Liverpool F.C.–Manchester United F.C. rivalry
|City or region||North West England|
|First contested||28 April 1894
Liverpool 2–0 Newton Heath
|Number of meetings||192|
|Most player appearances||Ryan Giggs (48)|
|Most recent meeting||22 March 2015
Liverpool 1–2 Manchester United
(2014–15 Premier League)
|All-time series||Liverpool: 64
Manchester United: 77
|Largest victory||Liverpool 7–1 Newton Heath
12 October 1895
(1895–96 Second Division)
The Liverpool F.C.–Manchester United F.C. rivalry is a footballing rivalry between English clubs Liverpool and Manchester United. It is considered to be one of the biggest rivalry matches in world and European football. Manchester United currently lead with 77 wins to Liverpool's 64.
The clubs are also the two most successful teams in England; between them they have won 121 honours: 59 for Liverpool and 62 for Manchester United. As well as competing on the football pitch, both teams are also two of the biggest-earning, and widely-supported, football clubs in the world.
Long-time Manchester United player Ryan Giggs claimed that Liverpool against Manchester United is "probably the most famous fixture in English football". Football legend Pelé compared the stature and similarities of the fixture to that of the famous El Clásico rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain.
The fixture is usually played at lunchtime due to media interest and to discourage fans from drinking before the game.
- 1 Roots
- 2 Player transfers
- 3 Statistics
- 4 All-time results
- 5 Hooliganism
- 6 Significant games
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The rivalry can be considered as a manifestation of one which already had existed between the two cities since industrial times. During this time both were competing with each other for supremacy of the North West, with Manchester famous for its manufacturing prowess while Liverpool was famous for the importance of its port.
Once the Manchester Ship Canal was built, ships could bypass Liverpool and transport goods directly into Manchester. The Ship Canal was an audacious project and upon completion in 1894 it was the longest ship canal in the world. The Ship Canal meant less dues for Liverpool merchants, which consequently resulted in job losses at the port and resentment from the local people of Liverpool. Historians generally regard this as the key incident as to why such inter-city rivalry exists. Furthermore, the crest of Manchester United includes a ship representing the Manchester Ship Canal and reflects Manchester's trade roots. The ship is also included on the crest of many other Mancunian institutions such as Manchester City Council and rivals Manchester City F.C.
During the late 1970s and 1980s, the two cities had been in decline due to the downturn of industries as were many cities in the predominantly industrial North. However, both cities have again grown and found success, with both Liverpool and Manchester now recognised as world-class cities. Recently, Manchester hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games, while Liverpool was awarded the title of 2008 European Capital of Culture.
Both clubs claim the title of 'the greatest English football club', having won 121 trophies between them. Liverpool dominated English football from 1975 to 1990, winning 11 league championships and four European Cups. Likewise, Manchester United dominate English football from 1993 to 2013, winning 13 league championships and two European Cups. During their respective periods of dominance, both clubs enjoyed several seasons in which they won multiple trophies in both domestic and European competitions.
The two clubs are thus the most successful English sides in European and domestic competitions, with Liverpool having been European champions five times (11 European trophies overall) while Manchester United have been European champions three times (7 European trophies overall); Manchester United have also won the FIFA Club World Cup. Manchester United have won 20 English league titles, while Liverpool have won 18. Manchester United currently have 55 domestic honours, while Liverpool have 48.
|Team||League||FA Cup||League Cup||European Cup||UEFA Cup||Cup Winners' Cup||Community Shield||UEFA Super Cup||Intercontinental Cup||Club World Cup||Liverpool||18||7||8||5||3||0||15||3||0||0||41||59|
The rivalry has extended to the players as well: United striker Wayne Rooney, a product of Liverpool's city rivals Everton, described how he grew up hating the Reds, while Liverpool's Steven Gerrard took a film crew on tour of his home where he showed off a collection of football shirts he had swapped with opposing players as part of the after match routine; he pointed out that there were no Manchester United shirts in there and he would never have one of them in his house. Manchester United's Gary Neville has been publicly vocal in the past with regards to his dislike of Liverpool; following a fixture in which John O'Shea scored a stoppage-time winner in front of the Kop in 2007, Neville described O'Shea's achievement as "a lifelong dream" for himself. Neville was berated by Liverpool fans for his role in celebrating in front of them in 2006, kissing the crest on his jersey and appearing to shout angrily towards the fans.
