Whilst there has been bad feeling between Liverpool and United for some time, it’s hard to remember the last time there was as much hatred between us as there was last season. After Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra, their club disgracefully stuck by him, continuing to stick their head in the sand and pretending he’d done no wrong. The situation became even worse when Suarez then refused to shake Evra’s hand the next time he faced him. Fortunately, Suarez, Kenny Dalglish and Ian Ayre apologised for this, only for those ridiculous scousers to start coming out with conspiracy theories and freeze frames trying to show that Evra was in the wrong, again.
Thankfully, not all Liverpool fans are mental and Rob Marrs, from the excellent football blog Left Back In The Changing Room, has taken some time to talk to us about what the future holds for Liverpool.
Scott the Red: What would have to happen this season for you to class this as a successful one?
Rob Marrs: A top five finish, a Cup, playing some decent football and being on the back pages rather than the front. I’d say top four but we’ve fallen back over the last couple of years and all our competitors have strengthened (Arsenal with Cazorla, Chelsea with Hazard, Spurs with their new manager).
STR: How do you feel about your club’s business in the transfer window this summer?
RM: Mixed. I’m happy with Borini and, to a lesser extent, Allen. Allen’s decent but the amount of money is a lot. I’m less happy that Aquilani has gone without ever getting an extended run and equally unhappy Maxi has left. If we keep Agger and Skrtel I’ll be very happy.
STR: Who do you think will be your most important player this season?
RM: Lucas Leiva. We missed him so much after he was injured last year – the midfield lost solidity and the centre-backs were less well protected. If he comes back fully fit, we’ll be a lot better off.
STR: How do you rate your manager’s ability to take your club forward?
RM: I like his philosophy and I like his manner. I just want him to be given time to mould an ethos, philosophy and style. Even if he has a bad season next year we need to stick with someone – I hate the fact that we’ve become one of those clubs that sack a manager every season.
STR: Has Dalglish tarnished his reputation with his poor second stint in charge?
RM: No. He’s our greatest ever player, a double winning manager and – more importantly – was a colossus for many in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster. I’ve said before to Manchester United fans: imagine Sir Bobby Charlton (in my view, your finest ever player) and Sir Matt Busby (one of your great managers and such a huge and important figure post-Munich Air Disaster) rolled into one. That’s how most Liverpool fans feel about Dalglish. Hell, last season he got us to an FA Cup Final (knocking out Manchester United and Everton on the way) and won a trophy… although the league was hellish. Next time he’s back at Anfield the place will go bonkers for him.
STR: What do you make of the club’s handling of Luis Suarez?
RM: I think we handled the Suarez-Evra incident poorly. It was right and proper to defend the player (everyone is innocent until proven guilty, after all) but I thought some of the club’s communications, actions and behaviour were misjudged. Suarez is clearly a very fine footballer. I’m happy that he’s signed a new contract but I was extremely disappointed by his behaviour at points last season and by how we handled him.
STR: But your players and manager were wearing the t-shirts and the club continued to claim he had done no wrong even after he had been found guilty, don’t forget. Anyway, on to something lighter. Will Gerrard ever win the Premier League?
RM: Yes. Of course! Next year is our year…
STR: Ha, ok, seriously, who do you think will win the league this season?
RM: In this segment last year I said Manchester United had the manager but not the players and Manchester City had the players but not the manager and put my money on the red side of Manchester. This year I think City might edge it – the first title is always the hardest after all. If Manchester United manage to prize RvP away from Arsenal I reserve the right to change my mind!
STR: Cheers mate.