Back when Liverpool last won the league title, the Premier League as we know it today was called the Football League First Division. The year was 1990, their players had dodgy moustaches, and Oasis’ Some Might Say was top of the charts.
It was Liverpool’s eighteenth title to date, the then record number of titles won by any English team in history. They not only won, but won by seven points. It was also their second consecutive league win after beating United by a resounding 9 points a season earlier.
Alex Ferguson, long before the knighthood, had only been in the job at local rivals Manchester United for four years, and had just won the FA Cup Final in a replay 1-0 versus Crystal Palace. It was that season, so the legend goes, that if Ferguson’s United had lost the third round tie of the FA Cup to Nottingham Forest, the fresh-faced young manager would have been fired.
As so it happened, Manchester United went on to overtake Liverpool’s record of eighteen titles, claiming number nineteen in 2011, and 25 years on, Ferguson is the longest serving manager in the league’s history.
Liverpool’s period of dominance had well and truly ended. They haven’t won the league now in 21 long years, almost became extinct in 2010, and currently sit in a somewhat ironic eighteenth place in the table. Yes, that’s in the relegation zone.
As United head to Anfield this afternoon, fans will receive an open letter written by Ferguson. It urges fans not to base their rivalry on hatred in the wake of the unsavoury terrace chants last week, but in it is a line that signals a definite shift in the balance of power between the two sides.
“…Our rivalry with Liverpool is based on a determination to come out on top – a wish to see us crowned the best against a team that held that honour for so long. It cannot and should never be based on personal hatred…”
That held that honor for so long. Indeed times have changed, a fact that can well and truly be underlined should United win today and move a point within first place in the league whilst leaving Liverpool stranded in the relegation zone and still without a win this season.
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This article was first posted on September 23, 2012