Author Topic: RAWK Advent Calendar #20 - Man Utd 1 - Liverpool 4 (Inspired by Julius Caesar)  (Read 7450 times)

Offline Aristotle

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It's a Saturday morning. It's that time again. The bloody Mancs. Us vs. Them. It's March 14th. Deep down the nerd in me was hoping we'd play them on the 15th. The 15th of March has always been a great day for the killing of tyrants. It matters not. We'll make this day into the history books instead.

Having previously defeated them at Anfield there is a hint of optimism around the support. Just don't say it too loudly, we've been shite at Old Trafford ever since we got rid of Murphy. But there is always a chance. This squad is different, they never give up - they never quit. We can do this. Our back 4 is quality, we're solid in midfield. We've got Gerrard and Torres. We can do this. No worries. We can do this.


However, 2 minutes prior to kick-off, word reaches that Arbeloa has done his hamstring. It will be Carra at right-back ... against Ronaldo. So it's Lucas for Alonso and Carra for Arbeloa. No matter, we said. He's still got experience, he can contain him. There is no denying it that the Boro monstrosity with Skrtel at right-back brought a combined feeling of this.
"Not worried. 'Tis alright. We got this. We're fucking Liverpool. We'll batter this lot. If there's one team in need of a good battering it's them. What do you mean nervous? Haven't you ever seen a man breathing heavily into his lucky paper bag, whilst lying on the floor in the fetal position? Lucky tears I tells ya"

Act 1: A piece of work that will make sick men whole.

Game starts and Andy Gray & Martin Tyler (for those watching on Sky - as I did on the replay) immediately start out by saying that Liverpool are fucked without Arbeloa, a vital part of this key element of Rafa Benitez's side - the defence. So at least there's hope, the curse of the commentator always kicks in. Then they bring out one of the few thing in our favour. It was the 29th game of the season. It was only the 9th game Gerrard and Torres started together. With those two we always have a chance. There's no better pair in the league.


Game starts off nervously. Park, Rooney and Tevez all take turns attacking Carragher. Ronaldo is playing on the right. Maybe there's hope after all. The Portuguese wing-wizard planted so firmly in Aurelio's back pocket that describing how lost he was requires a J.K. Rowling touch.

Liverpool are nervous. Only attacking options are long balls and hoping that Gerrard and/or Torres do something magical on their own. Torres is being chased and harried, kicked and pulled all over and the ref insists on letting them do it. United aren't threatening but they have the lionshare of the ball and are reducing Liverpool to counter-attacks. We were still in this though. With all their attacking flair and their cohesive movement there still wasn't much threat. The strategy was working.

On the 21 minute the weaknesses were exposed. Tevez broke from midfield, sent a wonderful ball through between Sami and Carra and Park broke through. In a still inexplicable brainfart Reina comes out and fouls Park Ji Sung. Just fucking why, Pepe? Seriously?! It's still frustrating and it happened 4.5 years ago!

Up steps Cristiano Ronaldo, hitherto invisible from the game. He steps up confidently, adjusts his hair. Looks at Reina. Adjusts his hair. Looks down on the penalty spot. Fixes his hair. Takes a deep breath. Fixes his hair. Does his weird stance that he always has before taking set pieces, runs up and ... scores. Reina goes the right way, he's inches away. But as the cliché says, they just don't save them like that.

Nevermind though. It's one goal, from a penalty I mean surely that's an indication that we still have a chance. Right? Riiiiiight? I mean a Ronaldo goal from a penalty can't really tell you that much about how this game is going to play out.

Wrong! - "In the past 48 games in which Cristiano Ronaldo has scored at Old Trafford, Manchester United have 48 wins." Well then! Uhh ... Err ... FUCK! :butt

In the 4 minutes after the goal the Mancs took control. Michael Carrick played the role we so desperately missed in Alonso. Ronaldo was back in play, following his penalty goal. I mean Anderson was involved in the attacking build up! Surely there is no way back into this game now? United are simply too good at home. They're just toying with us, dropping all players into our own half. We can't string 3 passes together without a United player getting in the way.

***What follows is a rough recreation of my reactions to the equaliser***

27th minute
Aurelio, just get rid of it out for a throw in. Fucking hell, man! Don't pass it to Skrtel at corner flag! Are you trying to concede another goal?! At least Skrtel had the smarts to get rid of it!

