Beating Manchester United Again Would Signal Dawn of a New Era for Liverpool

Matt Ladson@mattladsonFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25:  Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers gestures during the Capital One Cup Third Round match betwen Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on September 25, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The last time Liverpool won a Premier League game at Old Trafford, they did so by inflicting Manchester United's biggest defeat in 17 years, humiliating Alex Ferguson's side 4-1.

That result put Rafa Benitez's side firmly in the title race, and it arrived just days after they'd thrashed the mighty Real Madrid 4-0 at Anfield. It was a glorious time to be a Red but ultimately the season ended without success—finishing four points behind their rivals despite suffering only two defeats.

Since then, Liverpool have travelled to their rivals along the M62 four times in the Premier League—losing by a one-goal margin in each of them. Three of the four have been 2-1 victories for the home side.

For those of you who love stats and sequences, it was another four defeats prior to that demolition in 2009 since the Reds have won at Old Trafford, when Danny Murphy scored the only goal via the spot in 2004.

2004, 2009, 2014...?

Rise and Fall

Sunday's clash between English football's most successful sides marks a huge change in fortunes for the two clubs in the calendar year that has passed since the corresponding fixture.

JON SUPER/Associated Press

That match, in January 2013, saw Daniel Sturridge make his Premier League debut for Liverpool as a half-time substitute. He took just 11 minutes to grab his first league goal for the club.

Fourteen months on and Sturridge goes into this fixture fresh from being crowned the Premier League's player of the month for a second time this season. He has 18 league goals this campaign.

Liverpool went into that game eighth, while United were top—21 points better off. This season, Liverpool are second, United sixth—11 points behind. A massive 32-point swing in favour of the Merseysiders.


That Liverpool are the pre-match favourites heading into a match at Old Trafford represents a vast sea change between the two sides. David Maddock wrote in The Daily Mirror:

Liverpool find themselves in a remarkable, unfamiliar position this coming Sunday. They go to Old Trafford as favourites. Yep, get your head around that. For the first time in two decades they will visit the home of Manchester United expected to win.

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 14:  Steven Gerrard of Liverpool scores his team's second goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 14, 2009 in Manchester, Engla
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler agrees. "Liverpool must be favourites,” Fowler told The Liverpool Echo this week. “I can’t remember the last time a Liverpool team went to Old Trafford in that position. On paper it’s a game Liverpool should win."

Fowler would be right, probably not in the Premier League era have Liverpool travelled to Old Trafford as favourites, with Ferguson's side dominating the clashes. Four wins in 21 attempts proves as much.

A win on Sunday would be a fifth success, and we all know how much Liverpool fans love the No. 5.


Having defeated David Moyes' side in the opening weeks of the season, Sturridge scoring the only goal at Anfield back in September, Liverpool have the opportunity to complete a Premier League double over United on Sunday.

It would be their first since 2009, when they won the home match by a single goal margin, 2-1, in September, before running away 4-1 victors.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 24:  Danny Murphy of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the first goal with a penalty during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on April 24, 2004 in Manchester, England.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Prior to that, they got the better of their rivals four games in a row during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 campaigns as Gerard Houllier's side won twice at Old Trafford courtesy of Danny Murphy.


There is an argument that Sunday's meeting represents more than just three points—an opportunity for Liverpool to stamp their marker and show the world that they are back. Or a chance for United to show the world they aren't finished just yet.

Indeed, as I explained earlier this week, Liverpool have only finished above United twice since they won the title last in 1990. And just once in the Premier League era.

With Brendan Rodgers' side almost certain to finish above Moyes' this season, the two clubs are fighting to show their supporters a glimpse of the future.


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