Manchester United vs. Liverpool League Cup: View from oppo

Luis Suárez diving
Luis Suarez could return for Liverpool against Manchester United at Old Trafford

Manchester United clash once again with the old enemy Liverpool football club, in what will be the fifth meeting in the League Cup between the pair. David Moyes’ men were humbled on Sunday in the 4-1 defeat to Manchester City, a performance which highlighted how unimaginative this United side actually are, with the exception of Rooney.

Moyes’ decision to opt for a central midfield duo exposed the pedestrian nature of new signing Marouane Fellaini, who looked lost for most of the match. Liverpool on the other hand come in off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Southampton and will no doubt be looking to bounce back with a win over the Champions.

Liverpool’s talisman Luis Suarez is back from his suspension and will most surely play a part in the fixture. United have lost in two League Cup finals, 1983 and 2003,to Liverpool and the only win came in the Autumn of 1990; a 3-1 win with goals from Bruce, Sharpe and Hughes. We’ve lined up a superb view from the oppo for you, where we discuss; who was better out of Rush, Fowler and Torres? Were Everton happy to get rid of Moyes? And, surely Sir Alex Ferguson did knock Liverpool of their “f*cking perch”. didn’t he?

We caught up with Shaun Curran, who you can follow on Twitter here.

1) Is Luis Suarez worth all the hassle and will he start against United? Also, rate them; Rush, Fowler, Torres and Suarez.
Firstly, yes I think he will start at Old Trafford. Why not? He’s fit and available and if Saturday is anything to go by, desperately needed. As to whether he is worth the hassle, how long have you got? It is the great debate among Liverpool fans. Personally, I was up for selling him to Real Madrid in the summer because I’d had enough of him, and I know I am far from alone in feeling like that. Some things are more important than football, and being the lefty, Guardian reading type that I am, I feel deeply uncomfortable about his crime sheet.
The flip side is that on the pitch, of course he is worth the hassle because he is world class, and unlike any other player I’ve ever seen. He has such a unique playing style. And unfortunately, the fact is the football world sold its soul and lost its morals a long time ago, and Liverpool, as admirable a stand as it would be, would get nowhere from selling him just because of the trouble he causes. Let’s be honest – if he scores the winner in the last minute on Wednesday, the vast majority will forgive and forget. That’s how it is.
For somebody my age (29), it has to be Fowler. Then Rush, Suarez and Torres.

2) What was your take on Arsenal’s bid for him and how much do you value him at?
I thought Arsenal’s bid was terribly unprofessional, actually, and I don’t know why they haven’t been hauled in front of the FA. Surely they should not have known the details of his contract, so to then go so public about it seemed like a flagrant breaking of the rules. Anyway, he was never going there and I don’t think £40mil with three years left on his contract was enough. We sold Torres for £50mil, who was already on the wane at the time, so upwards of that figure is more like it.

3) How seriously do Liverpool, who are record holders, take the league cup nowadays?
If they aren’t taking it seriously they bloody should be. Liverpool are not in a position to be picky about which cups they are going to try and win, and Liverpool should be trying to win every competition they enter. As you say, we have a proud history in the League Cup and we should do everything to maintain it. I think a trophy for Rodgers would help him immeasurably, especially to convince the element of the support that is unconvinced about him. Say what you like about Kenny’s season in charge (we haven’t got time to go into that!), but he won a trophy, which made it a good season in my eyes.

It looks as though they are taking it seriously when you look at the team against Notts County in the last round. Both Gerrard and Sturridge started, as well as Johnson and Mignolet, so it looks as though Rodgers has learned from the debacle of last year’s cup campaigns.

4) How do you expect to line-up at Old Trafford and will we see any promising youngsters?

I think we are likely to see Sterling and Wisdom play, but I would be surprised if the team was too experimental given we are going to Old Trafford. I expect the core of the team to be at full strength, with the odd change.

5) What did you make of Moyes’ appointment and what do you make of his record at Everton?
Liverpool fans have a song that goes ‘David Moyes is a football genius’ – that tells you everything you need to know. When it first emerged Moyes was the favourite to replace Ferguson, a day or so before it became clear he was getting the job, I refused to get my hopes up or say anything in case I somehow jinxed it. I thought to myself that life normally isn’t that kind. So when he was eventually appointed, I just couldn’t believe it. I am still struggling to believe that United have appointed him. Why? Is there anybody at the club other than Ferguson that thinks it is a good idea? I don’t buy this ‘longevity’ argument. You only achieve longevity through success. Success will only come if you are up to the job. And there is nothing – nothing – in Moyes’ record that suggests he is anywhere near qualified enough to take that job.

