It was nice to have some positive fall out from one of our matches, the Europa League tie with Young Boys.
The key line was that we came from behind to win, with everyone seemingly forgetting that before that we were in front twice! However, let’s not be churlish, it was good performance with LFC Youth gaining valuable experience. BR protected key players and did well with his decision to introduce more experience just when, at 3-2 down, it looked as if things might go pear shaped. Naysayers will no doubt pick and poke at our faults on the day, particularly in defence, however this a was a one off shadow side so, although the observations are valid, they are only so for one game?
One of the reasons for Thursdays weakened side was the need to rest players for today. The Mancs games always bring on different feeling in me than other fixtures. Anyone who has been to one of these games and experienced the atmosphere will know it’s different, but not necessarily for the better. Despite this Liverpool v The Mancs, regardless of our fall in recent years, is one of THE games in world football. In these isles I would say that it’s only rival is the Glasgow Derby, although from a personal, parochial experience Chester v Wrexham used to run both close (God bless you Burg)!!!!
In recent times this fixture, as if it needed it, has attracted added attention because of the Suarez Evra incident and all it’s fallout. The other is today. I’m not religious but it is almost as if some power beyond us has set this up, it’s our first home game after the recent Hillsborough findings and it’s against the Mancs. Although we were playing Nottingham Forest on that fateful day it was inevitable that, as time when on, The Mancs, because of Munich, would assume a prominent feature in the aftermath. Both clubs have now experienced disaster and loss however, before 15th April 1989 some of our fans were less than chartable in their attitude to the sad events of 6th February 1958.
As a Liverpool fan I’m more than aware that today we are asking the Mancs fans to buy into our situation when, for years after 1958, we didn’t with their own. No one after the Munich disaster ever suggested that there was a time for the Munich chanting to stop. It took Hillsborough for Liverpool fans to shut up so why should the Mancs fans fall into line with us because of last Wednesday? For all those years after 1958 many Liverpool fans never ever gave the Mancs a consideration?
We need to recognise this So tomorrow I hope that we take time to remember the Munich disaster even though everything after last week is weighted towards Hillsborough. Is it right to expect The Mancs to sit through our tributes when they have clear seemingly unresolved issues over the way certain Liverpool fans have behaved over Munich, do they not hurt too? Even though the truth re Hillsborough has been revealed why, because of what we’ve chanted over the years, should we expect them to fall into line and go along with everything that’s been planned for today? Fergie, to his immense credit, has gone out of his way to try and lay the grounds for a smooth trouble free day however if we add in the Suarez Evra issue, which should be secondary (grow up boys and shake hands), you’ve by no means a situation where everyone tomorrow will do what the rest of the nation will expect them to do?
From what I’ve heard Liverpool have put in to place enough plans for Hillsborough however, we need to offer something to the Mancs This is why Robbie Fowler’s suggestion that Suarez and Evra, via floral tributes laid at the appropriate ends of the pitch, should remember Hillsborough AND the Munich disaster seems wholly appropriate. It’s a fantastically daring and potentially provocative suggestion but sometimes you just need to take the bull by the horns to get people to face to up to things?
Team news well clearly Rogers will make big changes from Berne and the result I hope we win but, above all, I hope both sets of fans move on.
Today, by a quirk of the fixture list is a golden opportunity to draw a line under years of petty points scoring and one-upmanship. All fine in normal circumstances however in this particular case it has been at the expense of the dead. Today is an opportunity to keep the rivalry, and even the hatred, but to limit that to football. If not then at least let’s have mutual agreement over when enough is enough? If it’s not done now when will it ever be?