Europe (UEFA)

Ferguson's brutal Liverpool put down which served as team talk to Man Utd stars

mirror.co.uk, 23 September 2022, 07:20
Manchester United and Liverpool games were always fiery, especially at Anfield, but Sir Alex Ferguson put his players at ease by declaring one line-up as the worst he'd seen on Merseyside Sir Alex Ferguson was always desperate to win at Anfield

Sir Alex Ferguson prepared his Manchester United stars for a clash at Anfield by telling them "It's the worst Liverpool team I've ever seen on a team sheet."

The Red Devils were often heading into a cauldron when they played away at their arch rivals, albeit they enjoyed plenty of success on Merseyside. United's dominant period under the Scot coincided with Liverpool's lengthy title drought as they went through a host of managers in search of success.

At one period, the Reds were in the midst of transition and Ferguson clearly felt his United side once came up against a team who were not up to the usual standard - and made that clear to him players, which kept his team talk brief.

Rio Ferdinand told William Hill's Stripped Podcast : "The most iconic team talk Sir Alex ever gave was when we played Liverpool at Anfield. He said: 'I don't need to talk to you, really. It's the worst Liverpool team I've ever seen on a team sheet'. That was it. We won that day."

Ferdinand's first game at Anfield for United came in October 2003, where the Red Devils recorded a 2-1 win thanks to two goals from Ryan Giggs. The centre-half would go on to win four of his nine games at Anfield, but didn't shed any light on which game Ferguson's team talk came before.

Liverpool, whilst not winning league titles, often fielded impressive sides with Rafa Benitez calling on the likes of Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt during his tenure.

Will Man Utd finish above Liverpool this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Trips to Merseyside not only carried huge historical significance, but Ferguson also felt the contests at Anfield served as a great barometer for where his side was at. The Scot didn't take kindly to defeats in Liverpool, with Gary Neville confessing he would be in a bad mood for days.

However, a win at Anfield would give the team confidence that they could claim the league title. Neville said previously: "You knew going into a game against Liverpool that the result set the mood for the next five or six days because it would affect the mood of the manager so much. Sir Alex used to say, 'if you win at Anfield, then you've got a great chance of winning the league.' That was his belief because it was the ultimate test for a United team."

Ferguson won his last league game at Anfield in the 2012/13 season, which eventually saw the Red Devils named champions. They won 2-1 having fallen behind with Robin van Persie bagging the winner.

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