Reading through these comments from Liverpool fans after Newcastle United beat Man Utd, there are a number of things that jump out at you.
There is of course the obvious…wanting Manchester United to get beat, wanting Rafa to do well, it being a good result for Liverpool as they fight to finish top four.
However, there are also other less obvious stand out themes, such as a genuine affection for Newcastle from some, the awareness of the problems Newcastle supporters face – especially with Mike Ashley, more than anything though is the depth of knowledge and interest in how NUFC are playing – the weaknesses/strengths etc.
I think it is clear that for many Liverpool fans, their respect and admiration for Rafa Benitez leads them to take a very active interest in how he is approaching the challenge at Newcastle this season, battling against the odds/Mike Ashley.
Some really interesting analysis on our team, especially Diame and Shelvey, as well as other positions.
Liverpool fans comment via their top Red and White Kop message board:
‘Stood there in Yates, waiting to sort out a friend a spare for Southampton away as the ball hit the net after a brilliant move and was loving it.
Obviously all I care about is the Liverpool result, but as I left to pick up the spare with 5 minutes to go, seeing that smirk come across Rafa’s face is unbeatable.
I f…… love that man.’
‘Great win for the Mags, nice for our Rafa to get one over on them and grab 3 needed points.
Would still like Shelvey in our midfield’
‘Would love him in our midfield, can see exactly how Rafa saw him as a replacement for Gerrard.’
‘He’s nowhere near consistent enough. He had a top game today but they’re few and far between.’
‘In the Arabic stream, Jonjo looked slow and not bothered. He played a good game, but not outstanding and that ‘keeper was just superb.
Don’t tell me watching in English changes any of that!’
‘Were you watching the right game?
Jonjo was outstanding today, he got MOTM.
Its a shame the lad doesnt play like that or close to it each game as he’d be in a top 6 side easily.’
‘Well in Rafa lad!’
‘Took the mancs twenty mins to sing u Scouse b…..’
‘Took Rafa 90 minutes to shut them up.’
‘As my Geordie mate texted me late in the second half, their side out there were bleeding black and white.
That’s why they’ll stay up.’
‘RAFA’S THE SPECIAL ONE!
Get the f… in there Rafa la, and against billionaire Man United Jose Mourinho no less.
I f…… love you mate. Get the f… in there!’
‘Very classy comments from Mourinho.
Maybe there’s a message there to his own players too but you look at the interaction between the coaches, the comments, it seems like Mourinho and Benitez are on good terms and have been so for a while. Nice to see.
Shelvey’s fitter and defensively aware these days, if he can consistently combine everything he’s one of the best English midfielders.
The surprise was Diame. Bossed it.’
‘I think that was about as classy as Mourinho can be, but in normal persons terms he wasn’t classy at all.
He basically made out like his side absolutely battered Newcastle, and they were fighting for their lives and camped in their half for 90 minutes.
(Man) United I think had like 60% possession but in terms of chances, it was pretty even.
Newcastle had plenty, should have scored through Shelvey, should have had a penalty, should have had a man advantage.’
‘Outside of Liverpool can’t help but like Newcastle more than any other team in this league, yeah they are a bit mental etc. But they’ve got a t… of an owner and we know what that feels like with the last pair we had.
Also they have Benitez. And I love how much Shelvey hates the mancs.’
‘Diame looked really good, but they’ve got to raise it to that level especially at home against the lesser sides to survive.
The keeper could be a godsend for them. It’s clear they’re lacking some quality in the finishing department, Matt Ritchie scored 12 goals last season but only got his first of the season yesterday so he also needs to kick on from that and Gayle’s only scored 3 goals as well.
A result v Bournemouth next game would be great as they’re coming to Anfield after that one.’
‘If Newcastle did that every week they wouldnt be in a relegation scrap.’
‘I think Benitez is doing a really good job there with one of the division’s weakest squads.
New keeper and Kenedy help, though, and nice to see Shelvey putting in some mature performances.
They still may go down but so might about ten other teams, they are well in the fight.
Just hope the club gets sold and Benitez can get to work on growing them into a top half, Europe challenging side.’
‘Watched the full game (so can actually comment properly for once!), the only time Man Utd put them under a bit of duress was during those last series of corners before the final whistle.
It seems weird saying it when (Man) Utd had a one v one and two shots cleared off the line, but the rest of the game was comfortably controlled, managed by Newcastle due to their organisation and their players working within their shape.
You can also see that bit of quality in their ballwork Lejeune can bring, Dubravka had a confident debut, the way he claimed crosses is what you want in your keeper, to stop problems before they arise.
Obviously it’s very, very early, the mark of quality is doing it over a period of time but you can see that this is the level to aim for.’
‘I think the next bit of clear upgrading they can do is to do something about the Perez position (relates to Ritchie). Ayoze tries, works hard, puts his body on the line and is critical to their disruption, pressing from the front but watching him make decisions in the final third, shield and work the ball is like watching a guy try to drive in the fast lane for the first time.
It seems looking from the sidelines that moving Ritchie into no10, and playing one of Atsu or Murphy could be an easy temporary solution for them. Ritchie could provide the work Perez does and he also strikes me as a player with a lot more awareness and passing ability for that position.
Ritchie doesn’t have the pace to be a top winger, but in the no 10 role you don’t need to be a sprinter anyway, it all comes down to the brain, shielding, and passing ability and a little bit of agility.
Ritchie’s better at the first three than Perez, easily imo. With Slimani coming in he’ll be the option for the aerial passes, so it seems a lot more balanced than watching Perez learn on the job.’
‘Shelvey, despite his limitations, was great, as were Lascelles, the other CB, and the keeper. They actually kept and recycled the ball under pressure after taking the lead yesterday, which was great under some considerable pressure.
Newcastle’s attacking on the counter is f…… atrocious though. The quality of the runs and the passing is not good at all.
Mourinho tried to paint them as lucky – as well as deserving. I didn’t think luck played too much of a factor in that game.’
‘It was a really cool game to watch, not just because Liverpool benefit from the result.
All you can ever ask of anybody is that they do their best and give their all, and Rafa had his players doing that yesterday. They lack a lot of quality, but they don’t lack spirit.
The Geordie fans were absolutely loving watching their team run through brick walls to try and deliver the result, and they did their part by creating a great atmosphere.
One of the best things in football for me is when the fans of a weaker team are on the same page as the players and really get behind them and help them get the result, so yeah, yesterday I found really enjoyable. And I’m sure Rafa’s gonna keep them up.’
‘Delighted for Rafa. Keeping them up will be a massive achievement.’
‘Pretty much wherever Rafa goes will end up being the ‘second team’ for most Liverpool fans :)
But Newcastle tick all the boxes for the sort of team we’d all love to pull away from danger anyway.
And said it before but I think Rafa is my favourite person ever in football for what he did for this club and city.
Can’t fathom any Liverpool fan who doesn’t recognise that.’