Liverpool versus Manchester United is the biggest game of the season at any time, but an FA Cup game at Anfield, with 5,000 travelling Old Trafford regulars, and all the drama surrounding Patrice Evra, means this fixture has an extra dimension.
The game kicks off at Anfield on Saturday, 28 January 2012, 12.45pm GMT. We’ll be with you around 45 minutes before the whistle!
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Ed - Saturday 15:03
Bye from me
Thanks for joining us today on the live blog. In the end, hugely disappointing day both for the result and the “friendly banter” – as Kenny Dalglish calls it – the disgraceful booing of Evra, together with monkey gestures coming from the stands. Bitter? Yeah, I am. Angry that United lost a game that should have been one. Worse, that it was lost to THAT team and THOSE fans.
See you all on the next live blog!
Ed - Saturday 15:00
“I don’t have the words. It was a really good performance by us. In the context of the FA Cup that can happen. One bad break and you can lose a game. It was a bad goal, we didn’t deserve that. We didn’t do well (with the goals). I’m pleased with my players, they played really well. They didn’t deserve to be beaten. But that’s FA cup football, it’s not the first time it’s happened.”
Ed - Saturday 14:56
Look a bit different to the half time picture don’t they [click for a big image if you need to]
Ed - Saturday 14:50
How do United come back from this?
Make no mistake. The FA Cup might have been the third priority at the season’s start but the United squad will feel this. Dumped out of Europe and the Carling Cup, now out of the world’s oldest competition. It’s hard to take and it will hit the squad’s confidence. There’s a game on Tuesday – United simply have to get some players back for that one with hardly any time to get the players fit.
Ed - Saturday 14:47
No word from the manager yet. Can’t imagine he’ll be happy with United’s defending for either goal today. First goal – de Gea fails to get to the ball when he should have cleaned out absolutely everybody. Second, Evans misses the header, Evra goes missing and de Gea can’t get a foot or hand to it. United dominated but it wasn’t enough. Bad mistakes and an inability to turn chances into goals.
Ed - Saturday 14:41
The steam went out of United in the last 15 minutes. Despite dominating huge amounts of this game United have lost, paying for losing the tactical battle as substitutions were made. Should Scholes have been taken off? Well he was controlling the game but those legs aren’t getting any young. Needed some verve in the middle of the park in the last few minutes and no options on the bench.
Critical juncture now in the season. United dumped out of Europe, three points behind City in the Premier League, out of the Carling Cup, out of the FA Cup, nobody cares about the Europe league.
Worst part of today though. The Anfield crowd will go home happy, having disgracefully abuse Patrice Evra all afternoon. This is a club that has not only failed to condemn racism but has supported it. Liverpool – an embarrassed to the game I love. And now have knocked United out too.
Now for the interviews… what will Fergie say?
Paul - Saturday 14:41
Right. Losing to Liverpool is really painful, and to be honest, I wanted them to pay for the Evra affair, but given how ravaged are squad is, we can do without the FA Cup.
Paul - Saturday 14:37
“You just wonder if the emotions have taken a toll” Do you mean “You just wonder if being booed for 90 minutes for reporting racial abuse, facing vitriol stirred up at an institutional level by a smear campaign filled with deliberate misinformation designed to undermine your very name and credibility has taken a toll” Beglin?
Ed - Saturday 14:35
He’s not exactly an impact substitute but its desperate times from United now. Let Liverpool back into the game in the last 15 minutes and paid a huge price.
Out of Europe, out of the FA Cup (it seems), behind City in the league. It’s not looking clever at all right now. I’m off to drown my sorrows in a very large glass of… oh wait it’s no drinking January.
Paul - Saturday 14:34
Didn’t want a replay
Now I really want a replay.
Paul - Saturday 14:33
Absolutely gutted – it’s been coming. Poor defending, but it’s been a good performance from a very tired squad.
Ed - Saturday 14:32
United miss a long ball and Kuyt fires past de Gea. It was very close to the young Spaniard too. Could he have done better. Evra completely out of position, Evans did nothing to challenge Carroll for the flick on. Mistakes all over the place there and it’s probably cost United a place in the FA Cup.
Ed - Saturday 14:31
United no longer bossing this
The tactical changes mean United is no longer totally dominant in midfield. But there’s more presence up front. It’s a gamble from Ferguson. Will it pay off… they normally do.
Paul - Saturday 14:30
Led the line excellently, again, but looks unsurprisingly exhausted. Time some Berba?
