English clubs · English cups · English league · European club competitions · Records & statistics

Liverpool And Manchester United Revisited


When Manchester United won the English title in 1967, they equalled the record of 7 titles held jointly by Arsenal and Liverpool, ahead of Aston Villa, Everton and Sunderland on 6 each.

When league football was interrupted in 1939 at the outset of World War II, the clubs with the most number of English titles were:

  • Aston Villa and Sunderland on 6 each.
  • Arsenal and Everton on 5 each.

Arsenal were the first to reach 7 with titles in 1948 and 1953.  When Everton won the title in 1970, they joined Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United on 7 titles.  Arsenal pulled ahead with their 8th title in 1971, the same year that they became only the second club this century to do the league and cup double.

Liverpool then won 11 titles in 18 seasons between 1973 and 1990 to reach 18 titles.  Everton managed two titles in 1985 and 1987 to go up to second with 9 titles.  Arsenal’s title in 1989 put them level with Everton on 9.  They moved clear of Everton with their 10th title in 1991.

Manchester United have now pulled level with Liverpool’s 18 by winning the Premier League 11 times in 17 seasons between 1993 and 2009. The breakdown between Liverpool’s 11 titles in 18 seasons and Manchester United’s 11 in 17 seasons is very similar:

  • Liverpool:
    • 7 titles in 9 seasons (1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984)
    • 10 titles in 15 seasons (1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990)
    • 11 titles in 18 seasons (1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990)

    during which time Manchester United did not win a single title.

  • Manchester United:
    • 7 titles in 9 seasons (1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001)
    • 9 titles in 11 season (1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003)
    • 11 titles in 17 seasons (1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009)

    during which time Liverpool did not win a single title.

Liverpool became the first club to win three titles in a row after World War II (1982, 1983, 1984).   Manchester United became the next (1999, 2000, 2001), and have become the first club to do it twice (2007, 2008, 2009).

In 1986, Liverpool became only the third club to do the league and cup double this century.  They had come very close in several other seasons.  In 1994, Manchester United became the fourth club to do so, and in 1996, they became the first club to do the double twice.

Manchester United went further to do a treble of Premier League title, FA Cup winners and European champions in 1999, an achievement which they themselves prevented Liverpool from achieving in 1977 by defeating them in the FA Cup Final.

On the other hand, this season, Manchester United failed to achieve the lesser treble of Premier League title, League Cup winners and European champions (achieved by Liverpool in 1984) when they lost in the UEFA Champions League Final.

In all of the above, there is an element of Manchester United equalling or outdoing Liverpool’s achievements.

However, Manchester United’s European triumphs still lag those of Liverpool.  Liverpool have been European champions 5 times – 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984 and 2005.  Manchester United have only managed it 3 times – 1968, 1999 and 2008.  In addition (excluding the European Super Cup), Liverpool had won the UEFA Cup thrice – 1973, 1976 and 2001, compared to Manchester United’s sole other European triumph – in the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

In domestic cup finals, Manchester United had a big lead in FA Cup wins while Liverpool had a big lead in League Cup wins.  The gap in both has been closed.  In the FA Cup, Manchester United have won 11 times to Liverpool’s 7.  In the League Cup, Liverpool have won 7 times to Manchester United’s 3.  In both cases, the gap is 4.

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