It's this time of the year. Every time Liverpool v Man United happens, the fabric of the players’ shirts is ingrained with a hundred years of history sending them the message: You must give your all now. It won't be any different this time around too.
Before we get on with it, here are the statistics for the last give matches:
10. 100 Years Ago: Two mutual demolitions
Liverpool struck first in their rivalry against the Red Devils way back in 1895. During those times of semi-pro football, the results might not have meant much but 7-1 in their favour sill holds bragging rights.
For Liverpool though a result marked for memory deletion would be their biggest slump to United in 1928 at Old Trafford. A hat-trick by the so-called ‘Mr. Soccer’ and Legend of Manchester United Joe Spence and two by Southampton legend William Rawlings, who had transferred to United that same year, dismantled Liverpool, 6-1.
9. United strike back, 1977 FA Cup Final
With 500 million tuned in to watch the FA cup final, it all happened in a flash. Three goals for both sides in the space of five minutes saw United players raise their hands in celebration in spite of all odds.
Liverpool triumphed in Europe this year by beating Hamburg in the final, but their rivals standing in their way of the treble was a bitter pill to swallow.
8. Liverpool back at it, Premier League, 2009, Old Trafford
Who else is more fitting but Liverpool to inflict the Red Devils their heaviest home defeat in 17 years?
This was the year when Liverpool launched their first title bit in 26 years. United felt comfortable at the top of the table, but Liverpool were coming off a four-goal galore victory against Real Madrid.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side stole a goal on the day, courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty, but the Red avalanche swept over them from there on. Goals by Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena provided much ammunition for future Liverpool supporters’ banter, 4-1.
This, however, did not stop United from winning the title that year.
7. On a run, 0-1 in 2016, Premier League
The marginal Red Devils victory at Anfield on January of 2016 has made it clear of how far the gap has widened between the two clubs.
The victory, courtesy of a Wayne Rooney goal, his first against Liverpool since 2005, capped a dominant 27 league meetings against the Reds for United.
6. Liverpool again, 1983 Milk Cup Final
United were underdogs for this clash. Liverpool were still in their prime and had won the League the previous year.
The Red Devils took the lead early on and battled hard to keep the result, two of their players getting injuries in the process. Liverpool’s persistence paid off with a late equaliser to push them into extra time. Ronnie Wheelan’s edge of the box screamer then sealed it for The Kop.
5. The Cigar, 3-3 in 1988, Premier League
When it goes sour for your rivals, rub it in. Gordon Strachan did exactly that in this 1988 thriller.
Sir Alex Ferguson was on the rise, but hadn’t still knocked the reigning king off his throne. His side took the lead but, before long, they were facing a 3-1 deficit and a man down scenario.
Bryan Robson pulled one back while Gordon Strachan rushed towards the Liverpool faithful to smoke an imaginary party cigar for his equaliser–a nice touch but premature as he missed a last minute clear chance to win the game. It was a nice feat coming back from two goals down with 10 men at Anfield.
4. Liverpool show they are no pushovers, 3-3 in 1962
We find an embryo of this rivalry in the clash from 1962. Liverpool had been newly promoted and were struggling mid-table, having won only four in their last 16 games.
David Herd predictably gave United the lead, but Liverpool dug deep to equalise, only to succumb to a disadvantage yet again, 2-1. There was more from them though. Jimmy Melia equalised while captain Ronnie Moran made it a goal ahead for Liverpool with a minute left on the clock. Believe it or not, United scored with the last kick of the game for 3-3, but the draw was such a shock for United that it changed the momentum of their season. They ended near the relegation zone.
3. Business is personal, 1992, Premier League
This one hurt. Manchester United were on the verge of breaking an 11-year spell without a domestic title, going onto Anfield with the need to just keep from losing to pip Leeds to the title.
This was not to be though. Ian Rush scored his first in 11 years against United to make it 1-0. Then Mark Walters twisted the knife further into the heart of Ferguson’s men with a goal of his own.
The victory provided Liverpool with a lift as they won the FA cup that year while United finished second.
2. The great comeback, 3-3 in 1994, Premier League
When the two clubs met in another six-goal thriller, it was in a different era. The tilts have shifted in favour of Manchester United compared to 10 years earlier.
Soon the result reflected this as Ferguson’s men scored three times with no reciprocal response, courtesy of Ryan Gigs, Steve Bruce and Denis Irwin. Three points, surely.
Not if Nigel Clough had a say. He pulled two back before half-time, and then Neil Ruddock blasted the third and equalising goal 10 minutes from time, proving that this grudge transcends time.
1. Thriller from the 50s, 4-4 in 1953
If we have to compare this match to a boxing fight, a comparison with Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier seems legit.
The two teams exchanged punches, one after the other to the end until they found no strength to go beyond a draw, much like Ali versus Frazier III. I don’t care what anybody says. Jack Rowley opened for the Red Devils, only for striker Louis Bimpson and Bill Jones to make a full comeback. Roger Byrne executed an uppercut for 2-2, but Bimpson came up with two hooks to make it 4-2 for Liverpool and to complete his hat-trick.
United’s Eddie Lewis then made 3-4, before Tommy Taylor made it 4-4, controversially, by pushing the goalkeeper inside the goal.