Internal Spyin Kop - Man Utd vs. Liverpool - Sun 14th December - 1:30pm

Posted by Titi Camara on November 20, 2014, 01:17:53 PM


1. David Moyes, "The Moyesiah" or "Fuck Off"? Harshly treated and poorly backed or out of his depth and rightly sacked?

JohnnoWhite - I was prepared to give him a fair measure of leeway – especially when he was awarded a 6 year contract on the basis that WHOEVER followed SAF was on a good hiding to nowt. The thing that worried me most about him was his public utterances – like “we are trying to win” or “we hope we will be successful” and the ultimate “Liverpool are favourites today” !!  In front of camera he was uninspiring and that element of his PR style never did improve.
At the end of the day, United are a club well used to success certainly over the last 25 years - and the non-tradition-respecting profile of the Glazers weren’t going to tolerate non-progression were they? I don’t think I disagree with the decision to dispense with his services. I say this mainly because of his failure to project any hint of confidence or any indication that he KNEW he had problems with his PR. At press conferences , which he HAD to have recognised that there would be many, it was unforgiveable that he either didn’t know or didn’t believe that he had a problem. The reality was that he projected defeatism at almost every single one. Couldn’t have that from the appointed leader.

RossoBianchi - Nothing against Moyes the man but the job was far too big for him and I don't buy into the claims that he would have 'turned it around given the time'. The evidence, from his wretched nine months in charge, suggests otherwise. Let's be honest, he was woefully out of his depth and possessed neither the charisma or self-confidence needed to succeed. I remember being at the Fulham home game (2-2) thinking 'Where's the game plan?', 'Why is Mata on the wing?', 'Stop fucking crossing it.' It was walking out of that game that I knew it was purely a matter of time before he was hooked. The fans started turning and the 3-0 home defeats to you lot and City were the two final nails in the coffin. It got to the point where we'd been smashed by our two biggest rivals and I felt numb to it... like almost just a shrug of the shoulders. He had to go.

tonysleft - Rightly sacked. We were obviously going backwards under him and the players had no faith in him. Some days we were attempting to play direct and some days we were going possession, each with equally little effect. Out of his depth and clueless, and it was only getting worse.

Cantona - I think Moyes is a decent bloke and a good manager who just wasn't up to the size of the job at United. Out of his depth and rightly sacked but I wish him well.

dernoom - Moyes was never meant to be, it was a bad appointment. The squad though wasn't good enough to finish at the top but neither that bad to finish where we did. Rightly sacked, its better for him and the club.

Busby - Definitely rightly sacked. He had money to spend in the summer and dithered about and ended up with Fellaini (when Herrera, Strootman and Thiago were all realistic options) and he started slating our team from day one, alienating players and lowering morale. He was like Hodgson in the 'loved by the media and lauded as a nice guy when he's not really' stakes. I never took to him. He always seemed out of his depth, his style didn't suit the club and he didn't have the ability to match our aspirations. The best he could have hoped for was turning us into a big budget Everton which absolutely nobody anywhere wanted. You know a season has went badly when it's greatest memory is the sacking of your manager.

2. Louis "smoke and a pancake" Van Gaal, the right man for the job or an arrogant tyrannical lunatic...or both?

JohnnoWhite - He wasn’t my number one for the role – sure he’s been “there” and perhaps "done" certain “thats” at some of the best clubs in Europe. So what? His style and demeanour for me was unimpressive. For a Nederlander his command of English was less than I would have expected. That said, there were plenty of times you
“cuddnae understan’ “Fergie o’ course!
If it is at all possible, I do think he is more arrogant that Fergie. Arrogance is a trait I cannot stand. No need for it in football. Gobbing off in front of the cameras counts for Jack and just makes enemies. Aloysius Paulus Maria "Louis" van Gaal’s arrogance is of a different kind. It's a sort of aloofness than Fergie's was but just as misguided in my view. With a well-set up and prepared side and quality players knowing their roles, why would ANY manager need it when his side would do the talking for him on the only place it mattered - the park!
I think he’s there for good or ill for at least 2-3 years. Whether he’s responsible for inspiring upward table progress or whether Lady Luck lent a hand is arguable. I remain to be convinced that he is the right man to command sustained success.

