Rivalry origins- How Did The Manchester United and Liverpool rivalry started 

Buckle up for the Manchester United vs Liverpool rivalry origin – one of the biggest and baddest beefs in the game.

Liverpool and Manchester United is about two cities – with unbelievable histories – clubs that both think they are the biggest in the world, there’s a lot of ego at stake.

The Manchester United-Liverpool rivalry is one of the fiercest in world football.

But how did this intense hatred between the two English giants start? Let’s dive into the origins of this epic Reds vs Red Devils rivalry.

Why do Manchester United and Liverpool hate each other?

Off the Pitch Rivalry

The roots of the Manchester United-Liverpool rivalry go way back to the Industrial Revolution era. Both cities were economic powerhouses in the northwest region of England. They were locked in a fierce competition.

Manchester was the bigger and more populous city back then. It was famous for its booming textile mills, earning the nickname “Cottonopolis.” The city’s mills churned out cotton products.

But Liverpool rose as a major seaport. It served as the crucial gateway for the cotton trade. The port city played a key role in fueling Manchester’s textile business.

Liverpool would sell what Manchester made. So the two cities were interconnected in many ways. Their economies relied heavily on each other.

As Liverpool’s port operations grew, the city rapidly expanded. It soon overtook Manchester to become the British Empire’s second city after London. This sparked tensions between the working-class communities.

The dockers and laborers in Liverpool started resenting their counterparts in Manchester. An intense rivalry brewed between the two cities’ workforces.

The tensions escalated further in 1894. Manchester built its own ship canal against Liverpool’s wishes. This move bred deep resentment in Liverpool against their regional rivals.

For a long time, both cities were part of the historic Lancashire county. But things changed in 1974 after the Local Government Act was enacted.

The act split Liverpool and Manchester into separate counties. Liverpool became part of Merseyside County. Manchester anchored the newly formed Greater Manchester County.

On the Pitch Rivalry

So how did this off-field rivalry transition to the pitch? Well, both clubs have an illustrious history and a burning desire to be the greatest in English football.

The football rivalry between the two cities kicked off in 1892. That year, Liverpool FC was formed after a bitter rent dispute with Everton.

Everton had moved out of Anfield after clashing with the stadium’s owner John Houlding over rent. Houlding went on to form a new club called Liverpool FC to play at Anfield.

Liverpool’s very first competitive match in their debut 1892-93 season came against Newton Heath. This was Manchester United’s old name before they adopted their current moniker.

In that fateful match, Liverpool beat Newton Heath 2-0. This result sealed Liverpool’s promotion to the top division at the expense of Newton Heath.

That match set the stage for an explosive, long-lasting rivalry on the pitch between the two clubs. It marked the start of their fierce battles.

In the early 1900s, Liverpool and United frequently swapped league titles and cup triumphs. Both clubs tasted success and celebrated glories.

However, United then endured a long barren spell from 1967 to 1993. During this period, Liverpool completely dominated English football under various managers.

Liverpool won numerous league titles, domestic cups and European trophies in this era. United supporters had to be content with a few cup wins as consolation.

The balance of power drastically shifted after 1993. United emerged as the dominant force under the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.

Sir Alex in his own words ‘wanted to knock Liverpool off their f’kng perch.’  and that’s exactly what he did. 

Under Fergie’s reign, United won a staggering 13 Premier League crowns. Meanwhile, Liverpool went three full decades without winning a single league title until 2020.

Player Altercations

The intense Manchester United vs Liverpool rivalry has been fueled by the actions of certain star players over the years. These players have added plenty of spice with their words and deeds.

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher are two icons who have been involved in numerous verbal battles. As former United and Liverpool captains respectively, they have exchanged many heated words.

From verbal spats to rough tackles to badge kissing they have had it all.

Neville and Carragher continue their rivalry even today as pundits on Sky Sports. They frequently take digs at each other’s beloved clubs on television.

In 2011, Luis Suarez was at the center of an ugly racism controversy. The Uruguayan striker was accused of racially abusing United’s Patrice Evra during a match.

Suarez was eventually banned and fined for the incident. It created an extremely bitter feud between him and Evra, further intensifying the rivalry.

Wayne Rooney is another player who has stoked the fires of this fierce rivalry. Rooney was born and raised in Merseyside but joined United’s academy as a teenager.

Despite his local Liverpool roots, Rooney never hid his dislike for the Reds after joining United. His feelings angered many Liverpool fans.

The mutual hatred is so strong that not a single player has directly transferred between United and Liverpool since 1964. Back then, Phil Chisnall moved from United to Liverpool.

The transfer drought underlines the disdain the two clubs have for each other. It shows how players avoid crossing the divide out of respect for the fans.

Fan Atmosphere

The poisonous atmosphere in the stands adds an extremely toxic layer to the Manchester United vs Liverpool rivalry. The behavior of some fans has been utterly shameful.

A section of fans from both clubs have been guilty of vile, disgraceful chants. They have mocked terrible tragedies that have impacted the two teams.

Liverpool fans have sung offensive songs about the Munich Air Disaster in 1958. This tragic crash claimed the lives of eight Manchester United players.

On the other hand, certain United fans have taunted Liverpool about the Hillsborough and Heysel stadium tragedies. These sickening chants have caused immense hurt.

The fan hostilities have even compromised player safety on numerous occasions. A Liverpool fan spat at Eric Cantona after the 1996 FA Cup final.

Cantona had scored a brilliant winning goal for United in that match. But his moment of glory was marred by the disgusting behavior of one fan.

United’s legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson has also been targeted by Liverpool fans. After matches at Anfield, fans have tried to attack and throw objects at him.

Sadly, despite efforts to curb such vile conduct, the hostilities show no signs of relenting. The toxic atmosphere remains a dark blot on this famous rivalry.


Why is there rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United?

Liverpool and Manchester are two cities just 35 miles apart in northwest England.

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, these nearby cities have been huge rivals. They constantly competed against each other in business and industry.

Both wanted to be the top dog economically and industrially. This fierce rivalry lasted for years.

Even today, Liverpool and Manchester remain major regional rivals. Whether it’s sports or anything else, the competition between the two cities never stops!

Who is Manchester United biggest rivalry?

Liverpool are Manchester United’s biggest rivals.

Manchester United and Liverpool, are the biggest clubs in English football, in terms of longevity, history, fan base, and number of titles. The rivalry at its roots was not between two football clubs but between two cities.

What was Man Utd’s biggest win against Liverpool?

Manchester United’s biggest triumph against Liverpool came almost a century ago on May 5, 1928, when they defeated Liverpool 6-1 in a Division One game.


The Manchester United vs Liverpool rivalry is one epic battle! It started as two competing cities trying to be on top.

This fight for supremacy spilled onto the football field when they first clashed. From then on, it was all-out war! In one era United ruled, in the next it was Liverpool’s turn. The clubs have traded blows over titles and cups for decades.

But the rivalry goes beyond just the pitch. Star players have fired insults and been involved in ugly clashes, fueling the feud.

The fans make it even crazier with nasty chants about tragedies. Some have even tried attacking players and managers!

No matter how many years go by, this insane rivalry refuses to cool down – much to the entertainment of football fans worldwide!

What do you think?

Written by TackleFromBehind

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