Surprising Premier League Stats Ahead Of Liverpool vs Man Utd
Sunday's clash between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield is the latest chapter in one of British football's greatest rivalries.
Between the two clubs, they share 39 English titles with United edging the head-to-head with 20, but Liverpool supporters will be quick to remind everyone that they won the most recent championship last season.
Every time the red of Manchester clashes with the red of Merseyside, the stakes are high with something riding on the outcome for one or the other.
However, this is the first time in the history of the Premier League that the two rivals meet with both sides occupying first and second spot in the league table.
The last time it happened was back in October 1991 when Graeme Souness' Liverpool travelled the 32.6 miles to Old Trafford to face Alex Ferguson's United who were second in the old First Division and the game finished goalless.
It was the last league campaign before the Premier League changed football in England and United ended up runners-up to Leeds United while Liverpool slipped to sixth.
Fast forward three decades and the two most successful clubs are back at the top of the table battling it out for the title.
The managers are different, the players are different and the atmosphere will be different with no fans allowed inside Anfield due to Covid-19 restrictions.
But the hatred and the desire to beat the other remains which always makes this a blockbuster fixture.
It's hard to believe that for all their success in English football, this is the first time in nearly 30 years that the two giants meet occupying the top two places.
A closer look at the history behind this rivalry shows that Liverpool and United have rarely challenged for the title in the same season.
Only five times since the end of World War II have the two sides finished champions and runners-up with the 2008/09 season the last time it was achieved.
Top Two Finishes (Since WW2)
- 1946/47: 1st - Liverpool, 2nd - Man United (1 point gap)
- 1963/64: 1st - Liverpool, 2nd - Man United (4 point gap)
- 1979/80: 1st - Liverpool, 2nd - Man United (2 point gap)
- 1987/88: 1st - Liverpool, 2nd - Man United (9 point gap)
- 2008/09: 1st - Man United, 2nd - Liverpool (4 point gap)
Despite losing both games to Liverpool, United won the title that season as they enjoyed their most successful spell in the club's history winning 13 titles from 1993 through to 2013.
Liverpool's second-place finish in 2009 was the closest they came to toppling their rivals during this period.
When Liverpool dominated English football throughout the 1970s and 1980s, winning a total of 11 titles, United managed to finish second just twice.
This rivalry has produced some memorable moments throughout the Premier League years ever since Don Hutchinson scored the opener in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on October 18, 1992.
Liverpool vs Man Utd Head-to-Head in Premier League Era
|Team||Wins||Goals Scored||Red Cards||Points Per Game|
Rafa Benitez's fact-based rant during the 2008/09 season when he felt the fixtures favoured United was a sign that he knew his Liverpool side would struggle to catch the eventual champions.
There was also Eric Cantona's goalscoring return from a nine-month ban for his Kung-Fu kick on a Crystal Palace supporter.
And there were the four red cards shown to United defender Nemanja Vidic which includes dismissals in three successive meetings.
And who could forget Steven Gerrard famously kissing the camera at Old Trafford in March 2009 after scoring Liverpool's second goal in a 4-1 win.
No player has scored more goals in Premier League meetings between these two sides than Gerrard who has scored eight times while Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney found the net six times.
Four of Gerrard's goals came from penalties and Jurgen Klopp might be interested to know that Liverpool and United have both scored eight penalties each in their Premier League battles.
The pressure will be on referee Paul Tierney as he takes charge of this contest for the first time.
Tierney, who has shown 46 yellow cards and three red cards in the 11 matches he has been in charge of this season, will hope he is not the focus of attention after the game that could go some way to deciding the title.
A win for United will see them open up a six-point lead while victory for the Reds will see them join United on 36 points.
This season is by no means a two-horse race, with three clubs just a point behind Liverpool. But it's refreshing to see Liverpool and United go head-to-head at the top of the table which didn't look possible on November 1.
Liverpool held a nine-point advantage over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side following United's 1-0 loss at home to Arsenal which came 24 hours after the champions beat West Ham 2-1 at Anfield.
Points Difference On Certain Dates
- September 20 - Liverpool 6 points clear
- November 1 - Liverpool 9 points clear
- November 8 - Liverpool 7 points clear
- November 29 - Liverpool 5 points clear
- December 30 - Liverpool 3 points clear
- January 1 - Level
- January 12 - Man United 3 points clear
United have not only wiped out that deficit, but they have moved three points clear of the Reds after Paul Pogba's goal secured a 1-0 win for United at Burnley on Tuesday night.
It's the first time the Red Devils have been top of the table since September 9, 2017.
Since the start of the Premier League in 1992, United have won exactly half of the 56 meetings although they have failed to win on each of their last four visits to Anfield.
Five of the last eight meetings have ended all square and a draw would certainly be a better result for United than the hosts. Online bookmakers offer a top price of 11/4 on the draw this Sunday.
After putting seven past Crystal Palace, Liverpool have only scored once in their last three league games and failed to score in their last two.
The last time Liverpool failed to score in three successive league games was in March 2005 and with the league's leading scorer Mohamed Salah in their ranks, they will be confident of ending their mini-drought even if United have registered clean sheets in two of their last three league games.
With so much at stake for both teams, this Anfield clash promises to be the most eagerly anticipated meetings between English football's two biggest teams for a long time.
Let's just hope the game lives up to the hype which has not always been the case in recent years.
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