RossoBianchi - I saw a nice quote the other day which pretty much sums it up... When Moyes took the reins, it was like he had to prove himself to the players. With Van Gaal, it's the players who have to prove themselves to him.
100% the right man for the job but that doesn't mean he's infallible and in fact, has made a few strange decisions that I don't agree with. I don't understand his fixation with Fellaini - a truly awful footballer. And when we play five at the back with Carrick, Fellaini, Mata, Rooney and Van Persie in midfield and up front, we are woefully one-paced like we were at Southampton. Surely he must see that we need the likes of Di Maria, Januzaj, Wilson etc to give us some pace; even Valencia involved higher up the pitch. Obviously the injury situation has been utterly ridiculous so I've certainly cut him some slack for the slow start but I'd like to see us 'performing' better and with four at the back, rather than grinding out wins each week - as welcome as that has been recently. I think in terms of the way he comes across in press conferences and interviews, he's been superb and has the sort of self-confidence and puffed-out-chest that a Manchester United manager should have. Compare and contrast to Moyes who said, upon being told he would be United manager, that 'the blood drained from my face'.

tonysleft - We are a better fit for him than Bayern so I hold out hope it won't go tits up, which it only seemed to because he's a control freak. We're a good club for a control freak, unlike Bayern or Barca. Maybe we are the most similar club to Ajax in terms of managerial freedom he has had since them. Part of me still thinks it's going to go tits up come his second season but he seems very measured so far.
And obviously on the footballing side of things I have huge faith in him and think he's the right man.

Cantona - Bit of both, I like my managers to have an arrogant streak and to rule with an iron fist, as long as they know what they're doing of course. So far Louis seems to be doing fine. I'm a bit disappointed he's not done anything crazy yet like the media promised us all summer, but i've loved his press conferences.

dernoom - Too early to tell, but what he has is clear ideas even if rigid at times. He also is starting to win playing poorly. He has had to deal with a horrendous few months with injuries and a poor poor start. But results wise there has been a significant shift. To answer, he is a bit of both which is great.

Busby - I think he's the right man for the job. He's arrogant certainly and he has to have complete control but sure we're used to that. He didn't get it at Bayern or Barcelona but he's got it here. With his track record and the money we're willing to invest I can't see him being anything other than a success. It'll take time though...

3. Summer transfers, you spent heavily, the majority of which was spent on areas not in dire need whilst seemingly ignoring the areas desperate for reinforcements/upgrades. What was your take on how the cash was spent and how have the new recruitments faired since coming in?

JohnnoWhite - Disappointed to be honest with the intake. Defensively we showed we were suspect. Had been since Fergie finished yet we did nothing specifically about it. Bill Shankly used to say the strongest sides were built on a spine (keeper centre half centre forward) We have a decent keeper but no dominator/leader at the heart of our defence. Also we never addressed the requirement for a world class striker. RVP seems to have lost his edge since Aloysius Paulus Maria "Louis" van Gaal came.
Di Maria aside, I don’t think any of them has covered themselves in glory. When Shaw was at Saints, he always impressed me at least when on the ball. OK I know he’s picked up injuries since he arrived but Christ, since watching him wear our red shirt, sometimes he’s looked like he’d never seen a football before! Herrera, Rojo and Blind too flatter to deceive on too many occasions and the least said about Falcao the better. If that’s good business then I’m a ferkin’ Dutchman!

RossoBianchi - I disagree. We needed quality in midfield and we got Di Maria, Herrera and Blind. We needed a left-back and a centre-back and we got them in Shaw and Rojo. The jury is still out on Rojo but I think he's done pretty well. Shaw took a while to get going, due to injury and is out again, but started to really show his class. The three midfielders mentioned have all done very well in spells but have all had their progress halted by injury too. Falcao has never been up to fitness since he arrived and I don't think we'll see him in top form until the New Year - putting aside the financial side of things, I'm not too fussed by that as we have Rooney, RVP and the excellent young Wilson all in good form. We're clearly still short of a reliable centre-half that doesn't have Ebola/Polio/The Black Plague and we still need another deep-lying midfielder as Carrick, as good as he is, is 34 next summer. Hummels and Strootman would be the ideal duo; whether we could snaffle Hummels is another matter.

