They just hate each other

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

LON­DON. - There weren’t many things that Louis van Gaal got right when he was man­ager of Manch­ester United and he cer­tainly saved the best un­til last, when win­ning the FA Cup at Wem­b­ley.

But one thing that he per­fected dur­ing his two sea­sons at the club was get­ting a re­sult against Liver­pool.

Van Gaal won all four games he faced against Liver­pool in the English Pre­mier League, beat­ing them twice at An­field, which earned him some brownie points with the sup­port­ers. That’s not to say he was for­given his many fail­ings be­cause of these re­sults but it cer­tainly bought him greater re­spect from the fans.

It doesn’t mat­ter where United or any other club is in the ta­ble; the team they want to beat the most is Liver­pool. There have been fierce ri­val­ries with Chelsea and Ar­se­nal when they were chal­leng­ing United for the ti­tle and there’s plenty of an­i­mos­ity be­tween United and lo­cal ri­vals Manch­ester City, but United and Liver­pool hate each other.

Un­like ri­val­ries with other teams, Liver­pool and Manch­ester have a his­tory off the pitch as well as on it. It dates back to the late 1800s when Manch­ester over­took Liver­pool as the eco­nomic cap­i­tal of the North thanks to the cre­ation of the Manch­ester Ship Canal. No longer did Manch­ester have to rely on Liver­pool’s ports for trade and lots of jobs were lost in the city as a re­sult.

On the pitch, the story is slightly dif­fer­ent. De­spite United be­ing the first English team to win the Euro­pean Cup, the suc­cess Liver­pool en­joyed was the envy of those in Manch­ester. Liver­pool were fly­ing high in the 1970s and 80s and it felt as though United would never come close to catch­ing, let alone sur­pass­ing, their suc­cess.

The ill feel­ing be­tween them height­ened as a re­sult of the tragedies the two clubs faced. Liver­pool fans sung songs about the Mu­nich Air Dis­as­ter and at Hey­sel in 1985 even held ban­ners that read “Mu­nich 58”. When Hills­bor­ough hap­pened four years later, United fans ea­gerly dished back all the hurt­ful chants, and while the songs are rarely heard in­side the sta­di­ums any­more, cer­tainly not en masse, you’ll hear plenty of fans us­ing the dis­as­ters to score points away on the streets around the grounds.

Hav­ing gone 26 years with­out a league ti­tle, when United vis­ited Liver­pool as cham­pi­ons in 1994, the home sup­port­ers held up a ban­ner which read, “Au revoir Can­tona and Man United. Come back when you’ve won 18.” At that time, United had a fur­ther 10 ti­tles to win to match Liver­pool’s record. - The Mir­ror

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