They just hate each other
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