tonysleft - Our entire squad needs players bar the goalkeeper position so I don't think there's a place that it could have been badly spent. We're still using Fletcher the odd time despite buying 3 CMs (I count Di Maria as a CM in the diamond, where he plays). Falcao is the only one I think we'll regret simply because I think Welbeck had a place in the squad and we should have kept him. Everyone else I'm happy with, particularly Blind. Di Maria is a sensational player who has suffered from us abandoning the diamond, Herrera also performs much better in the diamond but in general is very good for us. Rojo stays fit.

Cantona - Well I disagree it wasn't spent on areas in dire need, we've needed a sparkling player fit to wear the number 7 shirt ever since Ronny packed up for Spain and in Di Maria we finally have that.
We have a functioning midfield once again and i'm a big fan of Blind and Herrera.
Shaw will be a future superstar of that i've no doubts, like Rooney all those years ago that huge fee will look like an absolute bargain in the future.
Rojo is the only one i'm unsure of, but I like his attitude and he seems tough so we'll see how he does, it's got to be hard for him playing with a makeshift defence every other week, comprising usually of young players.
Falcao was the only vanity buy, but fucks sake it's FALCAO. If you get the chance to sign him (on the loan to buy deal we have) and he gets back to his previous form, it's well worth the gamble IMO.
Look, i'm under no illusion that we overpaid in many cases, but due to a lack of investment over the past few seasons we've fell way behind Chelsea and City. Whether that was due to the debt imposed upon us, Fergie's ego that we didn't need to spend as much to compete or indeed Fergie's genius that meant we still kept winning, who knows? Probably a bit of all of the above. It's great to see us punching at our weight again regarding transfers and I see similar investment in the future, which is exciting as a fan. I'd like to see us get back to our previous policy of a marquee player every season (or every other) supplemented with buying the best young talent on offer.

dernoom - Not sure about majority, we needed midfielders and we got two, both good. ADM is world class and we needed an outlet that was missing since Ronaldo left. Shaw has been brilliant the few times he played and is nailed on to become better. CBs are impossible to get and without CL it was even tougher. Ideally I would have liked a world class CB no doubt, but where are they who is available. Apart from Benatia who chose Bayern understandably. Maybe we should have been smarter and gotten Garay before he fucked off to Zenit for some reason. Falcao is one which has me a little concerned though , he is class but his fitness issues are real and it was a panic buy and a show of intent more than anything else.
But overall, it was a very good transfer window personally speaking.

Busby - I was happy with the players we brought in. Ideally we would have brought a top class centre-back in but the only team to do that in the summer were Bayern (Benatia). There wasn't a great deal of them about. Marcos Rojo has looked very raw; he's brash, aggressive and determined. One game he's brilliant and lifts the crowd and the next he's all at sea. I think he's one of those that's either going to become a cult hero or get shipped off in the next few years. Luke Shaw looks like a nailed on world class player. I'd be amazed if he didn't end up that way, he's got it all. Daley Blind was very, very good up until his injury. Very intelligent player who is always in the right place to receive the ball. There was a massive gap between defence and midfield which was hurting us and he basically single handedly fixed that. I rate him highly. Ander Herrera is probably my favourite of the new signings (not the best mind). He's aggressive, determined and technically very good. A spanish midfielder ready made for the english game. Angel Di Maria is one of the best players in the league and Falcao, well who knows really. He's barely played ,just a few cameos here and there. Juries still out on that one.

4. What were your aspirations coming into this season?

JohnnoWhite - To see the beginnings of him building a unit that played the United way and would have been satisfied to “settle” for a top 6/8 finish whilst in the process of re-building and getting a quality squad that showed signs of gelling into a TEAM/SQUAD with an excellent work ethos and a traditional United identity. I never wanted just headliner signings.

RossoBianchi - Win the FA Cup (it's been far too long and we have no European distractions) and show serious league progression (minimum top 4) so that we're not necessarily challenging at the top but close, with a view to making a real title challenge next season. We're well placed at present but would like to see us start dominating games and putting teams to bed. We're getting points on the board but haven't been convincing.

tonysleft - Top 4 with anything beyond that being a bonus, sticking to that.

