Neil Warnock recently named his five greatest English Premier League managers.
To say his selection is controversial would be an understatement.
Top of the list was Arsene Wenger, followed by Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
Number four was Sir Alex Ferguson while fifth was Jose Mourinho.
To paraphrase, Liverpool owner John W Henry when Arsenal made a bid of £40 million and £1 for Luis Suarez in 2013: “What do you think he is smoking over there?”
Look, I’m a Liverpool fan. I’ve said it many times, it is even in my bio at the bottom of this article.
I can be biased at times, but even I cannot see where Warnock is coming from.
Unfortunately, and I say this grudgingly … Ferguson should be top of the list. Wenger was fantastic in the first half of his reign but for the next 10-12 years, he was a flop.
Warnock tried to justify his pick by saying Wenger changed the face of British football.
Speaking to Teamtalk, Warnock said: “He brought so many things in that had never been thought of.
“The nutritionist, the fitness guys, video, technology. He changed the whole course of it when he came into the Premier League.”
While that is true, the world was already changing and teams and players were moving to a more “modern” era.
Wenger just helped it along quicker.
Several of my Liverpool supporting friends (who don’t wish to be identified) admit the Scot should be No 1.
Although like me, we are hoping by the time Klopp leaves Liverpool, he would be the undisputed No 1 albeit he won’t win as many league titles as the Red Devils boss (13) – as he wouldn’t have stayed as long.
If there was one black mark for Ferguson, it has to be his “relatively poor record in Europe”, having won two European Cups or Champions League as it is now known as, in his 26-year tenure.
He had some bad luck in the competition but that shouldn’t be held against him. After all, only he and Klopp among the “top five” have won that competition while managing English teams.
Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher recently teased ex-United captain Gary Neville that Ferguson’s poor record in Europe was because he couldn’t “influence” the referees the way he did in England”.
“Why have Manchester United never dominated in Europe?
“It’s because you don’t have influence over referees in Europe like you used to have in England under Ferguson”pic.twitter.com/d4SN4UgqdV
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) January 16, 2020
That, however, is akin to Man U and fans from other clubs now saying VAR (video assistant referee) is a tool to help “LiVARpool” to win the title.
To be fair, Carragher and Neville were taking the Mickey out of each other while debating the best European comeback – United’s stunning 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in 1999 or Liverpool’s 2005 triumph over AC Milan.
Carragher did write in his Telegraph column yesterday how much he admired Ferguson’s skills in developing the great United sides.
This comes ahead of Liverpool hosting United tomorrow (12.30am Monday morning in Malaysia), seeking to maintain its unbeaten record this season.
Neville is confident his old team will be the first to burst Liverpool’s bubble although Carragher joked it could be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last game in charge.
The Norwegian has had mixed results and United is 27 points behind Liverpool with a little over half the season over.
That is undoubtedly the clash of the week although Crystal Palace could spring a surprise when it visits Manchester City.
EPL fixtures (Malaysian time)
Watford vs Tottenham (8.30pm)
Brighton vs Aston Villa (11pm)
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace (11pm)
West Ham vs Everton (11pm)
Arsenal vs Sheffield United (11pm)
Norwich vs Bournemouth (11pm)
Southampton vs Wolves (11pm)
Newcastle vs Chelsea (1.30am)
Burnley vs Leicester (10pm)
Liverpool vs Manchester United (12.30am)