Friday, 9 March 2018

Reds of Manchester and Merseyside set for 200th competitive meeting

Ask any United fan and we'll tell you that Liverpool is always the game we want to win the most: the clash against our bitter and most hated rivals has historic and tribalistic connotations that make it stand alone as the biggest game of all. The derby is special in its own unique way, but no matter the circumstances, the clash with the clan from down the East Lancs Road is always massive at any level.

On Saturday lunchtime, the Reds of Manchester and Merseyside lock horns for the 200th time in a competitive fixture, in the latest instalment of a historic and storied rivalry between these two industrial, iconic North West cities and the teams that represent them with distinction: English football's two most successful, divisive and well supported sides. Neither side are the all conquering force of old, but this is always a fascinating feud that transcends football and captures the attention of the world. All eyes will again be on Old Trafford as Messrs Mourinho and Klopp do battle with both bidding to return their respective sides to former glories.
Of the 199 previous encounters, United lead the head-to-head with 79 wins to the Scousers 65, with 55 draws. Between them, the two clubs boast a staggering haul of 84 major honours, United having usurped Liverpool with our double-winning cup exploits to lead 43 pots to 41 when it comes to dishing out the trophies.

We didn't exactly get positive appraisal for our efforts in a hard-fought draw in October's reverse fixture at Anfield, but recent history suggests another tightly contested tussle with the sides separated by the narrowest of margins in the table - United sit second in the table, two points and one place above Klopp's men, with the chance to open up a five point gap. Both matches last season ended all-square but - without wishing to tempt fate - they've not beaten us in a league game since the ill-fated campaign under David Moyes in 2013-14. Louis van Gaal steered us to four successive wins over the Scousers - albeit with the unwanted memory of a Europa League KO in between - but things have been nip and tuck since then. In most cases, the match itself has failed to live up to the hype that precedes it: let's hope this proves to be the exception rather than the norm.

There are more than merely three points at stake: this is about bragging rights, geographical supremacy and the chance to get one over on - and silence - a set of supporters who despise us as much as we despise them.  The hatred is intrinsic and deep rooted, and I loathe everything about them: their fans, their players, their stadium, their manager and even their mascots. After all, I despise Manchester City, Leeds and Chelsea because they're my rivals but I despise Liverpool because I'm a normal human being. I'm sure every United fan would agree.

Let's do this - what better way to mark the double century with our fiercest and oldest rivals that by well and truly rubbing their noses in it. Bring it on!

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