Cantona - To finish in the CL places and enjoy watching us play again, we're on course to do that, it could be better but I really feel we're getting there.

dernoom - Top 4 minimum. Play better football, get the rhythm & confidence back. Be tactically smart and win at any cost, dirty/lucky/gritty.

Busby - I hoped we'd win the league (as always) but realistically the plan was always to get back into the champions league and strengthen further in the summer.

5. High point of the season so far?

JohnnoWhite - Still waiting for one! ;D

RossoBianchi - Winning at Arsenal and stealing the win at Southampton on Monday night.

tonysleft - Probably the last minute Chelsea equaliser because we played well. Soton and Arsenal don't count because of the horrendous performances at times. The Hull game was very satisfying for the total domination.

Cantona - Being in the CL spots after a run of difficult games against Chelsea, City, Arsenal and Southampton,seeing so many academy players getting a chance in the first team and of course having a proper number 7 again.

dernoom - Winning 5 in a row. Beating Arsenal as usual. To be fair, there hasn't been one high point, it has been a steady improvement and signs.

Busby - Probably Rooneys goal against Arsenal. Was looking like we were going to mess it up and that goal just took the pressure away (for about five minutes).

6. Low point of the season so far?

JohnnoWhite - Has to be the complete capitulation to Leicester when the game should have been closed out completely professionally, ought to have been but amateurishly and disgracefully wasn’t. It should have been beyond any possibility of recovery for ANY side that were 3 down.

RossoBianchi - August. I thought we'd come bouncing into the season and despatch Swansea, MK Dons, Sunderland and Burnley with ease. We were shite. The injuries, as a whole, have been a massive low.

tonysleft - Easily Leicester. Can't even watch the brilliant Di Maria goal from that game after that.

Cantona - Falling apart against Leicester, after the thrashing of QPR I thought we'd turned a corner (TM)  that game brought me crashing back down to the reality that there was still a long, hard season ahead of us and it will not be easy to finish in the CL spots.

dernoom - Amateurish bottle job at Leicester. Shocking capitulation.

Busby - Leicester. Rafael got fouled twice and somehow that's a penalty. Not bitter about it though....

7. How has it felt watching Liverpool and City in the Champions League this year whilst you've been sat out?

JohnnoWhite - Can honestly say we got what we deserved end of last season – which was NOWT and so all my disappointment was expended then. The old proverb “crying over spilt milk never did anyone any good” comes into play so haven’t felt cheated or felt jealous of any of the teams that earned their place in the competition.

RossoBianchi - I've thoroughly enjoyed it.

tonysleft - Not too bad seeing how their campaigns have gone so far. We know what will happen Arsenal in the last 16 so who cares about them, Chelsea have a decent shot of winning the thing.

Cantona - Watching Liverpool struggle in the CL has been a different sort of entertainment.  but being serious it's been hard. I miss it desperately.

dernoom - When Cl actually started it had already been 4/5 months since the reality of no cl football. Thus, it didn't affect me as much. Watching Liverpool has been...well..hilarious. I didn't expect Liverpool to do wonders but to actually scraping just one win against mighty Ludogrets and bow out like this is terrible. I think all the hardwork to qualify demands better results. City surprised me in the end, although I always expect City to do well as they have a good team who are no longer inexperienced in CL.

Busby - Like an evening playing cluedo with Michael Owen; grim.

8. What have you made of Liverpool's season so far, the performances of both the manager & the players?

JohnnoWhite - Like yourselves no doubt, I would have to say extremely surprised and not a little disappointed in the loss of the cohesion that took Liverpool to the brink of title number 19 at the end of 2013/2014. I always say that once the players cross that white line at kick-off on match day, the manager can play no more part except call the substitutions when the players either get injured or don’t follow the agreed game plan.
There’s a lot more press hype surrounding Rodgers just lately with the Gerrard situation bubbling. This too is a surprise to me because if Gerrard’s career twilight-time can’t be handled better than this, then what is it really all about?

