Més Que Un Column

Late April, three games to go for the Reds and it’s fair to say I’ve given up on all football not involving Jurgen’s men.

Honestly, we’re playing Huddersfield on Friday and I’d say I haven’t heard or seen anything about them since December.

It’s all about Liverpool, and as a consequence, all about Manchester City as well. Most of us have spent the last few weeks leaving Salah, Henderson, Virgil and Co. to get on with the job while we’ve spent time convincing ourselves Guardiola’s side could drop points away to Fulham.

They didn’t. Maybe in another title race there would be a threat of either side having trouble against the dross of the league, but this season has been like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

Hearing the phrase ‘a potential banana skin’ about your upcoming game this campaign has been the sure-fire sign that your next opponent is shite and will probably get bowled over comfortably. While the Reds have ‘found a way to win’ on countless occasions and have consistently been better than the opposition in key moments, Man City have basically won every game through a fifth-minute Aguero goal, thus sucking out any of the already-minuscule hope the Cardiffs, Watfords and West Hams of this world have had prior to kick-off.

You could say the same about tonight. I mean I’ve seen some terrible results down the years but there really should be a rule that if you get beaten 4-0 by Everton you automatically have to sack your manager and all eleven players who started the game.

But football is by far and away the most ironic sport known to man, and if you can’t see that United are going to get something tonight, you’re kidding yourself.

Up against their local rivals a time when they’re about as far behind them in terms of potential, quality and points as they were in front of them fifteen years ago. Knowing that a win could bring an end to their biggest rival’s 29-year wait for a league title. At the end of the season in which Liverpool have become everything United used to be and United have become so much of what Liverpool once were. Five years on from the week of Gerrard’s slip and at a time when United have never looked less likely to win a Manchester derby at home.

They’ll get something out of the game, and it’ll be wonderfully fitting and joyous when they do.

God bless us all if they don’t. Imagine finishing on 97 points and not winning the league.

With a place in the top two secured, we’ll at least get a retrospective title a few years down the line when the FA/UEFA get around to stripping City of everything they’ve won under Arab money.

It will be like when a pole vaulter gets an Olympic bronze ten years after they retired because they finished fourth behind one of the doping Russians. It’s going to be mad when the title race is decided in November 2030, but we’ll do anything to get number nineteen under our belts and move on with our lives. There are lads who haven’t cut the grass in their gardens since 1990 because the wait for a league title has taken over our lives to an extent which is frankly unhealthy.

It’s fair to say we are absolutely taking Huddersfield for granted on Friday.

They seem sound and all that. I’d imagine they’re one of the few fanbases in England who’d prefer us to win the league over City. However, the boys in red are 74 points ahead of them. Seventy-four. That almost seems impossible. It’s as if someone’s done the maths wrong.

With only three games to go, they’re only three points better off than that Derby side that came up ten years ago and got beat 6-0 every week.

Talking about goal difference seems a step too far, especially considering we haven’t really battered anyone this season, apart from Arsenal, and that was more of an annual tradition than an achievement. On Thursday night though, I’ll be dreaming of Sadio Mané putting us two-nil up inside 30 minutes, before he gets the ball out of the back of the net and rushes back to the halfway line, like Suarez away to Crystal Palace in 13/14.

We can only dream, but dream we will.

Hated, adored, never ignored. Into these tonight, United.