• Rivalries often transcend the boundaries of sport and are a manifestation of socio-economic conditions; this fierce rivalry falls in that category. In the late 19th century both Manchester and Liverpool were competing for control of North West for economic reasons. In 1894 the construction of Manchester Ship Canal meant that ships could bypass Liverpool and transport goods directly into Manchester which resulted in job losses and resentment from Liverpool locals, this is generally regarded as key flashpoint of the rivalry.
• The first match between the two sides took place on 12th October 1895 at Anfield. Liverpool emerged victorious by 7-1. United (then known as Newton Heath FC) got even in the very next match after a 5-2 win at Bank Street.
• After the bombing of Old Trafford during WWII Manchester United played Liverpool twice at the local rival Manchester City’s Maine Road stadium.
• In their over 120 years of existence only nine players have directly transferred between the two clubs. In 1912 Tom Chorlton was the first when he moved from Merseyside to Manchester while Phil Chisnall was the last when he went the other way in 1964.
• The clubs met in a Cup final for the first time in 1977 when they played for the FA Cup on 21st May. Manchester United defeated Liverpool 2-1 to dash their hopes of a treble.
• 48 out of Ryan Giggs’s 963 appearances came against the fierce Merseyside rivals making him the player with most appearances in the fixture.
• Such is the media and fan interest this fixture generates that it is usually played at lunchtime in order to discourage fans from drinking before the game.
Here’s a small tribute to Ryan Gigg’s great tenure at Manchester United. Remembering Giggsy’s spectacular performances in the biggest rivalry in England. Hard to sum up his brilliance.
Founder and editor of Footiecentral. A voracious reader who loves reading anything and everything related to the history of football. He’s an ardent supporter of Manchester United and rarely misses a match.