The 10-point deduction Everton have received for breaching Premier League Profit and Sustainability Rules has raised plenty of questions over the governance of football in England.

The Blues, who say they were both shocked and disappointed with Friday's decision, are appealing it, but the biggest points deduction of the Premier League era could yet be viewed as a watershed moment for the game in this country.

Many believe the Premier League have acted so decisively and aggressively as a way of showing they are not in need of independent regulation, while Everton fans believe their club is being made an example of after going £19.5m over the £105m threshold of losses for the accounting period in question.

READ MORE: Man City points deduction won't be enough as Liverpool await FFP punishment

READ MORE: Four Liverpool players frozen out as Jurgen Klopp shows his ruthless side

With Manchester City currently fighting 115 alleged breaches and Chelsea also under investigation for conduct during Roman Abramovich's ownership, the Premier League's action could yet prove to be instructive to what comes next for clubs found to be guilty of financial impropriety.

Liverpool, of course, will have more than a vested interest due to their now long-standing rivalry with both City and Chelsea at the top of English football. The Reds, like everyone else in the game, will watch on with great interest as the governing bodies continue to assess the developments behind the scenes.

But while Liverpool have famously shared historic rivalries with Everton, Manchester United and to a lesser extent Chelsea, the battle lines with Man City have been drawn more recently.

The two teams have been embroiled in a number of head-to-head battles on the field for domestic supremacy on and off for the past decade that have included three closely-run title races in 2014, 2019 and 2022.

For all its illuminating brilliance on the pitch, however, it is a rivalry that has become toxic over the last five years or so between the two respective fanbases.

The pair will meet this weekend when second-place Liverpool travel to table-topping City at the Etihad, with kick-off slated for 12.30pm kick-off. That time-slot, which has brought the ire of Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, has been taken after the local safety advisory group, that included Greater Manchester Police, rejected a notion to place the match at the 5.30pm spot.

And with the 115 charges that are levelled at City's door now back into the collective conscience following Everton's deduction, it has only added another subplot to what is already one of the biggest games in world football.

Here's how the two clubs' rivalry has grown in recent years:

For a fixture that has represented the highwater mark of British football in recent years, Liverpool's games with Manchester City are becoming increasingly fraught.

It's difficult to pinpoint the moment when the rivalry between the pair started to descend into what is now surely the most poisonous in the top flight; certainly between those established inside the top six, but it might reasonably be traced back to April 2018 ahead of a Champions League quarter-final tie at Anfield.

As the visitors' team bus rolled into the ground some hours before kick-off five years ago, the vehicle was pelted with cans and bottles by a mindless minority. It was an incident that was later played down by Pep Guardiola, Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne, who said: "Breaking windows is probably not done. But who am I to say something? I'm OK with it, as long as nobody's hurt I'm fine."

"It is not Liverpool, it is the people, maybe one, two or three, but hopefully it does not happen again," added Guardiola. But despite City's stars seeking to make light of the issue, it was one that understandably left many unhappy at the behaviour of those overstepping the mark. It is something that is still referenced in east Manchester, five years on.

"We apologise unreservedly to Pep Guardiola, his players, staff and officials," read a club statement at the time. "The priority now is to establish the facts and offer Manchester City whatever support is necessary." City were reportedly frustrated that not a single arrest was made following the vandalism, however.

Flash forward 13 months to May 2019, shortly after Guardiola's side had prevailed in a breathless run-in that had taken the Premier League's title race to a new level, and the tensions between the two sets of fanbases escalated further.

Having secured 98 points to Liverpool's 97, City's players were in party mode during the short journey back to Manchester after their 4-1 win over Brighton on the final day of an exacting campaign that had been punctuated by the extraordinary levels of quality and consistency in the final months.

"All the way to Kiev, to end up in defeat, crying in the stands, and battered on the streets, Kompany injured Salah, victims of it all, Sterling won the double, the Scousers won f*** all, Allez, allez, allez," some members of the team sang on the flight back from the south coast.

Liverpool were appalled at the video that emerged, in particular the line "battered on the streets", which was seen as a clear mocking of Irish Reds fan Sean Cox, who was left with life-changing injuries to his brain after being attacked by Italian thugs outside Anfield before a Champions League semi-final with Roma the season previous.

