Liverpool F.C.–Manchester United F.C. rivalry

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Liverpool F.C. v Manchester United F.C.
Nemanja Vidić of Manchester United being sent off in a Premier League match against Liverpool on 14 March 2009. Liverpool won this game 4–1.
LocationNorth West England
Manchester United
First meeting28 April 1894
Football League test match
Liverpool 2–0 Newton Heath
Latest meeting5 March 2023
Premier League
Liverpool 7–0 Manchester United
Next meeting16 December 2023
Premier League
StadiumsAnfield (Liverpool)
Old Trafford (United)
Meetings total211[1]
Most player appearancesRyan Giggs (48)[2]
Top scorerMohamed Salah (12)[3]
All-time seriesLiverpool: 71
Drawn: 58
Manchester United: 82[1]
Largest victoryLiverpool 7–0 Manchester United
5 March 2023
(2022–23 Premier League)

The Liverpool F.C.–Manchester United F.C. rivalry, sometimes referred to as the Northwest Derby, is a high-profile inter-city rivalry between English professional football clubs Liverpool and Manchester United. It is considered the biggest fixture in English football and one of the biggest and fiercest rivalries in world football.[4][5] Players, fans and the media consider the fixture between the two clubs to be their biggest rivalry, above even their own local derbies, with Everton and Manchester City respectively.[6][7][8]

The rivalry has been fuelled by the proximity of the two major cities that they represent, their historic economic and industrial rivalry, significant periods of domestic footballing dominance and European success, and their popularity at home and abroad, as two of the biggest-earning and widely supported football clubs in the world.[9][10][11]

The two clubs are the most successful English teams in domestic, European and worldwide competitions; between them they have won 39 league titles, 20 FA Cups, 15 League Cups, one Football League Super Cup, 37 FA Community Shields, nine European Cups/UEFA Champions Leagues, four UEFA Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, five UEFA Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup and two FIFA Club World Cups.[12][13][14]

Each club can claim historical supremacy over the other: United for their 20 league titles to Liverpool's 19 and Liverpool for being European champions six times to United's three. Liverpool, with 68 trophies, now leads the trophy haul between the two clubs.[12][15][16][17] United lead in the head-to-head record between the two teams, with 82 wins to Liverpool's 71; the remaining 58 matches have finished as draws.

Inter-city rivals[edit]

The Liverpool coat of arms features the mythical bird known as the 'Liver' bird. It is believed to be based on a cormorant. This creature formed the basis of the Liverpool FC badge.
The Manchester coat of arms formed the foundation of the original Manchester United badge.

The cities of Liverpool and Manchester are located in the north west of England, 35 miles (56 km) apart. Since the Industrial Revolution, there has been a consistent rivalry between the two cities based on economic and industrial competition. Manchester through to the 18th century was the far more populous city and was considered representative of the north. By the late 18th century, Liverpool had grown as a major seaport – critical to the growth and success of the northern cotton mills. Over the next century, Liverpool grew to supersede Manchester and throughout the late 19th and early 20th century was often described as the British Empire's second city.[11] The links between the two cities were strengthened with the construction of the Bridgewater Canal, the Mersey and Irwell Navigation and the world's first inter-city railway, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, for the transport of raw materials inland.[18]

The construction of the Manchester Ship Canal, funded by Manchester merchants, was opposed by Liverpool politicians and bred resentment between the two cities. Tensions between working-class Liverpool dockers and labourers in Manchester was heightened after its completion in 1894, just three months before the first meeting between Liverpool and Newton Heath (as United were called at the time) in a play-off match that would see Newton Heath relegated to the Second Division.[19]

Today, the crests of both the city of Manchester and Manchester United include stylised ships representing the Manchester Ship Canal and Manchester's trade roots. The ship is also included on the crest of many other Mancunian institutions such as the Manchester City Council.

Post-war shifts in economic ties, reliance on regional coal and shifts in transatlantic trade patterns caused by the growth of Asian labour markets caused the gradual decline of British manufacturing. Both Liverpool and Manchester suffered the loss of their primary sources of income. With Liverpool, the switch from North American to continental European and Asian shipping routes tended to benefit southern English ports, while Manchester suffered from the expansion of the Asian textile industry. This reversal of fortunes happened against the backdrop of shifting political backgrounds and significant events in British culture and society in the second half of the 20th century.

