Spyin' Kop - Manchester United v Liverpool 19.9.2010

Posted by ConorYNWA on September 17, 2010, 03:12:44 PM


Well here it is, the big one. The two giants of English football battle it out again, ironically they are both being torn apart from the inside by American owners. It is a fixture which ignores form and bragging rights are at stake, not just for the football supporters in their own cities, but for a lot of fans up and down the country. Both teams will be desperate for a win, and a loss for Liverpool will put us further off the pace and make the journey back down the East Lancs Road unbearable.

Many thanks to James, Stefan, Allfartnopoo and RossoBianchi for answering these questions ahead of the game. I chose to swerve the forums in search of some decent answers and I hope you'll agree that these are fair.


Were a few games into the season now, what are your thoughts on the start that you've made so far?

RossoBianchi: Bit disappointing really considering the four points we've stupidly dropped. Nani's penalty miss (to go 3-1 up in the 85th minute) at Fulham was costly enough but to then throw away a two-goal lead like we did at Everton was just utterly pathetic. A fit Rio will make a big difference to the way we defend and I'm delighted he's back for Sunday.

The Valencia injury against Rangers could prove to be a big blow but on the other hand, it gives Nani a potential long-term run in his best position and he has a consistent chance to show the ability that is evidently stored away in there somewhere.
Stefan: Good on one hand but worrying on the other. The teams ability for scoring goals has been fantastic and Scholes and Giggs have been playing like they're in their 20's. The problem is the dropped points and goals conceded. Even this early on, it's a problem. I expect this to improve but i'm also expecting more dropped points throughout the season.
Allfartnopoo: Steady, but I am worried about Chelsea already. We are scoring goals freely but not quite enough away from home. Hopefully with internationals out the way we will calm down.
James: Could be worse! Obviously disappointed with the two away games but on the plus side its 2 more points than we got last year. I think the community shield was massively over hyped and I’m beginning to worry that teams fear Chelsea a lot more than us now.

Both clubs have well documented problems at board room level. Any sympathy for your rivals in that respect?

RossoBianchi: Yes, definitely. The Premier League have a lot to answer for. Fit and proper persons? Do me a favour. It's a disgrace how our clubs have been raped the way they have;  fans' money should be going back into the club, not to pay off some Yank's personal debts and loan interest. 75p out of every pound goes straight from United fans to pay off the Glazers' debts; I don't know what the figure is for H&G but I have sympathy nonetheless. They have no place in our game and I am one of many that have advocated some sort of joint, synchronised protest. They are the true enemy in this context.
Stefan: Sympathy for the fans but not the clubs. Even though I 'hate' Liverpool, I don't hate the fans. Neither club deserves what is happening but at the moment, the fans will just have to stick it out and hope better times are ahead.
Allfartnopoo: Not really. My only concern is us to be honest, in fact wouldn’t mind seeing you boys do a Leeds...
James: In all honesty...yes! I don’t want to see you lot lifting trophies but I think everyone likes the fierce rivalry and we dont want that dampening. Despite all that’s written about owners ruining football, I still want to see the BIG clubs (no, not you Newcastle) battling it out.

What do you make of Liverpool's recent downfall?

RossoBianchi: It's been startling. Following Benayoun's winner at Fulham in 2009, I thought you were heading for the title. Now you seem as far away as you did five years ago. I always struggled to understand the empathy shown towards Benitez; yes he had his hands tied in some respects by the owners but for me, he just didn't seem to be able to forge enough positive relationships with players. I'm just an outsider looking in, and I know all about his record points hauls and revenue he raised, but last season was absolutely dismal by Liverpool's high standards and a change seemed necessary. Not sure whether Hodgson is the right man but time will tell; signings such as Konchesky and Poulsen don't really seem that inspiring though Meireles could be a proper snip; his box-to-box qualities could suit the Premier League perfectly.