*Moves to edge of seat - forgets to breathe*

Torres ... Come on. You can do it. FUCKING COME ON! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES! YOU BEAUTIFUL FUCKING BASTARD! I LOVE YOU, YOU ABSOLUTE MENTALIST BASTARD! WHAT A PASS FROM SKRTEL! AURELIO YOU GENIUS!!! WHAT VISION! WHAT A DEFENDER!

***As you were***

Old Trafford is stunned. Edwin van der Saar has just conceded a goal for the first time at Old Trafford for the first time since November. The mighty Reds, playing in their famous checkered-Mercury colours, are on the prowl.

30th minute. Vidic manhandles Torres in the penalty box. Everywhere else that's a stonewall pen. But this is Old Trafford, Skeletor's Snake Mountain. So of course nothing is given.

The next few minutes are in a haze, I'm sure, to anyone who watched it. Game is end to end. Neither side wants to give up anything. Both goals have come through individual mistakes. Both sides will want to prevent that. Time flies and nothing has happened. You get a knot in your stomach and you feel that it's the longest minute of your life. All of a sudden it's the 41st minute and you could've sworn it was kick-off not 5 minutes ago. All we have to do is make it to half-time. If we can contain them, we can adjust at the half, set up with the intent on focusing on their weakness. They're few and far between though. Even Carrick turned Lucas and had a dangerous shot just over the bar. Talk about playing with fire when he's threatening.

On the 42nd minute Sami Hyypia produces one of the greatest bit of skill you'll not have heard of. I'd advice everyone to find this game again and watch it, just for that. With Wayne Rooney pushing him from behind, the ball comes over his head and with his weaker foot he controls the ball and passes it to Reina, not so much breaking a sweat. Reina kicks a long ball forward. Gerrard flicks it to Torres. Torres with the through ball to Gerrard, Evra brings down Gerrard! PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL!!!
___

Before going on to the penalty I can't resist quoting my Greek namesake, who famously said in his 'Nicomachean Ethics': "Eat a bag of dicks, Berbatov. This is how you do it".
___

What a surging run from the skipper though! Power, pace, raw determination. He won that penalty fair and square and there wasn't another player on the pitch that could've done it either.
The pen was never in question. He just doesn't miss them. Steven Gerrard delivers when Liverpool need him the most - and you thought I was done with the clichés!
What followed started sometwhat of a tradition! ;D



End of Act 1 - curtains

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Act 2, Brute?

The players step out onto the pitch. The Mighty Reds in their hideously metallic away shirts that still bring a smile to your face. How can you not love something that reminds you of this game? 'Glory, glory Man Utd' blasts, cringely as ever. Those 30 seconds where you remember you're playing as the away side subside. The Liverpool supporters take over again.

The Mancs come out with the typical arrogance that Ferguson's side always had. They were just going to get that goal, the when and the how seemed irrelevant to them. They came further and further up the pitch, leaving space behind. Manchester United were the more dangerous side as Rooney and Ronaldo had swapped places. Ronaldo playing as the lone striker threatened to expose the lack of pace in Liverpool's back line. In response Dirk Kuyt featured as support striker, winger, wide-midfielder, right-back, center-back and had it not been for Reina's bullish attitude he probably would've had a go in goal.

Alan Wiley, the game's ref, seemed terribly concerned over the fact that he had given a penalty at Old Trafford near the end of the half. Everything went against us in the opening 10 minutes. Any 50/50 won was a free kick against us. Any through ball seemingly offside. On the 60th minute Mascherano gets a yellow card that they'd gotten away with before. Liverpool retreating into their own box -  The goal seemed inevitable.

On the 63rd minute the collective buttholes of Liverpool supporters world wide collectively clenched. Rooney turned Gerrard. Anderson (of all fucking people!) turned Lucas on his heels. Park collected the ball. Tevez found Ronaldo out wide. Ronaldo crossed the ball to Rooney. Rooney hit it across goal. It bounced once. It bounced twice. Tevez fell over in the box. Yet somehow Liverpool had neither conceded a goal nor a penalty.

For me, personally, it was the moment I really started believing that we could do it. It was exactly the type of thing that always falls for them. After that Liverpool pushed up higher, having been made fully aware the risk we were inviting upon ourselves. It showed perfectly when only a minute later Skrtel picked up a booking for fouling Tevez near the halfway life. The feeling that anything can happen was summed up on the 65th when Lucas Leiva had a shot on goal with his left foot!