Both cities were part of the county of Lancashire until 1974, with the enactment of the Local Government Act 1972. Since then, Liverpool and Manchester respectively anchor the neighbouring metropolitan counties of Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

The two cities continue to be strong regional rivals. Their continued importance to the UK economy has been reflected with the awarding of the 2002 Commonwealth Games to Manchester, while Liverpool was awarded the title of 2008 European Capital of Culture as part of its regeneration.

More recent projects by Peel Ports have sought to re-establish the economic links between the Port of Liverpool and Port of Manchester, including re-developing trade links via the Manchester Ship Canal.

Football rivals[edit]

Formation to 1945[edit]

A black-and-white photo of a football team. The players are on three levels, with four on the bottom row, four on the middle row and three on the top row. The player sitting second from the left on the bottom row has a ball at his feet, and the player in the middle of the top row is wearing a flat cap.
The Manchester United team at the start of the 1905–06 season

Manchester United F.C. was formed in Newton Heath in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR F.C., and played their first competitive match in October 1886, when they entered the first round of the 1886–87 FA Cup.[20]

Liverpool's team during its first season, 1892–93

Liverpool F.C. was formed in 1892 following a disagreement between the board of Everton and club president John Houlding, who owned the club's ground, Anfield. The disagreement between the two parties over rent resulted in Everton moving to Goodison Park from Anfield, and Houlding founded Liverpool F.C. to play in the vacated stadium. Liverpool supporters often sing the chant ' You should have paid the rent' to Everton fans during matches between the two sides, to reflect this.[21]

Liverpool's first season was in the Second Division in 1893. The team went undefeated all season, winning the title and being put up for election to the First Division, which would see them play a one-off test match against the bottom side of the First Division for their place. The team that Liverpool were to face was Newton Heath, whom they beat 2–0 to take their place in the first tier.[22]

Liverpool won their first Football League Championship trophy in 1901 and followed it up in 1906, the same season that saw the newly-renamed Manchester United promoted to the top flight after finishing as Second Division runners-up behind Bristol City. Two seasons later, by which time Liverpool had fallen into mid-table, Manchester United secured their first league title, winning the 1907–08 Football League nine points clear of Aston Villa and Manchester City. They followed this up by winning the first-ever FA Charity Shield match when they defeated Queens Park Rangers over two legs in 1908.[23] The following season, they won the 1909 FA Cup Final, and followed this up with another league title and Charity Shield in 1911.

The outbreak of the First World War disrupted domestic football, and following the resumption of competitions in 1919 Liverpool asserted themselves on domestic football with a brace of league Championships while United found themselves in steep decline that saw them relegated in 1923. Between 1923 and the outbreak of the Second World War, neither team won any more competitive trophies other than regional trophies, with Manchester United spending three separate periods in the Second Division.

1945 to 1992[edit]

refer to caption
A comparative chart showing yearly table positions of Manchester United F.C. and Liverpool F.C. in the English football league system from 1892–93 to the present

After the Second World War, Liverpool again became English champions in 1947 before the clubs' roles reversed once more, with the Merseysiders dropping into the second tier as Manchester United found stability under the management of former Liverpool captain Matt Busby, winning the FA Cup in 1948 and then three league titles and Charity Shields apiece in the 1950s. During this time, future Liverpool manager Bill Shankly was approached by then Liverpool chairman Tom Williams and asked, "How would you like to manage the best club in the country?". Shankly replied, "Why? Is Matt Busby packing it in?"[24]

Following Liverpool's promotion under Shankly in 1962, the two clubs found themselves in direct competition with each other for the first time, sharing four league titles between 1964 and 1967, as well as the 1965 FA Charity Shield. Following this, though, the two sides began to drift in opposite directions once more. United's title victory of 1967 would be their last for 26 years,[25] while Liverpool would enjoy nearly 20 years of sustained success, winning 11 league titles, 19 domestic cups and seven European trophies from 1972 to 1992.[26] United's main reprieves during this time came through cup competitions, such as their triumphs over the Merseysiders in the 1977 FA Cup Final and the 1979 FA Cup semi-final replay at Goodison Park. It was during this period, in the late 70s and early 80s, that the modern-day rivalry between the two clubs truly began to get heated. According to football sociologist John Williams, United had developed a "glamour and media profile" but didn't have the success to match it and Liverpool fans felt the Red Devils were "media darlings who got far too much publicity". There was a perception in Liverpool that their hugely successful but "professional" and "workmanlike" teams were always somehow in the shadow of the stars at Old Trafford. This led to a derisory United nickname in Liverpool: "The Glams".[27]


Manchester United's 26-year spell without a league title was replicated and exceeded by Liverpool from 1990 to 2020, during which time United dominated English football and won 13 league titles, 23 domestic cups and five European trophies.[26] Liverpool's success in domestic competitions such as the 2003 League Cup and 2006 FA Cup as well as European competitions like the 2005 and 2019 Champions Leagues allowed them some consolation during their league title dry spell, which finally ended in 2019–20.

