Liverpool vs. Manchester United: The 11 Craziest Moments in Rivalry's History

Peter Webster@@petercwebsterContributor IIIJanuary 25, 2012

Liverpool vs. Manchester United: The 11 Craziest Moments in Rivalry's History

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    Liverpool vs. Manchester United is and probably always will be the biggest football match on the Premier League calendar.

    Many people assume the rivalry is down to football alone, but any true fan will tell you that the rivalry runs much deeper than that.

    As two northwest British cities trying to promote themselves and make money, Liverpool and Manchester have fought since industrial times due to the building of the Manchester ship canal, which ultimately took revenue and importance away from the port of Liverpool.

    Naturally, jobs were lost and the Liverpool-Manchester resentment was born.

    Manchester United's crest doesn't help matters, as it includes a ship that represents the shipping canal and trade roots that Manchester came from.

    Fast forward to present day and Liverpool are the most successful club in the history of English football. But if you ask a United fan, he'd tell you the same about the Manchester outfit.

    It all boils down to whether you count Charity and Community Shields from over the years. Liverpool will argue, of course, that they are not a major trophy and don't count.

    Here are some of the crazy moments involving Liverpool and Manchester United over the years.

Luis Suarez Racism

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    Perhaps the most recent conflict between the two clubs is the Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra racism incident which occurred on Oct. 15, 2011.

    Evra accused Suarez of abusing him and directing racist insults toward him during Liverpool's home game against Manchester United.

    The FA launched an investigation into the matter, and Suarez was subsequently found guilty and issued an eight-match ban.

    To this day, Suarez feels he has done no wrong and stated: "I will carry out the suspension with the resignation of someone who hasn't done anything wrong and who feels extremely upset by the events.''

Gary Neville Celebration

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    Gary Neville faced an FA rap following this celebration in front of the Liverpool supporters after Rio Ferdinand's goal had given Manchester United a 1-0 victory over the Merseyside outfit back in 2006.

    The celebration was a blatant attempt to incite the fans, but Neville was unapologetic in his response to the charges, stating that:

    It's a poor decision, not just for me but for all footballers. And I ask the authorities: where is football being taken? Being a robot, devoid of passion and spirit, is obviously the way forward for the modern-day footballer.

    Neville had run 60 yards to celebrate in front of the Liverpool supporters and was subsequently issued with a £5000 fine—less than a day's wage, according to the report.

Michael Owen Signs for Manchester United

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    No player has transferred directly between Manchester United and Liverpool since Phil Chisnall did so in 1964.

    Playing for both clubs via a stint elsewhere is not so rare, but still considered by both teams to be grounds for hatred and despise.

    The most recent player to do this was Michael Owen.

    Once the golden boy of the Kop, Owen won the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2001 during his days on Merseyside, but was eventually sold to Real Madrid in 2004..

    Owen moved from there to Newcastle United before eventually being signed on a free transfer by Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in 2009.

    Needless to say, Owen was given a cold reception upon his return to Anfield. Signs were held aloft declaring him to be "Judas."

Alan Smith Ambulance Attack

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    In February 2006, Manchester United player Alan Smith suffered an injury and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

    As his ambulance got stuck in traffic, Liverpool supporters began to throw bottles, stones and beer glasses at the vehicle, and some fans tried to rock the ambulance in an attempt to overturn it.

    It was the actions of a few that would once again tarnish Liverpool's reputation.

    Smith had suffered a broken leg and a badly dislocated ankle which required surgery.

Liverpool Beat Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford

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    Manchester United were top of the table and looking to stretch their lead on March 14, 2009.

    After Ronaldo dispatched an early penalty for the home side, no one was expecting what happened next.

    Fernando Torres—back when he was a striker—slotted past Edwin Van Der Sar to level things before Steven Gerrard scored from the spot just prior to halftime.

    To say Manchester United were shocked at the halftime score would be an understatement.

    Vidic was then sent off for a foul on Torres, and Fabio Aurelio curled in the resulting free kick to make it 3-1 to Liverpool.

    To make matters worse for United, Liverpool misfit Andrea Dossena—possibly one of the worst left backs ever seen at the club—somehow had a moment of class and lobbed home a fourth in injury time to inflict a heavy defeat on the hosts.

