The Premier League is the most-watched football league in the world and it is also has a huge fan following here in India as well. Ever since the broadcast of the English Premier League started in India in the late 90s, there has been a huge boom in the popularity of the league, its teams, and also the players that are involved.
Amidst all these two names stand out from the rest, those two teams are Manchester United and Liverpool. Every rivalry in the Premier League is very fierce. The rivalry surpasses the pitch and is carried on by the fans and supporters. However, the biggest of them all is the rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool which has been going on since the League’s inception.
Which is the biggest club in England? If you ask this question you will most probably be stuck in a tie between Manchester United and Liverpool. Here at OPT, we have taken the very brave step of giving our verdict on this very heated discussion.
The 1970-1990 ERA
1970-90 period can be said as the golden period of Liverpool. They were undisputedly the best team in England far ahead of its competitors. Bill Shanky, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, and Kenny Dalglish took Liverpool to a combined 11 League titles and four European Cups. Liverpool then was not only the best team in England but also in the world.
Manchester United on the other hand was not the team we know today. Ironically Manchester United’s history can be divided into 3 parts
- Pre- Ferguson era
- The Ferguson era
- The Post- Ferguson era
In the Pre- Ferguson era Manchester United had won the League title just once in 1967.
The Ferguson era
If the period from 1970-90 was Liverpool’s, then the period from 1986 to 2013, i.e. the time for which Sir Alex Ferguson managed the club, they dominated and they dominated long.
During his reign, Sir Alex Ferguson had won 38 trophies which had 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, and two Champions League titles. Ferguson’s side was also the first side in the world to have won the coveted “treble” i.e. the Premier League, The FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League all in the same season. Manchester United was soaring high during Ferguson.
Enough credit must be given to Sir Alex Ferguson to have taken United from the point of not having any trophies in 20 years to making the biggest club domestically.
In 1988 while taking the job Ferguson quoted, ” This isn’t just a job to me. It’s a mission. I’m deadly serious about it- some people would reckon too serious… we will get there and believe me when it happens, life will change for Liverpool and everybody else- dramatically”
In 2013 while retiring as the greatest manager of England Sir Alex Ferguson quoted, “ My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their F****ng perch. And you can print that.”
Sir Alex certainly didn’t allow Liverpool to have their way while he was around and the amount of trophies that he has brought to the club certainly gives them a fair chance of being considered as the greatest English team of all time.
Post- Ferguson Era
In recent years, both of these clubs have found it difficult to put a strong foot in the game. Liverpool seems to have recovered under their current manager Jurgen Klopp and are once again looking like a side that could conquer the world. Klopp’s Liverpool has won the Champions League and the Premier League in consecutive season. They have also finished 2nd in the Premier League and runners up in the Champions League. Klopp’s Liverpool plays a very offensive style of football and extremely intense pressing that never fails to mesmerize. Klopp has once again transformed Liverpool into a European Giant.
The story of Manchester United on the other hand is quite different. After the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, they have failed to reach the high standards that were set by the great man himself. Though they have bagged a few trophies here and there, they have never truly been considered as the world’s best or even England’s best after Ferguson.