Hansen (left) and Lineker
Note: It has been suggested that television soccer analysts would be better off reciting poetry than confronting us with their barely-formed ideas couched in clichéd language. But is this such a good idea?
Gary Lineker: Great result for Liverpool, and a terrific performance.
Alan Hansen: It was a great game. Liverpool going one down and coming back: its loveliness actually increases and will never pass into nothingness for me. I thought Manchester United were shocking. They must have felt a Funeral, in their Brains or something. We talk long and hard on this programme about pace being truth, truth pace, and Liverpool showed today that that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. They were just superb.
GL: United were like Sailors fighting with a leak when it came to dealing with Gerrard and Torres, weren't they?
Alan Shearer: Well, Alan used the word "truth" earlier, and I would, as Swift's Echo, fret, and rave, and gabble, like the Labourers of Babel, who had a decent game when he came on, by the way. But yeah, Gerrard was great. Watch him here, wandering lonely as a cloud between the midfield and defence, the desert that is his dwelling place. Are they gonna come out and mark him? No, each man fixed his eyes before his feet, and you can't afford to do that against a player like Gerrard. He was unlucky not to get his shot away this time but here's Torres, and it's his turn to drop off and fill that void vein full again with youth. Defence again, fearing the lightning-flash and the all-dreaded thundering-stone―
GL: (To Hansen) He's stolen your catchphrase, Alan!
AS: There's Torres making a run, and watch him there, just giving a little signal to Gerrard as if to say, Just dink it through, leader of those armies bright which, but th' Omnipotent, none could have foiled, and the shot just got away from him a bit. Unlucky.
AH: Here's Liverpool's first goal. Dreadful mistake by Vidic. Bright suns at one time shone for him when he would come when United were leading, but he misses it completely this time. Thereupon many not very fun things happen to him. No worst, there is none. Here's the second goal, Gerrard gets fouled—
GL: Any doubts about the penalty? A hint of a shadowtackle, perhaps?
AH: Not for me. No argument, no anger, no remorse. Thou art indeed just, Lord. Steps up, two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and he stuck it in the bottom corner.
GL: As he said in the post-match interview: "What I do is me; for that I come; look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" He's certainly full of confidence.
AH: As he should be. It's like Zidane was saying in the week: The Father having begot a Son most blest, and still begetting, (for he ne'er be gone) hath deigned to choose Gerrard by adoption.
AS: He'll be commemorated with a hero-courageous tomb, that's for sure.
GL: A lot of the pre-match hype surrounded Wayne Rooney's comments, the "hatred" comments — did that have an effect on his play, do you think?
AH: I think it must have. I remember what Bob Paisley told me when I came to Liverpool: he said, Son, hate blows a bubble of despair into hugeness world system universe and bang — fear buries a tomorrow under woe and up comes yesterday most green and young. And he was dead right. Al will show you now...
AS: That's right, you can see from the replays here that he was under extra pressure the whole game. Watch how the pass doesn't reach him and there he is, arms out, knowing not which way he must look for comfort, being, as he is, oppressed. Here's a cross which doesn't get to him, and there he is, angry with his friend. Did he tell his wrath? Well, only he knows that. He has to learn to deal with it. When I was playing, I had no time to hate, because the grave would hinder me, and life was not so ample I could finish enmity. You have to be calm in these situations.
GL: United can't really complain about the defeat, can they?
AH: I don't think so. Liverpool dominated in the end. Reina almost withered to leaf-size from lack of effort. There were individual mistakes from United, but there was poison in the cup — why should we ask from whose hands it came?
GL: Let's take a look at the top of the table. Things are a lot more interesting now. Do you think United can be overhauled?
AH: Well, in the papers women come and go, talking of Cristiano Ronaldo, and it must be having an impact on his play, so that's not good for United. But I think it's too early to say that the title race is a Heraclitean fire just yet.
AS: I agree with Alan. I think, in the shadow of the grave, United will be brave. After the first death, there is no other, I feel.
GL: Well, like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, so do our minutes hasten to their end. But we just have enough time to touch upon the success of the English teams in the Champions League. What did you make of it, Alan?
AH: I think it's wonderful. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
AS: I agree with Al―
GL: HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
AS: I think it's great. I wouldn't be surprised to see two English teams sailing to Byzantium—
GL: The final's in Rome, Alan.
AS: Oh aye, you're right. Anyway, it'd be one in the eye for that French cloud-puff ball Platini, always reproaching us about money—
AH: Quarterly, is it?
AS: Oh, yeah, at least.
GL: So that's about it for now, on a day when Manchester United did not stop for Death, but they certainly stopped for Liverpool. Good night.