So it’s Benfica in UEFA quarters, at least we’ve avoided Fulham! In our favour is that play at the Stadium of Light first. Benfica are top of the Portuguese league and unbeaten at home so on the face of it we look like facing a stern test however, on our day we know we can beat anyone. Let’s hope we have one of those days!
The same applies to today’s game at Old Trafford where inevitably thoughts will turn back to around this time last year and the corresponding fixture. Torres making a monkey out of Vidic, Gerrard kissing the camera, Aurelio’s free kick and even Dossena going a bit of the way to repaying a small fraction of his fee. What would you give for a repeat of this today?
Sadly the circumstances are different. Last year we had a chance of catching The Mancs for the trophy they have now won as many times as we have. No such chance this time as we are simply scrapping for a place in the same European competition as them. However, as the Mancs proved when we were top dogs in the eighties, form and circumstances isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator as to the outcome of this match.
It would be easy to go on about the rivalry between these two clubs and, as a result, view this game apart from our respective priorities this season. However, both sides together with their managers, will be trying to take a step back and not get sucked into the usual Mancs / Scouse hoopla. The Mancs need three points to keep pace with Chelsea and Arsenal. We need three points even more because of the Wigan defeat, an outcome which I suspect wasn’t on our “run in to the end of the season” agenda!
No doubt the Mancs fans will rub our noses in it if they prevail just as much as we will if we win. No doubt there will be the usual original references to signing on and getting a job however, don’t they ring hollow this year as no doubt many of these chants will be spewed out by Mancs fans wearing green and gold scarves? The truth is at the moment both clubs have more in common than they would care to admit. Both are in the same predicament, heavily in debt thanks to the financial philandering of an unscrupulous bunch of American sharks!
I never thought I’d say this but credit to the Mancs for devising the green and gold scarf thing. It is a simple, visually effective reminder to the Glaziers of just how much they aren’t wanted. We have done similar things most recently via some bill board posters The Spirit of Shankly have paid for around the town however, perhaps there is way Liverpool fans can show their disproval individual and more permanently and in amore visual way? However, if we had a scarf protest Hicks would probably have some run up and put them in the club shop!
Anyway perhaps I’m dreamland but maybe today we’ll see the entire stadium united in a chant of “yanks out”? No, I’m getting silly, this is the Mancs after all!
Team wise I assume Maxi will be drafted back in after being cup tied on Thursday other wise the same? I guess it depends if Rafa wants to continue with an attacking line up? The Mancs defence isn’t as solid as it used to be, however I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulled Lucas back from Thursday’s more offensive role and stuck him alongside Mascherano again.
Prediction? Does anyone seriously think I’m going to say that the Mancs will beat us? Actually I genuinely feel that we can get something from this game. Torres will be key and thankfully he appears to have hit form so I’ll say that we will have the best of three goals.
Eyes down for an emotional ride!
By the way this blog now has a full index of match reports since it started in October 2006 so for reports of previous games, against The Mancs since this date click here.