English football’s biggest rivalry will get two major new instalments over the next fortnight as Liverpool and Manchester United will clash twice on consecutive weekends.
The two grand old foes – the Premier League’s top two teams at the time of writing – were already scheduled to face off at Anfield this Sunday, Jan. 17, but Monday’s draw for the FA Cup fourth-round draw pitted them against each other again a week later at Old Trafford.
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The FA Cup meeting, the first between the two clubs since 2012, will be played on the weekend of Jan. 23-24 (all games streaming live on ESPN+ in the U.S.).
Liverpool, who beat United in the fifth round en route to winning the last of their seven FA Cups in 2006, secured their place in this season’s fourth round after beating an Aston Villa squad depleted by COVID-19 4-1 last Friday (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.).
Meanwhile, United beat Watford 1-0 on Saturday as they began their quest to lift the trophy for a 13th time (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.), moving them one triumph behind Arsenal’s record haul of 14 titles.
Jan. 17: Liverpool vs. Man United (PL)
Jan. 23-24: Man United vs. Liverpool (FA Cup)
Everyone right now: pic.twitter.com/vZxrsSdHkb
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 11, 2021
Former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch was the man responsible for setting the fixtures, and he made the most of his performance of the fourth-round draw live on television.
Never change @petercrouch 😂#FACup pic.twitter.com/Mm8625AvZA
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) January 11, 2021
With rivalries fierce and loyalties divided, the draw proved especially tricky for Crouch, who was immediately made to regret pairing the big two together by his wife, Liverpool-born model and TV presenter Abby Clancy who tweeted her husband to tell him: “My dad is gonna kill you.”
I’ll head straight to the spare room 🤦🏼♂️ https://t.co/PFczFVGckE
— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) January 11, 2021
If Crouch is lucky, Mr. Clancy will forgiven his son-in-law — after all, he did score the decisive goal against United in the FA Cup back in 2006.
Former @LFC striker @petercrouch knows all about facing Manchester United in the #EmiratesFACup… 🤯 pic.twitter.com/eIOOmxjg5j
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) January 11, 2021
At least one person was happy with Crouch’s involvement, as former Manchester City winger Trevor Sinclair was perfectly content to see Cheltenham Town of League Two plucked out of the pot for his old side while rivals United were lumped against the reigning Premier League champions.
— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) January 11, 2021
Despite the heated nature of every clash between them, both clubs appeared to welcome the news of an imminent double-header straddling two competitions with feverish anticipation.
🆚 @ManUtd (H) | @premierleague
🆚 @ManUtd (A) | @EmiratesFACup pic.twitter.com/ujx3qv9bBI
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 11, 2021
𝗕𝗜𝗚.#MUFC #FACup pic.twitter.com/CIYnpO66uH
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 11, 2021
“Big” indeed, and the omens are good for United having won three of their last four home FA Cup ties against Liverpool. A certain Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even scored the winning goal when the two sides met in the cup in the 1998-99 season, which of course ended in United winning the Treble.
The last time Liverpool and United faced each other twice in consecutive weeks was five years ago, when the pair clashed in the Europa League round of 16. Liverpool won the first leg at Anfield 2-0 on March 10 — the first time the two teams had ever met in European competition. Klopp’s side booked their place in the quarterfinals seven days later when the second leg at Old Trafford ended in a 1-1 draw.
Of the 232 times that Liverpool have played Manchester United in all competitions since 1894, only a smattering of fixtures have fallen in notably quick succession.
In 2013, there were 24 days between Liverpool winning 1-0 at home in the Premier League on Sept. 1 and United exacting their revenge when Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored the only goal of their League Cup tie at Old Trafford.
Liverpool’s 2-1 win over United at Anfield in the FA Cup fourth round on Jan. 28 in 2012, courtesy of Dirk Kuyt’s late winner, was followed 14 days later by United’s own 2-1 home win in the Premier League thanks to Wayne Rooney’s brace. However, the match will be best remembered for Luis Suarez refusing to shake Patrice Evra’s hand on the first occasion that the pair had met since the Liverpool player had been banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racially abusing his United counterpart.
The scorelines were also mirrored when United beat Liverpool 1-0 in the Premier League on Jan. 2, 2006 before Liverpool pipped United 1-0 in the FA Cup later that same month. So with these two team set to meet on back-to-back weekends, maybe you should think twice before betting on one side doing the double over the other.