Reds under Sir Alex’s skin

2012-02-01 00:00

WELL, it got worse for Manchester United fans over the weekend. They may have had the better of Liverpool and any manager that the Scousers have fielded over the last 20-odd years, but you can always count on the Reds to find a way of getting under Sir Alex’s skin at some stage during a season.

The tie on Saturday may have appeared timid to anyone watching and without its usual robustness. Heck, there weren’t even any red cards to hog the Monday headlines, though that could be explained by the fact that Nemanja Vidic was nowhere to be seen. But a look at King Kenny Dalglish’s celebrations proved that the rivalry between the two managers is as fierce as it has ever been, and the audible eruption that was Anfield at the final whistle showed that the rivalry among fans is just as strong.

For Liverpool fans, managers and players, United are still the side to beat. With United’s dominance of English football hardly ever questioned, it is crazy to think that a continuously stuttering and inconsistent Liverpool are now in a position where they can lift two domestic trophies this season. Their reward for beating United on Saturday is a fifth-round tie with Championship mid-tablers Brighton and they are favourites to lift the Carling Cup, where they are due to meet Cardiff in the February 26 Wembley final.

United, on the other hand, only have the League to play for now, unless you are one of those fans who views the Europa League as a priority. Realistically, though, right now Liverpool seem the more likely of the two to win anything, which is sure to get Facebookers and Tweeters around the world buzzing. The trick for Dalglish now is to get his side performing like that week in and week out. Whenever we think that Liverpool are in the middle of a revolution, they’ll drop points to a Stoke or West Brom and then it’s back to square one.

On another note, the January transfer window was not as silly as seasons past, or at least it wasn’t until we all started counting sheep last night.

Chelsea have been active, but then they always are. Gary Cahill was always destined for bigger things and Roman Abramovich was more than willing to oblige. They had to do something, because things at Stamford Bridge are looking worse than they have in a long time. Surprisingly, though, the biggest movers over January were Mark Hughes’s Queens Park Rangers. Frederico Macheda has joined on loan from United and former boss Neil Warnock will be wondering why he wasn’t given the same resources as his replacement. But Hughes’s biggest purchase sees a return to the Premier League for former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse, who is sure to be an instant crowd favourite at Loftus Road.

It’s a gamble. Often new clubs in the Premier League will hold off on the spending during their first season in the top flight, because the financial implications of a return to the Championship after just one season are dire.

Locally, Orlando Pirates have flexed their muscles in the PSL’s transfer window. The acquisition of Luis Boa Morte is apparantly going to cost Irvin Khoza and his cronies something in the region of R400 000 a month. It may prove to be an average piece of business on Pirates’ part. At 34, the Portugese superstar might not stand apart from his team-mates as much as some might think. Time will tell. Either way, its a good piece of business on the PSL’s part.

The league continues to flourish as big names start to take notice. We’ve even heard Freddie Ljunberg’s name bashed around a few local sites the other day. Who knows, in a little while we might see the world’s best finishing their careers on the warm shores of Mzansi and laughing off the American Dream.

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