football

Liverpool vs. Manchester United: The Rivalry

October 12, 2017

- Grant Whittington

The History

Two of English football’s titans lock horns on Saturday as Manchester United visit Anfield in what is one of the Premier League’s most fierce rivalries – one ignited by historical supremacy, respect and the pure passion of two great footballing cities separated by just 31 miles.

There is certainly no love lost between the two most successful clubs to come from these shores – between them, they have won 38 league titles, 8 European Cups and 19 FA Cups. In a rivalry spanning over 120 years, we delve into the archives of this storied rivalry and preview the next instalment of this bitter feud.

Classic Matches

1977 FA Cup Final (Liverpool 1 – 2 Manchester United)

The first meeting between the two sides in a showpiece final saw United sabotage Liverpool’s dream of a unique treble having just retained their league title and with a European Cup final (in which they defeated Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1) to contest in four days. Stuart Pearson and Jimmy Greenhoff struck either side of a Jimmy Case thunderbolt to give Tommy Docherty’s Red Devils a taste of glory at Wembley.

To rub salt even further into Liverpool’s wound, it would turn out to be their bitter rivals who would became the first English side to lift the Premier LeagueFA Cup and UEFA Champions League in a single season (1998-99) following their dramatic Champions League victory over Bayern Munich.

1983 League Cup Final (Liverpool 2 – 1 Manchester United)

Liverpool exacted revenge six years later as they overturned a one-goal deficit in Bob Paisley’s final season in charge. Ronnie Whelan netted the winner in extra time as the Reds collected the trophy for a third year in succession in what was a trophy-laden reign under Paisley’s leadership. In a fitting farewell, his players allowed him to climb the 39 steps to collect the trophy from the Royal Box.

1996 FA Cup Final (Manchester United 1 – 0 Liverpool)

A relatively dull affair was lit up by a late winner from mercurial Frenchman Eric Cantona. Known as ‘King Eric’ by United supporters, Cantona had returned to the United side earlier in the campaign after serving an eight-month suspension for attacking a spectator in a game against Crystal Palace. With the encounter delicately poised at 0-0, Cantona rifled his shot goalwards through a crowded penalty box to give United their ninth FA Cup as well as becoming the first club to win the league championship and FA Cup double on two occasions.

2009 Premier League (Manchester United 1 – Liverpool 4)

Liverpool revived their ambitions of claiming the Premier League title in remarkable fashion as they humiliated the champions in their own backyard. Fernando Torres gave Nemanja Vidic a torrid afternoon which resulted in the dismissal of the Serbian international. Late goals from Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena added gloss to the Spaniard’s equaliser and Steven Gerrard’s penalty. United would still finish the campaign four points ahead of their opponents to draw level with Liverpool on 18 top-flight titles, but this humiliation was their heaviest defeat at Old Trafford in any competition for 17 years.

All-Time Combined XI

Many of the beautiful game’s finest exponents have represented one club or the other (and sometimes both), although no player has been transferred directly between the two clubs since the 1964 transfer of Phil Chisnall from Manchester to Merseyside. We have selected our all-time Liverpool and Manchester United combined XI, but as you will see there are so notable omissions.

Peter Schmeichel (Goalkeeper)

The assertive Dane narrowly edges out Ray Clemence between the sticks thanks to his mental toughness, superb shot-stopping ability and positive influence he had on those around him.

Gary Neville (Full-Back)

An inclusion that will rile Liverpool fans – who could forget his controversial celebration in front of them at Old Trafford following Rio Ferdinand’s last-gasp winner back in 2006? Neville’s consistency and longevity at the top of the game make him one of the most decorated English and European footballers of all time

Duncan Edwards (Centre-Back)

A giant of a player who Sir Bobby Charlton described Edwards as “the only player that made me feel inferior.” Tragically lost his life in the Munich air disaster at just 21 years of age.

Alan Hanson (Centre-Back)

The epitome of composure. Unflustered and seldom out of position – a real thinking man’s defender who enjoyed an illustrious playing career on Merseyside.

Phil Neal (Full-Back)

Neal’s nickname whilst at Liverpool was Zico – a reference to the Brazilian magician and an accolade to Neal, who was renowned for scoring important goals throughout the club’s history. The England international played a club-record 365 consecutive league matches spanning nearly ten years and was the only Liverpool player to feature in all four of the club’s European Cup wins in the 1970s and 1980s.

George Best (Winger)

Dubbed “El Beatle”, Best was as much a showman off the pitch as he was on it. Possessing extraordinary dribbling ability, grace and balance, Belfast’s much-missed favourite son remains one of the most exciting players to ever grace the hallowed turf of Old Trafford.

Graeme Souness (Centre-Midfield)

An indomitable competitor with an unstoppable engine and unquenchable thirst for success. Scared the opposition as well as his team-mates – none of them dared let him down.

Sir Bobby Charlton (Centre-Midfield)

The most elegant footballer in the history of our national game who until recently was the leading marksman for both club and country. Few have left a greater impression on football than this mesmerising midfielder and all-round gentleman.

Ryan Giggs (Winger)

At his peak, Giggs was a dynamic and fearless left-winger before adapting his game to become an integral part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s centre-midfield. The Welsh wizard was the only player to play in each of the first 22 seasons of the Premier League, as well as the only player to score in each of its first 21 campaigns.

Kenny Dalglish (Centre-Forward)

Cunning, creative and a deadly finisher – the greatest of all Scottish footballers.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Centre-Forward)

Portugal’s talisman has established as the greatest of his generation alongside Lionel Messi. Enjoyed a prolific six years at Old Trafford which aided his development into the complete player we have the privilege to see today – athleticism, power, skill, speed and a ridiculous amount of goals.

The Form Guide

A rampant United side are looking to maintain their fantastic start to the campaign which has seen them accumulate 19 points from their opening seven matches, with their only blip being a 2-2 draw at the Britannia Stadium. The Red Devils have dominated the Premier League era, but have not been crowned champions of England’s top division since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.

Liverpool’s defensive frailties have come back to haunt them on more than one occasion this season and they already trail the leaders by seven points. Jurgen Klopp’s faltering Reds must get back to winning ways and are chasing a first home triumph since their emphatic 4-0 win over Arsenal back in August.

Prediction and tips

With seven goals in his first seven Premier League appearances for the club, United goal-machine Romelu Lukaku just can’t seem to stop scoring and he will fancy his chances against a Liverpool side that have shipped 12 goals in their seven Premier League outings.

Tip the Belgian to score at anytime and United to win 0-1, 1-2 or 0-2 which is now priced at 6/1 with William Hill.

Our recommended bets are: Manchester United to win from behind at 23/2 and a one goal winning margin at 11/8.

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