After Manchester United’s win over Chelsea last night, Sky Sports aired a segment where Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane debated which players from either the current Liverpool team or the Treble side of 99 would get into the other.
The conversation turned humorous when Roy Keane reacted bemused to Carragher’s suggestion that Sadio Mane should get in ahead of Ryan Giggs.
Of course that prompted much discussion over social media where it became clear that many shared that view; completely dismissing the fact that Giggs is the most decorated player in English football history, and forgetting the form he showed from 1997 to 2000 when he was one of the best players in Europe.
But this comparison is nothing new. Every good team of this century has been compared to the greatest club side in British history, and it is not uncommon for people to put a majority or at least half with the more recent team. Take this from just two years ago, which claimed five Arsenal players from 2004 would get in the treble side.
It tells you everything you need to know about the credibility of these opinions that United are always seen as the team to compare against. For example, nobody was comparing this Liverpool side to that Arsenal side, even though the comparison is probably more valid in terms of it being a possible unbeaten season.
Speaking on this week’s WeAreTheBusbyBoys podcast, former United defender Paul Parker says if Liverpool are so keen to compare themselves to someone, they would be better placed to do that with their own glorious past.
He began by admitting Liverpool will be worthy champions.
“They’ve been the best team in the country and the best all season,” he said. “They go for the full ninety minutes and that’s obviously reflected in the number of late goals they’ve scored. They’ve got the winning instinct which is a great feeling to have.
“But, it is a very weak league, the weakest Premier League ever. The levels of consistency in the league has been very poor.
“And I’ve seen better Liverpool teams. The 88 side was fantastic… the Liverpool team with Graeme Souness in it was fantastic too. For me it is reflective of younger, modern fans who didn’t see these teams or players of the past.
The 1999 United side had to work hard as a team and a squad to get through every single game against some very tough teams. There were no teams who were mentally preparing for a game in a week or two. They were trying to win every time they played. Everyone wanted to stop United winning the league, the FA Cup, the treble. Look at their FA Cup run. That has to be remembered.
“People mention Salah, or Firmino… not for me. United had Paul Scholes (to create). And don’t get me started on suggestions Henderson should get in for Keane.
“The reason why the 88 side lives with me is because that was my first season in the top division. We went to Anfield and were happy to come away having only been beaten 4-0. They were unbelievable. John Barnes was arguably the best player in Europe. The defence… people rave about Van Dijk but people will be old enough to remember Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson… I just wish they would stop talking about Joe Gomez (and these United comparisons) and have a little bit of respect for your own club’s history. Look back at what you had. Gary Gillespie. He came from Coventry and turned into a fantastic centre-half!
“Liverpool should stop talking about other teams and comparing themselves to other teams and look at their own great history. Look at their own teams. Talk about your great European Cup teams. Look at the individuals. Was Jordan Henderson better than Graeme Souness? Let me answer that question for you. No he wasn’t. He couldn’t lace his boots. And Graeme gave me my first serious injury when I was at Fulham!”