City rejected suggestions any of the song was a reference to either Mr Cox or the Hillsborough disaster, despite the incendiary line, "victims of it all", and its connotations to what happened at the Leppings Lane end in Sheffield over three decades ago.

"It wasn't long ago that a Manchester City fan was attacked in Germany, so why they think it's okay to sing songs about people being attacked on the streets when one of their own was attacked not long ago is very naive," said Mr Cox's brother, Martin, at the time. "I think they've tarnished themselves now by coming out with songs like that because at the end of the day they are professional footballers and they've only let themselves down and their club down."

A Liverpool investigation was opened in October 2021 when members of the City backroom staff had alleged they were spat on during the 2-2 draw at Anfield. "I'm pretty sure that if it happened, what the people told me, I'm sure Liverpool will take measures about this person. Liverpool is much greater than this behaviour," Guardiola said. No evidence was ever found.

City were then forced to apologise last year when some of their fans booed a minute's silence to honour the victims of the Hillsborough disaster on the 33rd anniversary before an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in April 2022. The Citizens said they were "extremely disappointed" with those who took part in the booing and offered their '"sincerest apologies" to Liverpool and those affected. “These people don’t represent who we are; who we want to be," Guardiola added.

That same month, after a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Etihad - in what was yet another 90-plus point title race of high-strung quality - one Liverpool supporter made a direct complaint to Manchester City with regards to the ongoing baiting over the eventual deaths of 97 match-goers at Hillsborough in 1989.

An investigation was launched by City after a clip had been widely shared on Twitter and in an email chain seen by the ECHO last year, City's supporter compliance manager claimed they had identified offenders "for throwing offences and mocking Hillsborough" and handed down what was described as "significant bans from the club" for those found guilty.

Sanctions for Hillsborough chanting would have represented something of a landmark decision in English football and potentially act as a huge deterrent going forward, but City declined to make their apparent statements public and did not reply to requests from the ECHO for more information regarding the said punishments when contacted last year.

It was surely the 1-0 victory for Liverpool in October of last season that truly saw tensions boil over, however. Mohamed Salah's goal was enough for Klopp's men to secure a morale-boosting win but it was events off the pitch that became the real story of the day at Anfield.

Once more, the away end was populated with those singing about Hillsborough, which led to a firm and swift response from Liverpool, who said they were "deeply disappointed to hear vile chants" relating to the disaster saying the chanting has had a profound impact "on the families, survivors and all those associated with such disasters".

Club sources, who were understandably furious, were also quick to pass over a handful of images to the ECHO that detailed the vandalism on the club's away concourses, with much of it relating to both the Hillsborough and Heysel tragedies. The decision was taken at the time not to publish the pictures online or in print.

The same match saw Guardiola accuse some Reds fans of throwing coins at him midway through the game, saying: "They didn’t get me, they [will] try it again next year. All these coins, they tried, but didn’t get it. They got the coach years ago!"

City also later claimed their bus had once again been targeted on its route out of the city towards the M62. Those suggestions were never proven after it was looked into by Merseyside Police.

Quite remarkably City would later brief some in the media that they felt Klopp's comments in his Friday press conference prior to the Sunday afternoon match, where he talked up the level of spending power at the Etihad, were bordering on xenohpobic due to their owners being Abu Dhabi-based. The ugly fallout from that mid-October meeting was blamed on the manager's pre-match words by uncredited sources at Man City.

It was seen by some as a shocking attempt to distort the narrative after City had refused to offer a public apology for more shameful Hillsborough chanting. "In this specific case (of xenophobic accusations), I don't feel hit at all," Klopp said. "I know myself and you cannot hit me with something that is miles away from my personality.

"If I would be like this - I actually can't remember the word (xenophobic) - I would hate myself for being like this. A lot of times I say things that are open for misunderstanding, I know it, but it's not intentional. Sometimes you say things and then later you realise 'oh my God! that could be understood [differently]' but this is not one of those times. It was not."

Klopp has since taken legal action for the remarks, which came after he had been sent off for an outburst at fourth official Gary Beswick in the closing stages of the match. The manager was incensed at the failure to award Salah a free-kick after a late tangle with Bernardo Silva, a player who has previously been embroiled in online spats with Liverpool supporters himself.

