As much as we love Elland Road, there is something special about Anfield. The actual ground itself always looks picture perfect, while there is nothing better in football (excluding everything Leeds United related, of course) than watching 40,000 Merseysiders belting out the (second) best anthem in sports.
As a football fan, I am extremely jealous of the atmosphere in the Kop every winter. As a Leeds United fan, I am tremendously envious of those who will be in attendance on Tuesday night. And as an Australian who shares this love of football and Leeds United, this week’s trip to Anfield represents a trip down memory lane. A journey back in the Delorean to when our football club had rivalries with the greatest sides in Europe.
My favourite ever Leeds United moment was the day when Mark Viduka tore the Reds a new one. Four f’ing goals! Who does things like that?
I could seriously watch those highlights for the rest of my life and be content. There was a time where my favourite footballer played for my favourite club, and he dominated. Viduka was the centre of my football universe as a child and his defining moment came against Tuesday’s opponent. For 90 minute of football he owned the Reds, and Leeds had seized back control of a rivalry that predates my existence.
See, Leeds-Liverpool isn’t just another game. It’s a massive big deal. These two football clubs were rivals for the longest time... only until a certain Yorkshire giant fell off the footballing cliff!
It was never Leeds-Manchester, but my mind boggles when thinking about what this rivalry meant to both sides back in the 1960s and 1970s. Bill Shankly vs. Don Revie: two of the greatest managers of their era going tit for tat with 22 of the best footballers in Europe.
I love reading about United’s league-winning campaigns in 1969 and 1974: Liverpool were relegated to second spot in both seasons.
Such LUFC success almost seems foreign in 2016, but like any rivalry, the successes were only relative to the pain. The Reds took the FA Cup from Leeds in 1965, and claimed the league in 1966 as United was marooned in second spot.
Just like our relationships with Manchester United and Chelsea, the rivalry with Liverpool has been on hold for over a decade.
These football clubs are like that girl you used to know, the one that got away. You can’t help but think about them, despite knowing the perilous nature of your current position.
It’s actually a weird phenomenon. I’m willing to guess the majority of you strongly dislike Liverpool, but deep down, I bet you miss having them in your footballing life. I certainly miss seeing my football club play in a cauldron such as Anfield every season.
With Leeds' dramatic descent into the Championship, we can only rekindle that old love during cup ties, such as the one awaiting Garry Monk and his rejuvenised army. Since 2004, all I have wanted from Leeds United is the opportunity to revitalise a relationship with the big boys of English football. We get this chance tomorrow night, even if it’s just a taste of what we hope will come in 2017.
We all know what the likely result is going to be on Tuesday night. One club is playing at home and sits second in the planet’s best footballing league. Their payroll exceeds £150 million. Seriously.
The other side is just a plucky outfit, full of heart and desire, fighting to regain their place among the elite. The words of Lloyd Christmas are floating around my head… so you're telling me there's a chance!
With the festive season approaching, the family name of Jim Carrey’s finest creation, Lloyd, seems apropos. We all hope Christmas comes early for Leeds United fans this year, it arrives on 29 November 2016.
Yet it will be glorious independent of the actual result.
Based on talent alone, Leeds United have no right winning this game of football. No chance of advancing to Wembley. But as James pointed out yesterday, crazy things can happen and ultimately, there is absolutely zero downside for Monk’s men as they make the journey south.
Carrey is well known for a speech in which he promotes love and faith as the two most important things in life. Nothing seems more appropriate right now for fans of Leeds United. We all love this football club and have faith that Tuesday is the rebirth of a famous rivalry. What better way to mark the renaissance than with an upset victory, one that could be remembered alongside Revie’s greatest hits over the Reds. MOT.