‘ROBO KLOPP’ is the headline in the Daily Mirror newspaper; ‘Liverpool stars have 5 weeks to prove themselves before January changes warns boss Jurgen Klopp’ is the headline on the website.
Sounds pretty scary, right. Is this the tough, ruthless side of Klopp that we keep hearing about? Buckle yourselves in.
Let’s study his chilling words:
“We will have the possibility to change some things in January and in the summer but at this moment we have made no decisions because we don’t have to make them yet. The players know this. It is always the same that at one point in the season you have to make a decision about them.
“We are at a time when they can collect positive arguments and say: ‘okay, we want to work together’. I don’t need to say this to them, they know it. In this moment we have made no decisions so I have time to judge.
“To make a final judgement on them I need more time. I know about the business of course. We have time and we will see what is possible and what is not possible. We will see what’s necessary and what’s not necessary, that’s how we work.”
So definitely no ‘warning’ (“I don’t need to say this to them”), definitely no deadline (“We have time”) and not a great deal of ‘laying down the law’.
As Klopp said in a separate interview to Sky Sports: “I believe in training, sometimes I feel I’m the only one in this country who believes in training, only others believe in transfers.”
Ouch. He’s a ‘superhuman cyborg law enforcer’ alright.
When a young, talented player emerges at any club other than Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal, the lazy response is to fling your arms in the air and cry ‘why did Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal not sign him?’ Obviously, if he had signed for Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal and had not played, you can then fling your arms in the air and mutter about the big clubs hoovering up all the talented youngsters and stockpiling the poor buggers. Win-win.
Steven Howard follows that well-worn ‘HOW come Manchester United…?’ path in The Sun, a day later than Harry Redknapp in the Evening Standard. And if you’re a day later than Harry Redknapp, it’s time to lay down your laptop.
‘Why didn’t Arsenal sign him? Don’t tell me Chelsea shouldn’t have bought him for £5m. What’s £5m to Manchester United, especially with the way they throw their money around now?’ asked Redknapp.
You may remember that Redknapp himself was a Premier League manager in January 2015. Did QPR try to sign Alli if it was such a no-brainer?
‘I never tried to sign him then because we were struggling all year and were just in for short-term fixes but it shames the recruitment networks at the top clubs – who could think further ahead – that they didn’t go in for him.’
So was Irish teenager Ryan Manning – signed by QPR from Galway United on January 8 – a ‘short-term fix’, Harry?
Redknapp said at the time: “Ryan is a young lad who has been chased by a number of top clubs in the Premier League. We have managed to secure him and bring him here, so we’re delighted with that. He is a busy player who can play off the left or in behind the striker. He is still young and has a lot to learn but it’s a good gamble for us to take.”
That particular ‘short-term fix’ is yet to play for QPR; they probably should have gone for that ‘absolute genius’ Alli instead.
Only the brave
There’s an almost admirable lack of irony in Harry Redknapp claiming that ‘we have to back our young players’. This is the man whose answer to almost any question was Niko Kranjcar, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe or Younes Kaboul. Even at the dinner table when Sandra asks him to pass the salt.
‘Full credit should go to Mauricio Pochettino. He has thrown kids in at Spurs and they have thrived. Okay, they bought a couple of them in but basically Pochettino has developed a group of young players by giving them the self-belief to go and fulfil their potential. If only more people had that bravery,’ says Redknapp.
Indeed. In Redknapp’s final season at Tottenham he gave eight minutes of FA Cup action to John Bostock, 11 minutes in the Premier League to Cameron Lancaster, 14 minutes to Adam Smith and a handful of Europa League starts to Tom Carroll, Ryan Fredericks, Andros Townsend and Harry Kane. If only other managers were so bloody brave.
‘End of the international break’ story of the day
From MailOnline (of course): Mesut Ozil enjoyed some downtime on Thursday evening as he dined with out with his ‘familia’.
