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The rivalry between Liverpool and United was something of a whirling throne game. While they have dominated English football for the last half century, their tops rarely collapsed. In fact, the only time either of them was successful as a league champion was a four-year streak between 1963 and 1967 in which each won two titles.
Liverpool were defending champions when they followed at the end of the 64/65 season Old Trafford left but their title defense had stalled badly and they were torn apart by United. Denis Law scored two goals, John Connelly a third. It could have been even more embarrassing for Liverpool – they blocked two shots from the line and saw two more United attempts at the post.
Liverpool ultimately finished seventh, while United won the Goal Average title after facing Leeds United was tied. Goal stats were greatly improved with the appearance of a lithe and gifted teen named George Best.
It was United’s first title since the Munich air disaster. The culmination of Matt Busby’s remarkable rebuilding was the triumph of the European Cup three years later.
If it had worked out differently, Busby might have been responsible for Liverpool. After playing for Liverpool over a hundred times, he was named the club’s assistant coach in 1944. However, his visions did not coincide with those of the Liverpool board of directors and Busby left the company after 10 months to become manager of Manchester United.
The two big rivals never leaned in as extreme directions as after that game, as Liverpool proved to be more adept at handling a sequel to the successes of the 1960s.
Liverpool were the reigning champions, and although they would finish second after Leeds United, they won the FA Cup in Bill Shankly’s last responsible game. </ p Shankly's side had gone six seasons without a title before 72/73, and later admitted they'd been too loyal to the aging players who had served him well, such as Ian St. John, Roger Hunt and Ron Yeats. He eventually got ruthless, sold them and replaced them with younger players like Kevin Keegan and Steve Heighway, both of whom scored a goal in that win.
Shankly himself would leave at the end of this season, and Bob Paisley and an amazing era of success in which Liverpool won four European Cups and ended up outside the top 2 only once in 17 seasons.
United were shockingly relegated at the end of the season, just six years after winning the European Cup. They failed after Busby’s resignation: Tommy Docherty replaced Busby’s successor Frank O’Farrell, but he wasn’t nearly as adept at handling United’s refreshment as Liverpool.
This was a young United side – only goalkeeper Alex Stepney was over 30 years old – and they fought desperately for goals during a pathetic season. This would also be George Best’s last trip to Anfield for United: 12 days later he played his last game for the club
Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty (center) celebrates with the FA Cup, Lou Macari (3rd right) and Gordon Hill (2nd right).
Source: EMPICS Sport
To emphasize how these teams usually kept their dominant periods separate, Liverpool and United met for the first time in a cup final.
United continued to rely on Docherty and only stayed one season in the second division. With an admirable third place behind champions … Liverpool he returned to the top division. This was emphatically Liverpool’s era, but Bob Paisley’s side had an oddly poor FA Cup record and United made sure Paisley would never win it.
Goals from Stuart Pearson and a very lucky distraction from James Greenhoff secured United’s only big one 1970s silver, and although Liverpool won their first European Cup days later after already winning the league, they were denied the chance to become the first English team to win the heights. This honor would of course go to Manchester United.
Liverpool celebrate their 1983 league cup win.
Liverpool’s League Cup record under Paisley was far better, and this was the third of a remarkable four straight wins in the competition.
Norman Whiteside shamed Alan Hansen for giving United the lead, but Alan Kennedy equalized 15 minutes from time. The final was decided in extra time by an exquisite goal from Ronnie Whelan on the edge of the box.
United was hampered by an injury to Gordon McQueen and played effectively with 10 men and Frank Stapeleton in center-back after Bruce Grobbellar Schumachered McQueen in the last minutes of regular time.
They consoled themselves by winning the FA Cup a few months later, but Liverpool won the league again. Bob Paisley climbed the Wembley steps to take the trophy his final season, despite Liverpool’s dominance still going on for a few years…
Liverpool’s record against Manchester United is one of the odd parts of their dominance in the 1980s. They’ve only won two of their 20 league games against United over the decade, and even at their best, they couldn’t quite shake their rivals.
The Liverpool 87/88 side were arguably despite their infamous FA Cup loss to Wimbledon the largest. They again showed their genius for succession by selling Ian Rush and replacing him with John Aldridge and Peter Beardsley, John Barnes and Mike Marsh. (Three out of four isn’t bad.)
They were close to the league title when United came to Anfield in early April – 11 points ahead of runner-up United, who had played two games less – so it was a question of when and not whether Liverpool would win 17th league title.
United, under a relatively new manager named Alex Ferguson, was their usually uncomfortable self. Lost with 1: 3 and Colin Gibson sent off half an hour before the end, they could still save a point. Gordon Strachan equalized and puffed on an imaginary cigar in front of Liverpool fans in celebration.
The result encouraged Ferguson to scream mayhem and disregard the character who would dominate English football and haunt Liverpool like no other to lose. After that, I complained, “I can understand now why teams are getting away from here and choking on their own vomit and biting their tongues knowing they were carried out by the referee. I don’t come to this referee. All of the intimidating atmosphere and monopoly that Liverpool have enjoyed for years is finally reaching them. “
Kenny Dalglish responded by telling the media they would hear more sense from his young daughter and from now on the only Liverpool managers Ferguson praised were the bad ones.