RossoBianchi - In all seriousness, I've found Rodgers' signings and decision-making absolutely baffling at times. There's something about him that I really, really dislike. I think in a way he has some sort of self-hype that he plays up to, almost at times trying to be too clever and prove himself as something special; like with Balotelli, it was almost like Rodgers thought 'if anyone can get the best out of this guy, I can'. Clearly Liverpool have been hugely hampered by the injury to Sturridge whose movement, pace and fluidity is crucial to how the team plays. But where's the depth? Sturridge has always been injury-prone so why go into a season, where you'll have more games, with only one mobile striker? The likes of Coutinho, Sterling, Henderson, Lallana etc all thrive off having a striker who pulls defenders all over the place and creates space for them to drive into. Right now, there is no space. Balo and Lambert are the complete antithesis of Suarez and Sturridge; they play within the width of the box and hardly move which completely hampers the midfield. I just don't understand Rodgers' thinking behind those signings; I don't know how close you came to getting Sanchez but that's the sort of player you would have hoped to see replace Suarez. I read somewhere that Liverpool are 15 goals down compared to this time last season, and bear in mind it was really after Christmas when you blitzed everyone away. Therein lies the story; the failure to replace Suarez with proven quality and the overwhelming reliance on a fully fit Sturridge.

tonysleft - Shocked that £100m odd gross spend in the summer has left you still reliant on a 19 year old signed years ago and an injury prone striker who cost a fraction of these other players. Pretty much everyone has regressed from what I've seen. I would be amazed if Rodgers were sacked though, he has shown he has the managerial capacity to create a brilliant side so time should be given to allow him to do it again. Really surprised at how far backwards some players like Henderson and Coutinho have gone too.

Cantona - Well you've been crap bar Spurs. I knew you'd miss Suarez but to the extent you have is unbelievable, it's like a totally different side to last season.
I think Rodgers is a good coach and will get you playing decent football again once the new signings come around to his way of thinking and you buy a couple of mobile strikers to complement it. You won't reach the holy grail of 2nd again for a good while though.
I do think you messed up in the summer, you'd have been better off adopting our strategy of overpaying for the right players and giving your youth players a chance to fill in the gaps, they couldn't have done much worse could they?

dernoom - Shambolic transfers. You cannot spend that much and end up with a bunch like that. Should have just bought 2/3 great players(though not sure who and how. As its easier said than done). I don't buy the hindsight comment of taking example of Soton or West Ham , no one had a clue if Pelle/Tadic , Song/Sakho etc. would have been this effective and no one wanted them then. But lets look at who you got,
Lovren, extremely poor signing and anyone who knew about him since his Zagreb and Lyon days says the same. Their fans are mostly unanimous in this and I was shocked to see so much money being spent on him.
Balotelli, the boy has talent. But it has come to a point when you start to wonder that all this talent is of no use. And I have no idea who thought Balotelli would suit Liverpool's style. Maybe Rodgers or whoever,  wanted to make a point to the footballing world that look we can make this madness make sense.
Markovic looks out of his depth. Moreno, decent but cant defend (will be still good eventually). Lallana good enough but not class enough to take liverpool to the next level. Can, haven't seen enough to comment but unclear of what his actual role is in a midfield. Lambert, not good enough.
To sum it up, Liverpool have made a right mess of the transfers. The decent ones and potential good buys (Moreno,Can,Lallana) are more secondary and future good buys. Where they really needed right now (striker,CB) , it has been below average.
The season has been a manifestation of the transfer and loss of players along with a gradual loss of rhythm and confidence. I think Rodgers is a decent coach or a good coach. But he is too young to work on his own and think he knows it all. He also is a bit clueless when it comes to defending.  And some of his big man comments have come back and bit him in his arse. For his good, he should shut up and work on a plan with the help of others and slowly sort this out.
And a get a bloody goalkeeper, you need 10 players and a GK not 11 players.

Busby - It's been a lot worse than I thought it would. I thought your performances would suffer without Suarez but I didn't think the drop-off would be this bad. I don't think Rodgers did particularly well in the summer (still surprised at you signing Lambert and Balotelli, they don't really suit you). You've been more solid since Lucas has came in though so that's something.