Ed - Saturday 14:27
Patrice Evra to fire in a last minute winner in front of the home fans. It’s what FA Cup dreams are made of, right?!
Paul - Saturday 14:26
They’ve come back into it strongly since their first substitution. It’s another game of three quarters!
Ed - Saturday 14:25
Squeaky bum time!
Nervous yet? You should be. Huge 10 minutes coming up in this game. Nobody wants a replay, but Liverpool slowly creeping back into this game. Home side having some more of it – momentum with them?
Ed - Saturday 14:23
Duh duh duh duh duh
Racist bastards. The view Anfield didn’t want to see….
Ed - Saturday 14:20
Lasted 75 minutes. That’s a good effort for a 36-year-old asthmatic who has barely played in the past eight months!
United matching Liverpool with a 4-4-2 now. Hernandez and Welbeck up front. Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park across United’s midfield. Ferguson is going to try and win this one.
15 minutes to go. COME ON YOU REDS!
Paul - Saturday 14:20
Scholes, who has been given the freedom of Anfield and used it excellently, is replaced by Chich – so, a 4-4-2 then, Giggs and Carrick are going to have it tough, but obviously great to see Chich come on.
Ed - Saturday 14:18
Liverpool have switched this from 5-4-1 to 4-4-2. Will it make a difference? Might help the home side put a little more pressure on United’s back four but they have to stop hitting long balls and actually get some possession in midfield first.
Looks like Hernandez is likely to come on for United. But a straight swap for Welbeck or will one of United’s ageing midfielders depart?
Paul - Saturday 14:16
High quality lols
Welbeck trying to take the captain’s armband of Gerarrd, then looking really amused by how serious Gerarrd looked. Excellent.
Ed - Saturday 14:16
He’s a pantomime villain but a thoroughly dislikeable man too. Remember the time he ran 50 yards to slap a fan who was celebrating on the pitch. Apparently assault is ok if you’re a Liverpool player….
Paul - Saturday 14:15
This one is so finely poised, and Bellamy’s coming. I’m definitely nervous – be interesting to see how Fergie reacts.
Ed - Saturday 14:15
Time for a change?
United’s midfield is less dominant in the last five minutes. Tiredness is bound to play a part with Giggs and Scholes still in there. Might be time to freshen it up a bit as we get into the last 20 minutes of this game.
Ed - Saturday 14:12
Liverpool going longer and longer in this game. Hoping to take advantage of De Gea’s nerves and Andy Carroll’s height. Not sure it’ll help the home side much.
Paul - Saturday 14:12
Taking Keano’s advice there, having a pop at Carroll. Good.
Paul - Saturday 14:10
Rafa gets booked
It was definitely a booking, but there’s a slight irony to a challenge with no chance of hurting the opponent being the first one to draw a card.
Paul - Saturday 14:09
He just looks incredibly uncertain. It’s sad to see.
Ed - Saturday 14:08
Bag of nerves
David de Gea having a really bad day at the office today. Feel for the young man. Lots of talent but United need to go to school on him. Launch balls high at him all day in training. Every day until he gets it! Dropped a very easy cross there…
Ed - Saturday 14:07
Two footed challenge?
Isn’t that an automatic red card for dangerous foul play these days. Maxi Rodriguez saved by being substituted before Mark Halsey could get the card out. Clever tactics from the Liverpool bench I guess.
Paul - Saturday 14:06
That was a sending off.
Paul - Saturday 14:05
Liverpool are making the phoenix like return of Scholes seem like complete genius by leaving him entirely untroubled to do anything he likes.
Paul - Saturday 14:04
Welbeck – very slightly overcooked his touch, but the lack of room to manoeuvre was a consequence of how badly outnumbered he is by the defense. Then Evra played a gorgeous ball into Park who appeared to shoot as best as he possibly could at a goal which was a good foot to the left of where he thought it was.
Ed - Saturday 14:04
Downing, Henderson, Carroll
Cost Liverpool a combined £70 million. Money well spent then! None of them are hurting United here. Downing looks more of a threat but the quality is lacking so often its untrue with the former Middlesborough man.
Ed - Saturday 14:02
Was that handball?
It hits Smalling’s hand as he was falling. Surely the young man has no control where the ball is. Would have been a ridiculous penalty but with the Kop calling for a penalty weaker referees would have given it just to appease them.
