Having been a club in full-blown crisis not so long ago, Liverpool moved to within three points of the top four on Sunday by inflicting a devastating 7-0 humiliation on rivals Manchester United at Anfield.
Leading by a single goal at half-time, Jurgen Klopp’s side threw off the handbrake after the restart and ran rampant, rattling away another six unanswered goals in front of the Kop to equal the heaviest loss ever inflicted on United in their club history (the most recent being a 7-0 defeat to Wolves in December 1931.)
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Indeed, it was also Liverpool’s largest win in their long-standing rivalry that dates back to 1894, and almost 250 fixtures. The Reds have outscored United 18-1 in their past eight meetings at Anfield, having scored four or more goals in each of the past five encounters.
With such matches usually tense, fraught and attritional in nature, it’s always surprising to witness a game so one-sided and high scoring — but where does Liverpool’s 7-0 humbling of United compare to the largest scores in the major local derbies and historic rivalries between Europe’s top clubs?
A day to remember.
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— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 5, 2023
Biggest result: Manchester City 6-1 Manchester United (1925-26 and 2011-12)
First contested in 1881, United have been on the wrong end of the two biggest scorelines in Manchester derby history, with City cantering to victory on both occasions, 85 years apart. United did beat City 7-1 at Maine Road in 1941, but that fixture was part of the Wartime League (staged during the Second World War as a replacement for the suspended Football League) and as such is not logged as an official competitive match.
North London derby
Biggest result: Tottenham Hotspur 0-6 Arsenal (1934-35)
There have been 193 meetings between Arsenal and Tottenham since their first Football League fixture in 1909. Since then, the Gunners have won 81 times to Spurs’ 61 victories (with 51 draws) though the heaviest result on record saw the former thump their neighbours on their own turf in the mid-1930s. In more recent years, 2012 proved to be another good year for the Gunners after they beat their old foes 5-2 twice at the Emirates within the space of nine months.
Biggest result: Real Madrid 6-3 Atletico Madrid (1949-50), Real Madrid 3-6 Atletico Madrid (1950-51)
An intense rivalry that dates back to the early 1900s, the two highest-scoring Madrid derbies came in quick succession as Real beat Atletico 6-3 in the first leg of the 1950 Copa del Rey quarterfinal before Atletico returned the favour in LaLiga the following season. The biggest winning margin in an official fixture between the two sides came in 1919 as Real beat their cross-city foes 5-0 in the Campeonato Regional Centro, a long-defunct competition contested among clubs from the Castile region of Spain.
Biggest result: Real Madrid 11-1 Barcelona (1942-43)
The biggest-ever winning margin in El Clasico came during the 1942-43 Copa del Rey when Real steamrollered their Catalan rivals to win by an astounding 10 goals. Since the turn of the millennium, the biggest win stands as Barca’s 5-0 thrashing of Jose Mourinho’s beleaguered side at Camp Nou in November 2010, cueing the infamous “Manita” taunt from Gerard Pique.
Biggest result: Inter Milan 6-5 AC Milan (1949-50)
Dating from 1909, there have been 235 official iterations of the Derby della Madonnina with Inter winning the lion’s share (87 compared to Milan’s 79) over the ensuing years. The famous 1949 meeting at the San Siro produced the most goals in a single derby fixture (11 in total) though the biggest winning margin came in May 2001 when two goals apiece for Gianni Comandini and Andrey Shevchenko saw the Rossoneri beat their rivals 6-0 in Serie A.
Biggest result: Juventus 9-1 Inter Milan (June 1960-61)
Coming during what is arguably the most intense period of the simmering rivalry between Juve and Inter, the former romped to victory in what appeared to be a 10-goal extravaganza at the Stadio Comunale, with the great Omar Sivori scoring six times for the home side.
However, it should be noted that Inter actually fielded their youth team in Turin in protest over a controversial decision by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). Indeed, the game was actually a replay of a fixture that had to be abandoned earlier in the season when Juve fans stormed the pitch en masse. The FIGC initially awarded Inter a 2-0 victory and three points only for Juve’s subsequent appeal to be upheld (which may or may not have had something to do with the fact that Bianconeri president Umberto Agnelli was also serving as FIGC chairman at the time.)
Biggest result: Bayern Munich: 11-1 Borussia Dortmund (1971-72)
With the first meeting coming in the newly formed Bundesliga in 1965, Der Klassiker is one of the youngest derby rivalries in top-line European football though nevertheless it has come to boil with the same territorial ferocity. Of the 132 official Klassikers to have been played since, Bayern have won 65; more than double the amount of victories (32) carved out by Dortmund. The most resounding was a runaway 11-goal obliteration in the early 1970s.
Biggest result: Paris Saint-Germain 5-1 Marseille (1977-78), Marseille 1-5 Paris Saint-Germain (2016-17)
Another comparatively young European rivalry that was first contested in 1971, Paris Saint-Germain have come out on top in both of the top-scoring victories on record to date. Marseille have managed to muster a four-goal winning margin, beating their Parisian adversaries 4-0 in a top-flight league match in November 1986 to record what is still their biggest ever victory in the fixture.