The only topic of conversation on Tuesday night was Bayern Munich’s shellacking of Tottenham, so how do you get all of the clicks if you work for a Liverpool website? You make it all about Liverpool, of course. What else?
‘Never mind Barcelona, have Liverpool broken Tottenham as well?’
It’s the question literally
everybody nobody else is asking. But this is the Liverpool Echo, who never knowingly waste an opportunity to tell you that Liverpool are brilliant and you are brilliant for choosing to support such brilliance.
‘It’s been suggested that Liverpool ‘broke’ Barcelona with their Champions League comeback against the Catalan giants but what about Tottenham Hotspur?’
It was certainly suggested – by Liverpool fans, who are obviously incredibly knowledgeable about Spanish football – after Barcelona lost to Granada in September, but they have since won back-to-back games and now sit just two points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid. They are currently the odds-on favourites to win the Spanish title they have claimed seven times in a decade. Oh to be so ‘broken’.
‘While Jurgen Klopp’s side go from strength to strength – a 100% start to the current Premier League season has extended their run in the competition to 16 consecutive victories – Lionel Messi and company have already suffered defeats to both Athletic Bilbao and minnows Granada this term.’
Pesky fact: Liverpool lost 2-0 to Napoli in the Champions League. The Echo appear to have scrubbed that from their collective red memories.
‘But it seems that Barca aren’t the only side to have been ruined by the Reds with a European defeat.’
Ah, so we come to Tottenham, beaten by Liverpool in a European final and now ‘ruined’, apparently. Because things were going so swimmingly before that fateful day with five defeats in the previous eight games.
‘Tottenham’s first Champions League home game of the season ended with a humiliating 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich, the side that drew a blank at Anfield in the last 16 earlier this year, celebrated like they’d won the tie but were despatched 3-1 by Liverpool in the return match at the Allianz Arena.’
So Bayern weren’t ‘broken’ by Liverpool then? It’s almost like you can only ‘break’ teams that are already fractured and actually, it’s absolutely nothing to do with Liverpool at all. But that’s not the kind of thinking that garners delicious clicks.
Mediawatch’s favourite line of the whole ridiculous piece is the final one:
‘Perhaps his Tottenham side were already in a downward spiral – that loss to the Reds was their sixth in nine games at the end of the 2018/19 campaign – but with just five victories from their last 19 matches now and this extraordinary scoreline, it looks like the psychological scars inflicted by Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi remain deep within Spurs’ minds.’
So you absolutely know they were on a ‘downward spiral’ and use two separate statistics that entirely contradict the actual premise of the article, but f*** it, bring us those sweet, sweet clicks.
The Sun sent three men to Tottenham on Tuesday night – Hyperbole King Neil Ashton, Comedy Cockney Paul Jiggins and F365 favourite Dave Kidd – and not one of them mentioned Serge Aurier’s accidental drop onto the body of David Alaba, because he was clearly trying to jump over said body and it was clearly an accident.
So it’s a tad odd that The Sun website has decided this was a major talking point, bringing us this headline:
‘AU-FUL Watch ‘mad man’ Serge Aurier’s horror stamp on Bayern Munich star David Alaba as Spurs defender somehow avoids red card’
Even ignoring the fact that nobody in the story has called Aurier a ‘mad man’ and thus the quote marks are basically a lie, he ‘somehow’ avoided a red card because it wasn’t a red card.
Spare a thought for the Daily Mirror‘s Darren Lewis, who wrote in glowing terms about Tanguy Ndombele long before Bayern Munich had made Ndombele’s performance utterly irrelevant. Lewis bravely tried to rescue the situation but he must have known when typing these words that he had utterly lost the fight:
‘Tottenham can thank their lucky stars, he was not playing against them. That would have made a terrible night many times worse.’
Yes. Phew and double phew. The one saving grace for Spurs is that it was Joshua Kimmich (goal) and Corentin Tolisso (two assists) who were playing for Bayern in central midfield and not Ndombele (two chances created in the first 25 minutes and then basically nothing else). They probably would have have shipped ten or 12.
The Dele Show
Hats off to Lewis’ Daily Mirror colleague and proud patriot John Cross, who awarded Dele Alli 7/10 for his ‘big performance despite result’. Which made him better than or equal to every Bayern Munich player bar Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski in their 7-2 win.
Two-assist Tolisso? Exactly as good as Alli.
Benjamin Pavard? Just 6/10. Definitely worse than Alli.
Philippe Coutinho who created more chances than anybody else on the pitch? 5/10 and basically shite.
Let’s hear it for the Moyes
Let’s hand over to Neil Custis of The Sun for an insight into how things have disintegrated at Manchester United:
‘The very fact Louis van Gaal changed the office next to the dressing room where Sir Alex would entertain guests and opposing managers with red wine and laughter with an analysis room tells you everything.’
It doesn’t tell you ‘everything’; it tells you that football has moved on.
Helpfully, Custis walks us through the post-Sir Alex managers one by one…
‘There were still remnants of the football played when David Moyes took charge, but it was an ageing team and the respect for the manager’s position had gone now Sir Alex was no longer there.
‘Van Gaal bamboozled the players with science and did not let them think for themselves.
‘Jose Mourinho stabilised it and made them a team to reckon with, but the football wasn’t good enough for many fans and behind the scenes things became toxic.
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offered early hope. Hope that the days of Sir Alex could be replicated by one his stars who studied the manager’s methods.
‘Now he is drowning in the enormity of the task and of the club.’
Six seasons. Four managers. Only two seasons that ended in Champions League qualification. Yes, Louis van Gaal might have ‘bamboozled the players with science and did not let them think for themselves’ (and also, coincidentally, called Custis ‘Fat Man’) but he also took Manchester United to fourth place.
Which is rather more than can be said for poor David Moyes, who was clearly just a victim of circumstance. What could he possibly do with Premier League winners? It was basically a poisoned chalice.
Incidentally, he was ‘the most envied manager in the game’ when he took over in 2013.
Our world class goalkeeper just signed a new contract but let’s throw United’s name into a headline to get some clicks https://t.co/e7hMPeP3gX
— James (@writtenoff_mufc) October 2, 2019
Recommended reading of the day
Chris Waugh on why Mike Ashley still owns Newcastle United (£)
Nick Ames on Red Bull Salzburg
Alistair Tweedale on Mauricio Pochettino’s mistakes