Alright, so you may well know this isn’t really a football blog, but I am making this one post an exception mainly due to Liverpool FC’s win a few minutes earlier against arch-rivals Manchester United. (Yes I am a Liverpool fan, and a proud one at it)
As I looked back, Liverpool were very much the dominant force of English football from the early 70’s up to late 80’s, becoming champions 18 times, compared to Manchester United’s meager 7. They were well established on the Perch as kings, asserting their dominance year in, year out.
Now, Fast-forward to the 21st century, Liverpool are still 18 time Champions (though they have been pretty good in the Champions League) and United have caught up, being crowned champions a record 20th time just last season. In terms of development, United have already left Liverpool for Dead, and have knocked them off their perch, and crowning themselves as kings of England, and the one who oversaw this Footballing Empire was none other than Living Legend Sir Alex Ferguson. He was primarily, if not solely responsible for building Manchester United from the ground up, turning the Club into today’s Footballing Juggernauts.
Liverpool did have their fair share of Glory days (which unfortunately I never experienced because I wasn’t born yet), but that means that United too, have their fair share…..and as a Liverpool fan, I’m proud to say, those Glory days are about to end. Last year was Sir Alex Ferguson’s last year as Manager of United, having ruled it with an Iron fist for a record 26 years, but it wasn’t all easy for Fergie (as I would call him) back then.
Back when he was starting out as Manchester United Manager, Liverpool’s home ground, Anfield was a fortress of sorts and Ferguson bitterly complained that Managers “have to leave [Anfield] choking on their own vomit, biting their tongue, afraid to tell the truth.” Liverpool had an indomitable fear factor in them, that when teams play them, they were preparing to lose already, but as time wore on, United caught up, Ferguson put that very fear factor in United’s home ground, Old Trafford. It was then that United would start dominating English football, catching up to Liverpool’s then-record breaking 18 titles.
Of course there were a few blips and bumps, to an otherwise flawless Managerial Career, as United have won the Premiere League 13 times in just 21 years, but even with these 13 titles, Ferguson’s greatest challenge (and possibly achievement) would be in a 2002 press conference when he famously said:
“My greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f****** perch. And you can print that.”
Come 2014, a new era in United and Liverpool have simultaneously begun, as both teams have new Managers in David Moyes (for United) and Brendan Rodgers (for Liverpool), and frankly It seems both clubs are heading in the opposite sides of the Spectrum, where United are left scavenging whatever’s left of their sorry excuse for a Title defense, Transfer failures, Player inconsistency and Aging Squad, Liverpool are on a surprising, and blissfully unexpected Title charge. (I say unexpected because this season’s expectations were just to finish in the Top 4).
Alright, enough about United, I’ll talk about my team which has probably displayed the most eye-catching, extravagant and beautiful Attacking football a Liverpool side has shown in the last 2 decades. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have formed an exciting partnership which not only brings goals but genuine excitement.
Young players like Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have provided a very able supporting cast, which has bailed out a shaky defence on several occasions this season.
Brilliant is all I have to say as to how majestic and free-flowing the Liverpool team is right now, thanks in part to the SAS (aka Suarez and Sturridge Partnership) as they have amassed 43 goals between them this season so far. And you have to wonder, this Liverpool team is far from the finished article that Brendan Rodgers is creating, this is a side still far from it’s peak, but as seen in recent months, they truly do have what it takes to be back in Europe’s grand stage, the Champions League. As of earlier tonight, Liverpool are the most potent attacking team in English football, amassing 76 goals in just 29 games, and the way they’ve delivered goals are all goal of the season contenders (Just ask Luis Suarez about his Lob in their win against Norwich in December!) in contrast to United’s tactics this season, which by some critics, would say ‘boring’ or ‘stale’.
Years of success means only a fool would write United off, and arguably an even bigger fool would back Liverpool to deliver on their promise, but both clubs are currently at a crossroads. The next step, this summer’s transfer market, will be crucial.
If United fail to get their targets they will almost certainly be left behind once again, and even if they do spend the money Moyes must forge a winning squad instantly.
Never have I witnessed Liverpool so close to tasting a league Title in over 20 years, and never have I been happier that it’s at the expense of their most hated rivals.
Manchester United are not finished yet, but Liverpool are as close as they have ever been to knocking them right off their perch. And we’ll print that.