Despite their contrasting fortunes, only seven times since 1972 have neither Liverpool nor United finished in the top two of the league table – in 1980–81, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17 and 2022-23 – and in six of those seven campaigns, silverware was still taken home by one of the two clubs; Liverpool paraded the European Cup and League Cup in 1981, while Manchester United lifted the FA Community Shield and FA Cup in the 2004 season and Liverpool claimed the Champions League in 2005. United brought home the FA Cup again in 2016 and they won a treble of trophies consisting of the Community Shield, League Cup and UEFA Europa League in 2016–17. United won the League Cup again in 2022-23, their first trophy in almost 6 years.[28][29][30][31]


Notable managers[edit]

If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing.

— Bill Shankly

While Liverpool and Manchester United's successes are almost identical in number, their systems of achieving these successes vary considerably. Liverpool built their dominance on a dynasty known as the Anfield Boot Room. The boot room itself was where strategy for future matches was planned, however, it became a breeding ground for future Liverpool managers following the arrival of Bill Shankly in 1959. The original members were Shankly himself, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Reuben Bennett, although the likes of Kenny Dalglish joined later on.[32] Shankly laid down principles which subsequent Boot Room graduates retained and developed: the club adopted a back four sooner than most and played a game based on possession, pushing high and pressing.[33]

Following Shankly's retirement in 1974, having secured eight trophies in 15 years, Bob Paisley stepped into the vacant manager's position and amassed 20 trophies in nine seasons.[34] Following his retirement, Joe Fagan took over and in the first of two seasons at the club, won a treble of trophies. Kenny Dalglish was accepted into the group as the next in line for the role of manager, and he combined it with his playing duties to win Liverpool 10 trophies. The boot room connection was finally broken in 1991, 32 years after Shankly's arrival, with the appointment of former Liverpool player Graeme Souness, who demolished the original boot room itself to make way for a press room.[35] It did still manage to produce a final Liverpool manager in Roy Evans, who won the League Cup in 1995, but upon his resignation in 1998, the era was over. Liverpool have however gone on to achieve success with managers outside of the dynasty since then, most notably under Rafael Benítez, who won the UEFA Champions League in 2005, and Jürgen Klopp, who won it in 2019 before going on to win the club's first league title in 30 years in 2019–20. Klopp's gegenpressing strategy has been described as a modern development of the classic Liverpool style.[33]

My greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their fucking perch, and you can print that.

— Alex Ferguson in response to an Alan Hansen comment in 2002[36]

By contrast, the vast majority of Manchester United's success has come in three eras in the club's history, under three different managers. Out of the club's 67 trophies, 56 were won under the management of Ernest Mangnall, Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson. Mangnall was the club's first great manager, securing five trophies within three years in 1908–11.[37] Following his departure to local rivals Manchester City a year later,[38] it was not until Busby's arrival 33 years later that the club would be on the trophy trail again. Busby became United's second most decorated manager of all time (ironically as an ex-Liverpool player and captain), winning 13 trophies at the club, including the 1968 European Cup, which saw an English team secure European football's top prize for the first time.[39] After Busby's retirement in 1969 though, Manchester United saw their fortunes slip and the club struggled to stay successful until Alex Ferguson's arrival 17 years later, during which time United only won three FA Cups and two Charity Shields. It was only under Ferguson that United regained their glory days, winning 38 trophies during his 26-year tenure to scale the pinnacles of both English and European football.[40]


Players' rivalry[edit]

A mate owned a [Manchester United captain] Bryan Robson top. We were kicking about, and I asked if I could be Robbo for a while. My dad looked out and went ballistic. He wasn't having his kid dragging the Gerrard name through the gutter. I thought we'd have to move!

