What a difference a sacking makes
Brendan Rodgers, May 2014, when Liverpool had narrowly failed to win the Premier League: “Obviously, I am involved heavily in the identification of the player. The principle idea when I first came in was that like any manager you will have the first call on a player and the last call. That’s the call on whether he’s good enough to continue to look at and try to organise a deal and the last call to say yes or no.
“There is a big part that goes on in between. In modern football you need to trust other people to do the work. That’s something we do here and that’s why we have had the success we’ve had. The finer details of that are left to Ian who does a terrific job and our other guys in that field who will go through the contracts. I am aware of where the situation is at right the way through the process.
“We will never bring in a player here who the manager doesn’t want in. That’s a great credit to the owners and the other people at the club. We work very closely together – it’s worth stressing that. It’s key that we are very much one club.”
Brendan Rodgers, January 2016, three months after being sacked by Liverpool: “Well…it was a group decision, really. It was certainly not something I would have the sole or final say on. It’s difficult really. When there is a list of players and the player that you want isn’t on that list, you have to take someone. You can’t have no players. If you haven’t got a left-back, if the left back that you want, for whatever reason, you can’t bring in, if there is a list of three or four, you are having to take the best on that group. It’s the model.”
This from Brendan Rodgers on Goals on Sunday was particularly excellent: “If you look at some of those players, a lot of them were 24 and below. The ones who were above that were free transfers.”
And yet you gave £45m to Southampton for Adam Lallana (26) and Dejan Lovren (25).
Mediawatch cannot deny that it was disappointed to see Garth Crooks choosing an orthodox 4-2-3-1 formation for his BBC team of the week. He picks players in an approximation of their proper positions and everything. That disappointment was tempered when we read the actual words.
* ‘If “money can’t but (sic) you Stones” – the Everton fans’ artistically crafted take on the Beatles classic ‘Can’t buy me Love’, and the best fans’ song this season – what must Baines be worth?’
A 31-year-old left-back? About £7-8m? You’re welcome.
* ‘It’s great to see Pablo Zabaleta back in action for Manchester City again after such a long lay-off. I knew it was him when I saw City’s right-back in the opposition’s penalty area.’
Were there absolutely no other clues, Garth?
* ‘Maybe this latest defeat will provoke Sakho and others in the dressing room to ask Klopp the question: “Why the blazes do you leave us in a game of such importance without a recognised goalscorer?”‘
Or should he be asking Don Welsh as it’s apparently 1952?
* ‘It looks like manager Ronald Koeman has bowled himself into a selection nightmare. With Shane Long in good form, Graziano Pelle still to return and Dusan Tadic and Ward-Prowse scoring goals, it will be very interesting to see where he plays new signing Charlie Austin.
‘Austin can score goals but not without a particular type of service. The other players mentioned have more than goals to their repertoire – so it looks like Sadio Mane could be on his way.’
Lordy. Where to start with this? With Pelle’s likely exit, with Ward-Prowse’s central midfield position, with Dusan Tadic’s current role as a substitute or with the massive leap to the departure of Mane, who plays in an entirely different – and we mean entirely different – role to Austin?
Slight difference of opinion
Garth Crooks on Mamadou Sakho (in his BBC team of the week): ‘It was a pity this lad was on the losing side. Mamadou Sakho made a superb tackle on Manchester United’s Anthony Martial on the edge of his own box when everyone seemed to be screaming penalty. There were occasions in this fixture when Manchester United looked particularly dangerous and when they did Sakho was equal to it.’
Dominic King in the Daily Mail on Mamadou Sakho (awarded 5.5/10 – the lowest of any Liverpool player): ‘Always awkward, whether passing or tackling. Never provides confidence.’
Go Fourth and multiply
Manchester United were far from brilliant at Anfield on Sunday afternoon and The Sun’s Charlie Wyett may be right to say that Louis van Gaal’s talk of a title challenge is ‘ludicrous’ (though they are only seven points behind Arsenal) but this from the Daily Mirror’s Dave Kidd is utterly ridiculous:
‘Neither of England’s most successful clubs – with eight European Cups between them – look likely to be playing Champions League football next season and neither will be sorely missed on the basis of this.’
The Mirror’s Chief Sports Writer seems so sure that Mediawatch had to check the Premier League table two inches to the left; yes, we were right – United are an unassailable two points off fourth.
Every day’s a school day
One of the five things that the Daily Mirror ‘learnt’ from United’s victory is that ‘Liverpool can’t cope with set-pieces’.
Presumably the sixth would have been ‘Liverpool play at Anfield’.
From Arsenal fanboy John Cross’ player ratings in the Daily Mirror:
On Nacho Monreal: ‘Super game defensively. He’s always there. Excellent’
On Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: ‘Nervous start, got better and was a danger. Good’
One is ‘excellent’; the other is ‘good’. Both get 7/10. Of course.
Ask a simple/mental question
— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) January 16, 2016
Metr-oh no you didn’t
Currently ‘trending’ on the Metro football website:
* ‘Done deal: Arsenal raid title rivals to sign key man in shock move – report.’
Sergio Aguero? David Silva? Ben Wrigglesworth? Yes, it’s Leicester scout Ben Wrigglesworth.
* ‘Liverpool shock as star decides to leave club despite new contract offer – report.’
‘Star’ Jerome Sinclair has made two substitute appearances in the Premier League.
* Man Utd £65m bid for world star now imminent – report’
The report is in (something) Fichajes. It’s sh*t.
* ‘Arsenal could be about to sign this unhappy Chelsea player’
It’s Ola Aina. He makes Jerome Sinclair look like a ‘star’.
Recommended reading of the day
James Yorke on Everton
Sean Ingle on Leicester
Barney Ronay on Wayne Rooney