Thank God Sky had given Roy the day off for the ‘dismantling’ of United

TV View: Neville looked to be in pain as Souness purred while attempting to appear kind

United’s Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the pitch after his team were steamrolled 5-0 by Liverpool at Old Trafford. Photograph: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

United’s Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the pitch after his team were steamrolled 5-0 by Liverpool at Old Trafford. Photograph: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

 

It’s probably as well that Sky had given our Roy the day off. Can you imagine? His cheek muscles would have been flexing so wildly come full time they’d have knocked the studio lights out.

Pre-match Gary Neville had been feeling confident that United could slay Liverpool, much of his belief centred on the second coming of Cristiano Ronaldo, which still had him tingling.

“It’s difficult to imagine the feeling in this city the last few months, the impact he has had has gone beyond football, beyond that of Manchester and the Premier League – it’s almost like Elvis Presley is in Manchester.”

By full time Gary might have been humming “return to sender”, although it’s doubtful that Juve would take Cristiano back.

Not that he was the chief cause of this particular mullering, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof playing like drains not helping either, nor did the efforts of – loose word alert – the midfield of McFred, nor did Bruno Fernandes tiring himself out from moaning at players who were marginally less brutal than himself, nor the front three proving as potent as a wet blanket. Apart from that.

Just the 5-0 in the end, so whether Jurgen Klopp’s position is now tenable after his side only scored once in the last 40 minutes, albeit United strengthened in that spell by the sending off of Paul Pogba, remains to be seen.

The post-match focus was, though, on the job security of the other gaffer Ole. He had the appearance of a ghost when he spoke to Geoff Shreeves, the Baby-Faced-Assassin ageing a decade or three the last few weeks.

Ole’s services

“It’s painful watching that interview,” said Gary, but he still stopped short of asking the powers-that-be to dispense with Ole’s services, having explained earlier in the week that he could never do that to a mate.

Jamie Carragher prodded him a touch on this stance, particularly after Gary had conceded that United had been “obliterated, pulled to pieces, dismantled”, while we watched pictures of Kenny Dalglish beaming in the Old Trafford stands and Alex Ferguson wearing the look a man who reckoned he’d be long since gone from this earth by the time United knocked the Scousers of their bleeping perch again.

“You need a better manager,” said Jamie, while liberally applying salt to the wounds by noting that “Liverpool weren’t at their absolute best,” while paying tribute to United’s back four by likening them to the “Keystone Cops”.

Graeme Souness purred, while attempting to appear kind. “United have players capable of great things, but that doesn’t make them great players,” he said.

Our host David Jones, meanwhile, was unkind enough to put Gary through replays of all the goals, United’s attempt at thwarting Mo Salah’s hat-trick causing him particular pain. “That’s a diamond, is it? More like a rhombus.”

Back in the stands the Liverpool faithful were crooning their love for Ole in the hope that he’d stay in his job, and maybe even adapting that timeless classic, along the lines of “Are you lonesome tonight, in seventh place in the table, seven points behind ourselves?’

All shook up, like.

Our coffees

You’d fear United players will be paying for their own coffees in the weeks ahead. Unlike the Meath women’s team that won the All Ireland football final last month.

“People were fighting over paying for our coffees,” Vikki Wall told Ryan Tubridy, when she and team-mates Katie Newe, Emma Duggan and Maire O’Shaughnessy turned up on Friday’s Late Late Show.

Herself and ‘Duggie’ Duggan haven’t been able to pay for their coffees in the local shop since they gobsmackingly beat Dublin in the final, the natives climbing over each other to get to the till first as a a thank you for injecting such unexpected joy into their lives.

The very gorgeous photo of the quartet staring at their captain Shauna Ennis accepting the Brendan Martin trophy in the Hogan Stand after the final adorns the cover of the 2021 A Season of Sundays book, the annual Sportsfile compilation of the very best of the year’s GAA photos.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was like, ‘how is Shauna up there?’ A year ago the Brendan Martin cup wasn’t even in our vocab,” said Newe. “A year later we’re here on the Late Late Show and we’re senior champs – it’s mad!”

The women of Meath offer hope to the men of Manchester. If you just can’t stop believin’, you too might prosper, and maybe even have your coffees paid for one day.

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