Studs Up


A Mauling
March 14, 2009, 4:35 pm
Filed under: Liverpool FC

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What an amazing week for Liverpool. Given that the opposition were Real Madrid and Manchester Utd, I think even Rafa Benitez would have doubted on Tuesday afternoon that his side would score 8 goals and concede just 1 in their next 2 games, although he would not of course admit it. But make no mistake, Liverpool annihilated Man Utd today, just as they thumped Real on Tuesday. It really does show that things can change very quickly in football, because precisely a fortnight ago Liverpool were losing to Middlesbrough and kissing their title aspirations goodbye.

Before the game, there was much debate as to how Liverpool ought to approach the game given the stunning success of their positive approach against Real Madrid in midweek. And although Utd started the game more brightly than Liverpool, even by the time they had taken the lead Liverpool were beginning to look the better side, and that dominance was not about to be deflected by a single goal. Liverpool stuck to their task and went in to the half-time break deserving their lead. In the 2nd half, they executed a game-plan of counter attacking containment to sublime perfection. Today’s result was a huge victory for Benitez and his tactics, achieved through a foundation of cautious discipline, with the rapier-like combination of Gerrard and Torres providing the icing on the cake.

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Alex Ferguson repeatedly reminds us that he looks forward to this fixture every season, but today he will be massively disappointed. The Utd manager once likened the atmoshpere inside Old Trafford to “a funeral”, and it was telling that in the final stages of the game, only the sound of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”could be heard ringing around Old Trafford. When Steven Gerrard scored Liverpool’s 2nd goal to give Liverpool the lead, one Utd “supporter” couldn’t resist the chance to get a photo of the Liverpool captain celebrating. These are the sorts of fans that no self-respecting club needs, and given the lack of noise throughout the game, it would appear that from a Man Utd point of view there may have been a few too many attendance. They may still be heavy favourites to win the league this season, but today was a horrible day for anyone associated with Man Utd. 

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It would be easy to overreact to today’s result and place Liverpool back in the frame for the title, but I think it is a case of too little too late. Incredibly, given that Liverpool have taken 6 points from their head-to-dead meetings this season, Utd still lead by 4 points having played a game fewer. So unfortunately for Liverpool fans, it is still looking very much like there will be two English sides with 18 League Titles this summer. However, while Utd are behind in terms of trophies, in the short-term it is Liverpool who are playing catch-up, and today was a big step in the right direction. Many have doubted whether Rafa Benitez was capable of mounting a genuine league challenge with Liverpool, but he now has a real opportunity to silence those doubters and give his loyal fans real hope for next season. Plus, Liverpool are still very much in contention in Benitez’s more favoured competition, and they do seem to have hit form at exactly the right time. If Utd do catch Liverpool on 18 League Titles this summer, a 6th European Cup would soften that blow considerably. In the meantime, Liverpool fans should just savour a very, very good result.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Sage words Geoff. I hate to lower the tone, but fuck these Utd c-nuts.

Comment by Adam

Quite right Adam, well said.

Comment by GW




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