Carabao Cup exit a reality check for Manchester United fans, say Liverpool fans
The protege of Sir Alex Ferguson declared after United missed out on the final of the Carabao Cup following their defeat at Old Trafford to neighbours Manchester City that his side lost to “probably the best team in England”.
WATCH: Guardiola hails Man City's Carabao Cup achievement
The barb did not go unnoticed, with reigning champions Liverpool still top of the table – on goal difference but with one more match played – ahead of their clash with the Red Devils in just over a week at Anfield.
Despite their best efforts at Old Trafford, Solskjaer’s side were soundly beaten by two goals – from John Stone and Fernandinho – though United fans would argue it was a very close fight. Some have even suggested United did not want to progress in this tournament, in much the same way some people find unattainable grapes quite sour.
But Liverpool fans believe that the result was a much-needed reality check for the Norwegian boss.
WATCH: Solskjaer reacts to United's defeat in the Carabao Cup
Loyal Reds fan and accomplished Blues musician Danny Loong disagrees that United did not take the fight seriously.
“Any game that United plays against their hometown rivals would be taken seriously, and the result was a huge reality check for Manchester United,” says Danny, who believes that fans of the Red Devils may be may be a little too ahead of themselves after a tough ending to last season and a difficult start to the current one.
“I can understand that Manchester United fans are ecstatic as it has been a long time since they have been near the top. They should enjoy the view while they can, but watch their step as it is a crowded space at the top – the eventual champions could be any of the teams currently occupying the top six, so everyone should stay calm,” says Danny.
He also believes that the Red Devils may have suffered a blow to their confidence and morale, even though they could – should they win their game in hand against Burnley on Wednesday morning (SGT) – be above Liverpool by the time the two sides meet on Jan 18 (SGT).
“Hometown pride and glory affects the best of us. It is the same way that Liverpool would be affected, too, if they had a bad result against neighbours Everton,” he adds.
WATCH: Highlights of Man City's win over United in the Carabao Cup
Liverpool fan Ang Chek Meng’s view was in harmony with Danny’s. The violinist of the T’ang Quartet, whose surname means “red” in the vernacular, had a good chuckle at the end of the Manchester derby.
“For Manchester United, it was really a reality check,” says Chek. “Form is temporary, but class is permanent,” adds the musician of the very classy string ensemble in which he plays.
“Manchester United are riding a crest of a wave, but when it comes to the crunch, quality wins,” says Chek, who will be hoping the quality of the team he supports will prevail against the current form of their great rivals.
Rikiro Chung, another Liverpool fan, says that Manchester City were too good for their derby rivals.
Although the two sides are currently separated only by goal difference Rikiro says: “Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the entire Manchester United squad know they are still miles away from Liverpool.”
And while he is under no illusions about Liverpool’s current poor form, he feels the clash at Anfield is a great opportunity to put things right for his team.
“Frankly, our form and performances have been sub-par in recent matches. However, I really look forward to the titanic clash – and a victory against our bitter rival to revive our morale!”
WATCH: Klopp compares Liverpool's penalty record with United's
He also believes that United have been very fortunate when it came to refereeing decisions.
“While Liverpool have not been at their best, Manchester United have been winning league matches with much help from virtual assistant referees (VAR), especially on controversial penalty decisions,” he says.
Perhaps we should all just do away with VAR and replace it with TraceTogether. That way, we can get the police to investigate if actual contact was made.
“Indeed, we should export our technology and expertise to the United Kingdom and the English Premier League!”
Rikiro feels that United’s luck will run out when they meet the champions at Anfield.
“They will be playing at our fortress, and we are not likely to end that unbeaten record of 67 games – lasting six years and seven months – against United.
“The Liverpool problem of old has reoccurred this season: Winning against top teams while losing points to lower-table teams. But United are now in second place, which means Liverpool should be able to claim three points to make a statement as league champions,” says Rikiro.
Yet another Reds fan, Sahul Hameed, better known as DJ Kzee, remains confident of his side’s ability to keep Manchester United at bay as title challengers.
“Title challenger? We will beat them when they come to our turf so they will remain second,” he says confidently.
WATCH: Klopp talks about Liverpool's January transfer plans
He has this advice for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when the Norwegian takes his side to Anfield: “For Manchester United to survive against Liverpool, he should tell his team to get a penalty, like Anthony Martial’s pathetic dive when they lost to Manchester City. He could also park the bus.”
So, there you have it, Liverpool fans – some of them insufferable – still upbeat about their team’s potential success this season, especially with the mouth-watering clash against United looming. But there is still the small matter of an FA Cup tie to deal with early tomorrow morning (SGT), away to Aston Villa, who gave them a 7-2 hiding in the league this season.
We’ll hear what Manchester United fans have to say after that match.