Reds close in on Mancs’ popularity

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It is not just on the pitch that Liverpool are closing the gap on rivals Manchester United: the current Premier League leaders are also winning the battle for new fans around the world.

The biggest-ever survey of Premier League fans across the globe has revealed that Liverpool are on the verge of toppling United from their perch as the best-supported club in the world’s favourite league.

The survey, organised Barclays, polled 32,000 fans in 185 countries and territories.

United remain the most popular club but only by the tiniest of margins with both teams attracting the backing of 26 per cent of the supporters who took part in the voluntary survey.

For Liverpool, that represents a significant advance on the 18 percent figure they registered in a similar but smaller survey carried out by Barclays three years ago.

The popularity of Liverpool’s biggest stars also suggests that United’s status as the most valuable brand in English football is under siege.

Cristiano Ronaldo may have been a near unanimous choice for this year’s Ballon d’Or after inspiring his club to a Premier League and Champions League double. But he trails behind Liverpool duo Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard in terms of popularity among fans.

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