So as 2,000 Scousers plan to run the gauntlet at Old Trafford tomorrow, it seems our own club has wisely drawn a line in the sand having been placed firmly in the media crosshairs for what seems like an eternity. Liverpool FC closed ranks this morning, omitting some habitual reporters from Kenny’s press conference; less ‘Circle of Trust’ from Meet The Fockers and more ‘you fockers need us more than we need you.’
It was pleasing to hear; not least as a well-known commercial sports radio station immediately threw their arms up in whimsical objection. Of course, the timing of an invite-only presser was clearly pre-meditated on the eve of tomorrow’s game amidst the build-up of months of shit-flinging, hysteria, and damn right lies.
The game is big enough as it is and Kenny was quite right in deflecting as much attention away from it as possible; a quick scan of news and social media updates illustrates this, with a lot focussing on the abridged press conference and the King’s tongue-in-cheek quip about Ferguson for England. The club could have handled some matters better in the last few months and have been represented naively at times, albeit in delicate circumstances, to which the media have seized upon like a pack of ravenous hyenas. Kenny has battled the corner for the team, but now the club as one have drawn a line which is a long, overdue step.
And so to the game itself; a 90 minute maelstrom that is traditionally difficult to enjoy unless you’re coasting in the final minutes. One thing we would implore upon all fellow reds in the ground tomorrow is to respect the minute’s silence, if indeed it goes ahead. There’s rumours that it won’t, or be replaced by applause, but you get the feeling it will fuel post-match column inches which would <puts on conspiracy theorist hat> be something United would lap up. One suggestion we heard would be for United to announce the silence in honour of the Munich air disaster victims AND Jessie Paisley who sadly passed away this week. It would reduce the chance of it being tarnished, and would demonstrate some mini-show of maturity and bridge-building on the back of a toxic few months. It makes sense – and so it’s unlikely to happen.
Of course there’ll always be a pocket of supporters intent on chanting about the clubs’ heartbreaking disasters. It was touched upon in this week’s Anfield Wrap that there’s been a recent upsurge in mindless chanting, audibly demonstrated by the Anfield Rd end in the FA Cup win over the mancs two weeks ago. Discussion focused on how many travelling fans who belted this out couldn’t have been long out of their teenage years and would have been far too young to understand and experience Hillsborough. Education is required – and on that note, it’s great to hear that Andy Heaton and United’s Andy Mitten will feature together on Radio 5 Live on Saturday morning.
It’s too close to call, on the pitch. But what we have tomorrow which we often haven’t in the past is a number of match-winning options. Suarez has already tied the mancs defence in knots before and he’ll be so fired up a pre-match sedative might be in order. Carroll has intimidated their soft back-line as recently as a fortnight ago and with De Gea uncertain on almost every high ball he faces, Big Andy could find himself the focal point. Bellers has had joy against United on a few occasions with his direct running on the ball and not giving them an inch off it. Then of course there’s Stevie who has three goals in his last three starts against them and is always capable of swinging it in our favour.
Come on Redmen.