— Steven Gerrard

The rivalry has extended to the players as well: Wayne Rooney, a product of Liverpool's city rivals Everton who played for United from 2004 to 2017, described how he grew up hating the Reds (Liverpool),[41] 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. Former Liverpool goalkeeper David James said: "I could never say I hated any United players just for being United players... But the rivalry became a habit, I suppose; on England trips Liverpool lads would eat at one table, United boys at another. There was tension there and we avoided one other". Liverpool defender Neil Ruddock once broke both of United forward Andy Cole's legs in a reserve match, later saying that "I didn’t meant to break both legs, I only meant to break one... I absolutely destroyed him... I know it's not big and it's not clever but it was great".[42]

Manchester United's Gary Neville has been vocal about his dislike of Liverpool. He notably drew the ire of Liverpool fans during the 2006 match at Old Trafford when he celebrated Rio Ferdinand's last-gasp winner[43] by running to the stand where the away fans were seated while kissing the crest on his jersey and appearing to shout angrily towards them; he was fined and given a two-match ban by The Football Association but has stated on several occasions that he has never regretted his actions.[44][45][46] Neville was regularly subjected to offensive chants from Liverpool supporters afterwards. In a Manchester derby during the 2003–04 season, Neville was sent off after attempting to headbutt Manchester City's ex-Liverpool midfielder Steve McManaman; as Paul Scholes commented, "It's fair to say the pair of them never got on too well together".[42] In a retrospective special leading up to the January 2017 match at Old Trafford, Neville and his fellow Monday Night Football pundit and retired Liverpool one-club man Jamie Carragher both acknowledged that it was not uncommon for both United and Liverpool players, particularly locally born youth academy graduates such as Bury-born Neville and Merseyside natives Gerrard and Robbie Fowler, to celebrate in front of rival fans and that "you just got to take it on the chin".[46] Neville hinted that the rivalry is as much about shared values when criticising both clubs' involvement in the aborted European Super League in 2021: “I value the history and tradition that runs through those … clubs. … I don’t like them, they don’t like me, but you know one thing I always thought about them? They were honest, they had integrity, they would look after their people; they would look after their own.”[47]

I can't stand Liverpool, I can't stand the people, I can't stand anything to do with them.

— Gary Neville

In the 2011–12 season's first league meeting of the season at Anfield, United defender Patrice Evra accused Liverpool striker Luis Suárez of racially abusing him. After considering the evidence, an FA panel found that Suárez had referred to Evra using the term "negrito" seven times (Suárez himself admitted to having done so once, but denied racism); he was banned for eight games. This included the FA Cup fourth-round tie between the two clubs (again at Anfield), which Liverpool won. 24 hours after Suarez was found guilty of racial abuse, the Liverpool players and manager wore shirts to support Suárez.[48] On 11 February 2012, United and Liverpool met again at Old Trafford, and Suárez played for Liverpool for the first time since his ban. Before kick-off, the two teams were expected to shake hands, but Suárez ignored Evra's offered hand and moved onto the next United player in line, David de Gea. The player after De Gea, Rio Ferdinand, then rejected Suárez's handshake.[49] United went on to win 2–1 and Evra celebrated in front of the home supporters, with Suárez close by. Sir Alex Ferguson declared Suárez to be a "disgrace" and suggested that he should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again. Kenny Dalglish denied having seen the missed handshake.[50] The following day, Suárez, Dalglish and Liverpool all issued statements of apology for the handshake incident, which United accepted.[51] Liverpool's vice-captain for the 2011–12 season, Jamie Carragher, apologised to Evra in 2019 for wearing shirts in support of Suarez, saying '"There's no doubt we made a massive mistake. I'm not lying on that and saying I wasn't part of it because as the club we got it wrong and I was vice-captain. I'm not sure who was actually behind it.[52] Similarly in 2020 Jordan Henderson, a young Liverpool player at the time of the incident who went on to captain the club, stated in an interview for a BBC documentary on football and racism that he was "not sure the club or everybody dealt with it in the best way. From a player point of view, our mindset was on Luis and how to protect him, but really we didn't really think about Patrice. I think that's where we got it wrong from top to bottom".[53]

Player transfers[edit]

Michael Owen is the most recent player to play for both clubs.

