A rivalry between two of the brightest stars in the English football galaxy, separated by a mere 30 miles. A rivalry of the ideologies, economics, cultures and pretty much everything that separates the two cities. A rivalry where careers are made and destroyed. It is in fact more than a rivalry, ablood feud with high octane intensity.
Yes this is Manchester United vs Liverpool, where history is written by the day, only to be eclipsed by the night. On Sunday, United and Liverpool renew hostilities as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s red – hot team host Jurgen Klopp’s charges.
But is it still the biggest rivalry in English football ?
Liverpool dominated English football during the 1970s and 1980s , claiming the league title eleven times and the European cup on four occasions during that period. Manchester United , however, dominated the 1990s and 2000s ,winning the Premier league title record 13 times, two Champions leagues, including the prestigious treble in 1999.
When United won a record – breaking 19th league title, their legendary Manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous comment provides more perspective to this debate.
“My greatest challenge was is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f**king perch. And you can print that”
But with Liverpool still ahead in terms of European glory ,the fight for the much –glorified position atop the perch has never been moreintense.
This Rivalry has seen a lot form the players involved as well.
From Steven Gerrard Kissing the camera, to former United Striker Wayne Rooney describing how he grew up abhorring the Reds, and Gary Neville’s passionate celebration in front of the Liverpool supporters , this Rivalry has seen it all in recent past.
But the most recent episode of this ferocious rivalry happened when former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was alleged to have racially abused ex- Man Utd defender Patrice Evra in the 2011-12 season. As a consequence, Suarez was banned foreight matches.
And following his return , Suarez had to play United at Old Trafford and the Uruguayan refused to shake Evra’s hand before the match. United won the match much to the delight of Evra and the fans, and as expected Evra celebrated infront of the supporters and made Suarez feel it.
Supporters and Hooliganism :
The two clubs might be the most supported in the world, but matches between them have seen several incidences of hooliganism.
An unidentified Liverpool fan spat at Man Utd legend Eric Cantona and threw a punch at former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson at the 1996 FA Cup final at Wembley as the Red devils walked to collect the trophy.
In 2016, in a second leg Europa league match at Old Trafford , there were crowd disturbances at the stadium – Liverpool supporters ripped seats and fought with United Fans.It was later reported that a Reds fan sneaked a Liverpool banner into the United section causing fury among United Fans.
As the next chapter of this Historical rivalry is about to be written on Sunday, what do we expect ? Goals? Red Cards? Stalemates ?
And is it still worthy to be mentioned as the biggest rivalry of English football ?