TV View: Another long night for Roy as Graeme tries extra hard not to look happy

‘De Gea helpless, and he’s watching the hopeless in front of him’ - Gary Neville

Not to be too crude about it, but for the Manchester United faithful, who would have had a turbulently sleepless night ahead of the game, the prospects of this particular fixture would have had much the same effect as a laxative.

It’s not that they haven’t grown accustomed to stool-loosening experiences this season, there’ve been loads, but watching their team assist Liverpool’s quest for a quadruple by playing like drains at Anfield would put all that misery in the ha’penny place.

Not that The Kop wanted to rub it in or anything, but that banner . . . “Imagine being us”.

Martin Tyler wasn't averse to rubbing it in either. "Four is the magic number tonight," he told us. "That's the number of trophies Liverpool are chasing and that's the spot in the table United are aiming for."

The resulting squeal was probably from Gary Neville after Jamie Carragher gave him an exultant nudge in the ribs.

It was an indication of how far United's star has fallen that Graeme Souness didn't have a go at Paul Pogba until a whole 13 minutes into Sky's coverage, although with a sort of a tilty-headed kindness he suggested that United might just give Liverpool a bit of a game.

Fear for them

Roy Keane was having none of it. “You’d fear for them tonight,” he said. “If Liverpool are really at it, it could be a long night.”

And his cheek muscles flexed even more violently when the team news came in. Phil Jones in the middle of a United back 10 . "His fourth start in three seasons . . . phew . . . good luck with that."

And Graeme took one look at United’s midfield of Pogba and Matic. “I think I could do 45 minutes against them now.”

“I’m not sure about that Graeme,” said Roy, (although by half-time he reckoned Graeme could have managed 90).

With a tougher challenge coming up on Sunday against relegation contenders Everton, Jürgen Klopp might have been tempted to rest a few of his pearls, but with the straightest of faces he told Patrick Davison that "United are a world class team", so he went for his top lads.

Gary and Jamie, meanwhile, were out on the pitch previewing the game, and Gary was full of beans.

“The worse thing that could happen United tonight is that we think less of them than we already do – this Manchester United team is as low as it gets in 30, 40 years.”

All Gary asked was that United show some pride, and in fairness they did just that for four minutes and 39 seconds, at which point they conceded the first goal.

Bad as it gets

It was 2-0 after 21 minutes by which time you sensed Gary would indeed enter politics soon enough if it meant he didn’t have to watch his alma mater any more.

“De Gea helpless, and he’s watching the hopeless in front of him . . . this Manchester United teams are a waste of space . . . I’ve been watching United for 42 years, this is as bad as it gets.”

Half time. Roy didn’t really want to talk about it. “Awful . . . and it could get a lot worse.”

He wasn’t wrong. 3-0 Mane, 4-0 Salah. As Tyler unhelpfully pointed out within Gary’s earshot, it was 9-0 for Liverpool on aggregate after they managed the five at Old Trafford back in October. Rugby-score-territory that.

Up in the stands Kenny Dalglish was beaming so broadly he'd have lit up all of Merseyside in the event of a power cut, while Alex Ferguson must have been thinking he should be spending his retirement gardening or such like instead of following this mob around the country.

“It was anger earlier in the season, now I think it’s just sadness,” said Roy. “There’s no heart, no soul, no leaders…. it’s not the club I played for.”

This season can’t end soon enough for United – Liverpool probably never want it to end. A quadruple in sight. Imagine being them.

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