In the 2011–12 season, the rivalry was exacerbated by claims that, in the first League meeting of the season at Anfield, Liverpool striker Luis Suárez racially abused United's Patrice Evra. After considering the evidence, an FA panel found that Suarez had referred to Evra using the term "negrito" seven times (Suarez himself admitted to having done so once, but denied racism) and Suarez was banned for eight games. This included the FA Cup fourth round tie between the two clubs (again at Anfield), which Liverpool won. However, on 11 February 2012, United and Liverpool met again at Old Trafford, and Suarez started a match for the first time since he began his ban. Prior to kick-off, the two teams were expected to shake hands, but Suarez ignored Evra's offered hand and moved onto the next United player in line (David de Gea). As a result, Rio Ferdinand and Danny Welbeck rejected Suarez' handshake. United went on to win 2–1 and Evra celebrated in front of the home supporters, with Suarez close by. Sir Alex Ferguson declared Suarez to be a "disgrace" and suggested that he should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again. Kenny Dalglish vehemently denied having seen the missed handshake. The following day, Suarez, Dalglish and Liverpool FC all issued statements of apology for the handshake incident, which United accepted. The FA decided against any further action against either club or the players involved.
Since the 1964 transfer of Phil Chisnall from United to Liverpool, no player has been transferred directly between the two clubs. Some players, however, have played for both clubs, but having played elsewhere between each tenure, such as Paul Ince (playing for Internazionale in between) and Peter Beardsley (Vancouver Whitecaps and Newcastle United) and more recently Michael Owen (Real Madrid and Newcastle United), although Beardsley only played once for United, but went on to be a key player during his four years at Liverpool.
In 2007, there was a bid from Liverpool to sign Gabriel Heinze from United, but United refused to allow him to join their biggest rivals due to the ongoing feud. United claimed that it was agreed Heinze would only join a foreign club if he chose to leave. Heinze went public with his request to join Liverpool which was seen as the ultimate betrayal by the Manchester United fans. The Manchester United fans who once chanted "Argentina" in honour of the player then turned their backs on him. Heinze was eventually sold to Real Madrid instead.
Results at home in cup matches
Results at neutral venues
With the rise of football hooliganism across English football during the 1970s and 1980s, matches between the two clubs brought some minor and major incidents of hooliganism. Since then, the modern game has seen a decrease in violence between the rival supporters and incidents are fairly uncommon. This is more likely due to an increase in Police presence and CCTV with huge steps taken to keep the fans separated. To this day, both sets of fans still hold a resentment toward each other. As well as physical violence, sections of the clubs' fan bases often taunt each other with unsavoury chants about the Munich air disaster and the Hillsborough disaster respectively.
At the 1996 FA Cup Final, an unidentified Liverpool fan spat at Eric Cantona and threw a punch at Alex Ferguson as a victorious Manchester United team walked up the steps at Wembley Stadium to collect the trophy from the Royal Box.
The 2006 FA Cup match at Anfield featured foreign objects thrown at Man United fans by Liverpool supporters, including human excrement. Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final game against Chelsea at Old Trafford later that year also resulted in damage to the stadium, including graffiti about serial killer Harold Shipman.
In March 2011, the Daily Mail reported that an FA Youth Cup game between the two clubs was marred because of "sick chants" about Hillsborough and Heysel coming from the Manchester United fans at Anfield. The article also claims that six Manchester United fans were ejected from the stadium due to bad behaviour. Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge was at the game and told the Liverpool Echo that "the level of abuse was absolutely sickening".
