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Manchester United v Liverpool – The Rivalry

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This Saturday, Anfield will host one of the most hotly-anticipated games in a Manchester United fan’s calendar. Liverpool away.

The two behemoths of English football will face off against one another – both looking for revenge. United wanting to rectify last season’s display at Anfield, where Dirk Kuyt bagged three; and Liverpool hoping to move away from the Red Devils’ shadow after their 18 league titles record was eclipsed by Fergie and company in May, this year.

Seen by some fans as the ‘El Clasico’ of English football, this heated rivalry has many influences as to why it’s so fierce and world renowned. Both clubs are known to be two of the most widely supported clubs in the World; and the bragging rights that come with a victory in this match are priceless.

They are the two most successful English club sides of all time. Liverpool who have 58 major honours at one time were streets ahead but that total has been recently surpassed by United who now have 60 and have the title of ‘England’s most successful club’ which certainly is something that hasn’t gone down too well on Merseyside.

Location played a major part in the rivalry which was the original spark that ignited the feud between the cities; with Manchester building its Ship Canal meaning trade could bypass the Merseyside port, and go straight into Manchester.

The beginning of the 1990s, and the start of United’s dominance in Britain could be seen to be a landmark in the rivalries history. After the trophy returned to Old Trafford in 1993 after an absence of 26 years, a banner was seen in the Kop End of Anfield, reading “Come back when you’ve won 18”. This was a bitter pill for the United fan’s to swallow, but since that date, there has been some games against Liverpool that make you remember why you became a football fan.

Eric Cantona’s 85th minute volley in the 1996 FA Cup final. Rio Ferdinand’s last minute winner in 2006, followed by Gary Neville’s badge-grabbing taunt to the Scousers. John O’ Shea’s added time goal in front of the Kop. Dimitar Berbatov’s hat-trick at Old Trafford last season – and many, many more.

Ryan Giggs said last season that the United-Liverpool fixture was the ‘biggest rivalry in English football’, which is up to some debate with some fans, but he is certainly not far off.

The two North West success stories of the last 30 years will collide in a game that never fails to spark arguments between both sets of fans. Both sides will be looking for the maximum three points from this game, as United look to carry on their unbeaten run and Liverpool try to maintain their form after a 2-0 away win against Everton in last week’s Merseyside derby.

Whatever the outcome, it is still pretty early on in the season, so this result may not be as crucial as the return fixture on 11th February. But for now, United remain top of the perch that Liverpool so proudly sat on for 21 years, whilst the Scousers sit quietly in 5th in the league table, wondering if they will ever dominate English or European football again.

By Brett McCarten @BrettMacca