“I am not sure we have to be best friends with other clubs," Klopp subsequently said. “I don’t think anybody wants to be best friends with us. It is a completely normal competition. It started here [in Friday’s press conference] with a question and I answered it and all the rest was made of it. I know what I thought when I said it and I thought I put it in perspective and said how much I respect what they [City] are doing.

“Obviously it was still not right for some, As a club and a team with our supporters we showed an incredible performance. And then if something happens and one fan throws a coin it is a massive mistake and it will get punished, definitely. It looks like a super intense game was overshadowed because it was a brilliant performance against an incredibly strong side.”

The Carabao Cup game just before Christmas last year was another chapter of excellence on the pitch as the two teams played out an exciting 3-2 victory for City just days after the World Cup in Qatar had ended. But, like the game earlier in the campaign, it became one that made the wrong kind of headlines.

Greater Manchester Police launched an investigation after a 15-year-old girl was left with facial injuries by a bottle loaded with coins that was thrown from the away end on December 22. Paramedics were called to the scene with the father of the teenager later saying "we need to do better societally."

Daniel Corwell tweeted alongside a picture of his daughter's blood-stained City scarf: “500+ football matches in 100+ stadia and I’ve never experienced anything like I did tonight. Horrible. Thanks to the paramedics, police and stewards that helped after the event.

"She’s OK now but still really shook up. Awful experience. She seems fine if very shaken and with a scar for life. Not sure if she’ll fancy heading back soon." Liverpool CEO Billy Hogan reached out to Mr Corwell to offer any help that might be needed while delivering a personal apology.

That appalling incident came just days after both clubs and their respective supporters' groups had convened to piece together the best course of action to try and minimalise the rise in unsavoury off-field incidents during the fixtures. Both clubs remain deeply committed to improving relations that have unquestionably soured in recent years and Mr Hogan, alongside his Man City counterpart Ferran Soriano, wrote a joint letter urging fans to focus only on events on the pitch.

"The passion and enthusiasm that we see from our fans when we play each other – at the Etihad Stadium or Anfield – is part of what makes matches between our clubs so special, and we know you are committed to creating a stadium environment where everyone is welcomed, accepted and has a fantastic matchday experience," read the correspondence.

"Regrettably, based on recent meetings between our clubs, we also know that a minority of fans are responsible for behaviours and actions that have no place in our game. We are therefore writing to ask for your full support in tackling these behaviours and to ensure that both of our Clubs’ good names are preserved. You can help us by reporting any incidents via the options at the bottom of this email so they can be investigated.

"We appreciate that some fans may not be aware of the impact of their behaviours on other fans, both inside and outside the stadium, and we will continue to work with our fans on this education."

In a joint statement, Manchester City’s elected fan network, City Matters, and the Liverpool Supporters Board also commented: “Over the past five or six seasons, our matches have been some of the most entertaining in the world. However, we can’t ignore the recent poor behaviour from a small number of fans on both sides, which has often overshadowed the results and the quality of football on show.

"That’s why we were pleased to sit down with both clubs to improve relations and make commitments to working together to improve fan behaviour at future matches."

The reduction of Liverpool's allocation for last season's Premier League game was viewed dimly on Merseyside. The Reds were handed only 2,382 tickets for the 4-1 loss at the start of April, which was a reduction of around 500 from the previous year's fixture. That allocation itself was down from over 3,000 in January 2019 after it had been classified as a "high-risk game" by the Ground Safety Advisory Group.

"We acknowledge there have been issues involving both sets of supporters in recent seasons, but this course of action is counter-productive," read a Spirit of Shankly statement. "At the corresponding fixture in 2022, Liverpool fans experienced overzealous stewarding and policing, and were locked in the ground after the match with no access to toilets.

"Such undue treatment of supporters serves only to increase tension, which SOS fed back to Greater Manchester Police at the time. Now, it appears, Liverpool supporters are to be penalised further. We understand reduced allocations at the Etihad have also happened to other clubs, which don’t seem to be about away fan behaviour, but poor crowd management."

Despite its elevated status in the last five years of Premier League football, this fixture is, sadly, one that is descending more into infamy, despite the best efforts of both clubs, who have made a concerted attempt to resolve the situation. It is hoped that Saturday's talking points will be solely confined to the brilliance on the pitch.

A version of this article was first publishes in March 2023