‘The Arsenal midfielder, who will be part of Arsene Wenger’s squad for Saturday’s visit to West Brom, took to Instagram to share a snap of himself with three others.
‘The group appear to be eating at an Italian restaurant, with Ozil captioning the photo ‘La Familia’.’
Mediawatch loves that the phrase ‘appear to be eating at an Italian restaurant’ is entirely based on the table having a red-and-white checked tablecloth.
Jobs for the Moyes
Mediawatch has had a lovely morning reading deluded David Moyes’ interview with The Sun’s Neil Custis, who loves Moyes in a way that one man can only ever truly love another man. In an age when we are desperate for homophobia to be driven out of football, it has been truly refreshing to observe Custis being so open about his adoration for the Scot.
Our very favourite Custis line on Moyes remains ‘it may have seemed odd seeing him in that Manchester United blazer at first, but it fits’, so who better to ‘exclusively’ interview the recently sacked Real Sociedad manager?
Highlights of Moyes’
advert interview include:
* “Has my reputation taken a battering? No. It should have been enhanced because I now have a knowledge of the Spanish players, the Spanish league and a lot more idea of a different style of play.”
A reminder: His win percentage record with Real Sociedad was 28.57%.
But his reputation is ‘enhanced’ because he has managed (badly) somewhere else? On that basis, Sven-Goran Eriksson (nine countries and counting) should be favourite for the Real Madrid job.
* “I’ll wait for something that excites me.”
As Ma Mediawatch would say, ‘you’ll get what you’re given, you little tw*t’ (this was Yorkshire in the 80s).
* “I believe I have always chosen wisely with all my jobs.”
* “I admire the club’s (Real Sociedad) philosophy but in this competitive world of football I don’t think it can fulfill their expectations on a regular basis.”
Real Sociedad finished fourth and seventh in the seasons before Moyes’ arrival; they were in 18th when he was sacked.
* “United was what I had built myself up to get to. I think if I had known it was a ten-month contract and not a six-year contract I would have completely treated it differently. We tried to give everyone an opportunity to show what they could do.”
Why oh why oh why did nobody explain that he had to actually win games? He should bloody sue.
Question of the day
When two journalists interview the same man at the same time – in this case The Sun’s Neil Custis and the Daily Mail’s Matt Lawton – and get the same quotes, can one really claim an ‘exclusive’ and the other bill it as ‘his first interview since being sacked’?
Paul Merson remarkably predicts Chelsea will finish fourth, Sky Sports website, November 13: ‘There’s still a long time for Chelsea to make up that gap and, while it’s a hard, hard one to call, I fancy Chelsea to just edge it.’
Paul Merson previews Chelsea v Norwich, Sky Sports website, November 20: ‘If they don’t win, I think top four is out of the question and Jose Mourinho will be under so much more pressure.’
Well they do say a week is a ‘long time’ in football.
‘I think it’s a nice game for Liverpool’ begins the Magic Man’s prediction for Manchester City v Liverpool.
‘I think it’s another game that suits Aston Villa in a way’ begins the Magic Man’s prediction for Everton v Aston Villa.
He then proceeds to predict they will both lose 2-0. Which presumably they will both really, really enjoy.
Behind the times
One last thing from Paul Merson, who has noticed that Leicester have garnered a few points from going behind. When something finally lodges in Merson’s brain, it takes some shifting.
‘Leicester are the best team you’ll ever see when they’re 2-0 down, but before 2-0 down they’re not as impressive,’ says a proud Merson.
Which will come as something of a surprise to anybody who has watched their last three Premier League victories in which they have been behind (by one goal) for a grand total of 27 minutes.
Predictable prediction of the day
From Mark Lawrenson: Manchester City 1 Liverpool 1. Of course.
Recommended reading of the day
Stuart James on maverick goalkeeper Alan Nicholls
Omar Saleem on Arrigo Sacchi
Jonathan Wilson on Manchester City’s transfer policy