Sport Soccer

Saturday 23 March 2019

The greats who have crossed the divide between Manchester United and Liverpool

Peter Beardsley, Paul Ince and Michael Owen all played for both clubs during their illustrious careers.

Michael Owen was the last player to turn out for both Liverpool and Manchester United (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)
Michael Owen was the last player to turn out for both Liverpool and Manchester United (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

By Press Association Sport staff

Bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool meet at Old Trafford on Sunday in a match which could have a major bearing on the destination of the Premier League title this season.

United are out of the race themselves but could play a role in determining which of their rivals – Liverpool or neighbours City – lift the trophy in May. Taking points off both may even bring Tottenham into the reckoning.

Not many players have occupied the home dressing room at both Anfield and Old Trafford over the years – although both Tom McNulty and Phil Chisnall moved directly from United to Liverpool in 1954 and 1964, respectively.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the three men who have represented both of the English giants at senior level in the last 50 years.

Peter Beardsley

While Beardsley would go on to win two league titles at Liverpool and collect 59 England caps, his career started slowly. Released as a teenager by Newcastle, the forward dropped down to represent Carlisle and then moved across the Atlantic to Vancouver Whitecaps.

In 1982 he secured a move back to the big time with Manchester United – but again it did not work out for Beardsley. He failed to impress manager Ron Atkinson and was limited to just one first-team appearance for the club, a League Cup tie against Bournemouth in which he was replaced by Norman Whiteside.

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Peter Beardsley in action for Liverpool in their 9-0 win against Crystal Palace in 1989 (PA)

Another stint with the Whitecaps preceded a return to Newcastle – where this time Beardsley established himself in the side and spent four seasons at St James’ Park. His performances caught the eye of Kenny Dalglish and he moved to Liverpool in 1987, winning two league titles and an FA Cup, before he left Anfield to join city rivals Everton in 1991.

Paul Ince

After emerging through the ranks at boyhood club West Ham, Ince made the move to join United in 1989 following the Hammers’ relegation to the Second Division. A combative midfielder with an eye for a spectacular goal, Ince established himself as a firm favourite on the Old Trafford terraces.

He played a major part in the first two Premier League title wins for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, also lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup, League Cup and two FA Cups in his six-year stint with the Red Devils.

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Ince scored a spectacular bicycle kick for United in the Charity Shield win over Blackburn in 1994 (PA)

Ince was one of three key players sold by Ferguson after United failed to win any silverware in the 1994/95 season, leaving for Inter Milan as Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis also made way for the Class of ’92 to emerge.

The England midfielder made 73 appearances in two seasons in Italy before a move to join Liverpool was completed. Ince spent two years at Anfield but could not help the Reds to any trophy success, with his most memorable moment being an equaliser in a 2-2 draw against United at Anfield – a goal he celebrated with vigour.

Michael Owen

A teenage sensation at Liverpool, Owen won the Ballon d’Or in 2001 – the last Englishman to be awarded the accolade – as his goals guided Gerard Houllier’s side to League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup glory.

Owen was just 17 when he made his Liverpool debut towards the end of the 1996/97 season but finished joint-top goalscorer in the Premier League the following year as he terrorised defences with his blistering pace and unerring finishing.

His standout season of 2000/01 saw him end the campaign with 28 goals across all competitions. Three years later he was tempted away from Anfield with a move to Real Madrid. Owen spent just one season in Spain before returning to England to join Newcastle, where a string of injuries prevented the Magpies from seeing him at his best.

Newcastle were relegated in 2009 and Owen left the club at the end of his contract and was surprisingly snapped up by Manchester United. Though now some way off his best and often a bit-part player, Owen hit a last-gasp winner in a 4-3 victory over Manchester City, scored a Champions League hat-trick away at Wolfsburg, found the back of the net in a League Cup final win over Aston Villa and lifted the Premier League for the one and only time in his career before departing in 2011.

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