THERE are occasions when games of football that aren’t just games of football. It’s possible that this Saturday, Manchester United v Liverpool at Old Trafford, we may see one those occasions. It should be about Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, whether David De Gea will turn the big step forward he made at Stamford Bridge last weekend, into a leap. We should be wondering if Javier Hernandez has done enough to start the game and whether the latest flop striker in the Liverpool ranks will finally do something useful. We should be asking all these questions and rest assured while the Given to Score team are making their way up Sir Matt Busby Way, these issues will be somewhere in our minds but so will others; namely a massive big pink (although colour is of no importance) elephant; will this game will ALL about the previous few?
Suarez will get a reception and a half and he deserves one. It seems he has given an interview too which is helpful. It’s one of those for the folks at home types. Those interviews are the native tongue ones in which a player can speak of his unhappiness at the club and then claim he was misinterpreted when translated back to English. Suarez doesn’t think he has done anything wrong though so we can leave out the usual “I was misquoted, gaffer”. He appears to suggest that what happens on the pitch should stay on the pitch; Patrice Evra is a snitch who told tales out of class – he’s the baddie in this whole standoff so let’s give Luis the white hat. Job done – is that clear? All okay now? Erm, not quite. Liverpool FC and King Kenny D have reacted to the whole thing badly and Suarez deserves the reaction he will get. He’s big enough and ugly enough to take it.
Making comments like Suarez is alleged to have made is not acceptable. Making comments like Ravel Morrison made on twitter is not acceptable. The ones that stand up and point that out should not be vilified for doing so. Evra doesn’t deserve it; Rio of Ferdinand doesn’t either while we are at it. Oh but fans will be fans, players will be players, it goes on…yawn. No. It shouldn’t be laughed off however much Liverpool seem to hold that opinion. They are wrong. It was wrong.
Let Suarez get the reception he is going to get, boo him till the cows come home, you pays your money and have the right. Off field issues are colouring this match and United fans have the right to a vocal reaction and vocal support of our player. It would be nice, however, if at the end of the 90 minutes (or more, allowing for Fergie time), we have shut them up on field too. Let’s boo Steven Gerrard because he’s Steven Gerrard and it’s what we do, with no ulterior motive other than that. Let’s laugh at Carroll for point blank failing to net probably the easiest of chances, let’s secretly hope Dirk Kuyt makes no appearance because he seems to do well against us, damn him. Ahhh the halcyon days where we gave Liverpool players stick purely coz of the shirt on their back.
I’m genuinely excited to see if De Gea builds on his performance against Chelsea and what we can do collectively as a team to further what we did then. The events of previous Liverpool encounters were serious and deserve focus. Liverpool have done a lot of talking about it and I’m sure they will continue but nothing needs to be said from our side, we have a match to win and we should go into this with confidence sky high and enough in our armoury to win the battle the right way; we have a league to conquer.
In a bit.