football.
A personal memory:
I can remember where I saw that game against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2009 and watching in disbelief as we tore United apart 4-1. This was Liverpool’s biggest win at United’s ground since 1936. Four years after winning that fabled Champions League final against AC Milan the wait looked to be over for that elusive Premier League title. Sadly, despite this result, a Cristiano Ronaldo led Manchester United went on to claim their third title on the trot. We finished second, and Benitez had one final season, finishing 7th. The following year hedeparted the club after selling Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid.
A Brief History of the Rivalry:
Liverpool and Manchester United have played each other prior to today’s game 201 times. The first match was back in 1894 on 28 April, we won 2-0 against what United were called then, Newton Heath. The last meeting of course was the 3-1 victory last December which resulted in Jose Mourinho being kicked out of the club, a long overdue process.
Ryan Giggs has made the most appearances in matches between the sides, 48 in total, Steven Gerrard is one of three joint top scorers at 9 goals.
Some of the most successful managers in the history of the two clubs from early to modern times, like Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish. All have one remarkable thing in common, they are all Scottish.
Even with all of the football past, the hatred that runs between Liverpool and Manchester runs deeper than just the beautiful game. The two cities would compete for work between each-other in the 1800’s, leading to a bitter taste in the mouths of each when one would get a foot above the other.
First Cup Final Meeting
It wasn’t until 1977 that the two teams met in a cup final. The FA cup in fact. Liverpool had just won the Division One title and had reached the European Cup final. Although we lost 2:1 we went on to life the European Cup against Borussia Mönchengladbach, 3:1. We did get our first victory over United in the league cup final in 1983 our second ever meeting in a final. With goals from Alan Kennedy and Ronnie Whelan in a 2:1 win.
The rivalry between Liverpool and United is regarded as the biggest in world football even bigger than that of the El Clásico, (Barcelona v Real Madrid) and the Milan and Glasgow derbies in Italy and Scotland respectively. Both teams have a huge following in both Asia and America and the viewer-ship is set to be huge with approximately 700 million watching around the world. The El Clásico only pulls in 400 million viewers. Wherever you are around the world enjoy the match. YNWA