Eric Bailly on the ball for Manchester United at Anfield, watched by Georginio Wijnaldum

Liverpool v United: The rivalry in Norway

Saturday 18 January 2020 09:00

Whenever Manchester United make the short journey to the red half of Merseyside, the reverberations are felt far beyond the North-West region where England's two most successful clubs reside.

The bragging rights for this derby are at stake in countries all over the world. Take Norway, for example.

English football has been a hot topic of discussion in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s home country for a long time. Particularly since their games were first broadcast on Norwegian TV in 1969, clubs including United and Liverpool - but especially those two - have been the talk of Scandinavian schoolyards, workplaces and leisure centres.
Fans commemorate Norway's most famous contribution to United history.
At the end of the 2018/19 season, data from the Norwegian Supporters Union for English Football showed that the official fan groups for United and Liverpool in Norway both had more than 40,000 members, well ahead of the next team on the best-supported list - Arsenal with just over 7,000.


United fan Bernt Hjørnevik is the secretary of MUSC Scandinavia and has been acutely aware of the Liverpool rivalry since his childhood in Norway.

“I was born with the problem, to put it that way,” he told us this week.
Now that the 49-year-old works with his favourite team on a daily basis, the result of the North-West derby still has a big impact on his life. 

“The postman who comes into our supporters' club shop can sense if we have lost - it's doomsday. The match means a lot,” said Hjørnevik, who started to support United after we beat Liverpool in the 1977 FA Cup final.

He's predicting the same outcome this Sunday and not just because it will make the mood in his office better on Monday morning.
No prizes for guessing who Bernt's favourite United legend is.
“These matches live their own lives. It doesn’t matter how your season is going, form goes out of the window in these derbies. The Liverpool fans I know in Norway seem more scared that we will beat them, than happy to meet us.”


Liverpool fan Anders Christensen, 45, is the chairman of the Norwegian Supporters Union for English Football in his spare time. 

“It is the most important game of the season and the game with the most prestige,” said the primary school teacher.

“I’ve got lots of friends who support United, so I would love to rub it in on Sunday.”
Anders Christensen, left, with fellow Liverpool supporters at Anfield.
Christensen has a tradition of baking a cake for his class whenever Liverpool win a trophy or beat United.

“I’ve already bought the ingredients for Sunday but I am very nervous,” he admitted. “I’ll be watching the game with some friends at home, so hopefully, we can bake the cake afterwards.

“It is annoying that United is the only team we haven’t beaten this season. We need to beat them,” he added.

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