Tyldsley goes on about the rules “deliberate” or not he says. Rules are more subtle… well the referee’s guidance is. Non deliberate can be handball if the arm/hand is in an “unnatural position”
Paul - Saturday 14:00
Bad slip, but fantastic recovery. Smalling and Evans both having really good games.
Ed - Saturday 13:59
What was de Gea doing?
It wasn’t even a back pass. Just lash the thing out! He’s great in possession but the concentration levels appeared to go there. Wasn’t aware of what was going on around him or the potential threat.
Paul - Saturday 13:58
HOW was that not a booking??? I know Rafael’s short, but Maxi’s leg’s above waist height as he kicks him.
Ed - Saturday 13:57
Second half woes
United have been TERRIBLE in second halves recently. Not today it seems. The intensity and drive is still there. Fingers crossed that it continues. Helped by Liverpool’s inept management not understanding what’s going on in the game.
Paul - Saturday 13:55
Given how poor we’ve been in the early part of 2nd halves recently, this is very promising stuff. And Liverpool STILL aren’t pressing Scholes. We’re bossing this, but we’re far from immune from the counter attack.
Ed - Saturday 13:55
This is a disgrace
Will Merseyside police do something about this kind of behaviour. Look to the left….
Ed - Saturday 13:54
The second half starts in the same fashion with United retaining the ball and Liverpool sitting off. Simply amazing that Liverpool isn’t pressing harder – it’s a huge tactical mistake from Kenny Dalglish.
Paul - Saturday 13:52
I really hope Kenny forgot to say “Get tight on Scholesey” at half time.
Ed - Saturday 13:49
Here we go again
No changes at half time and no obvious tactical adjustments from either side either. Wouldn’t expect to see Ferguson call on the bench until 60 minutes in but if United continue to dominate possession there’s a chance that Hernandez or Berbatov might see some action. It’s also debatable how long Scholes can last.
Paul - Saturday 13:44
I don’t really understand why I get so defeatist about United. At 1-0 down I couldn’t see us getting back into it, which is pretty ridiculous, given our history and the talent on display (albeit some of the talent is a bit old). There’s just something about us (or me!) at the moment that leaves me unsure the whole time.
No surprise that when the goal came it came down the right, though – clearly Rafa and Valencia combine to form an incisive attacking force.
Ed - Saturday 13:44
“You have to make your presence felt and go and nail somebody” – could be the motto of a lifetime for the Irishman there. He was referring to David de Gea at corners and he’s right, but Alfe Inge Haarland might have a rue smile on his face.
Ed - Saturday 13:42
Half time stats
United completely dominating this game
Ed - Saturday 13:36
Half time cuppa and half an orange
Do footballers still partake in this tradition? Not unless they’re flying across the dressing room courtesy of Ferguson’s boot. It’ll be isotonic sports drinks, tactics boards, and the hairdryer. Although Ferguson will be pleased with a lot of that. United controlling the game tactically but they could hurt Liverpool a lot more. Three Liverpool defenders versus Danny Welbeck is something of a wasted opportunity. Ferguson will want to keep three in central midfield but needs to get somebody at little closer to United’s 21-year-old striker.
Paul - Saturday 13:35
The Arsenal game and this one so far have been defined by an impressive psychological resilience from United. Not always something I associate with this particular team.
Liverpool making a massive mistake not pressing our midfield. Long may it continue.
Paul - Saturday 13:31
@fresher_mike makes the very valid point – “the look of pure terror on LFC players when they know Tony V is going to run past them and they can’t stop him. PRICELESS!”
Ed - Saturday 13:30
Can you hear the Scousers sing?
I can’t hear a f*cking thing. The hate has drained away for the time being. Should United score, they’ll turn on their own. They always do. Red army sing the travelling fans. The only fans you can hear at Anfield now.
Ed - Saturday 13:28
For all the criticism that the Geordie deservedly received at times since 2009 he has simply been brilliant this season. From November onwards easily United’s best player. Xavi-esque in his passing and distribution. Control of the game, screening defence. Simply great stuff. Can’t praise him highly enough.
United still need a ball-winner and a creative midfielder though…
Paul - Saturday 13:26
What a goal
Absolutely brilliant touch from Valencia, power, pace and incision from Rafa and a stunning finish from Park.
Ed - Saturday 13:26
And I was saying?!! Get in!
What a goal. Great flick from Valencia, fantastic loss cross from Rafael and a simply brilliant finish from the Korean
Paul - Saturday 13:25
THE REVERSE CURSE OF THE RANT LIVE BLOG!!!