    Liverpool were jubilant and Manchester United were dumbfounded at the result which was their biggest home defeat in any competition for 17 years, only recently surpassed by the 6-1 drubbing that Manchester City delivered. 

    To enjoy the highlights in full, watch the video above.

The Awful FA Cup Suits

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    Forget the FA Cup final itself, the craziest thing that happened on that day in 1996 was the Liverpool team turning up in the most awful suits ever seen on this earth.

    With Liverpool already having the Spiceboys nickname, these suits did the squad no favours in convincing people they were at the Cup Final for serious business.

    Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson reportedly used the suits as part of his pre-game match speak by saying to his players: "Keep playing the ball around their area because David James will probably be waving at Giorgio Armani up in the directors' box.''

    Liverpool lost that game, thanks to a late goal by Eric Cantona, but the suits are what everybody still talks about to this day.

Liverpool 3-3 Manchester United: January 1994

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    When you are the Liverpool football club and you're playing at home, you don't expect to be three nil down. But that was just what happened when Manchester United came into town in January 1994.

    Goals from Steve Bruce and Ryan Giggs, followed by a Denis Irwin free kick meant Liverpool had their backs against the wall.

    Liverpool's fightback started with Nigel Clough bagging two goals, which set up a tense finish to the game.

    The fightback was complete when Liverpool centre half Neil "Razor" Ruddock rose highest to head home a goal late on in the game from Stig Inge Bjornebye's cross, clashing with Steve Bruce in the process.

    Ruddock was wobbling around holding his head whilst all around him celebrated. But Ruddock claims he has no memory of the goal whatsoever, as he had essentially blacked out in the collision.

    The video above shows the game highlights in full.

Gabriel Heinze Debacle

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    Gabriel Heinze had two years remaining on his Manchester United contract when he requested to leave the club in 2007.

    Manager Alex Ferguson agreed to sell the player for a certain price and Liverpool made a bid.

    Whilst Liverpool's offer was of a high enough amount, Ferguson did not want Heinze playing for a rival club, and Manchester United turned down the bid.

    Heinze complained and the Premier League conducted an inquiry regarding the finite details of Heinze's contract situation.

    The inquiry ruled in favour of Manchester United and Heinze went on his merry way—to Real Madrid.

Eric Cantona Spat on

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    On his way to collect the 1996 FA Cup, winning goal scorer Eric Cantona was allegedly spat on by a fan as he walked up into the stands.

    The video footage above seems to show Cantona reacting to something approximately 35 seconds in, but it is unclear whether this was the incident in question.

    The fan was never identified.

Sick T-Shirts

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    A Manchester United fans website that sold t-shirts emblazoned with distasteful jokes about the Heysel Stadium tragedy was reported on by the Daily Mail in 2011.

    The t-shirts featured three stars above the slogan, "without killing anyone," in a sick reference to their European Cup wins and Liverpool's disastrous night against Juventus in 1985 when 39 fans died.

    The Daily Mail article can be read here, but I will not help these mindless people's cause by listing the website name on this article.

January 2011 Fans and the Munich Chant

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    After the January 2011 FA Cup clash between Manchester United and Liverpool, police officers were injured, damage was caused to Old Trafford and 18 people were arrested, according to the Manchester Evening News.

    Due to it being an FA Cup ticket allocation, approximately three times as many tickets were allocated to the visiting team compared to normal league games.

    One Liverpool fan was captured making references and singing chants about the Munich air disaster, which caused numerous complaints and rightly so,

    The photo above is taken from Manchester United's East Stand after the game. Flooding had also occurred after Manchester United had won the tie 1-0.

After Thoughts

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    Liverpool and Manchester United supporters can often get blinded by the passion and drama of a derby and take things overboard. But those actions of a few mindless fans should never be associated with true fans of the game.

    With such a derby looming this weekend, I'm hoping that Liverpool don't take their eyes of the Manchester City game they face later today.

    They say you should take things one game at a time in football. But getting a ticket to Wembley would certainly lift the Liverpool players' attitude ahead of the Manchester United game. It might also get a few more voices singing.

    I hope you've enjoyed this slideshow and are looking forward to this week's games that could change the course of Liverpool's season.

    On twitter? Follow me @petercwebster and click here to read about 16 players that you wouldn't mind your daughter marrying. It might put a smile on your face!

    If history is your thing, then click here to read my countdown of Liverpool's 10 greatest goalkeepers.

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