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The greatest title races between Man United vs Liverpool ahead of meeting

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As the two most successful clubs in English footballing history, you might have expected United and Liverpool to have been involved in countless battles at the top of the table.

But the Premier League is no La Liga, and it’s testament to its competitiveness that the two clubs have only shared the top two spots in the league five times since 1888.

Only Arsenal-Manchester United have been the top two more often though (six times), while Chelsea-Manchester United have also shared it five times.

Here, the M.E.N. take a look at the title races between Manchester United and Liverpool.

1946/47

League winners: Liverpool (57 points) Runners-up: Manchester United (56 points)

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Liverpool won their fifth league title in the first season back after the Second World War. With just one point separating the two clubs, this is the tightest title tussle between the two teams.

The race went down to the last day of the season with Liverpool one point ahead. Both sides won though, meaning the trophy went to Merseyside.

Wolverhampton Wanderers had been leading the way right up until game week 40. Liverpool beat Wolves two-one at Molineux to leapfrog them in the table with just two games to go.

Wolves finished level on points with United, but a better goal average saw Matt Busby’s side finish in second place.

1963/64

League winners: Liverpool (57 points) Runners-up: Manchester United (53 points)

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Tottenham had led the title race for much of the season, as far into the campaign as game week 33 in fact.

Liverpool were in third at that point, two points off the top, while United were in fifth, just three points behind the league leaders.

Everton then went ahead of the Londoners to top the table for three weeks before themselves being passed by both Liverpool and Manchester United with four games to go.

Liverpool remained top, winning Bill Shankly his first league title.

1967/68

League winners: Manchester City (58 points) Runners-up: Manchester United (56 points) Third: Liverpool (55 points)

Not every title race involving Liverpool and Manchester United resulted in one of them winning the league.

Manchester United last won the league in 2013 (Image: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

One such case was the 1967/68 campaign which was won by Manchester City.

Manchester United, Liverpool, and Leeds were all within three points of league leaders Manchester City with just two games of the season to go.

Malcolm Allison’s side won both of their remaining games though to win the title.

1975/76

League winners: Liverpool (60 points) Runners-up: QPR (59 points) Third: Manchester United (56 points)

Queens Park Rangers were top of the First Division table on 55 points with just three games to go.

It looked like the west London club might actually win their first ever league title.

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Bob Paisley’s Liverpool were second on 54 points, while Tommy Docherty’s Manchester United were third on 52.

It was all to play for.

Liverpool won all of their remaining three matches, whereas QPR stuttered, winning two but losing to Norwich. Manchester United, meanwhile, lost twice and one once.

It resulted in Paisley's first of many league titles for Liverpool.

1979/80

League winners: Liverpool (60 points) Runners-up: Manchester United (58 points)

Liverpool and Manchester United shared the top two spots from game week 15 right up to the end of the season.

It was Bob Paisley’s side though who were top for the longest, from the 19th game of the season right through to the 42nd.

Liverpool won the Premier League for the first time last season (Image: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

United kept pace throughout, with the two clubs level on points going into the last game of the season.

Liverpool were at home to Aston Villa, while Manchester United were away at Leeds.

The Yorkshire side helped make sure their bitter rivals’ long wait for a league title continued by beating them two-nil.

Meanwhile, Liverpool beat Aston Villa four-nil to win their fourth title in five seasons.

1983/84

League winners: Liverpool (80 points) Runners-up: Southampton: (77 points) Third: Nottingham Forest (74 points) Fourth: Manchester United (74 points)

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While Manchester United only managed to finish fourth in this campaign, they actually ran Liverpool pretty-close for most of the season.

United were top of the table ahead of Liverpool on goal difference with nine games to go, but a loss to West Brom let Liverpool overtake them, and Joe Fagan’s side never let it slip.

Ron Atkinson’s side picked up just three points from their last five games, finishing six points behind the champions.

1987/88

League winners: Liverpool (90 points) Runners-up: Manchester United (81 points)

Despite this being one of the seasons where Liverpool and Manchester United both finished in the top two, there wasn’t much of a title race.

Liverpool went top in game week three and stayed there all season.

United climbed to second with 15 games to go, but were 18 points behind the league leaders by then and never got close.

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Manchester United secured a vital 1-0 victory over Burnley on Tuesday night to go top of the Premier League.

Paul Pogba scored the decisive goal in a hard-fought contest at Turf Moor, meaning United are now three points clear of Liverpool — who they face this weekend at Anfield.

MEN Sport will bring you all the build-up to and reaction from every United match. You can have it all delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our daily newsletter. Just put your email address in the sign-up box at the top of this article, or simply follow this link. It's free and only takes a few seconds.

2008/09

League winners: Manchester United (90 points) Runners-up: Liverpool (86 points)

This season is perhaps most remembered for Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez’s infamous “facts” rant.

Liverpool were top of the table on New Year’s Day, albeit just one point ahead of United.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side beat Chelsea three-nil in the next round of fixtures though, while Rafa Benite’s side could only draw nil-nil away to Stoke.

Those results put United top, where they would stay for the rest of the season.

Clubs // No. of times

Arsenal-Manchester United // 6

Chelsea-Manchester United // 5

Liverpool-Manchester United // 5

Arsenal-Liverpool // 4

Liverpool-Manchester City // 4

Manchester City-Manchester United // 4

Aston Villa-Liverpool // 3

Aston Villa-Manchester United // 3

Everton-Liverpool // 3

Leeds United-Liverpool // 3

Manchester United-Tottenham Hotspur // 3




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