Liverpool v Manchester United: Mancs For The Memories – But It’s Not All Been Plain Sailing

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 14, 2009: We've won it five times... Liverpool's Fernando Torres reminds fans of his club's European pedigree as he celebrates scoring the equalising goal against Manchester United during the Premiership match at Old Trafford. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LAST week, after Newcastle, I would have paid close to five figures to have a couple of weeks break from watching the Mighty Reds.

The international break, for once, seemed like something I could really get behind; not that I would spend it watching England or anything demented like that, more that I wouldn’t have to watch Liverpool and their unparalleled ability to piss us all off.

Seven days in I’m clucking around the house, in full addict mode, convincing myself that The Reds are actually boss, the league table is some media bullshit propaganda and playing Manchester United at home is the best fixture we could possibly wish for in our current predicament.

Part of the brilliance of the human brain is its ability to sugar coat our memories, to blank out or water down the bad stuff and lash all of the good stuff right at the front. This probably explains my willingness to play United next, I mean, we have got a good record against them, haven’t we?

In a word, no. Since the Premier League began, The Reds have played United in the league 50 times. Of them 50, we have won 13, lost 27 and drawn 10. Shite that, isn’t it? We have lost over twice as many games as we have won, in what is probably our second most important fixture of the year, second only to playing and beating the Blueshite.

When you stop and think about it, they did have their greatest ever manager in post, with a couple of their greatest ever teams, whilst we were lurching from saviour to saviour and their associated five-year plans, and then took the worst turn ever into a Roy Hodgson, Tom Hicks and George Gillett cul-de-sac. It’s reasonable to think we would have a poor record against them overall given all that has gone on, but there’s no way it was that bleak when we were good, is it?

There’s no fucking way it was that bad under Rafa Benitez. 12 games, eight defeats, three wins, one draw. Fucks’ sake Rafa, what were you playing at you big chess-playing prick? I thought you were the man for the big occasion?

OK, what about Brenno Rodgers, I remember a couple of great days out there. Surely he must be better than that. Seven games, five defeats, two wins. Fucking fraudulent cartoon shark-headed fucker, the two wins were against Davy Moyes for fucks’ sake.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 16, 2014: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the second goal against Manchester United from the penalty spot by kissing the television camera during the Premiership match at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

OK, what about since they didn’t have their greatest ever manager, they have been shite since then pretty much. No fucking way it is that… Eight games, four defeats, two wins, two draws.

Ah, right. Pretty consistent that, isn’t it? We have got a situation whereby Man United beat us twice as often as we beat them, regardless of the context. As a great man once said, “I can’t take much more of this fucking shit.” (Ben Johnson, 2017, after Newcastle, with his head in his hands.)

I am sick of clutching at the scraps lashed down by the universe. When the establishment’s own Alex Ferguson was in charge it felt at times like we were destined never to win again. Forced to scrap about in comforting tittle tattle, like when Ferguson apparently shat his kecks on the side of the M60, or the time that fella volleyed him in the balls while he was waiting for the train. I got through many a bleak second half thinking about him on his knees, clutching his groin with a mix of anguish, agony and disbelief etched across his face.

Rafa’s three wins were up there with the best I ever experienced but for every one of those victories, there were two agonising, excruciating defeats, where Ferguson’s pain after the bollock kicking paled into insignificance to that felt by the Kopites watching the same old shit play out in front of our eyes.

Staying up in Sydney to watch The Reds get beat 1-0 when Rio Ferdinand legged one into the top bin and having to get the first ferry home like a baghead at 6am in the morning. Staying up In L.A. to watch The Reds kick off at 5am in some Bluenose’s bar, only to find out they wouldn’t serve ale till half time, by which point The Reds were well on their way to getting beat 2-0.

Watching the John O’Shea winner go in and then trying to be sick in The Kop. Watching David Beckham run in front of The Kop arms aloft. Wayne Rooney’s winner against Jürgen Klopp’s Reds when they hadn’t so much as kicked the ball all game. The one where Jerzy Dudek lashed in Diego Forlan’s only two shots on target in England. Outplaying them at Old Trafford only for Brad Jones to have a lovely sit down every time they got near our goal. When Sami Hyypia got sent after 10 minutes and they spent the day toying with us, like a cat with an unfit mouse.

We can’t take any more of this shit Liverpool, we refuse to take any more of this shit.

They say you can’t enjoy the highs without experiencing the lows and by Christ we have known some lows in this fixture. That’s probably why our victories stick out so much, why they crowd our memory banks until we think our achievements are greater than they actually are.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 17, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp looks dejected after losing 1-0 to Manchester United during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Close your eyes and take 10 minutes to think about Rafa’s lads, clad in all grey, laying siege. Think about the David N’Gog 2-0 and the state of town after it, the Ry Babs sausage dinner which shook the ground to its knees, the Ste Gerrard, Luis Suarez 3-0 at their place which could have been six, the Suarez hat trick even though somehow they were all attributed to Dirk Kuyt.