Well done, Ed. Top, top, top work!
Ed - Saturday 13:24
Once again he is United’s weak link. He misplaces or loses possession about 50 per cent of the time. Surely somebody can buy the lad some Maximuscle and tell him to man up. Five years in England and he still seems to struggle with the physical (and technical) aspects of the game. The problem being… there aren’t a lot of wide options on the bench.
Ed - Saturday 13:22
Feel the hate
Paul - Saturday 13:19
Hope Kenny doesn’t read this, but why aren’t Liverpool pressing him harder. He’ll hurt them if they keep giving him all this room.
Ed - Saturday 13:18
United playing some very nice triangles in midfield but there isn’t enough penetration. It’s a true five in midfield with nobody getting close enough to Welbeck to make a real difference. At this juncture its hard to see United hurting Liverpool. But I’m sure Fergie will turn something around. Surely?
Paul - Saturday 13:17
What interpretation of the laws of the game wasn’t that a yellow, then?
Ed - Saturday 13:16
Both in the stands and on the pitch. Liverpool fans happily sinking into racism and Liverpool players flying in with tackles. It’s taken a while but I can feel some ‘afters’ coming here…
Paul - Saturday 13:15
Watching the game with @joediego24 who has just pointed out that whenever Beglin says something isn’t a foul he should be forced to face the equivalent force of the challenge he’s describing. Harsh but fair?
(Can’t bring myself to say anything about the actual game at the moment, because between the atmosphere, our recent record at Anfield, the line up, I’m just not seeing where we get the win from.)
Ed - Saturday 13:14
Liverpool fans are a disgrace
Booing Evra at every touch was expected. But now “one lying bastard” rings around Anfield. This isn’t a vocal minority, this is the whole crowd. I’d shut Anfield and make Liverpool play behind closed doors until there’s some kind of enlightenment on Merseyside. May be a very very long time coming with these fans. Disgraceful behaviour.
Ed - Saturday 13:12
Five man midfield
Ferguson’s tactic of packing the midfield is – obviously – now looking a bit of a problem, with United now having to score to get something out of this tie. Danny Welbeck versus three central defenders is a tactical problem for United now rather than a potential blunder by Dalglish. Liverpool is set up to hold what they have.
Paul - Saturday 13:08
What on earth is he thinking about there. That was really incredibly poor goalkeeping.
Uphill struggle now, obviously.
Ed - Saturday 13:08
De Gea got nowhere near the ball as Daniel Agger nods in for the opening goal. Liverpool’s tactic of fouling the ‘keeper at corners pays off. Andy Carroll was almost making love to the young man there. Might be best for de Gea to just stay on his line and let the defenders deal with the incoming ball.
United must now come from behind.
Paul - Saturday 13:07
I hope someone took a series of photos that can be turned into an animated gif of whatever Park was doing on the floor then.
Ed - Saturday 13:06
What a buy he has proven to be at ‘just’ £14 million. Worth a lot more today and on fire in recent weeks. More than a few fans were suspicious when he joined. After all he hardly set the world alight at Wigan, did he? Proven a great piece of business.
Paul - Saturday 13:05
Whilst Ed’s position might be entirely based in fact, in case the Gods of hubris are watching, I would like to point out that he’s still more than capable of hurting us. (Balance is restored to the force).
Paul - Saturday 13:04
Ouch. SO close. What an awesome run and shot from a player who is absolutely. on. fire.
Ed - Saturday 13:03
The first really good chance of the game from a set piece. United lining up a free kick just outside the Liverpool area. Will the big guns head up from the back… sadly Ryan Giggs was unable to get past the first man. How often that happens.
Paul - Saturday 13:00
As Ed points out, he’s marked by three of them. Which reduces the odds of him pointing at the number on his back after scoring a goal, but the dream lives on.
Ed - Saturday 12:58
Giggs and possession
He’s been loose in recent games and already today. It is really important that United keep the ball. With Scholes and Carrick likely to hit 90 per cent pass accuracy is Giggs the weak link in midfield?
Ed - Saturday 12:57
Very isoltated up front already. Need Giggs, Valencia and Park to get close to the 21-year-old or United will struggle to get anything to stick up front. The young man is being marked by not one, not two but THREE Liverpool central defenders.
Paul - Saturday 12:55
SO close to doing his special move and pulling back the winger, but didn’t.