On the 68th minute. Liverpool's first substitute came on. Albert Riera, arguably our best player in the previous fixture came on for Andrea "Bossena".

Quote from: Some bloke, predicting the goalscoring streak of Andrea Dossena
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,

Dossena had previously scored his first goal for the club against Real Madrid and was very much the left-back-that-only-works-as-a-wing-back-but-wasn't-as-bad-when-played-as-winger-as-he-tended-to-be-at-left-back in form. It's quite an indication of the faith and talent in the squad that with Carragher at right back and Dossena as the winger - people still had faith we could win the game!

After Rooney's near miss, United were mostly blunt and ineffective. Liverpool had more possession of the ball, looked threatening on the counter and the danger of Dossena was clearly in the back of their minds. They did manage to crawl something back when Tevez (clearly offside, though not given) and Ronaldo had attempts which both missed the goal. Ferguson in typical manner just threw attackers on to the pitch and hoped they'd score in the end. A triple substitution (usually considered the mark of a poor tactician, remarkably not mentioned with Ferguson) followed. Anderson, Park and Carrick gave way for Scholes, Giggs and Berbatov. What followed was an incredible surge of energy, enthusiasm and belief from the United support. Their songs and chants audible for a record breaking 11 seconds, the kind of response not heard at the 'Theatre of Dreams' since the early Matt Busby days.

They were soon silenced hower. What followed was the type of passing that had Guardiola's Barca twitching with envy. As Lucas played the high ball in, Kuyt miscontrolled it phenomenally hits it with his heel into Gerrard's path. Vidic, having previously been spanked by Torres, brings down Gerrard. Having missed the ball, he tried his best to grab Gerrard's pair. Alan Wiley takes a bit of time and off goes Vidic for the second time in a row.

Up step Aurelio and Gerrard. Will it be a Gerrard outswing or an Aurelio inswing? As Man United can't decide whether they want 4 or 5 in the wall Aurelio asks the question we were all thinking.


He steps up. Into the bottom corner. It's Liverpool 3, Manchester United 1. Aurelio jumps up and punches an angel (I can only assume, it was a strange celebration). Reina jumps and shouts like a bloody mentalist. "Rafa - Rafael. Rafa - Rafael. Rafa - Rafael. Rafael Benitez" rings around Old Trafford. If you were trying not to smile or believe too early, it was hard to fight it. The smile just wouldn't go away.

Always the pragmatist, Rafa adjusted. Torres had been limping. The goal was there and Torres needn't be risked further. On came Ryan Babel as Old Trafford again erupted with the sound of Liverpool supporters. the torres bounce, infectious as ever before. You constantly need to check the scoreboard to remind yourself which side was supposed to be at home. Liverpool were winning on and off the pitch.

The game should've been done and dusted in the 85th minute. Dossena broke down the wing. Crossed to Babel who backheeled it into the path of Steven Gerrard. Surely it's 4-1! But Stven Gerrard of all the players on the pitch shoots over the bar. In the very next attack Berbatov hits the post, but luckily the Bulgarian mobility machine was adjudged offside.

Liverpool drop scarily into their own box. It's not over yet, it never is with those c*nts. You just can't trust that they'll ever truly roll over. Mascherano panics and kicks it out for a corner, when there was no need to. Luckily for Liverpool they had Sami Hyypia. What a man, what a legend, what a shameless plug for last season's advent calendar where I wrote about Sami Hyypia.

Hyypia headed Giggs' corner away. Wth him at the back we were invincible. There wasn't a chance this shower of shite were scoring against him, even if they played for the rest of the weekend. They just weren't scoring against Sami Hyypia that day.

___

In the ultimate sign of disrespect to Ferguson and his legacy at Old Trafford Rafa Benitez will stop at nothing. Taking off Steven Gerrard on the 90th minute, for a standing ovation, bringing on Nabil El Zhar. Reina, seemingly stalling, takes a long run up to take the goal-kick. It's straight down the pitch, over Ferdinand, out of the reach of John O'Shea - Andrea Dossena gets to the ball, he chips Edwin van der Saar. Andrea Dossena has just scored Liverpool's 4th against Manchester United, at Old Trafford. After 11 clean sheets in a row at Old Trafford, Manchester has just conceded 4 at home. The Liverpool support chanting "WE WANT FIVE! WE WANT FIVE! WE WANT FIVE! WE WANT FIVE!". As the chant switches to a deafening rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" there are an alarming amount of empty seats. The stadium emptied quicker than a Swedish toilet, with remarkable efficiency and well capable of dealing with shit.

