The challenge was to knock Liverpool off of their perch. When United won their 19th title in the 2010-11 season, the fans were ecstatic. That is what we always wanted to see, to see United’s name erase the name of Liverpool from the records. What spawned this rivalry? Where did it start from?
Some say that the rivalry started at the early industrial age when Manchester and Liverpool were important cities. Manchester, more industrialized while Liverpool was the port; each surviving together with their advantages. When the canal to Manchester was built, the merchants of Liverpool felt hard done by. There is some belief that this is the earliest possibility of the rivalry between the cities. The crest of both Mancunian teams have these ships which characterize the ships that supplied goods to Manchester through the canal.
As they say, you settle differences either by war or by sport. Football was the choice. Liverpool and Manchester United in between them have 121 trophies. Definitely highly decorated with Liverpool having 59 of the trophies and the rest going to Manchester United. The era of Liverpool was from 1975-1990 when they won pretty much everything with 11 league championships and 4 European Cups. The United era followed 1990 during which period Manchester United won 13 league championships and 2 European Cups. Sir Alex Ferguson, the former manager of Manchester United pretty much ruled that United were going to knock Liverpool as the team with the largest number of wins. When that happened in the 2010-2011 season, it was bliss.
The rivalry doesn’t stop there. It goes deeper and has rooted itself in the players as well. Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville hating Liverpool with the same level of hatred as Steven Gerard and Jamie Carragher hate Manchester United. This hatred grew a notch when Suarez was banned for a few matches in the 2011-2012 season when he racially abused Patrice Evra. This was followed by Suarez snubbing Evra’s handshake on February 11, 2011. This hatred also manifests in the transfer diaries with 0 transfers between United and Liverpool since 1964. Gabriel Heinze was the last player who vocally asked to transfer from United to Liverpool and who was completely shunned by the supporters until he moved to Real Madrid. That is how bad the fans feel about Liverpool. The matches are contentious as well. Fans of Manchester United can never get enough of the 1999 Champions League final while Liverpool can never get enough of the 2005 match against AC Milan.
When you say rivalry, there are a few matches which you would definitely need to watch to get the grasp of the feeling when you see United win against Liverpool is when you watch the match of April 2003 when United won 4-0 against Liverpool at Old Trafford. It’s a match that showed absolute class of United during that period with Nistelrooy scoring 2 from penalties while the other two goals were scored by Ryan Giggs and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. There are matches on the other side of the spectrum when Liverpool pulled a 4-1 victory over United at Old Trafford in 2009. It is a match every United fan watches and cries in glee when we win and cries in agony when Liverpool snatch it. Nevertheless, the rivalry is one that has history between the clubs, the cities and the players over the last 100 years. The rivalry has not abated and neither will it in the coming years; instead it has strengthened into a very strong talking point over the years even more after Ferguson vowed to knock them off of their perch.