Ed - Saturday 12:55
First strike on target
From Ryan Giggs. He’s been playing in these games since 1991. Half the United fans at the game today probably weren’t even a twinkle in the milkman’s eyes in 1991. Remarkable man, remarkable career….
Ed - Saturday 12:54
Manchester United has won the last three games. Liverpool has lost twice and drawn with Manchester City. Dalglish’s side has barely progressed in a year, not that you’ll hear any different from the Anfield faithful.
Paul - Saturday 12:52
Much as I love him, having in the team is not comfortable. Great save from Dave, though. What a bearpit to chuck him back into the team in.
Ed - Saturday 12:51
With 10 players strung out across midfield this is where the battle will be one and lost today. United’s may be ancient, but Liverpool’s lacks quality. United will try and keep possession and calm down the Anfield crowd. Big test.
Paul - Saturday 12:51
I know we knew it was coming
But actually seeing the close up of people booing Evra just made me feel really sick. It gets lost in the haze of tribalism and United Liverpool rivalry, so it becomes “acceptable” but those people are booing a man for reporting racial abuse. It’s absolutely totally and utterly despicable, and my feelings on this have nothing to do with whose fans it is doing the booing. It’s shameful.
Ed - Saturday 12:47
Predictable reception for Patrice Evra… booed for calling out a racist. The unreconstructed reside at Anfield. No surprise there.
“There’s only one racist bastard” cry the United fans.
Paul - Saturday 12:47
Ed - Saturday 12:47
Between the two managers ahead of the game. They’re two Scots but that’s where the common ground ends. They’ve not always been the best of friends and Kenny Dalglish’s reaction to the Luis Suarez affair has irked Ferguson…..
Ed - Saturday 12:41
Sir Alex Ferguson: ”It’s volatile, it’s emotional and it can be inspiring too….”. The manager says he never considered leaving Patrice Evra out of the starting line-up. “Never, never, why should I? He’s done nothing wrong, he’s our captain.”
The manager says you “can bet your life” on the match being as intense as ever.
Ed - Saturday 12:39
David de Gea
Big day for the young man, restored to United’s starting line-up. No real surprise there with the FA Cup down the list of priorities and Ferguson still keen for the Spaniard to get games today. They will be some nerves though with the Kop baying for the 21-year-old to make a mistake…
Ed - Saturday 12:36
U . N . I . T . E . D
10 minutes to kick off and the atmosphere is building at Anfield. 5,000 United fans – a lot less than there really should be – will be cheering on the boys. It’s a negative looking line-up from Ferguson but there are plenty of options on the bench if the manager needs it. Looking for a replay back at Old Trafford perhaps?
Come on you Reds!
Ed - Saturday 12:32
Big day for the stand-in referee today. Sir Alex will be grateful that his nemesis Martin Atkinson has a cold and isn’t taking the game. He’s the Ferguson criticised as not being “strong” or “fair”. The manager saw a two match touchline ban for that one.
But Halsey has his critics too… and with the Kop baying for blood, the Welwyn-born official will need to be super strong today.
Ed - Saturday 12:27
Paraded by Liverpool ahead of the game at Anfield. As @badgerwolf rightly points out on Twitter, the club is not a “custodian of our sport”. Liverpool’s reaction to the affair has always been to stoke the fires of racist hatred. Conciliatory noises from Kenny Dalglish yesterday – far too little, far too late – and completely revoked today. How could the Uruguayan being there do anything but increase tension?
Ed - Saturday 12:21
Who’d wear one of these?
Aside from the ridiculous Suarez masks, who would actually buy a half-and-half Liverpool-Manchester United scarf. Aside from risking life and limb it makes little sense, even for a day tripping tourist….
Ed - Saturday 12:08
The average age of United’s midfield quintet today is 457. There or thereabouts. Valencia should offer an out ball, but Carrick, Scholes, Giggs and Park is about as dynamic as my 96-year-old gran. Maybe less so. The concern, obviously, is that Danny Welbeck will be isolated. Who is going to get near him from United’s midfield?
Better news comes in the form of Kenny Dalglish’s ridiculous tactics. Three at the back, when Ferguson is deploying two wingers and one striker? United should exploit that faster than you can say cross-field ball….
Paul - Saturday 12:00
The kids are on the bench
Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Berbatov, Chicharito, Fabio, M.Keane, Pogba.
I guess that gives a decent amount of attacking options. Also, how many people would have to get injured for Pogba to get a game today?
