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Liverpool vs Manchester United is massive – Fergie used to do a jig when we beat them, reveals Andrew Cole

SUNSPORT’S Danny Higginbotham talks to Andrew Cole about the Liverpool vs Manchester United clash on Saturday, their time together at Old Trafford and Cole’s brilliant record at Anfield… DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: You had a great record against Liverpool — 11 goals, eight at Anfield and four for United. I remember the 3-1 in 1997. You scored […]

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SUNSPORT’S Danny Higginbotham talks to Andrew Cole about the Liverpool vs Manchester United clash on Saturday, their time together at Old Trafford and Cole’s brilliant record at Anfield…

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM: You had a great record against Liverpool — 11 goals, eight at Anfield and four for United. I remember the 3-1 in 1997. You scored two. What was it like scoring at Anfield for United?

Mark Robinson - The Sun
SunSport man Danny Higginbotham met former Manchester United striker Andrew Cole ahead of the Liverpool clash[/caption]

Mark Robinson - The Sun
Cole scored 11 goals at Anfield[/caption]

ANDREW COLE: I loved scoring goals, man, being involved with them. And scoring at Anfield was special.

You have certain teams and, no disrespect, I always fancied they would give me a chance. I could be out the team for two games and Sir Alex would always bring me back for Liverpool.

DH: Was scoring at Anfield your biggest high?

AC: It was great but it wasn’t my biggest high. Just playing for a big team, winning games, having a good rapport with your fans and your team-mates, that’s the high.

Mark Robinson - The Sun
Higginbotham and Cole had a short spell together at Old Trafford[/caption]

PA:Press Association
Cole celebrates one his two goals in a 3-1 win at Anfield in 1997[/caption]

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DH: Did Liverpool games mean more to Sir Alex Ferguson?

AC: Oh, man. Massive. Every game was big but then there was Liverpool!

When we beat them the gaffer would come into the changing room and do a little jig.

I remember one game, I got sent off at Anfield but we still won. Normally, he’d fine you if you were sent off but he was buzzing so much, he forgot. I got away with one there.

DH: Ever score at The Kop?

AC: Yeah, for Blackburn. A half-volley.

DH: Dipped over the keeper’s head. I remember. When you were playing for United which was the bigger game, City or Liverpool?

AC: Liverpool for sure.

DH: And now?

AC: Liverpool’s always going to be big, with the history, the European Cups . . . but it’s changed a bit because they haven’t been challenging for the title. But it’s still a massive, massive game.

DH: So City have taken over?

AC: No. It takes more prominence because they can win the league but Liverpool is still bigger.

Sir Alex Ferguson always saw Liverpool as the clubs biggest rival
Reuters

DH: I agree. Which was your best United goal?

AC: For the importance, maybe against Spurs to win the league in 1999. That led to the Treble.
But I enjoyed them all. Little chips, tap-ins, headers.

DH: No matter what you did for United, winning the Treble, all the goals, people still go back to that West Ham game in 1995.

AC: Of course.

DH: But it’s ridiculous. It didn’t matter what anybody did, that ball was not going in! Ludek Miklosko had the game of his life.

AC: It’s swings and roundabouts. That was ’95 and I was lambasted for costing Man U the title and then in ’99 it had gone full circle. That’s football. I don’t sit at home and study it. At the time I took it tough. But I look back on my career, what I achieved given where I came from . . .

Times Newspapers Ltd
Cole seals Manchester United the Premier League title with a lob against Spurs in 1999 – United would win the Treble in the following weeks[/caption]

DH: I made my home debut against Leicester in 1999 and you scored a kind of overhead kick. It was a hard chance but you looked like you expected to score.

As a young lad at Old Trafford, seeing the way you guys trained, the standards, how seriously you’d take it, the arguments, it never felt like you were going to get beat.

AC: It was an unbelievable mentality. We’d bicker over the smallest things in training. We’d be in the square and if someone passed it a yard short, we’d argue for ten minutes about who was going in the box.

It didn’t mean we didn’t like each other. It was about standards.

DH: That Treble team was unbelievable. So good. Talent but you wouldn’t back down either.

AC: Yeah, we looked after each other.

DH: That spine! Schmeichel, Stam, Keane and you and Yorke up top. It’s the best team I’ve seen in the Premier League.

Reuters
The Treble winning team on a bus parade through Manchester[/caption]

AC: Yeah. And the boys always used to say how important the spine of the team was.

But Sir Alex and the midfield boys like Scholesy used to say you’re only as good as your centre-forward. And we had four good ones.

But it was an unbelievable team. The best I ever played in.