End of Act 2 - A standing ovation
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Act 3 - Friends, Scousers, Countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Ferguson, not to praise him

Quote
The fault, dear Brutus media, is not in our stars, but in ourselves
is arguably what Ferguson could've said after the match. However he was a moaning hypocrite and didn't show up after the game, like the big baby that he is. For all his big talk, he left his home turf, suffering the biggest defeat in years, to a man he hated, to the team he envied the most. But this wasn't just a win against them.

This was Liverpool's first double over their rivals since the 2001/2002 season (where Liverpool also won the Charity Sheild against them).
This was also Rafa's first double over them and at a time where "Us vs. Them" felt as strong as it had in, what felt like, a lifetime.
Liverpool had now done the double over the Mancs & Chelsea. Put 4 against Real Madrid and there wasn't a side in Europe that didn't fear us. What a time to be a Liverpool supporter.

As it turned out, this game had but one downside. It turned out to be Sami Hyypia's last start for the club, he was departing for Leverkusen the following season. What a game to leave on though. There haven't been too many fond memories of that place in Ferguson's time. But this one surely tops the list. Seeing the stadium empty, their captain off with a red card and Ferguson's look of emptiness just sort of warms the heart. And in the end, those memories will sit with you for as long as you live. If trophies are the high point of football, memories come pretty damned close in the second.

And to me - they don't come much sweeter than this one.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 09:59:59 PM by Mistletotle »
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Offline Hinesy

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What a great read, many thanks to Aristotle for his hard work in putting this wonderful reminder of a fantastic day together!
Yep.

Offline Ecuared

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Great read. And what a fine day that was. I often look back at that season as being bittersweet, we somehow didn't win anything that year, and then the club nosedived shortly after. Reading your post though briefly brought back the feeling of glowing enthousiasm and joy we all experienced at the time.

The single fondest memory of that season for me was when Yossi scored in the dying moments against Fulham, but the United game is the one that will live long in the memory.
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Offline Aristotle

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Full credit goes to the wonderful Breakfast Percy for his photoshop - and to all anti-Shakespeareans I apologise for the references.


I realise this is somewhat unorthodox but I hope you will enjoy it. The emotions, the gutwrenching and above all the sheer thrill of reliving it.

And to all, happy holidays!
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Offline Red_Irishman

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Great read lad. Remember the day vividly   :scarf
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Offline LeoMessi

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I don't think there was need for so much disrespect to Sír Alex Ferguson, but great thread and some great memories. The month of March of 09 was a fantastic one
FCB|LFC

Offline Shaved Crossbar

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Brilliant day, brilliant read.

Amazing day to be a Liverpool fan.

The thought of being in an Old Trafford crowd where only YWNA could be heard...

Offline d3lu5ion

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What a day it was!!! Nice Read!!! Brought back some nice memories of that season.. The small post match piece (With Lucas, Riera and Hyypia) the Sky did after the game will always be in my mind...

Offline Aristotle

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I don't think there was need for so much disrespect to Sír Alex Ferguson,

The day before the game he suggested that only a psychiatrist could understand Rafa Benitez. Then after losing to him, he didn't show up for the post-match interview and then refused to talk about it in the next press conferece. I think he had it coming
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Offline Mal

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Brilliant read Anton, thanks for taking the time & effort.


The stadium emptied quicker than a Swedish toilet, with remarkable efficiency and well capable of dealing with shit.


This is pure poetry.
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Offline rafa4eva

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 :champ  :wellin

LMAOF

Well remembered sir.

The way you described Kyut playing in all positions and his unorthodox methods of controlling the ball had me in stitches. I know how polarised the views were on him during his time with us, but if he was marmite then cover me in it and put me on gas mark 7 till done... And I hate marmite :)

Aurelio is such a magnificent rb and footballer and would be a 1st choice pick if he wasn't made of China, oh my kingdom for a fit auerlio! He punched a fucking angel?!? Lol ! loved that.