I do think that when everyone's fit and firing on all cylinders, Liverpool should still be there or thereabouts for 4th place and I'd prefer to see you there than City, but I'm not sure your squad is big enough to cope with the inevitable injuries that will come about.
Stefan: Surprising but the luck had to run out sometime. Roy Hogson is a very good appointment and keeping Gerrard and Torres is key. Hopefully for you, you'll learn to co-exist without them.
Allfartnopoo: Think we all saw it coming and I think we are all in agreement that Hodgson can do a good job. You always know you are on the decline when your games are live on Channel 5! Yeah yeah yeah, I know you have won it 5 times but I think it will be at 5 for some time.
James: It was inevitable really. Hodgson is going to have to rebuild and shift a lot of deadweight. I like the signing of Konchesky, we all know he is not a world beater but he is solid. You know what you are going to get from him just like you did with Steve Finnan.

Wayne Rooney has been under the media spotlight recently for his antics off the pitch, and wasn't deemed able enough to face his old club when the two sides played. What are your thoughts about the whole situation?

RossoBianchi: To be honest I've steered clear of all the gutter press on this one. He's obviously been a naughty boy again and I certainly don't condone it but as long as it doesn't affect matters on the pitch, then I'm not going to start the holier than thou finger-pointing. Obviously it did to an extent on Saturday as he wasn't available at Goodison so in that respect, he should be hugely embarrassed that he's not only let his wife and family down, but the fans too. Surprised his wife is sticking around. Can't imagine my missus being so understanding and yet I'm much better looking...
Stefan: I have sympathy for his dirty laundry being put in public view but no sympathy for what he did.
Allfartnopoo: Aslong as he plays well for MUFC I am not too bothered. Terrible act I know, but I don’t know him or Coleen personally, so who am I to judge!?
James: I want to stand up for him but I’d describe him as a fat kid trying to resist bacon and inevitably when he smelt bacon...he had several servings. In all seriousness though, I hope it won’t affect him too much and he will start banging them in. I think Capello and Ferguson knew about the situation a long time before the media.

Best player(s) so far this season?

RossoBianchi: Scholes and Berbatov - our two most creative players. Not surprising that we looked bereft of spark against the sweaties on Tuesday night without them. Scholes' form has been well documented but Berbatov still doesn't get the plaudits he deserves and he probably never will due to his style of play. However, four goals in five games (Wembley included), and an increased sense of hunger, confidence and belief in himself, is very nice to see. Just hope Mr Alex Ferguson sticks with him in the big games otherwise his confidence will take a knock again. Must start on Sunday.
Stefan: Scholes, Giggs, Berbatov (surprisingly).
Allfartnopoo: Scholesy, just wish he could play on and on and on!
James: Scholes & Berbatov – Still have my doubts about Berba

And the not so good?

RossoBianchi: Evans has had a couple of tough matches at Fulham and Everton; he's a good centre-back but not sure he'll ever be good enough to be a nailed-on first-teamer. O'Shea should not be starting at right-back - he's a cumbersome oaf and no more than a squad player. Rafael should be given a run of 15 starts; he has the potential but at the moment his growth is being stunted. Yes he'll get caught out occasionally but he offers much more going forward than any other right-back option and he'll only learn by playing. Park has his moments though we're still waiting for his first of the 2010/11 campaign, and Rooney is going through his habitual dry spell which will undoubtedly be followed by 12 goals in 12 games. Seems to happen every year.
Stefan: Rooney (Still suffering a world cup hangover and problems in his personal life).
Allfartnopoo: Like Liverpool I think we have some lumps, namely, John O’Shea.
James: Van der sar – Mr. Reliable is knocking on and he doesn’t give that unbeatable aura.

Any future stars in the background that we may not have heard about?

