It’s Liverpool’s.....

Published: Monday, 23 September 2019

Two things became a whole lot clearer for me this weekend. 1 Liverpool will end the 30 year wait for a title. 2. It’s all over at the top table for Manchester United. And neither of those two things should surprise you - I’ve been saying it for long enough.

Regulars will know I believed Liverpool would get over the line last season. My thinking then was that if they didn’t win it last season - with Klopp having been given everything that he wanted - well, they never would.

They couldn’t have gone any closer could they? The CL win was a very palatable consolation! But make no mistake - they’d rather have won the PL.

None of us could predict how they’d react. Would they go backwards - having added nothing to their squad? Not a bit of it. They look stronger. They look determined. They look like Champions.

No-one has laid a significant glove on them yet. Chelsea tried really hard - but were always second best at The Bridge. Liverpool did what Champions do - they rolled with Chelsea’s best punches and got the job done. In previous years I’m not sure they would’ve done. It’s games like that that can settle title bids.

I can’t see a weakness. More significantly - neither can Pep Guardiola, who said last week that Liverpool are the best team he’s ever had to set a side up to face. Think about that - it’s quite a compliment.

Whilst we’re talking Liverpool let me clear up something for the tiresome few Scousers that never give up with their childish insults and bullying.

After van Dijk’s mistake in Naples I posed a simple question. ‘What if Stones or Otamendi had done a similar thing?’ The hysteria about a mistake that either of those two makes is ridiculous. For sensible people to suggest ‘City can’t win a title with those two at centre-back’ is nonsense. Of course they can.

I never understand how X-players - who should know better - leap to those conclusions. Come on - Liverpool went close to a title on a few occasions with Jamie Carragher at centre-back!

The usual keyboard cowardly few missed my point entirely. They’re too busy screaming abuse to take a breath and listen. Players are human. They make mistakes. Stones and Otamendi did that at Norwich - they made a mistake. City lost - for the first time in 19 games. I’ve watched the very same players now slaughtering others make mistakes every week during their own careers. It happens. That’s exactly the point that Guardiola made after the game at Carrow Road. Meanwhile City battered Watford.

City have even won a title without de Bruyne but I’ll tell you how Tney couldn’t win a title - without Aguero or Jesus.

I’m at the stage where I’m now feeling sorry for Solskjaer. Poor fella. What else is there for him to say about the mess at United? ‘They didn’t give up and they never stopped running’. That was his verdict after the defeat at West Ham. Think about that. That’s a quote from the Manager of Manchester United. Manchester United for goodness sake.

‘Ole’s at the wheel’ we were once excitedly told. Those words came back to me as I looked at him in the dug out at West Ham. Dressed in his bus drivers jacket he cut a very confused and lost individual. He’s out of his depth. What is the former manager of Molde - and relegated Cardiff - doing at Old Trafford? I said when they gave him the job that it was a mistake. What’s happened since has only cemented that view. It’s over for United.

I sat with John Barnes this weekend on beINSPORTS and asked the question - ‘could United go 30 years without winning the title?’ He said ‘no’. But....

It’s unthinkable isn’t it? It couldn’t happen surely? Well - it has done to Liverpool, who were once a mightier force than United, and those of us of a certain generation remember United toiling for 26 years before Fergie ended that spell. It could happen. It could very easily happen.

One other thing. Give it a break Jose. You were right to force your exit. You saw all this - not so did a few more of us. I’ve been talking about the decline since Fergie papered over all these cracks in his last season. But please - ‘worse than when I was there’? I’d have jumped all over that. ‘So you admit that they were poor in your time?’ Come on.

There’s stinking rot from the top down at Old Trafford. Mr Ed isn’t a financial genius - he’s trading on United’s name and former glories. The deals will dry up when United are no longer successful. He’s got to go. He’s made too many mistakes - compounding one after another - since Fergie’s departure. Put Gary Neville in. He seems to know how to run everything. He’s a United man. He’d get it. And Pochettino remains the answer in the dug out.

There’s trouble at Goodison as well. Again - regulars will know my thoughts on Marco Silva. Read previous blogs - here’s a guy that has always got out of town just before he’s been found out. And he’s been very successful at it - until now.

Get this - I heard last week that no-one can raise a voice in his dressing rooms. Calmness reigns. You can see the outcome on the football pitch. Mediocrity. Niceness. Blandness.

And at Finch Farm he’s erected tarpaulins around his first team training pitch - so no-one can see him and his players work. That’s a brilliant way to cut yourself off from the rest of the club. It’s divisive. Louis van Gaal did a similar thing during his time at United - sectioning off the canteen. It creates an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality. It always fails.

At one time I thought Everton were ready to take the next step - but not anymore. They’ve spent fortunes - £312m now - chasing success but they’re as far away as ever.

I’d change coach now. I raised a few eye brows a couple of months ago when I suggested Mourinho would be perfect for Arsenal - new ‘George Graham’ I said. Well here’s one to digest. My suggestion for Everton? Rafa. And trust me - he’d walk back from China to take it. In the meantime - it’s Liverpool’s.....