Paul - Saturday 11:56
De Gea; Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Park; Welbeck.
Given our injuries, that looks a pretty sensible approach to me. Just not sure attacking bombast is what’s required today. Worried about Scholes getting overrun though. Wonder if it will be Carrick and Scholes with Giggs sitting just behind Welbeck in a 4-2-3-1 or a proper 4-5-1. I’d guess the latter…
I’d also guess that Valencia’s gonna have to have an absolute stormer if we want to create anything.
Paul - Saturday 11:54
In the modern world, Clive Tyldesley tweeting the team is what passes for official confirmation. He’s just tweeted this Liverpool line up:
Reina Kelly Carragher Skrtel Agger Enrique Gerrard Henderson Downing Carroll Maxi.
Altogether now – boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! (Glad that there’s no Bellamy!)
Paul - Saturday 11:39
This time last live blog…
I was just posting that Paul Scholes had come out of retirement. No whisperings of Keano being on the bench today, so far. More’s the pity.
Paul - Saturday 11:34
That intro’s a bit David Pleat, isn’t it? “Good evening everybody…”
Not sure how to go about sensibly live blogging a match with such ridiculously heightened expectations and atmospheres around it. Been hearing conflicting things about the starting line ups and match day squad all day. It’s almost impossible to parse all the speculation, but it boils down to this – either most of our best players are injured, or they’re not. Even if he’s not actually out today, you’d imagine Rooney might be struggling a bit. And he’s never exactly torn it up at Anfield, anyway.
I predicted a scrappy one-nil on the podcast this week, so I guess I have to stick to that, but I think a draw might actually be a more reasonable prediction. Hope I’m wrong and we absolutely smash them to pieces, though.
Ed - Saturday 11:24
Scholes – return was my idea
Whether you believe Scholes returned to the United squad out of desperation or because the 36-year-old wanted one last crack at the big time is open to interpretation. There’s the party line, and the Glazernomic reality. Whatever happened to that £150 million transfer war chest, Malcolm? In any case Scholes is back in the squad and likely to be on the bench for today’s game.
Here’s a nice story. When Scholes went to see Ferguson, he knocked on the manager’s office with a 15-year-old pair of boots hanging round his neck. Ever the pro….
“After coming in for the last three or four months, still seeing people and doing a bit of training, I was missing it more than I thought,” Scholes said.
“I saw the manager and told him I wanted to come back playing. I didn’t know what his reaction would be. Thankfully, it was positive. I missed it and decided to give it another go.”
Ed - Saturday 10:53
Welbeck for England?
Sir Alex Ferguson says that Danny Welbeck will go to Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. Well why not – he’s the country’s in-form striker and it’s not as if Fabio Capello has a lot of quality options these days. Welbeck has nine goals in all competitions this season – five in his first seven games and then four in the last six.
“I think he will be (in the squad). He is developing into a very strong athlete and when he gets moving, he is really quick. He was always a decent goalscorer but when he plays regularly for us he has been getting a goal a game. We expected him to do well this year. We did the right thing sending Danny to Sunderland last season.
“We are quite positive about our strikers because they are all different. In the box, Javier Hernandez is unbelievable. He has had his issues with concussion and two ankle injuries but his game is starting to come now. Wayne Rooney has 19 goals and can easily end up around the 30 mark. Dimitar Berbatov is the one who is being ignored by everyone but he will always give you something different.”
Cynics might add that Berbatov is most ignored by Ferguson. I couldn’t possibly comment…
Ed - Saturday 09:53
Good morning everyone, and by all accounts a very fine morning across the land. On Merseyside Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are waking up at their Liverpool hotel ready to take on the old enemy for a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup. 5,000 United fans will be cheering the lads on, ready to block the gangways, ignore stewards, and discuss the housing arrangements of the home support.
The early news is good: Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Nani, and Wayne Rooney all apparently travelled with the match-day squad to Liverpool. Rio’s back problem flared up 10 days ago, Jones has an ankle problem, Nani an undetermined foot injury and Rooney ankle and calf concerns. Will they play? Sir Alex Ferguson is the master of the smokescreen: if the Scot tells you its pasta, to borrow a phrase, check under the sauce.
One man not in the squad is striker Mame Biram Diouf. The Senegalese striker was in Germany last night putting the final touches to a loan move – Hamburg 06 the lucky recipients of Diouf’s unique ‘talents’.