So here it is.
City vs Liverpool in The Champions League Quarter Finals.
This is the draw we did not want.
Kryptonite. (Liverpool also have a high press!)
Upon the unveiling of our next CL opponents, this possibility was the one that seemed to invoke dread in the best of us.
We just can’t seem to beat them – at Anfield anyway.
However strong we are, however much our individual players excel theirs, they seem to have our number.
Refereeing decisions, rank bad luck, an unexpected “off-night”, the roll of the ball…even individual blades of grass seem to conspire against us when we play them at Anfield.
This fixture drags me right back to where it all began for me: 1978.
When I first started following City – one sad sorry eedjit within a scrum of ManYoo and Liverpool fans, Liverpool dominated all before them.
They were the outstanding team of the day:
The Steve Davis to our Jimmy White.
The typical score was 4-0.
Their 1980s dominance, paired with United‘s control in the 1990s/2000s still impinges on our day-to-day reality even now because so many of the now grown-up kids of that era have become well-known journos and pundits and as you know, they cannot conceive of an England in which these two teams are not as they always were.
The longing and the yearning of 50+ year-old grown-up schoolboys for the return to the top of United & Liverpool is palpable.
This is evidenced by the total failure of almost all contemporary pundits (even the more reasonable ones) to acknowledge our 5-0 demolition of Liverpool at The Etihad.
It’s as if Mane‘s attempted decapitation of Ederson and the subsequent dismissal invalidated the rest of the game…
Nothing really counted after that, you see.
The preferred media narrative is that Liverpool were on top at the time and giving us a roasting until a dodgy ref decision deprived Klopp of a much deserved win.
Proof positive then, of their superiority came at Anfield in the return game where apparently City lost 4-0 to a rampant Red team (excepting those 3 rather lucky and irrelevant “consolation goals”)
We are all familiar with this historical revisionism – after all, Liverpool morally won the league title in 2014.
There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip…
Now at this point I do understand that many City fans embrace their Scouse neighbours in a sort of mutual antipathy for all things United.
However in my experience, the Reds are every bit as delusional and smug as the Ferguson collective.
They have promised us a Galatasaraay “Welcome to Hell!” reception at Anfield in the first leg and now hail Mohamed Salah as the usurper to KDB/David Silva‘s expected POTY award.
So virulent has been their response to the first leg tie, that MCFC have reported the issue to The Plod for security purposes.
Dunno about you.
But I fancy our chances.
Aguero-Silva-KDB-Sane-Sterling-Ferna-Kompany-Otamendi up against the likes of Lovren-Karius-Trent-Arnold-Henderson-Milner etc.
Big up to Salah for his 4 goals against Watford.
But Aguero has performed this particular headline-winning trick too many times against better teams (Leicester, anyone?) before (without media fanfare) to bother us.
This time David Silva will be there.
This time Vincent Kompany and not the temporarily out-of-form John Stones will be on the right side of defence. I wouldn’t count on Firmino muscling big Vinnie off the ball.
There will not be any Ederson howler this time.
As for Sadio Mane hitting the postage stamp corner of our goal this time…nah!
This game will be a reversion to the mean.
By this I refer to the fact that we are 20 odd points ahead of The Reds in the league and that even given our 10 crazy minutes at Anfield – we still win 8-4 on aggregate in a 2-leg tie.
If this was a single 90 minute game, then…. there would be cause for concern.
But over 180 minutes?
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