Who are Liverpool’s biggest rivals?

liverpool fc and manchester united fc badges on grass rivalry

This is such a tough question, and it will certainly divide the Liverpool faithful, but it is an intriguing conundrum nonetheless.

The Toffees

Firstly, we have to start off historically with old city rivals Everton, dubbed the Merseyside Derby.

With only a mile between the two grounds, Anfield and Goodison Park, it is safe to say, geographically they couldn’t be any closer.

What we have seen between the two was complete dominance of English football back in the 1980’s.

Everton won two league championships in 1985 and 1987, along with the 1984 FA Cup and the 1985 European Cup Winners Cup.

They would split the league titles with Liverpool who were champions on many occasions, 1980, ’82, ’83, 84, 86, 88 and 1990.

In the span of this 10-year decade they won a whopping 18 trophies under managers Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan.

Everton’s trophy cabinet began to turn dry in the 90s however, and they only managed the 1995 FA Cup and have yet to win a trophy since in a 27-year wait for success.

This has made domestic competition with Liverpool all the more intense, given the importance of the fixture.

And Liverpool have dominated the match-up winning 97 to Everton’s 67, a difference of 30, with 77 draws in the 241 meetings.

Liverpool were unbeaten at Anfield since 1999, for 22 years until Italian tactician Carlo Ancelotti came along and snapped this streak with an impressive 2-0 victory last year in February 2021.

There would often be a red card such is the intensity of the rivals, and although this has cooled of late, the two still remain fierce opponents.

Manchester United

The two need no introduction. Arguably the two biggest sides in English football. They have won the league 39 times between them with United in front with 20 titles to Liverpool’s 19.

When Sir Alex Ferguson arrived at Old Trafford he threatened to “knock Liverpool off their perch” and he did exactly that as he delivered 13 league titles in his 26-year reign.

It was then Liverpool who would go into the abyss as they waited 30 years for the title to return home to Anfield as Jurgen Klopp oversaw it’s triumphant homecoming in 2020, the Covid impacted season.

Liverpool performed to a tremendously high standard that season, even drawing praise from Ferguson.

The two continue to duel and we have seen heated tensions between the pair particularly when Rafa Benitez was in the dugout opposite Ferguson.

United have declined immensely since the Scotman’s departure nine years ago and have gone five and half years without a trophy.

But it is still the match-up most Liverpool and United fans would deem as the biggest rivalry in world football, let alone English football.

Other domestic rivals

Chelsea are another one. Liverpool were lucky to come out on top last season in both Carabao and FA Cup finals on penalties against the Blues.

Meanwhile, the two have duelled before in domestic cup finals with the London team often the victor.

In the Champions League, Liverpool famously beat them in 2005 on their way to winning the competition after Spaniard, Luis Garcia’s ‘ghost goal’, which did cross the line by the way.

Manchester City are of course Liverpool’s modern-day rivals.

The two have duelled for the title in 2019 where Pep Guardiola’s team came out on top by a point.

Liverpool then blew them away winning the league by a whopping 18 points the following year.

Then City pipped Liverpool by a point this year on the final day.

Liverpool, however, stunned them in the 2018 Champions League quarter-finals winning 5-1 in aggregate before falling short to Real Madrid.

Arsenal are the final league rival.

Not only have the two tussled for top four finishes in the past, but Arsene Wenger often did not see eye-to-eye with his counterpart Benitez.

The pair have also drawn many matches, unable to cancel each other out, and who can forget the Gunners’ primetime arrogance in their 40 million plus one-pound pursuit of Luis Suarez back in 2013.

European rivals

Speaking of Real Madrid, they are huge rivals to Liverpool with both serial winners of the European Cup.

Liverpool have six, the third most in the competition’s history, but Los Blancos lead the way with a massive 14 titles.

The most recent coming last season against Klopp’s men in the final.

The one prior to this came in 2018, against yes you guessed it US.

And AC Milan, the second most decorated team in the competition would be another arch European rival.

It was Liverpool that won the 2005 edition, mounting a famous comeback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 before triumphing 3-2 on penalties, through goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek’s heroics and captain marvel Steven Gerrard.

But Milan got revenge two years later to win their seventh and so far final European Cup.

Last season Liverpool exacted some revenge of their own with two group stages wins over the Italians but it remains a tasty rivalry for the fans.

James Spencer

My name is James and I have supported Liverpool since I was 6 years old. My favourite players growing up were Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyypia. My most memorable match would be the UEFA Cup Final win over Deportivo Alaves that finished 5-4 to Liverpool! I am studying journalism in Manchester although I am a Liverpool fan through and through.

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