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Jamie Redknapp in the infamous white suit.
Source: EMPICS Sport
Eight years later, Liverpool was off the shelf and United’s only remaining concern was Europe. This game is of course remembered for Liverpool’s white suits, which symbolized the decadence and false absorption of celebrities who made their way into Liverpool in their post-imperial days.
The suits inspired a book by Simon Hughes about Liverpool in the 90s – men in white suits – in which Jamie Redknapp argued that if only they had beaten United that day, Liverpool would have dominated English football by giving the ‘Class of ’92 their first taste of success .
More important than the suits, however, was the goalscorer: Eric Cantona, whose signing Graeme Souness was rejected in 1991, said he was fighting too many fires in the locker room and couldn’t afford another controversial figure. Souness was in an uncomfortable transition that Frank O’Farrell and Docherty were struggling with so desperately at United.
Ferguson would have no such problem with Cantona. One of Ferguson’s two greatest skills was his awe of sheer talent, and there was no principle too inflexible to prevent it from being accommodated.
United celebrate Solskjaer’s victory over Liverpool in 1999.
Source: EMPICS Sport
The United Triple in 1999 is arguably the hallmark of a season in English professional football history, but it’s remarkable how many times it got so close that it didn’t happen.One of the closest shaves was at Old Trafford when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cited some sort of theft at one point in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Michael Owen scored after two minutes and it stayed that way until the 88. Minute when Dwight Yorke equalized, presumably sending the game to a replay. But no, Solskjaer showed up in stoppage time to win the game for United.
Liverpool would, as it would happen, win their own triple two years later – the Liga, FA and Uefa Cups – and steal the FA Cup final from Arsenal under similar circumstances.
Roy Keane on his last appearance at Manchester United.
Source: EMPICS Sport
Liverpool and United both have had transition issues in their histories but it has never been a problem for Ferguson. When the teams met at Anfield in September 2005, Liverpool were unlikely to be European champions, while United, but domestically both at Chelsea, had been overwhelmed by the Abramovich / Mourinho axis at Chelsea.
Neither Liverpool nor United came in the previous two seasons one of the top two, and for the previous season you had to fall back on 1980/81 that neither team was in the top two.
This dreary game is remarkable for one reason: It was Roy Keane’s last game for Manchester United. He left with an injured foot after a challenge with Luis Garcia (although he later made it clear that he was injured in a tackle with Steven Gerrard rather than the tiny Garcia).
Two months later, Keane was completely gone. The criticism of younger players like Rio Ferdinand was too much for Ferguson. the last grain that outweighed Keane’s remaining usefulness to the manager. It was a typically reckless act by Ferguson, but Keane never reconciled it.
Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick then arrived, while Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo thrived as United Chelsea won the league in 2007 crashed. This is the rebuilding that counts among Ferguson’s greatest successes.
Meanwhile, Liverpool never quite built on their European Cup triumph: they won the FA Cup in 2006 and returned to the Champions League final in 2007, but this last step they could never do it.
Gerrard is sent off on his last appearance against United.
According to Ferguson, Liverpool were on the verge of finalizing the Premier League in 2013/14 but lost under absurdly melodramatic circumstances: Steven Gerrard’s 2-0 defeat by Chelsea. Had they won this game, they would have won the league.
The postseason was full of problems: Luis Suarez was sold and Liverpool desperately fired Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert. Daniel Sturridge was usually injured.
However, Brendan Rodgers faced a formula that could save a spot in the Champions League before United visited in March. A three-man defense that was much trumpeted in well-procured newspaper articles on the morning of that game.
The trick went wrong. Louis Van Gaals United – inspired by the clever use of Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata – was absolutely dominant and led at halftime. A declining Gerrard was taken off the bench during the break … and 38 seconds later sent off for a mindless stamp on Ander Herrera.
It was Gerrard’s last game against United and it has its status as a Fast-Man-League- Player made it clear during his career at Anfield: They depended on him too often, and he took too much responsibility too often. The reaction to the slip against Chelsea was a prime example: he responded to the slip with a series of ambitious but hopeless shots from a distance to equalize.
Mourinho as United manager last time on the contact line.
Source: Peter Byrne
United made the transition brilliantly under Ferguson, but it was disfigured in his absence. After Moyes and Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho convinced United that he should keep the job, although he was deliberately overlooked for Ferguson’s appearance in 2013.
Mourinhos United were a good team at their peak – it was unfortunate that it was with the amazingly best of Guardiola’s Manchester City – and bleak and miserable on both sides. Roy Keane speculated the job was too big for him, and it seemed like Mourinho tried to lower expectations in an absurd joke about United with no « football heritage » after a European loss to Sevilla.
Ultimately, his last came Got to Anfield, where Xherdan’s late goals condemned Shaqiri United to defeat and Mourinho to sack.
After Gerrard’s more individual years with Torres or Suarez, Liverpool were an outstanding collective and clear target under Jurgen Klopp. It would be another season before they finally won the league because they too found Guardiola’s city to be too good. United looked for balm in the past and temporarily appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He’s now going to Anfield with a chance to turn the old scales back in United’s favor.
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