Manchester United and Liverpool missed the local lads' passion

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Liverpool and Manchester are two cities steeped in culture that have grown alongside each other, shaping the world that we know and love through their passion and excellence over many scenes - never more notable than on the football pitch.

Between them, Liverpool FC and Manchester United share 38 league titles and eight European Cups becoming the two most coveted teams in the land. This, together with their geographical and socio-political similarities, has cultivated one of the fiercest match-ups in world sport.

However, in the latest chapter of this historical fixture, something was missing.


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What sets this fixture apart from other rivalries and derbies that demand a global audience is that for many of the players involved, it's personal.

The raucous passion of the fans spills over onto the pitch as many players that adorn the hallowed turf of Anfield and Old Trafford grew up within a stones throw. And conversely, the sensation of being represented on the pitch by people just like yourself is enough to ignite an extra special fire within the stands.

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Red mist, over the top celebrations, over the top tackles, red cards, penalties - these games are never without action and never without a local-born player in amongst it. Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt can vouch for adorning the United side through the 90s and 00s, where the rivalry was at its most intense, whereas Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Robbie Fowler represented a proud and passionate Liverpool team.

In Saturday's fixture, there was not one and it certainly showed. The pace was slow. The action was uneventful. The stands were quiet. If it wasn't for two wonder goals by Anthony Martial and Christian Benteke and the 75,000 fans, this 90 minutes could've been from a League One game.

The proliferation of international players within the Premier League has finally taken over this extra-special tie and Saturday's showing could barely even be described as a dilution of what once was.

Let's hope Jordan Rossiter, Jon Flanagan and Tyler Blackett can reignite the fire within this great rivalry for seasons to come but if trends should continue, they'll probably be plying their trades elsewhere. 

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Premier League
Manchester United

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