A pointless cup tie turned into a pointless replay, all of our own making. If the manager wasn’t peeling paint off the walls after that he never will, yet it summed up perfectly the entire club’s attitude to domestic knockout.
Get your thinking cap on. Can you remember a more negative build-up to any United game in your life? I can’t. Try as I might, I couldn’t find anyone sensible who thought the result would be anything other than a defeat. Pressed for a further opinion, most of the lads I know offered various estimates of the size of the new bodily aperture we would be acquiring — “be it torn, punched, or drilled,” helpfully expanded a colleague.
Leafing through the Bumper Book of City Swear Words, it is sometimes easy to forget how those well-thumbed pages, with their dubious-looking smudges and deeply ingrained tearstains, got so grubby. It is a body of work that has, on the whole, not been needed much of late, as City have cantered through season after season of gentle trophy gathering.
Liverpool's final performance never hit the heights of earlier in the competition, but few Reds fans will care after an early Mo Salah penalty and late Divock Origi strike saw Tottenham beaten 2-0 in Saturday evening’s far from classico Champions League final at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid.
Here’s a quote from Monday’s Irish Examiner: “There’s a mental scrapbook of past experiences that may half-convince some to fantasise, but realism will strike tomorrow whether you want it to or not.”
There has been plenty of talk of Liverpool ‘bottling’ this title race, largely from those who wish ill upon them. But we can put that to one side for now. Facing Chelsea at Anfield, five years after Steven Gerrard’s fateful slip and on the eve of the 30th anniversary of Hillsborough, created a pressure that would make many teams crumble. But not them.
The 24th change in top place in the Premier League did not come without the predictable healthy dose of nerve-shredding drama as Mohamed Salah’s 90th minute header forced Toby Alderweireld to turn the ball into his own goal, gifting Liverpool a sorely-needed victory.