Old Trafford vs Anfield: Stadium competition hots up as Liverpool set to eclipse Manchester United capacity
Man Utd's Old Trafford stadium is set to be upgraded after Sir Jim Ratcliffe purchased a minority stake in the club. Liverpool will set a new record when they play Burnley on Saturday with 60,000 fans set to be inside Anfield.
The Reds will welcome their largest-ever crowd for a league match following the extension of the upper tier of the Anfield Road End and will surpass the figure of 58,757 supporters that were in attendance against Chelsea in December 1949.
The evolution of Anfield has been magnificent and the capacity is still to increase to 61,000 when all seats in the Anfield Road End are installed. Since Fenway Sports Group purchased Liverpool in 2010, the capacity of Liverpool's historic stadium has increased from around 45,000. Around £200 million has been spent, with the Main Stand also being extended. While FSG may have some detractors when it comes to money spent on players in transfer windows, they scarcely have a critic about the lack of funds provided for infrastructure.
Indeed, the development of Anfield has been starkly contrasting to one of their most fierce rivals Manchester United. Old Trafford is one of the most iconic stadia in the world yet the Glazer family have come in for plenty of criticism for their lack of spending to keep it state-of-the-art.
Former United captain Gary Neville admitted that Anfield surpassing the Theatre of Dreams is 'unforgivable' when speaking on The Diary of a CEO podcast in May.
"I used to laugh when I went to Anfield and compared it to Old Trafford," he said. "I'd always think: 'They can never catch up, they're too far behind'. They're building that second stand now behind the goal where the away fans sit. The main stand now is towering up. Anfield will be a more modern ground than Manchester United and Old Trafford in 12 months. That is unforgivable."
It is reported by ESPN that the Glazer family gave the green light for United's ground to be spruced up a couple of years ago. However, a significant error was made that was a hat tip to Liverpool.
While in charge of the Red Devils, legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson insisted that United played in a darker shade of red than Liverpool - with former kit manufacturer Nike designing a specific hue. Yet when painting Old Trafford, it was in the colour that Liverpool wear.
"They tried to smarten up Old Trafford with a paint job a couple of years ago," a United source told ESPN. "But they messed it up. They used the wrong shade of red.
"When Sir Alex was in charge, he would always insist that United played in a darker shade of red than Liverpool. Nike, kit partners at the time, even designed a specific shade for the team's kit called 'Diablo Red.' The paint they used for Old Trafford is Liverpool red - it's too bright for United."
Sir Jim Ratcliffe recently purchased a 25% stake in United from the Old Trafford and has committed £250 million for the upgrade of Old Trafford and the club's Carrington training ground.