Think about them games and imagine having twice as many memories to cherish. Think about those games and imagine having twice as many nights out that didn’t involve trying to forget the match; that didn’t involve conversations running dry until someone breaks the silence with a heartfelt “bastards”.

Think about all of that going into next week. Make no bones about it, this is a bigger game for Liverpool than it is for Manchester United. They will be happy with a draw no questions asked. They will be expecting to turn up, sit tight, and be gifted a couple of chances to score. They will be confident.

The Reds will be desperate to make amends for a shite few weeks; to prove to the league that we are challengers, that we can defend, that we haven’t gone shite overnight.

This, Liverpool, is an opportunity to make amends for years of suffering. This is an opportunity to beat these horrible pricks before they even get out the changing rooms, to set the tone for years of domination in this fixture and let them know what it’s like to lose this frigging fixture.

Let’s get into a big alcohol breakfast, Redmen.

Let’s get into these, Redmen.

Let’s fucking go.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Steven O Sullivan

    We’ll be beaten 1-0. You know,I know it. We all know it.

  2. gunsofbrixton

    Something has changed. For 25 years, whenever this fixture has been on the horizon, I too have believed we are pretty good against them, at least 50-50, and I’ve looked forward to the game, “Yeah let’s go get ’em, let’s take ’em apart!” because sometimes, we do!

    This time, whenever I hear on tv or the radio, “Liverpool and Manchester United on the weekend” I find myself saying, out loud, “No.” Just one word, “No.” As if the game will go away upon my verbal rejection of it. I want it not to happen. I’ve had to admit to myself it is because I feel very sure we will lose, and then I just feel guilty.

    I’ve loved Liverpool for our perennial underachieving, I have, because I can relate to it personally; I’ve loved Liverpool for not being able to hack it in a world where money rules– right on Liverpool! It’s the corporate league that is the problem, not us! But something feels different this season. Maybe my hope(s) have finally died, or been squashed, or maybe they’re just bruised a little. I hope this feeling is temporary. Who knows, maybe Saturday will be our 1/3 chance for a win! (Really, Ben, only 1/3? Why’d you have to go and burst my 50% balloon?) ;o)

  3. Ben…dude…you make me laugh! For the 2nd time in two weeks you’ve summed up exactly how I’ve been feeling, and made me piss myself in the process.

    The 1st international break was bloody inconvenient after the joyous Arsenal game…this one felt like it couldn’t come soon enough…hell I needed it. I needed a break from all things football…articles, podcasts and stayed away from it on TV.

    And yet…slowly but surely, the depression faded and an inexplicable sense of optimism returned. Although it was probably helped in no small measure by watching a replay one of the games that you’re referring to that live large in the memory…the 4-1 at Old Trafford in 08/09. What a day! What a player that Torres boy was too…

  4. That Ferdinand one nil summed up the lower-than-a-snakes-belly level of football reporting that makes UK football journos the butt of so many jokes by their foreign counterparts.

    The Guardian used to (still do? I don’t read it anymore) run a tactical piece on the Monday about the biggest game of the weekend. The day after this game they had David Pleat dissect exactly how Ferguson had out-smarted Rafa tactically and thought him a lesson. What actually happened was we battered them from pillar to post and should have won by 4 or 5 if we could finish open goal chances. United were shite that day and never troubled us till their injury-time corner winner. Yet Pleat and the media in general ran with the usual binary thinking ‘logic’ of ‘x team won so x team must have been the better team’.

    UK football reporters / pundits are laughed at in other countries for their knee-jerk reactions, obsession with the personality of players/managers, for their over-the-top praise / criticism depending on nothing else but the result, for their black and white, binary, base-level thinking and generally for being complete and utter fuckwits. I remember when I lived in Germany years ago one paper even had a weekly section which was basically a ‘let’s have a look and laugh at what the English media have been saying this week!’ That Ferdinand game and the subsequent reporting encapsulated why the Italians, Spanish, Germans, etc all laugh at them.

    And that game was before 99% of the English media petitioned for Hodgson to replace Rafa!!

    Imagine being paid for something you are THAT bad at….?!!

  5. Paul McMaster

    This will make or break my weekend, for the love of God just win, just win!!

  6. These international breaks suck! We just lost Mane for six weeks. I still don’t know what the Ox is doing at Liverpool but maybe now is the time to find out.

    United don’t have the Mop and Pogba. Not sure if Lukaku is tired or jet lagged, but our lot from Brazil will be just as tired/lagged from the trip and if Firmino is in poor form, then expect Coutinho to be doing his impression of American Football kickers again.

    Really miss Lallana here. Hope Jurgen has the team ready to take on Maureen’s United.

    Up the Reds!

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