Monday, August 15, 2022

Why are Liverpool and Manchester United rivals?

A look into the rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool

A look into the rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool

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Liverpool and Manchester United are two of England’s most successful clubs. The Northwest derby, as their encounter is called, never fails to pique the interest of football fans all around the world.

Liverpool has 18 Premier League titles, eight League Cups, and, seven FA Cups, whereas Manchester United has 19 Premier League titles, four League Cups, and 11 FA Cups. Together they share 67 titles. That shows the level of competition witnessed when these two sides clash.

However, it’s not just football that has sparked a fierce rivalry between the two cities. There is a long-standing cultural and economic rivalry that goes much beyond the 90 minutes of football action. The rivalry spans since the Industry Revolution.

Cultural and economic rivalry

Liverpool supporters
LIverpool’s supporters cheer during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 19, 2022

Back in 1894, outraged by the Port of Liverpool’s hefty import fees, Manchester entrepreneurs developed the Manchester Ship Canal 1894 to carry raw materials to their cotton mills. This way, they challenged Liverpool’s dominance as the world’s most important port. This is when Manchester pushed forward to emerge as the epicentre of the global textile industry.

On the cultural front, the Beatles’ arrival in the 1960s breathed new life into Liverpool, bringing it back into the spotlight. On the other hand, Manchester was proud of Joy Division, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, New Order, and Oasis.

Enter football into the rivalry mix

TOPSHOT – Liverpool’s players wave at supporters from an open-top bus during a parade through the streets of Liverpool in northwest England on May 29, 2022 to celebrate winning the 2021-22 League Cup and FA Cup. – Thousands of fans lined the streets of the city as double cup-winners Liverpool returned home for an open-top bus parade that took place amid a flood of conflicting emotions. The two trophies they really wanted, and which would have enabled them to claim an unprecedented quadruple in a single campaign, narrowly eluded Liverpool. Manchester City pipped them to the Premier League by just a single point last week before Liverpool lost 1-0 to Spanish giants Real Madrid in Europe’s showpiece Champions League final in Paris. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

In the 1970s and 1980s, Liverpool dominated English football, eclipsing Manchester United. In 17 years, their ruthless domination yielded 19 major domestic prizes, and catching them seemed impossible.

That was until Sir Alex Ferguson arrived. The legendary United manager was adamant about surpassing Liverpool.

Manchester United won 21 major domestic titles in 18 years over the 1990s and 2000s, culminating in their 19th league victory in 2010-11, ensuring that they eclipsed Liverpool as the history’s most successful domestic football club.

Man United vs Liverpool: The rivalry only gets bigger

Manchester United legend Alex Ferguson
Manchester United’s former manager Alex Ferguson gestures as he takes his seat for the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on March 6, 2022.

Manchester United supporters continue to be envious of Liverpool’s superior European record. Liverpool supporters are well aware of this. It’s no surprise that their antagonism is still as fierce as it was hundreds of years ago.

The background information sets the scenario and explains why both sets of supporters take football so seriously.

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