The rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool is considered to be one of the biggest rivalries in English football and is sometimes called the North West derby because both clubs are from the North West of England, with both the cities of Liverpool and Manchester historically being part of the county of Lancashire.
The clubs are also the two most successful teams in England; between them they have won 119 honours: 60 for Manchester United and 59 for Liverpool FC. The fixture is usually played around midday due to media interest and to discourage fans from drinking before the game.
As well as competing on the football pitch, both teams are also two of the biggest-earning, and widely-supported football clubs in the world. Long-serving Man Utd player Ryan Giggs claimed that Liverpool against Manchester United is "probably the most famous fixture in English football".
Both clubs claim the title of 'the Greatest English Football Club', having won over 50 major trophies each. Liverpool dominated English football from 1973 to 1990, winning 11 league championships and four European Cups, including several seasons in which they won multiple trophies in both domestic and European competitions. Likewise, Manchester United have dominated English football since 1993, winning 12 league championships and two European Cups. This has also included several seasons in which they have won multiple trophies in both domestic and European competitions.
The two clubs are thus the most successful English sides in European and domestic competitions, with Liverpool having been European champions five times (securing 11 European trophies overall) while Manchester United have been European champions three times (securing 5 European trophies overall). United have also won the Intercontinental Cup/FIFA World Club Cup twice. Man United have won 19 English league titles, while Liverpool have won 18. Manchester United currently have 34 domestic honours, and the Reds have 33.
The rivalry has extended to the players as well. United striker Wayne Rooney, a product of Liverpool's city rivals Everton, described how he grew up hating the Reds, while Liverpool's Steven Gerrard took a film crew on tour of his home where he showed off a collection of football shirts he had swapped with opposing players as part of the after match routine; he pointed out that there were no Manchester United shirts in there and that he would never have one of them in his house. Manchester United's Gary Neville has been publicly vocal in the past with regards to his dislike of Liverpool; following a fixture in which John O'Shea scored a stoppage-time winner in front of the Kop in 2007, Neville described O'Shea's achievement as "a lifelong dream" for himself. Neville was berated by Liverpool fans for his role in celebrating in front of them in 2006, kissing the crest on his jersey and appearing to shout angrily towards the fans.
In the 2011–12 season, the rivalry was exacerbated by claims that, in the first league meeting of the season at Anfield, Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez racially abused United's Patrice Evra. After considering the evidence, an FA panel found that Suarez had referred to Evra using the term "negrito" seven times (Suarez himself admitted to having done so once, but denied racism) and the Uruguayan was banned for eight games. This included the FA Cup fourth round tie between the two clubs (again at Anfield), which Liverpool won. However, on 11 February 2012, United and Liverpool met again at Old Trafford, and Suarez started a match for the first time since he began his ban. Prior to kick-off, the two teams were expected to shake hands, but Suarez ignored Evra's offered hand and moved onto the next United player in line (David de Gea). As a result, Rio Ferdinand and Danny Welbeck rejected Suarez's handshake. United went on to win 2–1 and Evra celebrated in front of the home supporters, with Suarez close by.
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