World Cup Russia 2018

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Benitez.

Gary Neville explains what he thought of Rafa Benitez's 'facts' rant

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The Premier League returns with a bang on Saturday as Liverpool face Manchester United in the lunchtime kick-off.

England fans will be desperate to forget all about an extremely drab international break and will be looking forward to watching the country's two biggest clubs do battle.

With a ridiculous 38 league titles between them, there’s very little doubt that Liverpool and United are the two biggest sides in England.

It’s because of their success that the two clubs have developed a genuine hatred for each other, summed up by the famous Sir Alex Ferguson: "My greatest challenge is not what's happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f****** perch. And you can print that."

The fact that they’re a mere 30-odd miles away from each other obviously heightens the rivalry.

But despite the number of league wins, the two clubs have rarely gone head-to-head for a title.

Liverpool dominated the 1970s and 1980s, while United dominated the Premier League era in the 1990s and 2000s.

But there has been the odd season that the two giants have done battle for domestic glory.

One of the closest Liverpool came to winning the Premier League was during the 2008/09 season.

Liverpool v Manchester United

Rafa Benitez’s side were seven points ahead of Ferguson’s club went it all started to go wrong for the Merseysiders. And their downturn in form coincided with Benitez’s extraordinary rant about the United manager.

Fergie had previously complained about the Premier League schedule and that it favoured Liverpool.

Benitez responded by pulling out a piece of paper during a press conference and naming a few ‘facts’ about the Scottish boss.

Watch: Benitez's 'facts' rant

It was an incident that Gary Neville decided to discuss on his new Soccerbox programme on Sky Sports.

And the former defender revealed exactly how he reacted when he saw Benitez “cracking up.”

“I remember being at home that day watching Sky Sports News thinking ‘what has he done?!’” Neville explained on Soccerbox.

“It was reported as ‘he’s cracking up’ and then the fans started singing ‘Rafa’s cracking up’ and it did feel like the pressure was getting to him.

"You can imagine Sir Alex being at home being like 'I've got him.

Liverpool 's Spanish manager Rafael Beni

"If you're going to call it on with another manager you've got to be sure to win. He was taking Sir Alex on on his own patch: mind games.

"Everyone had talked for 20 years about mind games, even if it didn't exist - and then all of a sudden it looked like he was cracking up."

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Topics:
Jamie Carragher
Paul Scholes
Ryan Giggs
Wayne Rooney
Football
Premier League
Steven Gerrard
Manchester United
Gary Neville

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