RossoBianchi: Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba are 17-year-olds with enormous potential - Ravel is a proper Manc street kid, raised in the inner city with an attitude that needs taming but ability that surpasses most of the academy kids in recent years. Pogba is a Vieira-like central midfielder with a physique that suggests he could be appearing in the Carling Cup sooner rather than later. Hope that Cleverly gets a few games at Wigan; he's just joined on loan after a superb spell at Watford last season. Looked very good in the England U21s and with United in pre-season. Reminds me of a young Beckham or Milner these days - lacking a half-yard of pace but huge energy levels with excellent crossing and a knack for scoring from midfield.
Stefan: Hernandez is a top talent that needs nurturing while Bebe is a complete unknown to most football fans but apparently could be become a brilliant player.
Allfartnopoo: Majority have been in the media already. Apparently Macheda is the most naturally gifted finisher at the club. Give him some game time then!
James: Paul Pogba, big french lad that has shown he has the lot for a young age. I’ve been very impressed in the youth games I have seen. Don’t want to jinx him so will leave it at that. I also want to see Tom Cleverley do well, everyone is talking about his potential so hopefully he will fulfil it.

If you could have one player from the Liverpool team, who would it be?

RossoBianchi: My initial thought was Torres but his proneness to injury means that isn't the concrete answer it used to be. Still an awesome player, certainly world class, but considering van der Sar's age I certainly wouldn't say no to Reina.
Stefan: Reina from when Van Der Sar retires.
Allfartnopoo: Gerrard or Reina.....Probably Gerrard has the edge as he would walk into every team.
James: Gerrard and I know Ferguson would definitely say the same. Immense player and one of few Liverpool players I don’t dislike. We lack a midfield dynamo like Gerrard, who has everything in his locker except back passes to Reina! Idiot.

Best and worst memories from a meeting between our two clubs.

RossoBianchi: Best - FA Cup 1999 at Old Trafford, still provides goosebumps watching it back. As does Rio's goal in 2005. But if I had to pick one, it would be O'Shea in front of the Kop. Watched it in a pub in Preston whilst at Uni and the place was pretty much split 50/50, and of course one side of the room went mental. Undeserved and with ten men - a crucial win en route to the title.

Worst - March 2009. I, erm, forget the score. Oh, and as a nine-year-old, Jamie Redknapp (literally) left me in tears as he smashed home a left-footer. A Bruce own goal then followed as we lost 2-0 and ballsed up the league in 95.
Stefan: Best: Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool (FA Cup '99), Liverpool 0-1 Man Utd (Premier League '07) and Man Utd 3-0 Liverpool (Premier League '08)
Worst: Liverpool 2-0 Man Utd (League Cup Final '03), Man Utd 1-4 Liverpool (Premier League '09) and Liverpool 2-2 Man Utd (Premier League '99)
Allfartnopoo: Best would have to be the year Diego Forlan! It didn’t have much meaning other than the fact it had comedy value. I would love to see us both go at it in the Champs league. For the neutral the 3-3 thriller way back when was pretty epic.

Worst would have to be the game when Gerrard scored from about 300yards and then did a Klinsmann. Iconic but painful.
James: Best – The 1-0 1996 F.A Cup Final. I am not a man...I am Cantona
Worst – Recent times have hurt but any game with Danny Murphy scoring especially hurt.

How do you think both sides will fair come the end of the season?

RossoBianchi: Us - 2nd and at least the semis in the Champions League. I'd imagine we'd reach the semis of one of the domestic cups too which we've only failed to do once in the last several years.

You - between 4th and 6th depending on injuries. Would have you down as one of the favourites for the Europa and wouldn't be surprised to see a good FA Cup run though I don't think your squad is big enough to cope with FA Cup success, a Europa League win AND a 4th place finish so something would have to give.
Stefan: I'd like to think Ferguson will guide us to another league title but I think 2nd is more realistic. Liverpool, on the other hand, I think either 5th or 6th.
Allfartnopoo: 2nd but I really hope we come good.

As for you lot I’d say a Europa League position, you need to build as a squad before you start competing with City.
James: Utd – 2nd with some cup glory. Still very bitter about last years Champions League.
Liverpool – Tough to call but I would say 5th. Hope everyone leaves Hodgson to get on with it.

Finally, score predictions?

RossoBianchi: United 1-0 Liverpool
Stefan: Either 1-0 United or a score draw.
Allfartnopoo: Will Torres show up? Or Vidic for that matter... I will go for 2-1 MUFC.
James: 3 – 1 home win.

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