The rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United has never been limited on the pitch only. There is a huge history between the two cities and the two flagship clubs from the two English cities do not let any opportunity slip to take a dig at each other. Both clubs mounting plenty of success in their respective golden era has only intensified the feud between the two fan bases.
With the internet and social media ruling the world nowadays, the debate between the two global fan bases has only grown bigger over the years. The transfer window is one of those times when the fans get plenty of opportunities to mock their rival fan bases and the Red rivalry is no exception. Such a battle started in the summer transfer window of 2015.
In May 2015, Manchester United made an early summer move to secure the signature of Dutch international Memphis Depay for a fee worth around £31m. Stocks of the then 21-year-old were very high back then after his 22-goal season for PSV Eindhoven in Eredivisie and there was speculation that Liverpool were also in the race to sign the wing wizard but were trumped by their bitter rivals.
Manchester United fans have a tendency of going crazy over their signings and beating Liverpool for the signing of Depay, the so-called next Dutch superstar, made them go over the moon. Well, only Brendan Rodgers and the not so famous transfer committee of Liverpool will know if they were really interested in Depay or not but they did sign a quality player that summer in Roberto Firmino from Hoffenheim for £29m almost a month later.
The battle between Depay and Firmino had started from the moment the Brazilian attacker joined the 18-time English champions. Many touted Depay as a star in the making and videos of him being the ‘next Cristiano Ronaldo’ started flooding YouTube. For most, it was more like a handicapped race and Depay was always going to be the winner.
Being an underdog is sometimes beneficial. Having lesser pressure on your shoulders only makes you free to perform and that has possibly been the case with Firmino. Depay is not even the second choice left winger at Old Trafford right now while Firmino is playing as a centre-forward which is not his natural position ahead of natural strikers like Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi.
He is not just playing up front week in week out but he is the lynchpin of Jürgen Klopp’s heavy metal football at Liverpool which has been a delight to watch this season. The Raumdeuter or the Muller role is something that Firmino has excelled in as Liverpool have looked irresistible in the ongoing season, simply dispatching teams. They top the table and have scored the most number of goals.
The amount of time Depay and Firmino have spent on the pitch this season will easily help you decide the winner of the battle that started more than a year back. Even with the Red Devils playing in the Europa League, Depay has spent just 126 minutes on the pitch while Firmino has played 1032 minutes already scoring six and setting up six.
Firmino is the clear winner of the contest which does not even look like one, to be honest. The United fans were perhaps a bit premature in toting Depay as a future star. With the Dutchman out of favour at the moment and Firmino establishing himself as a top Premier league player this season so far, even the United fans will know who has won last season’s transfer battle!