I’d like to say that it was a pleasure to be at Anfield yesterday. I’d love to tell you that Mo Salah’s goal is imprinted on my memory, never to be forgotten. I wish I could say that being at the ground for a match between two of the Premier League’s greatest ever teams was a joy. Unfortunately, though, I can’t. Not because anything particularly interesting happened, even if it was depressing to be queuing up for food and see that not one of the people behind the counter had their masks anywhere but underneath their chins. Instead, it’s simply because I was too nervous to truly enjoy the experience. Liverpool’s first-half performance was frustrating, with the Reds failing to get any control on the match and Manchester City imposing themselves at will. Even when we did get back into the game in the second-half, the Reds threw away the lead twice, much to the delight of the City fans close to my position in the Anfield Road end, who seemed to enjoy it more than me.
That was one of the truly great Anfield goals from Salah, the most fitting tribute of all to Roger Hunt, and his team-mates know it. As Jordan Henderson said:
“It was incredible…just a pity it wasn’t the winner.” A goal that deserved to write a slice of history.#LFC
— David Maddock (@MaddockMirror) October 3, 2021
When I left the ground, the thing that occurred to me most readily was that it was a match that was defined, in many ways, by two of the chants sung by the Liverpool supporters around me. I could have made it three chants and spent a large chunk of this piece talking about the hilarity of City fans singing ‘You Scouse bastard’ to yet another referee from Greater Manchester, but I think I’ve talk about referees more than enough during my time writing this blog. I imagine I’ll be unable to avoid talking about them again in the future, too, so I will try my hardest to restrain from doing so when I can. On top of that, I do think that the City fans had a point, insomuch as James Milner should have been sent off for two bookable offences. The fact that I would have won some money had that happened is neither here nor there. Equally, I could write about the Cityzens chanting that Milner was a ‘greedy bastard’, but there’s another song I think is more suitable.
The Reds Have Got No Money
Despite what Tony Evans might have to say on the matter, I think the chant of ‘the Reds have got no money, but we’ll still win the league’ is really funny. It encapsulates how a lot of Liverpool supporters are feeling about the lack of movement from the club in the transfer market, but does so in a way that is tinged with Scouse humour and suggests that we’ll still be successful in spite of it. Singing it when playing Manchester City, who spent £100 million on one player this summer, helps it to act as something of a social commentary as well as a song to generate noise and atmosphere. Evans is, of course, right when he says that the song is misleading because of how much money we’re spending on agents’ fees and wages. Yet we haven’t made a signing that makes the rest of Europe sit up and take notice since we paid £67 million for Alisson Becker in July of 2018.
Don’t usually see it but it does feel like we’re seeing the financial disparity today. Whether just the freshness that true rotation brings or just better quality players. They’re just better than us.
— Levene (@CalvLyfeson) October 3, 2021
Fenway Sports Group are not the sort of owners who will splash cash left, right and centre. Perhaps that’s because they’re still smarting over the amount of money that we paid for Andy Carroll. Whatever the reasoning, it’s just not the way they work and they might well point to the performance that the Reds put in in the second-half as a justification as to why they don’t think spending big bucks is necessary. The ageing nature of the team, which was perhaps best demonstrated by the manner in which Jack Grealish had James Milner on toast every time he attacked him and the way that Jordan Henderson is struggling to play several games in a row, is a problem that can really only be fixed with money. The song makes the point that we’re not big spenders like City, but that we’re still good enough to compete with the very best, just as we did yesterday afternoon.
Where’s Your European Cup?
For all of their money, there’s still one thing that Manchester City as a club are desperate for but that Liverpool have in abundance: European Cups. The Reds are the most successful British club in Europe, having nearly as many of the trophies in our cabinet as the rest of the country put together. We’re six times champions of Europe, having also been losing Champions League finalists in the modern era of the competition. For the money that they’ve spent, there have to be major question marks around City’s inability to do it on the biggest stage of all. At some point they will win the trophy that the owners most crave, but even when they do it won’t be a win that is respected by most football fans. They have bought their success, being Oldham Athletic with money, which is something that clearly seems to eat away at Pep Guardiola every time his success at the Etihad is questioned. He hates that he’s not respected for his achievements there.
— Tom McDermott (@MrTomMcDermott) October 3, 2021
Football rivalries will always see supporters mock one another, which is how it should be. City fans’ decision to sing songs that are about Hillsborough was disgusting, but hardly surprising. The constant need to excuse the ‘Always The Victims’ chant by saying that it’s ‘not about Hillsborough’ is laughable, given that that is very much what it is about and anyone choosing a disaster in which people lost their lives to ‘get one over’ another set of fans is an idiot. There are plenty of songs that supporters can choose from when looking for an edge, with our fans singing ‘Where’s your European Cup?’ being the perfect example. It shows that the Reds are still one of the best club sides in the world, even if we haven’t got any money. City can buy everything except the respect that comes with six European Cups in your trophy cabinet. When I was away on holiday in Lanzarote recently, I saw plenty of Liverpool and Manchester United shirts, but no City ones. What they have in money they lack in worldwide respect.