Soccer

Why Manchester Derby is about 'reversal of fortunes' for United, City

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AP

Why Manchester Derby is about 'reversal of fortunes' for United, City

The blood will be boiling Saturday in Manchester and the anxiety at a fever pitch when two long-standing rivals lock horns at City of Manchester Stadium. 

Manchester United and Manchester City have been going at each other since the "Manchester Derby" first was contested in 1881. For a long while, especially in the 1990s, United owned the Derby. From May 4, 1991, through Feb. 12, 2011, United went 17-5-8 against City, owning a stranglehold on their rival. 

The times they have changed. 

Since a 2-1 United win on Feb. 12, 2011, City have become top dog in Manchester, going 10-4-2 against the mighty Red Devils. 

So, what happened to flip this historic rivalry? If you ask Roger Bennett of "Men in Blazers," it's a simple tale. 

"Manchester Derby is just fascinating proof that in football golden dominance is never a given," Bennett told NBC Sports Bay Area. "The tectonic plates are always shifting. For decades, Manchester United were the kings of the north. Sheikh money, oil money pumped into tiny, puny, self-sabotaging Manchester City and made them a superpower overnight. 

"It's really about a team that has been an absolute joke, rising up and absolutely jamming up a team that has humiliated them for decades. It's really about reversal of fortune." 

[RELATED: Rashford spoils Mourinho's return]

Manchester City currently sit in third place in the table, while City have sunk to sixth. 

The Red Devils will look to get back on top Saturday when the two renew their hatred.

Aston Villa vs. Manchester City live stream: Watch EPL game online, on TV

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AP

Aston Villa vs. Manchester City live stream: Watch EPL game online, on TV

Manchester City are playing well right now and can move into second place in the Premier League with a win over Aston Villa on Sunday.

City is coming off a 3-1 win over rival Manchester United in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal, and enter Villa Park looking to pounce on a vulnerable opponent.

The Villans current sit 17th in the Prem and are in danger of being relegated. A win over City would put a little distance between Aston Villa and AFC Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City toward the bottom of the table.

Here's how to watch Aston Villa vs. Manchester City live online and on TV:

When: Sunday, Jan. 12, at 11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT
TV: NBCSN
Stream: NBCSports.com

Liverpool set European record after outclassing Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool set European record after outclassing Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool's march to the Premier League title continued unabated Saturday in a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, but the Reds also made European history Saturday in North London.

With 61 points after 21 matches, Liverpool set a record for points at this stage of a season in one of Europe's top five leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue Un). Paris Saint-Germain (2018-19), Juventus (2018-19), Manchester City (2017-18) and Bayern Munich (2013-14) shared the previous record with 59 points in 21 games.

The reigning kings of Europe fittingly set the record against the foes they vanquished in June's UEFA Champions League Final. Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 on June 1 in Madrid, and the Reds dominated Spurs from beginning to end Saturday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

Liverpool knocked on the door for the entirety of the first half, completely pinning Tottenham in their own half. Roberto Firmino's 37th-minute opener was a long time coming and happened as Spurs' back line -- featuring 20-year-old Japhet Tanganga on his Premier League debut -- finally wilted under the Reds' pressure. 

Spurs struggled to get the ball out of their own half in the first 45 minutes. Squakwa Football noted that Liverpool central defender Virgil van Dijk completed more passes in Tottenham's half than any Spurs player even attempted on the other end. 

Tottenham managed to fight back in the second half, with Son Heung-Min skying a shot over the bar in the 75th minute on a counter-attack sprung by second-half substitute Giovani Lo Celso. Lo Celso missed a volley in the 83rd minute on Spurs' best opportunity to equalize.

Spurs manager José Mourinho wasn't mad. It was just funny to him.

Liverpool laughed last, however, and have more history in their sights en route to the club's first-ever Premier League title. The Reds are 12 matches away from setting the league record for the longest unbeaten streak, and they've now played the equivalent of an entire Premier League season without dropping a match.

A legendary season for Liverpool, indeed.