DH: I left United at 21. Never good enough for the first team. But what I took away from Old Trafford was how to conduct myself on and off the pitch. How to train.

It was less about ‘this is your body shape as a defender’ — more about how to behave. It was invaluable.

AC: The gaffer had a lot to do with that. Setting standards. He knew everyone’s name. He’s a top man.

Danny Higginbotham (left) played seven games for Manchester United in before leaving in 2000
News Group Newspapers Ltd

DH: Agreed. Even down to the snotty-nosed apprentices, he knew everyone.

Now on to this United team. Obviously, there’s been massive rebuilding. But I look at this side and I’m seeing the United I love, the one I supported as a kid. And a manager who looks like a United manager.

I think this is Jose Mourinho’s dream job. Do you see him there long term?

AC: I hope so. I know he’s had that cycle of three years, people fall out of love with him, he moves on — but I’d like to think he’d be here long term and will bring back success.

DH: The spine is good now.

AC: Yeah. De Gea’s a fantastic keeper, Bailly, Jones is playing well. In the midfield — Paul Pogba, Matic has been unbelievable. And Mkhitaryan. Then Lukaku, Rashford.

Manchester United seem finally back to their old selves
Getty Images - Getty
Romelu Lukaku has hit the ground running and already has 10 goals
PA:Press Association

DH: Are you surprised Romelu Lukaku hit the ground running?

AC: No. He’d done it in the Premier League for the past five seasons. He was always going to score goals.

DH: But there’s pressure being United’s record striker signing? You were. Did you feel it?

AC: Yes, but it was different. I had to keep United at the top. Now Romelu has to get them there but that buys you a bit of time.

If I didn’t cut it, I’d be on the bench. Mind you, if Romelu doesn’t, United can go out and buy a new striker.

DH: Is there more pressure on Liverpool than United tomorrow?

AC: Yeah. They’re at home. They’re shipping goals. Klopp’s been there two years and it’s still a bit topsy-turvy. But this is also United’s first real test.

DH: True. Will United play on the break?

Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp go head-to-head again
News Group Newspapers Ltd

AC: It wouldn’t surprise me. Liverpool are the home team. They need to win. United can sit a bit and Soak it all up. And they have pace to do damage.

DH: And Liverpool struggle when they are hit on the break. Fellaini is out for United. No one would have thought it mattered a year ago, but he’s been unbelievable lately.

AC: He’s had a great start this season. You need someone who believes in you and the manager does. On the flip side, look at Herrera who was United’s best player last season — he can’t get a game. That’s football.

Instagram/Andy Cole
Cole pictured with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the gym - the Swede is working his way back to fitness[/caption]

DH: I saw a picture of you in the gym with Zlatan. How’s he?

AC: Really good. Back next year, I think, so he’s done well really.

DH: Where does he fit in now, though?

AC: He’ll get games because he’s got so much quality. And he’s brilliant in the dressing room. I love Zlatan. He tells you how it is. He’s legendary.

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Football

‘Ronaldo vs Neymar’: Real Madrid draw PSG in the Champions League last-16 as two of Europe’s biggest clubs go head-to-head… and Twitter loves it

REAL MADRID will play Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last-16 as two of Europe’s biggest clubs were drawn against each other. The reigning European champions will now need to go up against fearsome trio Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani after Friday’s exciting draw. Elsewhere, Chelsea will face Barcelona, Liverpool take on Porto, Manchester […]

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REAL MADRID will play Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last-16 as two of Europe’s biggest clubs were drawn against each other.

The reigning European champions will now need to go up against fearsome trio Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani after Friday’s exciting draw.

Holders Real Madrid will go up against PSG in the Champions League last-16
Uefa

Elsewhere, Chelsea will face Barcelona, Liverpool take on Porto, Manchester City draw Basel, Manchester United go up against Shakhtar Donetsk and Tottenham set to play Juventus.

Real Madrid were always set to face a tougher draw than they’re used to, after slipping to second in their group.

Zinedine Zidane’s Los Blancos finished behind Tottenham in Group H, after dropping EIGHT points on the way.

Meanwhile, PSG edged Bayern Munich to top spot in Group B, both of whom earned 15 points out of a possible 18.

Real Madrid were drawn against PSG in a thriller of a last-16 tie
Real Madrid were drawn against PSG in a thriller of a last-16 tie
BT Sport
PSG will be optimistic of denting the reigning champions' chances
PSG will be optimistic of denting the reigning champions’ chances
AFP

Real Madrid vs PSG looks set to be an astonishing tie, after the Ligue 1 giants set the new record for goals in a group stage, with 25.

