There is no fixture in English football which sets the pulse racing quite like Manchester United vs. Liverpool.
At a local level, the clubs represent two great Northern industrial cities that are separated by just over 30 miles of motorway. Their impact on the United Kingdom as a whole – particularly during the Industrial Revolution – has been large. During that time, both relied on the existence of the other: Manchester’s textile industry required goods to be imported and the port of Liverpool was the easiest access point.
The two powerhouses have jostled and jousted for Northern supremacy ever since.
It could be said that Liverpool and Manchester’s current fame on a global level rests with their two footballing heavyweights. Two teams in red have dominated English football for half a century, although at the present time both sides are struggling to come to terms with a new footballing landscape that has been invaded by the blues of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Liverpool Football Club has spent the best part of three decades trying to rekindle the fire that burned so brightly in the seventies and eighties. There have been the odd moment where the embers looked like they might spark back into life—not least 2005’s UEFA Champions League triumph.
The Reds might measure a great part of their success in European trophies – they have won the top prize five times, a record number for English sides – but it is the league title that their loyal supporters crave. And that has eluded them since 1990 – although they came very close at the end of the 2013-14 season.
On the other hand, United are currently suffering the from the hangover effects that followed Sir Alex Ferguson’s trophy and champagne-laden years in charge of the club.
Year after year of success came to an abrupt end when the wily Scotsman handed the reins to David Moyes. The embarrassment of a failure to qualify for European football ensured that Moyes did not finish the 2013-14 season in charge.
Dutchman Louis Van Gaal is now in his second season in charge at Old Trafford and changes have been wholesale. The purse-strings have been loosened in a manner not seen before at the club – and certainly not under the current ownership of the Glazer family.
Expensive arrivals such as Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao have been brought in and discarded within a season, and another new-look United is taking to the field: German World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger is the headline act this year but he is joined by Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian and Morgan Schneiderlein among others.
Liverpool have not been shy in spending some more of the money that they received for Luis Suarez, who departed a year ago. Dropping outside the UEFA Champions League qualifying places just one season after almost winning the title will have hurt the Anfield faithful and they will be hoping that the glut of new signings – with the spotlight being firmly set on striker Christian Benteke – can help Liverpool muscle their way back onto the top table of English football.
Whatever position these two sides take up in the Premier League, this fixture is usually the most anticipated of the season and tickets, available from Ticketbis, are hot property.
This season’s first matchup between the two takes place on Saturday 12th September.
Given the determined manner in which the two sides are taking on the challenge this year, it is one not to be missed.