In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a huge game on this weekend.
Manchester United visit Liverpool in the Premier League, sitting three points ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s side.
As part of the build-up to the match there have been countless pundits and ex-players popping up to give their take. And some are more sensible than others.
There’s a common theme here. Most of the takes from former Liverpool players are terrible. It’s almost as if they are worried.
We’ve rounded up the worst of the worst ahead of Sunday’s fixture…
Special credit to Jason McAteer, who used all his experience of not winning titles for Liverpool, to opine whether Manchester United can win one this season.
McAteer told Sky Sports, “As far as Manchester United sitting top of the table, I do think it’s a false position.”
We’ve heard enough already from him. United are in first place at present because we deserve to be there at present.
There is a long way to go. 19 Premier League games left. But after 17, United are in first place on merit. It’s quite simple; the team who picks up the highest number of points is the most consistent. Liverpool gained just two points from recent games against Fulham, West Brom and Southampton – and that’s why they have fallen away.
This is no fluke. United have won more points than Liverpool over the past calendar year too, not just the last 17 games.
Can we maintain it? Who knows. But a bit of credit and respect wouldn’t go amiss.
A word for John Aldridge too, who believes every single player in Manchester United’s squad apart from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford are average.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “The rest of their team is pretty ordinary, they’d be coming in fifth or sixth place but those two make them into a team. Klopp won’t be going overboard on United this week because we are a better team and we’ve proved that.”
We hope Klopp takes Aldridge’s advice, and doesn’t bother preparing Liverpool for Edinson Cavani, a striker with more than 350 club career goals.
Or World Cup winner Paul Pogba or goalkeeper David de Gea. Two more players dismissed as ‘ordinary’ by Aldridge.
With a bit of luck Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will show the players Aldridge’s comments to motivate them before the game.
No word from Aldridge yet as to what he thinks Liverpool’s side would look like without Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah.
Spare a thought for Didi Hamann, who has gone full conspiracy theory and is still believing in referee bias for United after some questionable comments from Mark Clattenburg.
Some facts: Statbunker record Liverpool have received more penalties (160) than any other club in Premier League history.
It works both ways. Graeme Souness told SkySports in the build-up to this game: “It’s very difficult for a referee not to give a penalty in front of the Kop. That goes against the home team this time around.”
Pretty disturbing indeed.
Mac is back
You didn’t think we were going to let Jason McAteer off lightly did you?
His interview went on to bemoan the fact United don’t have any players out injured.
He told Sky Sports: “Ole hasn’t dealt with what other teams have dealt with, in terms of a lot of injuries this season. He’s had a lot of players to pick from.”
Perhaps Solskjaer actually deserves some credit for rotating his squad effectively and managing his players’ fitness levels well. All without a pre-season too.
And yes, Liverpool have been unfortunate with an injuries. This season. 2019/20 was a little different.
Liverpool had a healthy season last year amid their cruise to the title where no other club put up a fight.
United and Solskjaer had it a lot tougher. Paul Pogba missed 25 games through injury last season.
Anthony Martial missed a stretch at the start, as did Marcus Rashford mid-season. Eric Bailly was out for nearly all of it, while Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay both had two separate spells out injured.
It’s swings and roundabouts, and being prepared. Liverpool have clearly been caught short in defence with Van Dijk out – but that’s also down to some poor planning on their part, selling back-up Dejan Lovren without signing a replacement.
And we’ll have you know Jason, we have been dealing without Phil Jones all season too.
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