Sport is full of great rivalries. However, it is hard to think of none fiercer than the one between Manchester United and Liverpool. For many years, the two have been doing battle and provided fans with many memorable moments. Both teams have given us great teams, managers, and bags of trophies – both domestic and European. When we think of both teams, we think of the great names that have led them to glory over the years – Busby, Shankly, Paisley, and Ferguson. So, what makes this rivalry burn so bright?
Utd’s dominance reaches back to the 50s and 60s. While Liverpool dominated the 70s and 80s. the ladder set new records on this period and brought their tally of league wins to 18. They also secured two European titles in this period. During that time of unparalleled success, Sir Alexander Chapman Fergusonwent about building a new era at Old Trafford. However, it took him a few years to lay the foundations of a new footballing dynasty. It was not until the early 90s that all this came together and usher in more than two decades of dominance for the Manchester club. By the time that Ferguson was finished, Utd had passed Liverpool by and reached 20 league titles.
But to understand the rivalry a bit better we need to look a bit deeper and beyond football. Proximity is a big factor in this rivalry. Both clubs are based within working-class cities in the North West of England – they are barely 30 miles apart. Both cities have a long and proud history that dates to the Industrial revolution. Liverpool was the main hub of the British economy at the turn of the 19th Century. As the years went by, Manchester began to rise and become an industrial power in the region and eventually overshadowed Liverpool’s economic success. This was one of the main reasons for the bitter rivalry between both cities and eventually was to find its way into football.
Another bone of contention between both the clubs lies in their European record. Both have been European champions – Liverpool 6 times and Manchester United 3 times – Liverpool won their last European title just last season. This was one of the burning factors behind Utd’s success in the 90s and 00s. Alex Ferguson wanted to match Liverpool’s European record as well as their domestic record. However, during his tenure, he only managed two European titles.
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