For years, Manchester City has tried to gin up a rivalry with Liverpool, wanting desperately to be in the same upper echelon of hated clubs alongside the undisputed 1A and 1B on the list, Everton and Manchester United (not necessarily in that order, your mileage may vary).
Now, apparently, Newcastle want to start a faux rivalry with Liverpool, and the whole thing is really quite embarrassing. Their latest attempt, on the eve of a Merseyside Derby no less, comes through the very willing mouthpiece of Athletic journalist Gregg Evans.
Liverpool vs #EFC is still huge within the city, but there’s no denying it has lost a little spice.— Gregg Evans (@greggevans40) October 19, 2023
It’s interesting to hear what #LFC actually think about Everton now + how focus has switched to #MCFC (still #MUFC) and even #NUFC
Let’s be clear about this: no Liverpool fans rank City, let alone scrappy oil-soaked upstarts Newcastle, anywhere near the top of their most-hated rivals list. Or at least no Liverpool fans who started watching football before 2014.
City, of course, pose a real on-field challenge to Liverpool’s goals. They have pipped us to the league title 3 times in the last 10 years, and won a few other trophies in that time, occasionally at our expense. If Liverpool have real ambitions to lift a Premier League trophy this season, City are the odds-on favorite of teams we’d have to beat.
In this regard, City are similar to what Chelsea were to Liverpool in the mid-2000’s, especially in Europe. Things became heated on the pitch, but no one today considers Chelsea one of Liverpool’s biggest rivals. Instead, they are in the same category as Arsenal and perhaps Tottenham: good teams that are usually Top 4 rivals, but not much besides.
Even after a decade of competing for the same trophies, and more often than not coming out on the wrong side of the equation, City are still not in the same upper echelon of rivals.
Liverpool and Manchester United have decades of enduring the turbulent ups and downs, with even the worst versions of themselves* capable of landing a blow or knocking the other out of a cup competition.
When Liverpool were on top in the 70’s and 80’s, United were still winning cups at Liverpool’s expense. The same is true of Liverpool during United’s prolonged dominance from the early 90’s to the early 2010’s.
Simply, when United and Liverpool play each other, it means more. It always will with the two most successful clubs in English history.
As for Everton, it’s still much more than “just a local rivalry.” The Blues are still one of the biggest clubs in England, despite their recent history of doing everything in their power to get relegated and/or liquidated (keep trying though, lads, it’s fun to watch). They have 9 league titles, as many as Manchester City, and like with United, their rivalry with Liverpool has been well-earned over decades (or rather, since the founding of LFC).
In short, Everton and United have something the two oil clubs of City and Newcastle don’t have: history. History of periods in living memory of not just being Liverpool’s rivals, but watching each other, either with envy or bemusement, as our fortunes rise and fall.
To be a true rivalry, we would have to care about the other team no matter what they were up to.
If the UAE and Saudi Arabia decide to end their sportswashing project tomorrow (and all the fingers crossed on that), we would stop caring about Manchester City and Newcastle...tomorrow.
If Everton or United get relegated out of the EFL entirely, and draw Liverpool in a cup game, it would be one of our biggest games of the season.
A Merseyside or Northwest Derby simply means more to Liverpool supporters than any club that has temporarily bought their way to success.
*OK, maybe not the very recent version of Manchester United.