I’ve just finished reading a very well written article about Man United and how the Glazers are stripping the club of money (link is at the bottom of this) while still not putting in a single penny of their own money. While I interrogated the article, I recollected how close we had come to armageddon under our very own Cowboys and then thanked our lucky stars for sensible Yanks (step forward, FSG) and a gentleman manager (Brendan). I also remembered back to when I would argue with a pal about what Liverpool players would get in the Manc side and vice-versa. It took me back to the Dark Ages of Uncle Roy and the closing years of the Manc’s supremacy (spit in the bucket and go to confession).
It was a game of sorts. One that, for a very long time, had me angered and upset that my Mighty Liverpool couldn’t get more than 3-4 players into their side. I did it against other sides too. Chelsea, Arsenal and, for a laugh (and proof things couldn’t get so bad), Newcastle – although that statement in itself says an awful lot. However, with The Guardian article recently read, it seems worthy of exploration to have a look at the Mancs. At Rafa’s peak, we could have pushed to possibly 5-6 players pushing to get into their team, but – for the most part – it was a game used to prove that Liverpool needed to go some way to improve upon their squad.
Let’s go back to August 2011 and the Dark Ages. We’d played Arsenal and the Mancs had just played Newcastle. Here are the sides that played on August 15th and 16th.
Reina Van Der Sar
G Johnson J O’shea
D Agger J Evans
M Skrtel N Vidic
J Carragher P Evra
J Cole Nani
J Mascherano D Fletcher
S Gerrard P Scholes
D Kuyt A Valencia
M Jovanovic W Rooney
D Ngog D Berbatov
There are two Liverpool players who the Mancs would have killed for: Gerrard and Mascherano. However, that’s probably about it in terms of players who would have got into their side. Carra may have had a good fight for a back-four spot, but even then we wasn’t the most mobile. Dirk would run all day, but Valencia knew how to pass it forward. As for Jovanovic and Ngog… don’t. Just. Don’t.
Look at how things have changed now. Here are the teams from the weekend just gone:
Mignolet de Dea
Man for man, I don’t think one Manchester United player would make it into the Liverpool side. Mata and Rooney would be the only ones who would threaten, but then we have players who would likely edge them out. Play the same game with Chelsea, City and Arsenal and perhaps the results may be different, but it would be in the range of 5-7 of our team making it into their teams and only 3-5 coming the other way.
What does it mean? Nothing. It’s a game to amuse while on long car journeys or to strike up a conversation at a party where you know nobody and want to break the ice. It’s just… quite interesting.
It’s quite interesting in terms of the Mancs. Especially with the prediction, pre-season (before their game with Swansea) that they would romp to a top four finish above us. However, having played this game – I would beg to differ. It’s also quite interesting when you consider the points within the article in The Guardian. They are a club on the precipice, but there’ll be no sniggering from this writer. We’ve walked that path and we know how dark it can be. To stoop as low and laugh as loud as they did back then when we were holding on with our finger nails would bring us down to their level.
We go to City on Monday. Play the game with the starting elevens and we’ll see how close we are. Closer than we were last season. And we finished second last year.