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Rafa revived

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Robbo Robson | 13:22 UK time, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Well done, Rafa. Well done, son. I cherished his performance on Sunday.

I kept thinking, ee, that's the last time we'll see him with his cub reporter's notebook. That's the last time he'll do that funny dance with his index fingers. Purslow, Hicks and Gillett had made his demise even more inevitable by publicly backing him. And Gerrard and Torres weren't fit.

On the other side stood the wily Ferguson, chewing away frantically like a grazing water buffalo on fast forward and eyeing up the referee's waistline in the hope of finding something to talk about other than the tripe his team has turned out.

And Rooney was in the side, unsurprisingly considering the Old Trafford mouthpieces were assuring us how doubtful he was for this game.
Nemanja VidicVidic completes an unwanted hat-trick
But then Fernando's highlighted barnet trotted out on to the park after all, and you could see Nemanja Vidic turn from a stout workman in sturdy boots into a flighty trollop in seven-inch heels. I've never seen a top quality defender so terrified by an opposition number nine (even an 80% fit one).

His efforts to stop Liverpool descended from something rugged to challenges so lame not even Dick Dastardly and Muttley would've stooped to it. That's three red cards in three appearances for the Serb. Next year they might as well start running his bath at kick-off.

United were rubbish, mind you. As bad as Liverpool have been. Fergie said as much, even though he still saw fit to direct some barbs the way of the ref.

You can't see his team bagging the League or Champs League this season. Rooney wasn't near his best and Man City must be thanking their lucky stars that they didn't scupper the Berba bid during the last winter transfer window.

I've been buying the 'he just looks lazy 'cos of the way he plays' argument for a while, but I've come to the conclusion that young Dimitar looks lazy because.... he IS lazy. Not languid or nonchalant. Lazy. Half-arsed. And not worth £30m of anyone's debt.

His replacement got the usual tedious stick. I know there's no love lost between the two clubs but why Liverpool fans can't get their heads around Owen trying to resurrect a crumbling career at United is absolutely beyond me. The least they could do is say nowt. A better option would be to give him a nice round of applause for winning them an undeserved FA Cup in 2001. Or buy him.

Hell you had the mighty rear of Robbie Fowler squeezing other squad members off the bench a while back (Another of Benitez's less thought through acquisitions). You'd have thought a fit and firing Owen would be have been welcomed back into the Anfield fold with open arms.

To me, it's not the same as, say, Sol tripping across North London, or Tevez's billboard-enhanced crossing of Manchester. That's inviting flak. Owen had long since left Anfield and until Ferguson stepped in, he'd nowhere to go.

Ince got the same stick when he joined Liverpool from Inter Milan. I mean so what? Your club flogs a bloke and years later, you still expect him to only play for clubs that meet your seal of approval? Nonsense.

Still. Fans will be fans. And all them jeers and boos that turned on Rafa last Tuesday were forgotten as Pepe Reina Adebayored it across the Anfield turf to celebrate a quality finish from Ngog. (Now there's a phrase I never thought I'd ever use, like: 'what a quality performance that was from John and Edward'.)

Incidentally, can anyone get me into the X-Factor backstage area? My plan is to don a hairdresser's disguise, gel them freaky twins' hairdos into sharp points and poke each of them with the sharpened hair of the other. It'd be prodding someone with the most annoying pencil in the world. Do get in touch if you can help.)
Michael OwenOwen was not welcomed back with open arms
But Liverpool deserved their victory, played well, and if Torres' groin stays intact, the climb could continue. It's a big if, mind.

And if Sunday's match proved owt, it was that neither club has enough going for it to win a title this year. I am becoming more certain with every passing week that Chelsea will lift the Premier League trophy come May - in fact possibly even before May.

Neurotic Blues keep bleating about the African Cup of Nations of course, but Drogba, Essien and Mikel will miss away games at Hull and Burnley and home ones v Sunderland and Birmingham. Hardly taxing when you think that Chelsea's squad is deeper than a Tony Pulis frown.

Hassungotta Kalou will be in Africa too which can only help the Stamford Bridge cause. I know he bagged a brace in midweek but the lad clearly has no idea where the ball's going to end up after (and if) it's connected with his feet.

In the meantime, we welcome Gordon Strachan to the promised land. May the smog that surrounds you be kind, may your inhaler never run out, may our terraces fill as if in the grip of Juninho-fever and may we stop conceding spawny last-minute equalisers without which we'd be top of the bloody league! I think he'll do well.


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