Liverpool reality today makes Gary Neville look silly after Man Utd ‘made Old Trafford blunder - Now soccer
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Liverpool reality today makes Gary Neville look silly after Man Utd ‘made Old Trafford blunder

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Liverpool welcomes a record crowd to Anfield today as the phased opening of the expanded stand continues. Gary Neville knows the unavoidable Man Utd truth.

Liverpool has enjoyed fairly sustained dominance over Manchester United in recent seasons. Since Alex Ferguson left and then Jürgen Klopp arrived a couple of years later, the trophy count has diverged significantly.

Only the most generous count (including Community Shield wins) keeps Manchester United on its perch as the most successful club in England, and Liverpool could put paid to the last vestiges of that claim by picking up a couple of pieces of silverware in Klopp’s final season. There is optimism at Old Trafford about the impact new minority owner Jim Ratcliffe could have, but he has the task of reversing years of stagnation.

It’s not just results where Liverpool has come on leaps and bounds while Manchester United has stood still. Gary Neville once infamously forecasted a title for his old club before the Reds claimed one, but it’s something else that will make him look silly this weekend.

Anfield will set a Liverpool attendance record against Burnley, as the phased opening of the expanded Anfield Road End continues. When complete, this will be the culmination of a long FSG project to regenerate the ground.


Previous owners had suggested a whole new stadium would be needed to compete with and ultimately surpass Old Trafford. And Neville has admitted he never thought Anfield could be on par with what was once a state-of-the art venue.

“I used to laugh when I went to Anfield and compared it to Old Trafford,” Neville said last May on the Diary of a CEO podcast. “I’d always think: ‘They can never catch up, they’re too far behind’. They’re building that second stand now behind the goal where the away fans sit. The Main Stand now is towering up. Anfield will be a more modern ground than Manchester United and Old Trafford in 12 months. That is unforgivable.”


That prophecy will come to fruition against Burnley. While Liverpool still cannot boast the capacity of Old Trafford — Manchester United’s home houses a little over 74,000 fans — it is far more equipped for the realities of modern football. FSG have maxminzed matchday revenue opportunities, created a strong supporter experience and generally just avoided standing still, while the Glazers have done exactly that.

There was an attempt to at least give the ground something of a face-lift a couple of years ago, reports ESPN. But even that became a farcical blunder, as Manchester United used a ‘Liverpool red’ — too bright for Old Trafford, and a far cry from the specific deep shade of ‘Diablo Red’ designed on the insistence of Ferguson to distinguish from the great Anfield rival during his time in charge.

It remains to be seen whether Ratcliffe embarks on ambitious plans for Old Trafford. But after being so far ahead, it’s Manchester United that will now need to play catch-up, something Neville and many others never saw coming.

Liverpool.com says: To be fair to Neville, he owned up to being wrong on this one. He never had to make public his old views on Anfield and Old Trafford, but did so to illustrate how Manchester United is being left behind.

And he wasn’t alone in not being able to foresee this reversal of fortunes. But where FSG have done a lot right off the field, Manchester United and the Glazers have done plenty wrong. This next attendance landmark at Liverpool will be another exciting day.

 




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