Since the 1964 transfer of Phil Chisnall from United to Liverpool, no player has been transferred directly between the two clubs.[54] Some players, however, have played for both clubs but played elsewhere between each tenure, such as Paul Ince (playing for Inter Milan in between), Peter Beardsley (Vancouver Whitecaps and Newcastle United) and more recently Michael Owen (Real Madrid and Newcastle United). Although Beardsley only played once for United, he went on to be a key player during his four years at Liverpool.[55]

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.[56] 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. In 2019, after Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović left Los Angeles Galaxy, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said that he might have considered signing Ibrahimović had he not previously played for Manchester United.[57]

Date[58] Name From To Fee[59]
August 1912 Tom Chorlton Liverpool Manchester United
November 1913 Jackie Sheldon Manchester United Liverpool
September 1920 Tom Miller Liverpool Manchester United £2,000
May 1921 Fred Hopkin Manchester United Liverpool
February 1929 Tommy Reid Liverpool Manchester United
January 1938 Ted Savage Liverpool Manchester United
November 1938 Allenby Chilton Liverpool Manchester United
February 1954 Thomas McNulty Manchester United Liverpool £7,000
April 1964 Phil Chisnall Manchester United Liverpool £25,000


A single tiered stand that contains thousands of people. Several flags are being waved. In front of the stand is a grass pitch with a goal.
Liverpool Kopites in The Kop stand at Anfield

Both Manchester United and Liverpool are among the most popular football clubs (and sporting organisations) globally. Both are in the top 10 in Europe. Manchester United states that its worldwide fan base includes more than 200 officially recognised branches of the Manchester United Supporters Club (MUSC) in at least 24 countries.[60] Liverpool states that its worldwide fan base also includes more than 300 officially recognised branches of the Official LFC Supporters Clubs (OLSCs) in at least 90 countries.[61] Notable groups include Spirit of Shankly.[62]

The 2005 leveraged takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family created a schism amongst Manchester fans, directly causing the creation of F.C. United of Manchester, and the "Love United Hate Glazer" movement, and subsequently the Red Knights who attempted to buy the Glazers out the club.[63][64] Two years later, Liverpool went through its own controversial takeover when Chairman David Moores sold the club to American businessmen George Gillett and Tom Hicks.[65] Disagreements between Gillett and Hicks, and the lack of popular support from fans, resulted in the pair looking to sell the club.[66] Martin Broughton was appointed chairman of the club on 16 April 2010 to oversee its sale.[67][68] Court action finally forced the sale of the club to Fenway Sports Group.[69][70]


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.[citation needed] 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 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.[71]

The 2006 FA Cup match at Anfield featured foreign objects thrown at United fans by Liverpool supporters, including human excrement.[72] 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.[73]

In March 2011, 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. Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge was at the game and told the Liverpool Echo that "the level of abuse was absolutely sickening".[74]

In March 2016, before Liverpool's first leg tie at Anfield against Manchester United, it was reported that a group of Liverpool fans hung a "Manc Bastards" banner on the M62, as 2,300 Manchester United supporters made the trip to Anfield.[75] It was confiscated by the police, shortly after. Liverpool won the match 2–0.

Before the second leg tie at Old Trafford, Liverpool fans were greeted with a banner on the M62 motorway in Salford that said 'murderers' and also had the Hillsborough disaster date on it. UEFA took no disciplinary action against Manchester United.[76] During the same game, there were reported crowd disturbances, coming from the Manchester United end.[77] It was later reported that a Liverpool supporter snuck a Liverpool banner into the United section, aggravating United supporters in the stands.[78] Liverpool supporters ripped out seats, and supporters threw objects at each other, also fighting with United supporters. Liverpool were fined £43,577 by UEFA for setting off flares and fireworks in the crowd, as well as the singing of "illicit chants", while Manchester United were fined £44,342 for illicit chants and the throwing of objects.[79] £15,290 of each club's fine was suspended for two years. The match was drawn 1–1 and Liverpool progressed to the quarter-finals against Borussia Dortmund.

In August 2022, ITV reported that some Manchester United fans attacked a bus en route to Old Trafford, in the belief it was transporting the Liverpool team or fans; it was actually carrying children who supported Manchester United.[80]

Significant games[edit]

1894 test match[edit]

The first-ever meeting between both clubs came in a Football League test match in 1894, a post-season series to determine who would receive First Division membership for 1894–95. As Newton Heath finished bottom of the First Division at the end of 1893–94, they had to play off against the champions of the Second Division, Liverpool. Liverpool won the tie 2–0 at Ewood Park in Blackburn, earning them First Division membership and condemning Newton Heath to the Second Division.

