For the third season in succesion, United have been knocked out of the FA cup by loathed rivals. The previous two defeats against Leeds in January 2010 and City in April 2011 were deserved. This loss at the home of the once mighty, once proud, Liverpool FC was not. United controlled this game almost throughout, yet blew it with poor communication at the end to gift the industrious but mediocre Dirk Kuyt the winner. I understand that Liverpool fans enjoy watching their team beat United as much as I and my fellow reds enjoy seeing United beat, preferably destroy, them but the Liverpool players’ reaction to the final whistle spoke volumes. With all their high fives, hugging and clenched fist gestures to the Anfield Road and Kemlyn Road stands, you would have though they had just won the cup rather than just knocked out their main rivals in the 4th, repeat 4th round. Could you imagine the great Liverpool sides of Souness, Dalglish, Hansen, McDermott et al celebrating a win in the 4th round of the FA Cup in the same manner? Liverpool of that era prided themselves on their business as usual attitude to any victory apart from a cup final or title clincher. I suggest the gleeful Scousers that were watching today’s match at Anfield dig out their Liverpool FC 1970s/1980s DVDs and get all dewy eyed over them as they will never see a team like that again.
United banner for Anfield yesterday (Photo courtesy of Gareth Edwards)
The dirty propoganda forever oozes out of fans of Liverpool Football club when United are about. Today’s rumour, started on Facebook, stated that United fans were spitting on the Hillsborough memorial stone on Anfield Road after the match. The main problem for the lying Scouse bastard who initiated this hearsay was that United fans were still locked in the Anfield road end of the ground when they started this rumour. That didn’t stop a load of self righteous Scousers (is there any other kind), getting on commenting about what scum United fans are. Yesterday, over the tannoy at Anfield, to loud scornful laughter from United fans, it was announced to the crowd that homphobic or racial abuse would not or ever be tolerated at Anfield. This from a club who stoutly and in the face of overwhelming evidence, have continued to support and pay a player of their’s who’s been proven to racially abuse an opponent several times in a match. We’ve all heard racist remarks used in the heat of the moment, it’s wrong in every circumstance, but it happens. Luis Suarez continually racially abused Patrice Evra over a ten minute period yet claims to be victim of a misunderstanding and comically, claims not to be a racist. As United fans sang several times to Liverpool fans and players yesterday to the tune of Sloop John B, “Always’ the victims, it’s never your fault“. The perfectly innocent Patrice Evra was subjected to boo’s from an Anfield crowd who openly and proudly support a proven racist. However, compared to the abuse that Norman Whiteside used to get from Scousers when playing in a United shirt, it was quite tame. In Liverpool in the 1980s, there were children in Liverpool who thought Whitesides’ given name was fuck off. Kenny Dalglish described all the noise as good banter. Evra was blatantly racially abused at Anfield yesterday by Liverpool fans with the clincher being (pictured below) a Liverpool fan making a monkey gesture to him. Presumably Dalglish thought that was just a bit of harmless banter from a lovable Liverpool fan, displaying the wit that they’re forever deluding themselves they’re famous for.
- Monkey gesture from Liverpool fan, Phillip Gannon yesterday aimed at Patrice Evra (The link to the subsequent trial outcome added to this page on the 22nd of June 2012) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-18553376
Having expectedly drawn a blank in the ticket ballot for this match, I was delighted to get a phone call three days before the match from an old pal of mine, Scott, telling me that he had two spares at face price. When we got into the ground it was to our relief that we were under the canopy of the Liverpool fans above, in the upper tier of the Annie Road. Liverpool fans, having been found collectively responsible for the deaths of 39 Italians in Brussels 1985 have, in some sort of Freudian pennance, started behaving like Italians by throwing objects onto visiting fans on the Anfield Road stand below. In Italy, particularly in San Siro, they throw hard fruit, sharpened coins, stones and the coup-de-grace, bottles of urine. Scousers being Scousers naturally have to go one better and in an FA Cup match between Liverpool and United in February 2006, they not only threw bottles of urine onto United fans, in a classic case of Liverpudlian ingenuity they threw a plastic cup onto the United fans that was loaded with excrement.
On 21 minutes from a corner taken by Steven Gerrard, David De Gea, distracted by the world’s most expensive carthorse, Andy Carroll, was caught flapping like a drowning duck for Daniel Agger to head in to an unguarded net to give Liverpool the lead in a game that they’d hardly touched the ball. United had most of the possesion both before and after that goal but were far too cautious with it. Anybody watching the game without knowing the score would have thought United were defending a lead, not attacking a deficit. Patient, calm and controlled play is all well and good in normal circumstances but chasing a deficit at Anfield is not one of those times. Any good oportunities for a devastating counter attack were scuppered by United’s apparent charitable disposition to give Liverpool players time to get back into position. Only once, when Antonio Valencia hit the post on 16 minutes did they look like scoring. On 39 minutes, a brilliant flick from Valencia set up Rafael who refreshingly and for once, threw caution to the wind to cross for Ji Sung Park. The plucky South Korean hit the ball sweetly first time to have Pepe Reina grasping at thin air on his near post for United to equalise in front of the McDonalds sponsored Kop.
Just like the game in the previous round at the Bradford Gasworks stadium, the half time whistle was inconvenient for a United side who had all the momentum. As the second half approached, United fans must’ve looked like a platoon of 5000 American Marines with us using our hands as sun visors to block out the dazzling low sunlight hovering over the roof of the McDonalds Kop. For this reason, the second half boded well for United who were attacking the Anfield Road end of the stadium. Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina was constantly seeking shade in his eighteen yard box and the sunlight was obviously a nuisance to him. As with the first half, United dominated possession without looking threatening. Why United didn’t attempt to exploit Reina’s obvious difficulty and put more pressure on his goal is a mystery to me. The match had replay written all over it until Liverpool scored in the 87th minute from a classic route one move. Reina pumped the ball upfield and Carroll won a header to set up Dirk Kuyt to sprint past a sleeping Patrice Evra to slam the ball past David De Gea’s near post. It was a goal that would have Dave Bassett purring,
If there’s one silver lining on this week’s events it is that it will buy Kenny Dalglish more time to destroy the club, a destruction he started in his first spell. The appointment of Kenny Dalglish a year ago was a knee jerk appointment based on sentimentality. They may win the League Cup, possibly the FA Cup but I’ll show my arse in Debenhams window if he ever wins the title as a manager again. In his first spell, Dalglish inherited the side that Bob Paisley built, the ex Manchester City player Joe Fagan, took care of and then he took all the credit for winning three League titles with a team that he didn’t create. When Dalglish had to build another side, he saw the way the wind was blowing and resigned suddenly in the middle of an FA Cup tie between Liverpool and Everton having just signed David Speedie and the laughable Jimmy Carter. He did a runner citing pressure, left Graeme Souness a complete mess and also the blame. The perfect metaphor for this would be the one about farting then moving away sharply letting somebody else take the blame/credit (in this case, Souness). Even the most Liverpool hating United fan would admit that Dalglish was a great footballer but he has been proven time and again to be a bottler of a manager. I’m just waiting and relishing to see what kind of carnage he leaves behind at Anfield next time he abruptly resigns.
As for us, we can now concentrate on the league and the potentially happy and healthy distractions that a visit to Amsterdam and possibly Bilbao will throw up.