The draw now means one of the tournament favourites will be going home early, opening the door for one of England’s FIVE clubs to go all the way.


AU’S THAT? Inside the extravagant world of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang… set to bring his talent, and ‘Batmobile’, to Chelsea


However, it was the worst possible morning for Chelsea, who – after slumping to second in their group – ended up drawing Barcelona in the last-16.

Liverpool and Manchester City enjoyed seemingly favourable draws though – going up against Porto and Basel respectively.

PSG will go up against holders Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16
PSG will go up against holders Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16
BT Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo and Co will hope to improve on their shaky form against PSG
Cristiano Ronaldo and Co will hope to improve on their shaky form against PSG
REUTERS

Tottenham meanwhile face a tricky tie against Italian giants Juventus.

Manchester United will go up against Sevilla, who finished second in their group, behind Liverpool.

Full Champions League last-16 draw

The Champions League draw appears favourable for most Premier League sides
The Champions League draw appears favourable for most Premier League sides
AFP

Juventus vs TOTTENHAM

Basel vs MAN CITY

Porto vs LIVERPOOL

Sevilla vs MAN UNITED

Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma

CHELSEA vs Barcelona

Bayern Munich vs Besiktas

The clash is 'lready being tipped as a "Neymar vs Cristiano Ronaldo' battle
The clash is ‘lready being tipped as a “Neymar vs Cristiano Ronaldo’ battle
PA:Empics Sport

Cristiano Ronaldo will go up against Neymar in a clash of the titans
Cristiano Ronaldo will go up against Neymar in a clash of the titans
Getty

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Europa League

Europa League draw: Live stream, TV channel, start time, seedings and Arsenal and Celtic’s possible knockout stage opponents

ARSENAL secured their place in the Europa League knockout stages with a 0-0 draw at home to Red Star Belgrade over a month ago. And now the Arsene Wenger’s side will finally find out their last 32 opponents. A wide range of opponents are available to the Gunners, from an intimidating trip to Dortmund to […]

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ARSENAL secured their place in the Europa League knockout stages with a 0-0 draw at home to Red Star Belgrade over a month ago.

And now the Arsene Wenger’s side will finally find out their last 32 opponents.

Arsenal have qualified for the Europa League last 32
Getty - Contributor

A wide range of opponents are available to the Gunners, from an intimidating trip to Dortmund to a match against minnows Ostersund or Ludogorets.

They will also be joined by Celtic, who finished a distant third behind PSG and Bayern Munich in arguably the Champions League’s toughest group.

When is the Europa League draw?

The Europa League draw will take place on Monday, December 11 at Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

It will commence at 12pm UK time, or 1pm CET.

What TV channel is the Europa League draw on?

The Europa League draw will be live on BT Sport.

Who could Arsenal and Celtic face in the last 32?

This season’s Europa League is set to be a lot tougher than the tournament won by Manchester United last year.

Arsenal can face any of the second placed teams from the 12 Europa League groups (apart from Red Star Belgrade) or the worst four third placed teams in the Champions League group stage.

Conversely, Celtic can play any of the first placed teams from the 12 Europa League groups or any of the best four third placed teams in the Champions League group stage.

Who are the seeded and unseeded teams for the Europa League draw?

Seeded

Villarreal

Dynamo Kiev

Braga

AC Milan

Atalanta

Lokomotiv Moscow

Viktoria Plzen

ARSENAL

Red Bull Salzburg

Athletic Bilbao

Lazio

Zenit St Petersburg

CSKA Moscow

Atletico Madrid

RB Leipzig

Sporting CP

Unseeded

Astana

Partizan

Ludogorets

AEK Athens

Lyon

Copenhagan

FCSB

Red Star Belgrade

Ostersund

Marseille

Nice

Real Sociedad

Napoli

Spartak Moscow

CELTIC

Borussia Dortmund

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Football

Mikel Arteta covers his face on way to training after being hurt in Manchester derby tunnel bust-up

MIKEL ARTETA arrived for training with Manchster City covering his injured face. The City coach allegedly had a bottle thrown at him in the tunnel after yesterday’s Manchester derby. Arteta was ‘left with blood pouring down his face’ after City’s 2-1 win. More follows  

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MIKEL ARTETA arrived for training with Manchster City covering his injured face.

The City coach allegedly had a bottle thrown at him in the tunnel after yesterday’s Manchester derby.

Mikel Arteta covers his face as he arrives at the Etihad campus
Cavendish Press

Arteta was ‘left with blood pouring down his face’ after City’s 2-1 win.

More follows

 

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