It doesn’t matter how many years it is since they last won the title. Who cares whether or not they’re now only a Cup team? And regardless as to whether or not they’re a shadow of the club they were throughout the 70s and 80s, when United play Liverpool, it is still the biggest football match in the world.
El Classico has nothing on it. The ‘Old Firm’ derby is just not in the same league. United and City isn’t even on the level.
It’s always the first one you look for when the fixtures come out in the summer. “When do we play them at ours, when do we play them at theirs?”. It’s a mid-season cup final, and for the last forty years at least, it’s been the one United fans look forward to the most.
OK, this Sunday we meet them in the cup, but the added bonus to this one is that the Scousers will bring 9,000 fans with them. The non-existent hostile Anfield atmosphere all bottled up in our entire East Stand, ready to add fuel to the flames of this 3rd round tie.
Our rivals from down the East Lancs road are going through a period where they’re club is becoming a bit like the TV station GOLD after 9pm…pure comedy and laughter guaranteed – and boy do we love it! They’re wanting Roy Hodgson out, and Kenny Dalglish in. (Pardon me whilst I chuckle at that one again). If that happens, it confirms my suspicions that Liverpool are the new Newcastle United, when really they should be questioning their players commitment to the cause, and realise their team are now a sub-standard, mid-table side. Their history gives them no modern day rights.
Liverpool’s downfall is every United fans’ dream, and whilst I enjoy the Scousers falling to yet another defeat and hearing the fans bleat out their frustrations every week (or is that every day?), I’m one of those that hope they don’t fall TOO far in to despair.
Relegation for the Scousers has been talked and fantasised about and even the realists say that Liverpool could be heading for the drop this season, such is their substandard performances. Laughable losses against Blackburn, Wolves and Northampton Town (to name but a few) makes the possibility of losing their top flight status a very real possibility.
But to see them drop out of the league would mean we don’t get to take part in the worlds biggest club match.
And I don’t like the thought of that. Not one bit.
I felt cheated enough when we beat possibly the poorest, most passionless and most gutless Liverpool side that has ever existed when they came to Old Trafford earlier this season. It was United v Liverpool on paper, but what a let down. We could have been playing MK Dons in the Carling Cup for all we knew with the showing they brought that day. But to not have that game at all to look forward to would be awful. Football would die a little bit more.
You can keep Chelsea, Arsenal and City. OK, the Londoners might be our challengers in the title race year in, year out and City our noisy neighbours…but they have nothing on the rivalry that we have with Liverpool. Those three hate us, but it’s Liverpool we like the least. That’s the sort of rule, I think?
1st January 1989. 24th January 1999. The ’85 Cup semis. That’s just four of ‘those’ games that we have with Liverpool, and nothing touches these fixtures when it comes to matches against other Premiership clubs.
Let’s not even mention the rucks on the terraces, or down the side streets before and after games, but they all form part of our rivalry with this lot.
I’m looking forward to this one on Sunday – I don’t think a traditional Liverpool team will show up (they’ve not got the heart or attitude to understand what all this is about) but we should have a few bursts of atmosphere with them having so many of their lovable humoured fans at Old Trafford.
Slight concelation for being cheated out of one United v Liverpool game this season…that, and progression to the 4th round will suffice.
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