1977 FA Cup final[edit]

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.

1983 Football League Cup final[edit]

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.[81]

Anfield 1988[edit]

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.[82]

Other notable games[edit]

On 4 January 1994, in the second season of the new 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.[82]

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.[82] 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.[83] 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.[84]

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 Fábio Aurélio and finally Andrea Dossena, condemning them to a 4–1 defeat, their heaviest at Old Trafford in any competition for 17 years.[85] Despite the loss, Manchester United were crowned league champions for the third season in succession and equalled Liverpool's 18 league titles,[86] with Liverpool finishing four points behind in second.[87]

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 racially abusing Evra in the previous meeting between the sides.[88][89] 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.

In the 2015–16 season the famous rivals faced each other for the first time in their long histories on the European stage, in the round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League. Liverpool won the tie 3–1 on aggregate with a 2–0 victory at Anfield on 10 March 2016[90] and the sides drawing 1–1 at Old Trafford on 17 March 2016.[91][92] Liverpool would go on to reach the final, losing 3–1 to the tournament's perennial winners Sevilla.[93]

On 24 October 2021, Manchester United suffered their heaviest ever home defeat to Liverpool, as a Mohamed Salah hat-trick—the first by a Liverpool player at Old Trafford since Fred Howe in November 1936, and goals from Naby Keïta and Diogo Jota gave Liverpool a 5–0 win in the 2021–22 Premier League.[94][95] Salah's hat-trick was the first scored by an away team at Old Trafford since Ronaldo's in April 2003 and the first hat-trick scored there by an away team in the Premier League.[96]

On 5 March 2023, Liverpool recorded their biggest ever competitive win against Manchester United with a 7–0 victory at Anfield. Cody Gakpo, Darwin Núñez, and Mohamed Salah all scored a brace with Roberto Firmino adding on a seventh. This surpassed their previous record set in October 1895, a 7–1 victory in the Second Division. This was also Manchester United's joint-biggest ever defeat and the heaviest since Wolverhampton Wanderers beat them by the same scoreline in 1931.[97][98]

Honours, head to head, and statistics[edit]


As of 21 September 2023
Domestic honours
Competition Liverpool Manchester United
Titles Year Titles Year
Premier League 1 2019–20 13 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13
First Division 18 1900–01, 1905–06, 1921–22, 1922–23, 1946–47, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90 7 1907–08, 1910–11, 1951–52, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1964–65, 1966–67
League total 19 20
FA Cup 8 1964–65, 1973–74, 1985–86, 1988–89, 1991–92, 2000–01, 2005–06, 2021–22 12 1908–09, 1947–48, 1962–63, 1976–77, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1989–90, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04, 2015–16
League Cup 9 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1994–95, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2011–12, 2021–22 6 1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2016–17, 2022–23
FA Charity Shield/FA Community Shield (* = shared) 16 1964*, 1965*, 1966, 1974, 1976, 1977*, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1986*, 1988, 1989, 1990*, 2001, 2006, 2022 21 1908, 1911, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1965*, 1967*, 1977*, 1983, 1990*, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016
Sheriff of London Charity Shield 1 1906 0
Football League Super Cup 1 1985-86 0
Domestic total 54 59
European honours
European Cup/UEFA Champions League 6 1976–77, 1977–78, 1980–81, 1983–84, 2004–05, 2018–19 3 1967–68, 1998–99, 2007–08
UEFA Cup/Europa League 3 1972–73, 1975–76, 2000–01 1 2016–17
European Cup Winners' Cup 0 1 1990–91
European Super Cup/UEFA Super Cup 4 1977, 2001, 2005, 2019 1 1991
European total 13 6
Worldwide honours
FIFA Club World Cup 1 2019 1 2008
Intercontinental Cup 0 1 1999
Worldwide total 1 2
Combined total[12][99]
Combined total 68 67


As of 5 March 2023[1]

The below table demonstrates the competitive results between the two sides (not indicative of titles won).

