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‘Being unfair’… Roy Keane disagrees over what he’s just heard Gary Neville say about Liverpool

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It’s fair to say that you’d struggle to find a happier man about Jurgen Klopp leaving Liverpool than Gary Neville.

The outspoken Manchester United legend has never hidden his antipathy towards the Reds. Having watched his beloved United get hammered by Klopp’s Liverpool on a number of occasions, you can’t really blame him for that. Besides, the feeling is very much mutual.

Now though, Neville’s want for putting down his club’s great rivals has been pushed back on by fellow United legend Roy Keane. Speaking about the Liverpool team he faced in the mid-90’s for The Overlap, Neville was quick to point out a difference in drinking culture between the two clubs, but Keane wasn’t having it.

“At that time Liverpool had a really talented group of players and I don’t dismiss some of them were as talented as we were like McManaman, Fowler, Jamie Redknapp,” Neville explained. “But their senior players were big drinkers. It was a really talented group at Liverpool.

“There was one year when we were really close to the title, 95/96, but our senior players were more professional and more talented, and I felt if those young Liverpool players had gone into our dressing room and we went into that dressing room… I always remember seeing a couple of Liverpool lads in Cheerleaders, I remember the Liverpool lads were over in the corner and the United lads would go home at 1 and they were there until 4am or 5am.”

“I disagree with that,” Keane hit back. “There was a few nights out with Sharpey [Lee Sharpe] and we wouldn’t be going home at 1 o’clock. I think we are being unfair to the Liverpool lads.”

Keane leaps to Liverpool defence

It isn’t like Keane to start getting sentimental about Liverpool. But still, it’s good to hear him put Neville right on this one.

The difference between Liverpool and United 30 years ago surely was not to do with who stayed out the latest after a game. As Neville alludes to, it perhaps wasn’t even that the Manchester club had that much more talent.

No, the key factor between United’s success and Liverpool’s failure was the manager. In 95/96, Sir Alex Ferguson was already 10 years into his spell at Old Trafford and looking for his third Premier League title.

By contrast, Liverpool had Roy Evans at the helm. A good man and a League Cup winner the year before, but he was no Fergie.

Had the roles been reversed, the Reds may well have found themselves in United’s position. In the season in question, they came third in the league and lost out to Ferguson and co 1-0 in the FA Cup final. Not far behind.

Obviously, had the lads not been out drinking as often as they were, they might have been able to close that gap.

But the fact of the matter is that these were very different times. You’d struggle to find any club in any division who weren’t out on the lash on the regular.

Once more professionalism started to creep into English clubs, it’s definitely possible that Liverpool were left behind a little. This no doubt contributed to a malaise heading into the late 90’s and early 200’s.

But in the years leading up to it, it sounds like they were all just as bad as each other. You tell him, Roy!

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