9. Is there as Liverpool player you'd prefer to be in your starting 11 come Sunday at half one?

JohnnoWhite - Well no-one from your defence that’s for sure !! We’ve enough problems of our own making as things stand! ;D I would take Sterling in a heartbeat. Could you imagine the havoc that he in company with Di Maria would cause ANY side in the premiership?

RossoBianchi - I don't think there's a reliable Liverpool defender I'd take so onto midfield/attack... if we line up with Carrick, Herrera, Di Maria, Mata, Rooney and Van Persie - the only real swap I would make is Sterling for Mata. For the longer term, a fit Sturridge over RVP's ageing legs.

tonysleft - Sturridge in a front two with Rooney behind but otherwise no.

Cantona - Sterling but that's it. The boy's a star.

dernoom - Sterling possibly will fit somewhere...

Busby - Raheem Sterling. It's not even close either.

10. Manchester United idol.

JohnnoWhite - I have never idolised anyone - well not since Duncan Edwards was killed at Munich. In the current squad I would say that for all his behavioural imperfections, Rooney is still the hardest working and most effective player wearing United red. For that reason I think United stole the 18 year old from Everton for those 25 and a half million pounds back in 2004.

RossoBianchi - Paul Scholes and Jaap Stam.

tonysleft - Solskjaer

Cantona - All time is obvious but favourite current player is De Gea, the lads an outstanding talent and has it in him to be one of the world's best for a long time. Seems a nice bloke too.

dernoom - Paul Scholes.

Busby - Paul Scholes by a clear margin. Loved the man.

11. Liverpool player you most love to hate.

JohnnoWhite - Hate is a big word with terrible connotations so I would prefer to say the fella I most resent come match day would have to be Steven Gerrard. He has always seemed to play blinders against us –when he didn’t get sent off of course! :P

RossoBianchi - No-one really out of the current crop. Historically, I'd say John Aldridge, Steve McMahon and Robbie Fowler.

tonysleft - Was Suarez, now Skrtel.

Cantona - Hate is too strong a word but Liverpool player I most love to see fail is Gerrard, nothing against the lad personally it's just because he's been so good for so long and is a Liverpool lad. It think last season's slip up and the World cup may have broken him a bit and although on his last legs there's life in the old dog yet. He's still a very good player.

dernoom - Nobody. I don't hate people I don't know personally.

Busby - Hate is a strong word but I disliked Suarez more than any other Liverpool player ever. It's just not the same now. Suppose it'll have to be Gerrard, again....

12. Predictions for the score come Sunday.

JohnnoWhite - I believe that United will start favourites given current form etc and failing any stupid tackles on the occasion of nerves getting the better of newcomers to United v Liverpool encounters, I fancy United to win by 2 clear goals.
You watch now - the much-maligned Mignolet will have a blinder and Di Maria will get sent off in the 9th minute and Rooney in the 21st!!

RossoBianchi - United 2-1 Liverpool

tonysleft - 2-1 to us, good first half from us followed by good Liverpool second half.

Cantona - Anything can happen in this fixture as form is out of the window so i'll go for 5-1  ;D
I reckon the stage is set for Balotelli's last chance to be honest, he's a good player and I don't believe he's been injured but taken out of the firing line. He loves scoring against us and this match is perfect to get him up and running if he does well. Well worth a gamble to start him.

dernoom - 2-1 to us.

Busby - A ridiculously ropey united win with a really nervy ending.

13. Predictions for final league places.

JohnnoWhite - Here we are just over a third the way through and plenty of time for everything going tits up for a load of teams – mine included.
With respect – and not wishing to duck any question, I don’t make final league position predictions. I say only that sides which stay strong towards season sticky time Feb, March April 2015 will deserve to figure prominently in the top 4.

RossoBianchi - United 3rd, Liverpool 5th

tonysleft - Us to finish 4th, Liverpool to finish 5th.

Cantona - 1) Chelsea 2) City 3) United 4) Arsenal 5) Southampton Nowhere) Liverpool.

dernoom - United 4th , Liverpool 7th.

Busby - nited third and Liverpool fifth.

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