Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield on Tuesday night for a match that looks certain to have major implications on the Premier League table come the end of the season.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will take top spot from leaders Manchester City if they secure a point against the Red Devils, while United can strengthen their claims for a top four finish with victory on Merseyside.
Always a fiercely-contested fixture, this latest meeting between the two rivals is about far more than bragging rights this time around.
Ahead of the clash, SkyBet put Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher face-to-face with former United captain Roy Keane and asked the pair of Sky Sports colleagues to weigh in on a number of topics concerning the two clubs – in a segment entitled ‘Agree to Disagree’
Neither is known for being shy when it comes to their opinions – and some very interesting ground was covered.
You can check out the full video of their debate at the end of this video, but here are some of the highlights.
Did Manchester United make a mistake re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo?
“I’m thinking, this is Man United. Man United should be buying someone who’s 27, not 37,” began Carragher. “Who’s the next Ronaldo?
“And it just smacked of where the club was, of this big fanfare of Ronaldo’s back, all this excitement. Really, everyone knew it wasn’t going to… I always felt it was never gonna push them any closer to the title.
“Cause he’s the one who’s had four or five moments this season where you go “Wow.” For Ronaldo to be playing at one of the biggest clubs in the world at 37, and still having an impact, it’s unbelievable. But for Man United to buy Ronaldo, I just thought it was a joke.
“It was either a panic ’cause they thought City were going to get him, whether they were kidded by this thing of getting Ronaldo back and everyone was excited. The social media, all the fans in the first game. I thought it was a bit embarrassing.”
“I still think it was worth the gamble,” Keane stated in response.
“At the bigger picture, you’re looking it’s not a great signing because of his age and listen, whatever. But I still think he can bring something to the party, and I think he has.
“But I think whatever’s gone on around him hasn’t been good enough. But I still think Ronaldo could also probably still show more better leadership skills. I know he’s been upset once or twice when he was left out. He clearly wasn’t gonna play in all the games. But he’s still showing moments, Jamie. He’s still showing moments.
“Obviously, listen, the Tottenham game [where he scored a hat-trick]. Some of the European games. But I think it was worth the gamble.”
Steven Gerrard or Paul Scholes: Who was the better player?
It’s the age-old question, albeit one that regularly also features Chelsea icon Frank Lampard.
Naturally in these situations, players typically side with their former colleagues – and so it proved on this occasion.
However, Carragher did manage to get United stalwart Keane to budge slightly.
In making his case, Carragher argued: “I always think if you took Scholes out of the United team and put in Stevie, would United have won more or less? If you took Stevie out of our team and put in Scholes, would we have won what we won?
“I just think of what Stevie did in that Champions League final and that FA Cup final in 2006, I’m not sure Scholes or Frank could have had that impact on that team.”
“I agree,” conceded Keane. “I suppose it’s just down to the fact that there’s a bit of loyalty. I think Steven Gerrard was brilliant, I think Frank Lampard was brilliant, but in the few games I played with him, I always loved a player who would get a goal.
“Would Gerrard be better than Scholesy? If you look at my answer, I did say ‘disagree’ and not ‘strongly disagree’…”
Carragher wasn’t willing to leave it there, though, making one last push for Gerrard.
“The thing I would say about Stevie that would put him ahead of other players, I think he could have been the best player in two or three positions. If he had played right-back his whole career, he would have played for England. Right midfield, number ten, central midfield, he played so many positions…”
“He was brilliant. Jesus, he was. You’ve won me over, I’ll be crying in a minute!” Keane joked. “Loyalty does have to come into it a little bit.”
Could Pep Guardiola surpass Sir Alex Ferguson as the greatest Premier League boss of all time?
Despite being a legendary figure at Old Trafford, Carragher interestingly admitted that Sir Alex still gets his nod over former Barcelona boss Guardiola.
“The only thing I would say on Pep Guardiola, is I think he’s amazing,” Carragher said. “He will have the most trophies. He will finish his career as the most successful manager in the history of football. He’ll have done it in different countries.
“The reason why I would still go with Sir Alex Ferguson, is it’s not just to do with the Premier League, but there’s certain managers, and Jose’s one, I think Klopp’s one. It’s the one thing Pep hasn’t done, is almost win with an inferior team, or maybe when you’re up against the odds. That’s the only thing.”
By contrast, Keane – who won no less than seven Premier League titles alongside Ferguson – made a strong argument for Guardiola.
“I think there was a stat where Pep, if he wins the league this year, has he won 10 of the last 13 league titles? Which is amazing, my goodness. And I know there’s an argument he’s always… But I think that’s ’cause he’s clever. He’s not gone to a team that… And people go, ‘Well he’s always had money to spend. He’s always had the best players.’
“That’s ’cause he’s switched on. He’s thinking ‘Yeah, I wanna work with the best.’ Even go back to Barcelona, he first got in there with the reserves, then he’s working with the firsts.
As you said, he’d still have to win. And people go ‘Well he’s at Barcelona, it’s easy to win.’ A lot of Barcelona managers haven’t won that much. Loads have been sacked. So he’s managed that group even well. And of course, he’s clever going to Bayern. And Man City.”
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On whether Keane will return to management?
“I think, those days are over for me now, going back into management,” revealed the former Sunderland and Ipswich boss.
“I really feel like that. I’m 50 now, I’m doing the TV. Obviously, I’m labelled as more of a pundit now. But no, no, I feel I’m getting my head round it. It’s maybe more of a head job that is the role for me and over the next few years, I think I can’t see a club really giving me a real good opportunity to get back into it.”
You watch the segment in full for yourself below.
Watch: Sky Bet’s ‘Agree to Disagree’: Carragher v Keane
Liverpool vs Man Utd preview (Via The Football Terrace)
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