Competition Manchester United wins Draws Liverpool wins
League 69 50 61
FA Cup 10 4 4
League Cup 2 0 3
Europa League 0 1 1
Charity Shield 1 3 1
Play-offs 0 0 1
Total 82 58 71

All-time results[edit]

Total league head-to-head[edit]

League home record
Home team Wins Losses Draws
Liverpool 43 25 22
Manchester United 44 18 28
Overall league head-to-head record
Manchester United wins Liverpool wins Draws
69 61 50

Results in domestic cup matches[edit]

Date Venue Matches Competition
Team 1 Score Team 2
12 February 1898 Bank Street Newton Heath 0–0 Liverpool FA Cup 2nd round
16 February 1898 Anfield Liverpool 2–1 Newton Heath FA Cup 2nd round replay
7 February 1903 Bank Street Manchester United 2–1 Liverpool FA Cup 1st round
8 January 1921 Anfield Liverpool 1–1 Manchester United FA Cup 1st round
12 January 1921 Old Trafford Manchester United 1–2 Liverpool FA Cup 1st round replay
24 January 1948 Goodison Park[a] Manchester United 3–0 Liverpool FA Cup 4th round
30 January 1960 Anfield Liverpool 1–3 Manchester United FA Cup 4th round
14 August 1965 Old Trafford Manchester United 2–2 Liverpool Charity Shield
21 May 1977 Wembley Manchester United 2–1 Liverpool FA Cup final
13 August 1977 Wembley Liverpool 0–0 Manchester United Charity Shield
31 March 1979 Maine Road Manchester United 2–2
Liverpool FA Cup semi-final
4 April 1979 Goodison Park Manchester United 1–0 Liverpool FA Cup semi-final replay
26 March 1983 Wembley Liverpool 2–1
Manchester United League Cup final
20 August 1983 Wembley Manchester United 2–0 Liverpool Charity Shield
13 April 1985 Goodison Park Manchester United 2–2
Liverpool FA Cup semi-final
17 April 1985 Maine Road Manchester United 2–1 Liverpool FA Cup semi-final replay
26 November 1985 Anfield Liverpool 2–1 Manchester United League Cup 4th round
18 August 1990 Wembley Liverpool 1–1 Manchester United Charity Shield
31 October 1990 Old Trafford Manchester United 3–1 Liverpool League Cup 3rd round
11 May 1996 Wembley Manchester United 1–0 Liverpool FA Cup final
24 January 1999 Old Trafford Manchester United 2–1 Liverpool FA Cup 4th round
12 August 2001 Millennium Stadium Liverpool 2–1 Manchester United Charity Shield
2 March 2003 Millennium Stadium Liverpool 2–0 Manchester United League Cup final
18 February 2006 Anfield Liverpool 1–0 Manchester United FA Cup 5th round
9 January 2011 Old Trafford Manchester United 1–0 Liverpool FA Cup 3rd round
28 January 2012 Anfield Liverpool 2–1 Manchester United FA Cup 4th round
25 September 2013 Old Trafford Manchester United 1–0 Liverpool League Cup 3rd round
24 January 2021 Old Trafford Manchester United 3–2 Liverpool FA Cup 4th round
Overall domestic cups head-to-head record
Manchester United wins Liverpool wins Draws
13 7 8

Results in European competitions[edit]

Date Venue Matches Competition
Team 1 Score Team 2
10 March 2016 Anfield Liverpool 2–0 Manchester United Europa League round of 16
17 March 2016 Old Trafford Manchester United 1–1 Liverpool
Overall European competitions head-to-head record
Manchester United wins Liverpool wins Draws
0 1 1

Results in play-offs[edit]

Date Venue Matches Competition
Team 1 Score Team 2
28 April 1894 Ewood Park Liverpool 2–0 Newton Heath Football League test match
Overall play-off head-to-head record
Manchester United wins Liverpool wins Draws
0 1 0

Results in friendly matches[edit]

Date Venue Matches Competition
Team 1 Score Team 2
5 August 2014 Sunlife Liverpool 1–3 Manchester United 2014 International Champions Cup
29 July 2018 Michigan Stadium Manchester United 1–4 Liverpool 2018 International Champions Cup
12 July 2022 Rajamangala Stadium Manchester United 4–0 Liverpool Bangkok Century Cup
Overall friendly matches head-to-head record
Manchester United wins Liverpool wins Draws
2 1 0

Women's football results[edit]

Following the creation of Manchester United W.F.C. in 2018, the rivalry has now appeared in women's football as matches between the sides are now possible. Liverpool F.C. Women was created in 1989.

