So here we are, desperately clinging on to our Premiership title life. Our finger tips on the edge of a big drop. Lose our grip and we fall into Champions League qualification abyss. Trouble is that our deadliest enemies, our nemesis, are astride us and they have a dirty big hammer aimed at our digits and boy do they intend to use it. TODAY!
If over hyped over exaggerated press reports are anything go by, it seems that Wayne Rooney will be fighting to land the decisive blow. I have no problem whatsoever with his comments about hating us simply because the feeling is reciprocated. He is only articulating what most Reds fans would say about the Mancs and what any Everton fan bought up in Liverpool would say about us! Fergie said
“Hate’s an easy word to say, easier than dislike. Maybe it is not the right word.”
I’m afraid it is the right word but so long as it’s strictly within the confines of football. “Hate” for example doesn’t mean we would want to maim Mancs players or wish them terminal ill just severe and copious amount of embarrassment and failure that’s all! After the game Liverpool and Mancs fans will co-exist, hell they may be even talk to each other, just as Rooney will be mates with Gerrard when he joins up with the England squad?
So to the game and I’m assuming that the likes of Sky who, thanks to the demands of the far east have kept the game in it’s traditional kick off time of “too ***king early”, will see the game as the footballing equivalent of shootout at the OK Coral. A championship decider? Make or break? It is of course none of these but who am I really kidding only a supreme optimist would deny that defeat today will mean that that is effectively that? Even Rafa conceded that the game might be up if we lose.
“If we don’t win it will be very difficult to win the title. If we want to be in the title race we have to win at Old Trafford. If we can play at the same level as we did against Real Madrid, then we can beat anyone.”
Argh the Madrid game. It’s just left the back pages but it already seems to have become a reference point for so many. Any illustration of how everyone would like us to play? I guess for this game it wouldn’t go amiss. I can’t help feeling that playing defensively and trying to hit the Mancs on the break will give us limited opportunities and probably, eventually play into their hands. Better to try and catch them cold and above all, not under sell ourselves? Rafa hinted yesterday that this indeed might be his approach.
“Everything is possible. If we can play with the same high tempo as we did against Real Madrid, and keep possession as well as we did, then we can win the game.”
Perhaps the best way is to blot out the title talk and simply try and treat this as a one off game and simply go for it. Although it’s said we have the title to lose in reality we have nothing to lose whilst The Mancs have everything!
Team wise one wonders what Rafa will do. Torres and Gerrard are fit but eslewhere Riera returns from suspension and Agger is fit. Will he keep things as they were on Tuesday which looked to me to be, as near as dam it, our strongest line up?
Prediction. We should take solace from the performance of Inter on Wednesday who, despite losing, created many chances? However, it always very difficult to separate logic, wishes and reality when it comes to this game. I have a feeling that his could be ours but I always do! Play like we did on Tuesday and in the 2-1 game at Anfield earlier this season and hopefully we will prevail. Would 2-1 to us be too much to ask?
As it’s a key game it’s only right Rafa should have the last words.
“I do not believe they are untouchable, as has been suggested, clearly I believe we can win”