Historic divides fuel Liverpool, Man Utd rivalry



When Liverpool and Manchester United clash at Anfield on Sunday, one of the Premier League’s most explosive rivalries will carry an extra edge rarely seen in past meetings despite their trophy-laden histories.

Over the past four decades, United and Liverpool have often been in the ascendant at different times, so a sustained title battle between the two old enemies is an enticing prospect, reports AFP.

United are three points clear of second-placed Liverpool ahead of this weekend’s showdown, making it the first time the Old Trafford outfit have been top at this stage of a season since Alex Ferguson’s title-winning farewell campaign in 2013.

While both teams play in red and come from cities separated by just 31 miles, beneath the superficial similarities lies a bitter feud.

– Best of enemies –

Formed as Newton Heath in 1878, Manchester United were born 14 years before Liverpool emerged in 1892, and for a brief period, the clubs had a surprisingly cordial relationship.

In 1915, several players from both teams even joined forces to fix their match, which helped United avoid relegation, with four from Liverpool and three from Manchester subsequently hit with bans.

As late as 1958, Liverpool offered to lend players to United after a number of their stars were killed in the Munich airplane crash.

But the friendly rivalry had turned nasty by the late 1970s as hooligan gangs fought bloody battles, while United were sprayed with tear gas by a Liverpool fan when they stepped off the coach before a match at Anfield in 1986.

There has not been a transfer between the clubs since Phil Chisnall moved from United to Liverpool in 1964.

The enmity plumbed new depths when Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was suspended for eight games after racially abusing United’s Patrice Evra in 2011.

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