Liverpool beat Manchester United 4-0 at Anfield on Tuesday night, following up their 5-0 victory at Old Trafford in the autumn with a second demolition of their historic rivals as the Reds continued their fight to keep pace with Man City and perhaps draw level again with United on 20 league titles.
On aggregate, that 9-0 final scoreline feels historic, both for its quite stunning margin and for the fact United went 180 minutes this season without scoring against Jürgen Klopp’s Reds. For the time being at least, United are still up one in total league titles, but the gap between the two sides has perhaps never felt larger than it does right now.
Just where, though, does a 9-0 aggregate demolition sit in the history of England’s two most storied clubs? And was there ever a time during Liverpool’s down years as Alex Ferguson worked to knock them off their proverbial pitch where the gap between was as large as it appears today?
The most lopsided aggregate in United’s favour came in the 02-03 season, when the Red Devils won both matches and walked away with a 6-1 aggregate thanks to a 2-1 victory at Anfield in the autumn and then a 4-0 at Old Trafford in the spring. Those results, though, sandwiched a 2-0 Liverpool victory in the League Cup.
It also came after an 01-02 season in which Liverpool won both their league games against United with a 4-1 aggregate scoreline, and in 03-04 the teams would each win a game. By comparison, United’s last league victory over Jürgen Klopp’s Reds was all the way back in March of 2018, a full four years ago.
In the Premier League era, then, both the aggregate, the fact United didn’t score even one goal across 180 minutes, and the larger context back up the feeling that this season’s 9-0 aggregate demolition very much represents a historic gap between the clubs. But what of the history that came before?
In the 1970s and 80s, only once did one of the sides win both league games in a season, and it was United doing so in 1986-87 when they won 1-0 both home and away. In the 60s, it happened twice. In 1964-65, United won 5-0 on aggregate. That came a year after Liverpool won 4-0 on aggregate in 1963-64.
Twice in their history, then, United have recorded a five goal aggregate victory over Liverpool, 6-1 in 2002-03 and 5-0 in 1964-65. However, their record aggregate victory can actually be found shortly after World War Two, while the two clubs were competing in the North Region War League.
With many players called up to the war, attendance limited, and play divided between north and south, most football historians ignore records from the War League. However, shortly after the war’s end Liverpool and United faced off on February 9th and again on the 16th of the same month in the league’s 1946 edition.
United won the first match at home 2-1, then recorded a 5-0 victory at Liverpool a week later, a 7-1 aggregate margin of victory—albeit one that likely deserves something of an asterisk beside it. Regardless, until this season, that was the most lopsided aggregate result between the two clubs.
note: results compiled from data provided by 11v11