Date Venue Matches Competition
Team 1 Score Team 2
19 August 2018 Prenton Park Liverpool 0–1 Manchester United League Cup
28 September 2019 Leigh Sports Village Manchester United 2–0 Liverpool Women's Super League
7 October 2020 Prenton Park Liverpool 3–1 Manchester United League Cup
8 August 2021 Carrington Manchester United 2–2 Liverpool Pre-season friendly
15 January 2023 Leigh Sports Village Manchester United 6–0 Liverpool Women's Super League

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Due to war damage, Old Trafford was closed at the time, and Manchester United were playing their home matches at Maine Road. However, on the same day, Manchester City were at home to Chelsea in another FA Cup tie and as a result this tie was switched to Goodison Park.

Further reading[edit]

  • Andrews, David L., ed. (2004). Manchester United: A Thematic Study. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-33333-4.
  • Barnes, Justyn; Bostock, Adam; Butler, Cliff; Ferguson, Jim; Meek, David; Mitten, Andy; Pilger, Sam; Taylor, Frank OBE; Tyrrell, Tom (2001) [1998]. The Official Manchester United Illustrated Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). London: Manchester United Books. ISBN 0-233-99964-7.
  • Bose, Mihir (2007). Manchester Disunited: Trouble and Takeover at the World's Richest Football Club. London: Aurum Press. ISBN 978-1-84513-121-0.
  • Cox, Richard; Russell, Dave; Vamplew, Wray (2002). Encyclopedia of British football. Routledge. ISBN 0-7146-5249-0.
  • Crick, Michael; Smith, David (1990). Manchester United – The Betrayal of a Legend. London: Pan Books. ISBN 0-330-31440-8.
  • Crilly, Peter (2007). Tops of the Kops: The Complete Guide to Liverpool's Kits. Trinity Mirror Sport Media. ISBN 978-1-905266-22-7.
  • Devlin, John (2005). True Colours: Football Kits from 1980 to the Present Day. London: A & C Black. ISBN 0-7136-7389-3.
  • Dobson, Stephen; Goddard, John (2004). "Ownership and Finance of Professional Soccer in England and Europe". In Fort, Rodney; Fizel, John (eds.). International Sports Economics Comparisons. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-98032-4.
  • Dunning, Eric (1999). Sport Matters: Sociological Studies of Sport, Violence and Civilisation. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-09378-1.
  • Graham, Matthew (1985). Liverpool. Hamlyn Publishing Group. ISBN 0-600-50254-6.
  • Hamil, Sean (2008). "Case 9: Manchester United: the Commercial Development of a Global Football Brand". In Chadwick, Simon; Arth, Dave (eds.). International Cases in the Business of Sport. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-7506-8543-6.
  • Inglis, Simon (1996) [1985]. Football Grounds of Britain (3rd ed.). London: CollinsWillow. ISBN 0-00-218426-5.
  • James, Gary (2008). Manchester: A Football History. Halifax: James Ward. ISBN 978-0-9558127-0-5.
  • Kelly, Stephen F. (1999). The Boot Room Boys: Inside the Anfield Boot Room. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-218907-0.
  • Kelly, Stephen F. (1988). You'll Never Walk Alone. Queen Anne Press. ISBN 0-356-19594-5.
  • Liversedge, Stan (1991). Liverpool:The Official Centenary History. Hamlyn Publishing Group. ISBN 0-600-57308-7.
  • Morgan, Steve (March 2010). McLeish, Ian (ed.). "Design for life". Inside United. Haymarket Network (212). ISSN 1749-6497.
  • Murphy, Alex (2006). The Official Illustrated History of Manchester United. London: Orion Books. ISBN 0-7528-7603-1.
  • Pead, Brian (1986). Liverpool A Complete Record. Breedon Books. ISBN 0-907969-15-1.
  • Reade, Brian (2009). 44 Years with the Same Bird. Pan. ISBN 978-1-74329-366-9.
  • Rollin, Glenda; Rollin, Jack (2008). Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2008–2009. London: Headline Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-7553-1820-9.
  • Shury, Alan; Landamore, Brian (2005). The Definitive Newton Heath F.C. SoccerData. ISBN 1-899468-16-1.
  • Tyrrell, Tom; Meek, David (1996) [1988]. The Hamlyn Illustrated History of Manchester United 1878–1996 (5th ed.). London: Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-59074-7.
  • White, Jim (2008). Manchester United: The Biography. London: Sphere. ISBN 978-1-84744-088-4.
  • White, John (2007) [2005]. The United Miscellany (2nd ed.). London: Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1-84442-745-1.


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External links[edit]