Sheesh! Every match Sir Alex gets 5 minutes of extra time?
While each fan will be watching his club play tomorrow, it will be the Liverpool vs Man Utd knockout that will occupy centerstage. It is all about establishing narratives.
The club that most pundits, including the Guardian, that oracle of footballing wisdom, picked to win the Premiership is faced with a situation where this win if it does happen, does not salvage its season as much as it gives hope that there is a kinder God.
Bruised, battered, bewildered. A manager’s career lies at stake. A career that has been debated endlessly over the airwaves, blogs, fan forums, pubs, and every form of punditry. Rafa’s five years have been reduced to one day, one match. A win will give him a new lease on endless love, a loss will predictably hasten his exit. And a draw will leave no solutions. Amongst Rafa’s many nowhere men, will the ones who have succeeded stand up and salvage his reputation?
Anfield is a bit of a tinderbox nowadays as fans battle an unloved duo of owners (10,000 fans will stage a protest against Tom Hicks and George Gillett before the match) who have made many rose coloured promises but failed to deliver. Liverpool’s continued success on the pitch introduces a fragile truce between the two parties. It is a strange brand of escapism from the economic abyss facing the club.
Rafa has Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson back in the squad and Steven Gerrard is on the bubble. Fans will remember the 4-1 win last season which was partly caused by an imploding Man Utd defense. And Liverpool have to hope that there are one or two moments of weakness because Antonio Valencia and Dimitar Berbatov have picked up admirably from where an injured Wayne Rooney and the departed Cristiano Ronaldo left off.