Liverpool suffered another blow away at Manchester United this season, and it’s hard to hide the hurt as a supporter…


IT’S an hour after the final whistle as I write this, so this is still pretty raw.

I say that because you’ll be reading this on Monday after several hours of sleep and probably without the flashbacks of a ball flying off a United defender for yet another corner. You may have come to terms with playing Manchester United off the park for the second time in three weeks and come away with a desultory point.

Maybe it’s a ‘good point’ at this stage. I mean, it’s not but…

Still, it’s a straight shootout between the three of us and all this weekend did was give Manchester City and Arsenal the two points that were taken from them last week.

I wish I could join you in your futurist common sense, but I can’t. I’m still roaring. The shots, the corners, the sheer injustice of it, Bruno Fernandes and, worst of all, fate.

Fate’s a bastard. Fate is rarely your friend.

The playwright James Shirley knew that. In 1659 he wrote “there’s no armour against fate,” and though he was banging on about the Trojan War, he could have been talking about Old Trafford and the inevitability of bastardness. Fate up against your will.

How is it that United can be the worst incarnation of themselves year after year and still call to the heavens for help when things aren’t going well? For all our dominance when Liverpool are playing beautiful football, at a time when Alexis Mac Allister is giving an example of midfield perfection and when we’re getting behind them time and again, United always have fate on their side.

Gary Neville knew this too. His analysis of their shortcomings was forensic in details. But while he poured scorn upon the most acidic scorn onto his team, he did it from a position of experience. He knew what happens when a strong Liverpool don’t put the game away on that cursed pitch. See January 1999 for details.

He knew, as we all do, that Liverpool like to miss a chance. It’s almost as if we can let them go, knowing that there’ll be another along in a minute. We should have been three up at half time. Gary knew that. Gary understands the structure of narrative. The romance of the worst facing the best and being well out of it.

That equaliser.

I mean, it’s a good finish. It’s hard lines for Jarell Quansah, who’s been great this season and doesn’t deserve the online shit he received from shithouses, but to hit that first time from there still takes some doing. I don’t think we would have done that. We would have taken it to the corner flag or something and tried to slot Caoimhin Kelleher in for a shot.

I know, I know. That’s harsh. Afterwards, Jürgen Klopp pointed out that the same lads got us to 71 points so we have to be level-headed, which is fair. Mind you, the same Jürgen was roaring himself hoarse about their second goal. Maybe he was shaking a fist at the heavens. He’s seen this film too.

This is not to say that United just got lucky. We gave Fate a helping hand too. Two hands at times.

Missed chances, poor decision making, Dominik Szoboszlai not shooting in a season where he’s shown everyone that he’s very much a fan of shooting from anywhere. Only today did he decide to alter his outlook by slowing down and having a good think before he laid off a pass.

Harvey Elliott was the opposite. Incisive and single-minded. His run across the box wins the penalty to earn us the point. It’s the least we deserved. Even fate isn’t that arl-arsed.

That equaliser means Manchester United can’t win the league. I would have celebrated that once. Today it feels like they’ve won the game.

It’s a great pen, but given the profligacy of the strikers today, I’m surprised Mo didn’t square it.

This is sour grapes. I realise that. It’s just the bitterness of immediacy and might come across as spoilt or ungrateful, but I too have seen this film before. Even when we were winning trophies by the armful, we’d usually see a game like that at Old Trafford.

Maybe you’re past all this now. Maybe you’re full of ‘we go again!’ chutzpah, but I’m still looking at three games with no victories against – as Josh Williams calls them – ‘the worst coached team in the Premier League’.

They’re still on minus goal difference. The last time Liverpool were on negative goal difference was on August 19 – three minutes into the second game of the season, having drawn the first game. We rectified that 25 minutes later. How have we not put them away?

Ah well, the league isn’t over. We should always learn from disappointing results so a nice win on Thursday should blow away the cobwebs before The Eagles have landed.

(Jesus, first 17th century playwrights and now film puns. You can tell I’m not well.)

I hope we come out of this angry. I hope the three strikers spend the next few days kicking the shit out of their skirting boards as they think back over the game. Games.

Our heads went and that’s natural. It’s certainly natural there. “Embrace the madness,” squawked Neville, but I don’t like madness. I like control and purpose. Soul more than jazz.

Let’s take it out on everyone else now. Let’s just do that.

Sake, Liverpool.


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