Surely it is way too early in the season to be referring to a trip to Anfield as a must win game, but if we are to harbour any hopes of mounting a title challenge then after defeats to City and Watford, a must win game it is.
Any season that does not involve a title challenge is by definition a failure to meet the standards we have set and so, it is inconceivable to imagine that the season might effectively be over in October. This view is of course a little extreme, we could lose and then go on to greatness. I remember late in the autumn of 98 leaving Old Trafford after a close shave with Leeds Utd and thinking to myself, we’ll win nowt this season – but that was different. This is a team that has so far flattered to deceive. Confidence has a yet to be restored, the swagger I was adamant would be instilled by Jose is notable by its absence. So, a defeat at Anfield would in my opinion be a setback too far in terms of a title challenge.
I have long since believed that Jose is the man for this club and I remain confident that he will bring about the siege mentality that we adore; we love to be hated, because it means we’re winning. I sincerely hope that the nonsense of his pre-appointment, and that quotes such as how Sir Bobby and the board would expect him to behave himself are not suppressing his inner-self. I want the nutcase that is Jose Mourinho, I want the swagger, the ‘I can beat anyone mentality’, the passion, the drama – would the real Jose Mourinho please stand up?
On the pitch, there are signs of recovery. How can I complain? I wanted Jose, we got him, I wanted Zlatan, we got him, I wanted Pogba, we got him. I wanted to see Herrera feature more, and so he is. Equally in previous posts I have spoken that the time for relying on Carrick has passed and so on. The team is evolving into one that, by and large, most reds would approve of. So, it’s time for this to show on the pitch.
Zlatan is a colossus. I literally love him and believe he will be a huge asset for us. However, does his presence dictate our style of play? In a league where so much is being celebrated about the pressing game, (Liverpool/City/Spurs) we are not capable of playing with the same level of intensity. Our squad still resembles a mediocre international team (England?) where possession football is still en-vogue (or not). For this I blame LVG, a good international manager who achieved results in big games, but did not have the capacity to evolve our play against the increasingly stubborn Premier League defences. So back to Zlatan, I want to see him play, I am almost obsessed with watching him to the point that he would justify a player cam return. However, what if…
What if, we didn’t play Zlatan. What if we went for direct pace and power. A front three of Martial, Rashford and (ahem) Memphis. Backed up by Pogba, Herrera and perhaps even Blind in midfield. Could that team press the life out of the opposition like some of our rivals do? It’s just a thought, I know, I am going to hell for even suggesting life without Zlatan but hey, I didn’t even mention Rooney. It was just a suggestion, certainly, having options is a good thing and that team might just rain goals.
So on Monday night we head to Anfield. Yes, I’ll settle for a draw, certainly I think it is essential that we show we have more about us than our Europa League visit last year and equally, we must show that we have learnt from the disastrous first 45 against City. The United I have loved all my life was one that was full of surprises, so, perhaps on Monday night we might just stick it up ’em.
All you need is love? WTF… It’s Thursday night and already my Twitter feed is awash with merciless hatred between us and ‘them’. Yes, ‘them’ – that lot down the road, who despite barely mustering a challenge for much of my adult life, still leave me foaming at the mouth with a tribal hatred that in a normal, rational world would at best be frowned upon, and at worst described as downright prejudice. The clubs made a joint announcement in a call for peace. The response? More piss-boiling antagonism. The hate runs deep; I hate em, my dad hates em and in time, my son will hate them too. Why?
Some will tell you ancient fables that span the decades, stories of the ship canal, the industrial revolution and the stealing of trade. Or you’ll hear how those robbing bastards would raid MCR to rob houses and cars close to the motorway for a quick getaway. I hate them for every Munich reference they’ve subjected me to. I hate them for over a decade of media Scouse worshipping that I had to grow up listening to. I hate them for ‘five times’ despite winning most of them at a time when their opponents were teams like Malmo and Shamrock Rovers (teams that even Notts Forest & Villa could conquer.) I hate them for Istanfuckingbul. How did that happen? (Ed – *shudders)
Perhaps a bit like the theory that the Germans bombed our chippy, every Manc has a theory why.
In reality, I’m not really sure why – well apart from the fact that they’re horrible, rancid, scruffy, robbing rats with an accent that’s akin to scraping nails down the blackboard.
My theory is less obvious. We hate each other because, (deep breath), we’re too similar! We’re descendants of the same tribes. No rivers, lakes or mountains to divide us, our forfathers were their forfathers. Both Cities have one eye beyond the horizon, looking out to the rest of the world. Both cities have strong migrant cultures, both cities have faced their struggles. We’re two tribes from the same same stretch of land, the same cultures, the same music… But only one of us can claim to be King, and so, the rivalry begins. You will probably cringe at the thought of this, but put the theory to the test. How often have you found yourself, a long way from home, I mean, a continent or two away (or darn sarff) and get asked if you’re from Liverpool. To us our accents are poles apart, but to a less trained ear they’re indistinguishable. How often have you met a Scouser in some far flung corner of the world/country and discovered that you get on like a house on fire and, as a result, turned your banter collectively on to some other poor unsuspecting soul?
The further away from home we are, the closer we become. That said, Monday night, we’re in their back yard. Their horrible, grimy, rat infested back yard. We may be blood brothers, but on Monday – I really fuckin’ hate em, cos it’s my birthright.
This article was written by @KstandutdTweet to @TheUnitedWay78