In 1977, the two clubs met in a cup final for the first time, when they reached the final of the FA Cup. The two clubs took to the field at Wembley on 21 May, with Liverpool having just won the league title, knowing that winning this game would put them on course for a unique treble as they had the European Cup final to look forward to four days later. However, United ended Liverpool's treble dreams with a 2–1 win, with goals from Stuart Pearson and Jimmy Greenhoff, five minutes apart with a Jimmy Case goal for Liverpool in between.
Six years later, on 26 March 1983, the two sides met for the Football League Cup final. Goals from Alan Kennedy and Ronnie Whelan won the game 2–1 for Liverpool, after Norman Whiteside had given United the lead. Liverpool collected the trophy for the third year in succession. It was the last of Liverpool manager Bob Paisley's nine seasons in charge (during which Liverpool had dominated the English and European scene) before his retirement, and his players allowed him to climb the 39 steps to collect the trophy from the Royal Box.
On 4 April 1988, Liverpool were 11 points ahead at the top of the league and almost certain of winning the First Division title with barely a month of the league season remaining. United, in their first full season under the management of Alex Ferguson, were their nearest rivals. The two sides took to the field for a league encounter at Anfield and with the second half just minutes old the home side had a 3–1 lead with goals from Peter Beardsley, Gary Gillespie and Steve McMahon, with United's only goal coming from Bryan Robson. Robson then pulled a goal back for United, and with 12 minutes remaining fellow midfielder Gordon Strachan equalised to force a 3–3 draw.
Nearly six years after this clash, Anfield was the scene of another 3–3 draw in the league between the two sides, only this time it was the home side who climbed back from the jaws of defeat. On 4 January 1994, in the second season of the new FA Premier League, United took a 3-0 lead at Anfield in the opening 25 minutes with goals from Steve Bruce, Ryan Giggs and Denis Irwin. Liverpool managed to claw back to draw 3-3 with two goals from Nigel Clough and another from Neil Ruddock. It was one of the last games in charge of Liverpool for manager Graeme Souness, who had resigned by the end of the month.
On 1 October 1995, United's Eric Cantona made his comeback to the side after serving an eight-month suspension for attacking a spectator in a game against Crystal Palace. His comeback game was against Liverpool in the Premier League at Old Trafford. United took an early lead through Nicky Butt, only for Liverpool's Robbie Fowler to score twice and give the visitors a 2–1 lead. However, United were awarded a penalty in the 71st minute and Cantona converted it successfully, forcing a 2-2 draw. At the end of the season, the two sides met again at Wembley for the FA Cup Final. The game stayed goalless until the 85th minute, when Liverpool conceded a corner, which David Beckham swung into the box to be cleared by David James, only for Eric Cantona to fire home United's winner. In March 2003, the two clubs once again met in a cup final, this time in the League Cup, with Liverpool lifting the trophy after goals from Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen gave them a 2–0 win.
On 14 March 2009, the two sides met at Old Trafford in the Premier League. United were ahead at the top of the league and Liverpool were looking to make a late run to the title which had eluded them since 1990. United went ahead in the 23rd minute with a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty, but Fernando Torres equalised five minutes later for Liverpool, and a Steven Gerrard penalty just before half time put Liverpool in the lead. United had Nemanja Vidić sent off in the 76th minute, and their misery was swiftly compounded by late goals from Fabio Aurelio and finally Andrea Dossena, condemning them to a 4-1 defeat - their heaviest at Old Trafford in any competition for 17 years. Despite the loss, Manchester United were crowned league champions for the third season in succession, with Liverpool finishing second.
The league fixture on 11 February 2012 was marked by controversy regarding Liverpool striker Luis Suárez refusal to shake hands with Patrice Evra, following an eight-match suspension for allegedly racially abusing Evra in the previous meeting between the sides. Following the 2-1 victory for United after a brace from Wayne Rooney, Evra in turn controversially celebrated right in front of Suárez, and was swept aside by opposition players finding the gesture provocative. On 16 March 2014, Liverpool won at Old Trafford 3-0 after being given a remarkable three penalty kicks during the course of the match. Steven Gerrard scored the first two, but his third hit the post - with the three-goal margin resembling the 2009 scoreline.