That season had us playing against so many top sides, with top players in top form , previous seasons saw us play the same sides and nobly lose on the whole, so forgive me if I lose perspective and wallow in the glorious feelings of this win.

I can't believe gerrard and Torres only played 9 times together when we played the mancs, the keane fiasco, nevermind the all encompassing shit storm which was brewing in the anals of anfield but that is a damning statistic.

Lets also not not forget that the mancs got 90pts for the second time only in 20 years to win the league, they had a remarkable knack for getting to circa 85 pts after 2000, but if I could politely fuck of whiskey nose and his rabble to focus back on us, we were remarkable that season especially with the shite going on indoors and every year since it gets better remembering .... If I forget how bad things got afterwards.

Thanks, was fun reading that.

Offline rafa4eva

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I don't think there was need for so much disrespect to Sír Alex Ferguson

Seriously?, after reading that you felt obliged to highlight the alleged disrespect to fergie? Wow.

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I dont remember the Reina-Hyypia and Rooney incident you mentioned. I will have to refresh my memory to the sweet taste of a glass of wine and raising a toast to all those who made that day possible.

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Quote
On the 68th minute. Liverpool's first substitute came on. Albert Riera, arguably our best player in the previous fixture came on off for Andrea "Bossena".
I'm always reminded that someone on RAWK went over to redcafe *shudders* on the night of our 4-1 against Madrid and found the comment, 'You know you're a shit team when Andrea Dossena scores against you.' At that point, it was in the stars.

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Thank you for that Anton. Fab read and a greatly crafted destruction of bacon face.
Just clicked on the main board and my virus scanner came back with this

"When we visited this site, we found it exhibited one or more risky behaviors."


:lmao

Strip his knighthood https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/47770

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The full game is about two thirds down on here, just above the Paisley games http://rawk.impulsed.net/
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Offline The 5th Benitle

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I don't think there was need for so much disrespect to Sír Alex Ferguson
Are you for real?

Nice one Ari, great job and a wonderful reminder of an amazing day.

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A warm glow and a big grin. Do it again and again and again .... Yeah   ;D

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tis goodwill to all men. So leave leo alone. Not fergie. he's not human.
Yep.

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That is such a brilliant read mate. Thanks.

Great times those. Hyypia's MoM of the performance (and touch for the second goal) was sublime and Dossena's goal was just taking the piss.
We have to change from doubter to believer. Now.

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Fuck what a team we were then. Stevie and Torres in full flight. Thing of fucking beauty, that game. Emptied that shit heap of a stadium in 65 minutes.
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Great write-up, great day and great season. Still feeling the sting when thinking about it.

Offline Yorkykopite

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Nicely done Aristotle.

I have to say that one of the best things about the result - something you capture in your piece - is how close the game was for so long. For long stretches they had us pegged back. Ferguson was ridiculed afterwards for sort of saying this and it was right he was ridiculed because 1-4 is pretty decisive by anyone's standards. It was great to see him spluttering and trying to get his (semi-valid) point across. For once nobody listened and that made it all even sweeter. 
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Epic!

Offline Ycuzz

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Someone get me an applaud .gif! (or you can provide yer own Anton ;D)

What a fucking happy fucking day that was! Also, remember I had been out the night before and as me and me mates enjoyed our traditional burger-before-home-meal. Some Manc twats, (and yes, they were ugly), started singing in the restaurant. All upbeat about the day that would follow. Mostly there was a pathetic rendition of something along the lines of winning something three times. We were on the table next to them - me right opposite. My sole reaction was to just raise my hand and count my fingers..

I so so so so so wish I could have met them the next day.


Thanks mate, that was brilliant. Skål!


@Yvanicuzz

Offline Aristotle

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Also, I want to point out the "coincidence" of Suarez signing a contract extension on the day I post my first thread, since my appreciation thread of him.
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Look at those stupid twats in the background, STILL recording the game to put on youtube later.

You wouldn't think staunch Yernited fans such as themselves would enjoy recording Liverpool going 2-1 up at Old Trafford would you.

Great read!

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Lovely..... What a destruction
yer ma should have called you Paolo Zico Gerry Socrates HELLRAZOR

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Brilliant read Anton, just brilliant. :wellin
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Bump for Christmas
Yep.