The numbers, like Shakira's hips, don't lie. We just don't play as well without Rio and Vidic. Nonetheless, there have been easier weeks to be a United fan. With Liverpool’s cup final now scrubbed off the agenda we can get on with the business of trying to get to the real ones.
Neither of our first choice centre-halves would have been able to do much about the opener I fear. Much as it made our defence look like muppets, Suarez’s work for their first goal was genuinely world class. Damn shame, because we were definitely the better team at that point. The score line violently flatters Liverpool, the truth of the matter is it just wasn't our lucky day.
Context is always a useful thing when looking at results. The final score at Anfield will likely be the best thing that happens to Liverpool FC, or in the lives of their fans, this year. Much the same can be said about Chelsea last week. Similarly, a crystal meth addict would celebrate a £500 win on a lottery scratch card with wild abandon; it doesn’t mean that the win is very important in the scheme of things though.
Let’s bear in mind that having lost twice in a week United still top the league by three points. It must be upsetting for fans of other clubs that they trail in the wake of the worst United team for years. They have my sympathy.
It is okay for United to be a major scalp for the other sides – personally I find it flattering. Indeed, the attempts of Liverpool and Chelsea fans make at being ‘dignified’ are a source of great amusement too.
What isn’t funny is Jamie Carragher’s attempt to end Nani’s career. Yes, the Portuguese is a big girl’s blouse but he is also one of the most entertaining players in the division. You can argue that United losing is good for the league as the Championship is now far more open. However, the way Carragher plays the game damages the sport in general. There is no excuse.
So, the biggest game of the Anfield club’s season is out of the way. Their team played well, if not a little dirtily, and they pretty much deserved their victory. When May swings around United are likely to be in the mix for a trophy or two. Liverpool won’t be.
Disclaimer: No referees were questioned in the writing of this column.
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