If we forget about the cautious football that he won’t get away with at Old Trafford, Everton were consistent in the second half of Moyes’ reign in terms of top half finishes, but is that honestly all it takes to get the United job? Sam Allardyce did a similar job at Bolton, Martin O’Neill at Leicester. The rest of Moyes’ record – no trophies, no Champions League football, no wins at Anfield, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge or the Emirates – is pathetic, and he already looks out of his depth to me. The way talks gives away the fact he isn’t comfortable, and doesn’t feel like he belongs, referring to the players as ‘they’ rather than ‘we’. I don’t see him bringing much success at all. Let’s put it another way: ask Evertonians if they were sad to see him go. Not many of my Bluenose mates were shedding many tears.

6) Rodgers has made some shrewd signings, who’s been the best for you and why?
Daniel Sturridge has been sensational and already looks a snip at £12million – how Chelsea must wish they still had him – but in many ways he was an obvious buy. Yes, he seems to have drifted for a couple of years, but he was always viewed by shrewd judges to be a future star, and in many ways now he is just fulfilling the potential that was always there. So for me, it has to Philippe Coutinho. I love everything about him: his skill, his vision, his passing, his hair…. He has been brilliant, and at just 20 years old will only get better. And just £8million as well. What were Inter Milan thinking?!

7) Where do you think Liverpool can finish this season and can you win a cup?
I think we can definitely win a cup, and our cause will be helped by having no European football. As for the league, I see us breaking back into the top six after just one top six finish in four years, but I fear we will fall short for the top four. Even though I anticipate the Premier League to be as open as it has been for many years, I still believe our squad is behind in terms of quality. Although the gap is closing, and I expect us to give it a much better go than last year. Our form in 2013 has been excellent, two games against Southampton apart.

8) If you could take any two United players, past and present, who would they be?
George Best, without a doubt. He’s the coolest guy to ever put on a pair of football boots. And I think the current team could do with Roy Keane.

9) Is Steven Gerrard the best Liverpool player of all time? Who was your boyhood hero?
Gerrard is the best player I have ever seen play for Liverpool. He has carried the club for over ten years, and if it wasn’t for him Liverpool would have slipped into mediocrity a long time ago. I think the general consensus of those older than me would still be to put Kenny Dalglish as number one, though. My boyhood hero will always be Robbie Fowler. With Steve McManaman a close second.

10) We’ve spoken before about getting “knocked” off the perch and “jumping” off the perch. State your case as to why it was a jump, rather than Fergie smashing Liverpool off it.

Let’s start by making sure we all understand that when Ferguson made that comment, he wasn’t talking about overtaking Liverpool’s record of league titles, he was referencing the fact he wanted united to become the dominant force in English football. I just don’t think Manchester United have anything to do with the decline of Liverpool. We managed that all by ourselves, and whatever ‘perch’ we were on, we certainly weren’t on it by the time United won their first title. When United won the league in 1993, they were competing with Aston Villa and Norwich City, not Liverpool. In the four previous seasons, Liverpool had only actually won the First Division once: Arsenal won it either side of our 1990 victory, and Leeds won it the year before United did. The decline had already set in post-Hillsborough at the end of the first Dalglish reign, and was accelerated post-haste by the nightmare that was Graeme Souness.

That isn’t to decry what Ferguson achieved in the league since 1993, because the level of success was phenomenal, and the fact Liverpool have done very little to challenge (bar the odd season) makes that harder to take. But the fact is, by the time United were ready to become the dominant force, Liverpool were nowhere to be seen. All this ‘perch’ nonsense is a myth.

4 Comments on Manchester United vs. Liverpool League Cup: View from oppo

  1. Moyes and shrek go home rio RUBBISH welbeck WELLCRAP evra RUBBISH felover RUBBISH young crap sign di canio suarez edomite now

  2. Very interesting reading Shaun Curran’s views on the above. It will certainly be a tough season for Moyes and United with all the changes and the tough start to the season, but after this match the fixtures will ease up a bit and the pressure on DM will hopefully wane.

    I think Moyes is possibly guilty of trusting and relying only the old faithful members of the squad, instead of the likes of Evans, etc. who are equally important. This is perhaps both due to the tough early league fixtures and the fact that he hasn’t as yet had games in lesser competitions to play the “less-trusted” players. Chelsea, Liverpool, City and then Liverpool again, plus a European competition is a baptism of fire.

    Patience is key for all of us! I’ll be happy with just a top four finish this season but I’m sure we’ll pick up our game as we get later into the calendar.

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