Mo money, Mo problems
Writes The Sun’s Neil Ashton on Liverpool’s 5-2 victory over Roma in their Champions League semi-final first leg:
‘THERE is no stopping Mo Salah. Surely there is no stopping Liverpool.’
‘Salah was at his compelling best. He scored two and made two in a remarkable – and frankly ridiculous – Liverpool performance.’
‘Salah soothes nerves, settling fans and rewarded this expectant, raucous Anfield crowd with a breathtaking performance.’
‘This was Salah at his ruthless, intimidating, brilliant best.’
It continues in that style for some time, and you can hardly blame Ashton for that. Salah was brilliant; Salah is brilliant.
But Mediawatch brings it up because regular readers will remember Ashton’s hatchet job on Liverpool’s head of technical performance Michael Edwards in October 2015 following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers.
Almost every paragraph in that piece was memorable, but our favourite was this:
‘The committee have yet to explain how they came up with the figure of £29million to sign Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino from Hoffenheim, who finished eighth in the Bundesliga last season.’
Speaking of which, here is what Ashton wrote last June on another transfer target:
‘LIVERPOOL’S uppety (sic) sporting director Michael Edwards is getting it in the neck over the aborted move for Virgil van Dijk.
‘Edwards is supposed to be in charge of transfer negotiations but his botched attempts to sign the Southampton defender (right) has strengthened boss Jurgen Klopp’s hand.
‘There are also eyebrows being raised at Anfield over the £30million price-tag for Roma winger Mohamed Salah.’
It all seems to have worked out okay in the end, Neil. Maybe have a little more faith in ‘laptop guru’ Edwards next time?
Changed your tune
Someone else who has performed a pretty spectacular U-turn on Liverpool is Ashton’s Sun colleague Dave Kidd. On Wednesday morning, Kidd writes that Jurgen Klopp ‘is destined for greatness’ at Liverpool, ‘up there with Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Kenny Dalglish’.
Bold stuff from a man who just six months ago wrote these words:
‘TWO years is an awfully long time for a honeymoon but the great Jurgen Klopp love-in is finally wearing thin.
‘This week marked the second anniversary of the German’s messianic arrival at Anfield – a move which began the influx of A-list managers into the Premier League.
‘Yet while Antonio Conte, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have all presided over clear and present progress, Klopp has been indulged due to the sheer force of personality for some time now.
‘Klopp certainly has the capacity to please the radio phone-in loons who, when asked which quality they most value in a manager, invariably reply: “Passion, innit”. But team-building? Not so much.
‘All in all, it’s a dysfunctional club, being carried by its hyperactive front man.’
‘Klopp’s arrival – a genuine coup and an apparently glove-like fit – was supposed to restore Liverpool to contention for those major prizes; to make them an elite club again.’
‘Do Klopp’s Liverpool look any more like a side with realistic ambitions of winning the Premier League or Champions League, as their self-styled ‘big-club’ status suggests?’
Yes they do.
And while we’re on that article
‘How can a club be so desperate for a centre-back that they are willing to spend an astronomical £60million on Virgil Van Dijk, yet have no back-up plan when Southampton decide not to sell to them?
‘And the Saints are sick to the back teeth of being used as Liverpool’s feeder club, by the way, and will NOT let the Dutchman go to Merseyside in January either.’
‘So Mauricio Pochettino has reacted to Tottenham’s FA Cup semi-final defeat by threatening to play the kids in the competition next season,’ writes Kidd elsewhere in The Sun. Whenever someone starts a column with ‘so’, you can guarantee that snide is about to follow.
‘The most obvious response to which is: Will he have anyone left to choose from other than kids?’
The most obvious response to this obvious response is: Yes, they will.
‘With Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele and Danny Rose heading for the exit door, while Hugo Lloris’ form causes major concern inside the club, there may be precious few experienced players left.’
Apart from Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Victor Wanyama, Eric Dier, Heung-Min Son, Kieran Trippier, Ben Davies, Serge Aurier and Erik Lamela? And while Mediawatch agrees that Dele Alli is not exactly experienced, he is quite good. Which we’re counting as A Good Thing.
Finally, Mediawatch has phoned the Premier League this morning and they have confirmed that if Tottenham sell the four players Kidd mentions, they will be allowed to buy replacements. Which will come as a blessed relief.
Headline nonsense #1
‘What Mohamed Salah was seen doing in the Liverpool tunnel before Roma game sums up kind of person he is,’ reads the headline on Mirror Football.
Interesting one, this – ‘sums him up’. Was Salah born in Egypt in the tunnel before the game? Did he leave Chelsea in the tunnel before the game? Did he score a shedload of goals in the tunnel before the game?
No. ‘Salah couldn’t resist greeting his friends at Roma. In fact, he took it one step further by hugging each and every one of them. This isn’t the first time Salah has proven himself to be a classy individual.’
Man embraces former teammates. We’ve literally never seen that happen before.
Headline nonsense #2
‘Here’s who Ian Rush was sat next to at Roma clash as Anfield legend’s turns heads’ – Liverpool Echo.
Headline nonsense #3
‘What Liverpool star Mo Salah was told by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’ – Samuel Luckhurst, Manchester Evening News, completing the Trinity Mirror hat-trick.
‘Congratulations, eh. Congratulations,’ is the Mourinho quote in question.
From last night? Oh God no, back when Egypt qualified for the World Cup. In bloody October 2017.
Goodness this is dreadful.
Quick note to Mirror Football: If you’re going to do one of those interminable stories based purely on the tweets of a few Twitter users – in this case ‘Manchester United fans turn on ‘traitor’ Robin van Persie after club hero praises Mohamed Salah’ – at least have the decency to make sure that the word you put in inverted commas in the headline actually appears in said tweets.
Predictable take of the day
Not hard to understand to Roma’s complaints about the refereeing. Only with an official of this tolerance would James Milner have survived so long without seeing yellow. Perfect referee for Klopp’s pressing. #LIVROM
— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) April 24, 2018
It was the referee that won it.
Recommended reading of the day
Rafa Honigstein on Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich.
Barney Ronay on Mohamed Salah.
Andy Brassell on Diego Simeone.