This weekend, we at 32 Flags are celebrating one of the most competitive, historic and fiercest rivalries in soccer. We’re talking about the derby between Liverpool and Manchester United. We’ll cover both teams inside and out in preparation for the game on Sunday. In this article, here are 10 things to know when it comes to the Liverpool/Manchester United Derby.
1) This game is much more than a game
Like with many long-time rivalries in soccer, this rivalry was formed away from the field. During the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800’s, Liverpool was world famous for its port and shipping and Manchester was famous for its manufacturing. In the 1890’s Manchester built the Manchester Ship Canal, which essentially was a means for ships to bypass Liverpool to drop off their goods in Manchester. While Manchester grew stronger, it made Liverpool weaker as an industrial city. The canal resulted in job losses for people in Liverpool and that hatred leaked onto the soccer field. The rest is history.
2) This is the 188th Derby
After their first match in April 1894, won by Liverpool, Manchester United has the lead with 75 wins, Liverpool has 64 wins and there are 51 draws.
3) These are the two most successful teams in England
Out of the two teams, here is a breakdown of the amount of trophies these two teams have.
38 First Division Titles (20-18 Manchester United)
18 FA Cup Titles (11-7 Manchester United)
12 League Cup (Capital One Cup) Titles (8-4 Liverpool)
8 European Cup (Champions League) Titles (5-3 Liverpool)
3 UEFA Cup (Europa League) Titles (3-0 Liverpool)
35 Community Shields (20-15 Manchester United)
4) These two teams do not do business with each other
In 120 years, only nine players have directly gone from one team to the other in a transfer. The last person to make the switch was Phil Chisnall in 1964 when he went from Manchester United to Liverpool. Many players have played for both teams with Michael Owen being a recent example, but Owen had stints at Real Madrid and Newcastle in between his stays at Liverpool and Manchester United.
5) Both teams feature the greatest managers in soccer
These two teams are known for featuring some of the greatest managers in soccer history. For Liverpool, there are Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish while Manchester United has Sir Matt Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson and Louis van Gaal.
6) Bring out the cards
This game usually brings out the worst in both teams in terms of discipline. Expect at least one player to be shown red in this game.
7) Both teams are going through a transition period
Over the last few years, both teams had its share of ups and downs. For Liverpool, they have been “knocked off their [bleep]’in perch” as Sir Alex Ferguson would describe it for a while. They haven’t won an EPL title and almost fell into financial ruin before the team was bought by John Henry and Fenway Sports Group. After a miraculous 2013-14 EPL season that raised hope for all Liverpool fans, they “literally” fell short of winning and finished 2nd. Currently in a rough patch this season, it looks like it’s back to square one for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
For Manchester United, they experienced unprecedented success during the Fergie era. Once he retired, Manchester United had it tough. After a disastrous season with David Moyes last season, Louis van Gaal came in to try and right the ship. After a rough start to the season, Man U sits 3rd and is on a good run despite having a weak defense and are winning ugly.
Both teams have been hit with an abnormal amount of injuries. For Liverpool, Daniel Sturridge has seen setback after setback on his hamstring injury and is still out until the end of the year. The other goalscoring threat, Mario Balotelli is also injured due to a groin injury. Adam Lallana and Kolo Toure are coming back from injuries but don’t expect them to play much.
For Manchester United, where do we start. For one thing, their weak defense is even weaker due to starters Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling being out. Phil Jones and Rafael do come back, but like Lallana and Toure, will probably not play much and need to get back into playing condition. Angel di Maria was ruled out and Daley Blind is also out.
9) Important Matchups
This game is going to consist of all out attacking by both teams. Both teams know that the other defense is incredibly weak so there is no “parking the bus” here. Because of this, both teams are going to be counting on their defense and goalkeepers to put in a world class performance. I realize how obvious this sounds, but whoever does the best in keeping the ball out of their own net will win this game.
10) Who wins
Both teams are not playing well and are depleted with injuries but Manchester United has been winning. They’re finding ways to win ugly and that’s what counts in the end. That’s why they’re 3rd and Liverpool is 9th. In the end, I just see Manchester United overpowering Liverpool. While both teams struggle on defense, Man United’s David de Gea is easily playing better than Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet when it comes to playing between the pipes. I have always said that if it’s not for de Gea, Man United would be sitting mid table. He is the most important player for this Manchester United squad. Because of him, I have United winning 3-1 over Liverpool.