Liverpool vs Man United: A tale of two seasons

2 March 2023

Liverpool vs Man United: A tale of two seasons

There are passionate derbies and there are other clashes involving teams near the top of the table, but the rivalry that involves Liverpool and Manchester United always trumps the lot.

Heading into their next meeting at Anfield this weekend (streaming live on Showmax Pro on Sunday, 5 March, courtesy of Showmax Pro), the two clubs have had such disparate fortunes this season.

Manchester United are on a high. The Carabao Cup is secured in the trophy cabinet. They’re still in the FA Cup, the UEFA Europa League and maybe, just maybe, the Premier League title race.

It couldn’t be more different at Liverpool. They’ve failed to defend the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup. They’re staring down the barrel of a 5-2 first leg loss to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League and they are currently a long way off appearing in the tournament again next season.

A lot can change in a year. This time 12 months ago, it was Liverpool who were the ones dreaming of a quadruple and United were dealing with the reality of dropping out of the top four.

The reverse fixture in August was Erik Ten Hag’s first victory as manager for the Red Devils. Off the back of two unimpressive losses to Brighton and Brentford, the win at Old Trafford was the first sign that he gave to the fans that he was the right man for the job.

Liverpool is a fixture that has been a struggle for many modern United managers. It was Jose Mourinho’s last fixture before he got the sack. The fixture gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arguably his lowest moment in management when he finished on the wrong end of a 5-0 thrashing.

Now, Ten Hag has the opportunity to lead United to their first league double over Liverpool in seven years.

While the Carabao Cup gave some tangible justification to the Ten Hag project, another win against Liverpool will provide more emotional justification.

For Jurgen Klopp, the timing of this kind of fixture could suit his team as it’s a game where the motivation isn’t just to succeed for yourself, but to do so at the expense of your rivals.

The club certainly need a pick-me-up as they go into the run-in of the season after a period of almost relentless disappointment.

There’s an almost spooky link to Klopp’s seventh season at Liverpool and the drop his previous clubs have suffered after seven years, and this campaign has shown that the team needs rebuilding work.

They’ve gone from regular UEFA Champions League finals appearances and toe-to-toe title battles with Manchester City and have dropped to mid-table. Suddenly, the squad doesn’t look as deep as it should.

There are a few reasons for their decline. The sale of Sadio Mane has proved to be a huge loss that’s meant their attack has to be restructured. Fatigue from last season is also a factor. In general, there just seems to be a staleness to their play, usually renowned for being so dynamic.

It all boils down to there being a lot at stake this weekend for different reasons. A win for United could really assert their title race position while a win for Liverpool rejuvenates some Champions League hopes.

After a few years of Liverpool having more success than the Red Devils, time will tell if this season is a turning point in the rivalry where United will look to “knock them off their perch” again.

Sunday’s result could set the tone of the rivalry for this season as well as beyond.

Why Showmax Pro?

Showmax Pro is a streaming service available for Showmax subscribers in Africa that bundles the Showmax entertainment offering with music channels, news and live sports streaming from SuperSport.

Subscribers can live stream the latest seasons of the English Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, UEFA Europa and UEFA Conference leagues, as well as FIFA World Cup qualifiers and more.

The platform also offers a wide range of other live sports events including athletics, professional boxing, and the world’s biggest marathons. 

Join the conversation on social media by following and interacting on the below pages:

Twitter: @ShowmaxPro

Instagram: @ShowmaxPro

Facebook: @ShowmaxPro

Stream Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty 

The Day Sports Stood Still: an HBO documentary 

Never miss a beat

Video not found
Video not found