Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Benitez left choking on his bile after conceding advantage to United...

As expected talk of Liverpool winning the title looks to be premature following a poor run of results and performances, the latest coming at Anfield last night in the 1-1 draw with neighbours Everton. Cahill's late goal for Everton reportedly stunned the home crowd into silence. United fans will be wondering if Liverpool's outspoken Spanish manager will follow suit after his recent remarks about Ferguson.

Only a few weeks ago Liverpool were well clear at the top of the Premier League table and following a recent away win, word has it that Steven Gerrard went out on the town in Southport to 'celebrate'. However, the night came to a bitter end as Gerrard became embroiled in a row which ended with a night spent in the police cells and as a result he now faces a court date later this week.

On hearing about this news, Ferguson allegedly went into training next day and told his players that Liverpool believed they'd won the title already following Gerrard's premature celebrations. It doesn't matter if any of it is true; it's a good Fergie story and one that will only add to the United manager's much talked about man management skills.

Ferguson loves nothing better than a fight and Benitez recently made the big mistake of taking on the United manager when attacking him via the media, but as Simon Barnes of The Times put it the following week; it's a bit like one of those circus clowns threatening to chuck a bucket of water of someone; you know someone is going to get it and it's always the clown...

United know that Liverpool are a real threat this season despite Fergie recently saying that Chelsea remain their biggest challengers. Furthermore, United and Liverpool both know that nothing is decided in January, but from here on in it gets really interesting because after conceding advantage to United, Liverpool are now coming under real pressure and their next four league matches could see them falling behind the Champions in the race for the title.

The Merseyside Reds have a horrible looking sequence of fixtures on the horizon, starting with Everton in the FA Cup at the weekend which is followed by; Wigan (a); Chelsea (h); Pompey( a) and then Man City at home.

For their part, the Champions have, on paper at least anyway, a slightly easier looking run of games starting with the Carling Cup semi-final second-leg at Old Trafford this evening, followed by; Spurs FA Cup (h); WBA (a); Everton (h); West Ham (a); Fulham (h); Blackburn (h). Question: Is it only me who thinks that United could do with going out of the Carling Cup so we can concentrate on the big prizes?

Whatever the outcome of the Derby cup tie, at the end of the above sequences of games United could well see daylight between themselves and the chasing pack, what's more Liverpool, their supporters and manager must fear this.

The pressure is very much on the Merseyside Reds. Here's hoping that Fergie and United start to turn the screw and increase the pain for their nearest and bitterest challengers.

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