Bizarre Liverpool comparison proves Roy Keane against Juventus was 6/10

Editor F365
Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane, manager Erik ten Hag and Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah
A penny for the thoughts of Roy Keane

Did you notice the Liverpool performance at Man Utd ‘that rivalled Roy Keane against Juventus’? Everyone remembers the Irishman’s 6/10 display in Turin.


Holt! Who goes there?
Oliver Holt has not been the same since his truly diabolical Cristiano Ronaldo-Fatboy Slim tweet, but he had nevertheless generally avoided veering too far into proper clickbait or forced opinion territories with his long-form work. Until…

OLIVER HOLT on the Liverpool player’s performance at Man United that rivalled Roy Keane against Juventus

That is the MailOnline headline to an article on their Mail+ subscription service, and the standfirst makes it no clearer quite who, in an underwhelming 2-2 draw against a clearly inferior side, produced an individual display which matched what is widely accepted to be one of the finest by any player in recent memory.

I want to make it personal because I thought the way he played was one of the most impressive individual performances I have seen from any player in the Premier League this season.

Combined with an ambiguous group picture of numerous Liverpool players and a single introductory bullet point (‘A Liverpool star produced one of the most impressive performances this season’), and the deliberate obfuscation is obvious. And also fine. That’s how this stuff works. But it doesn’t half feel like a laboured point before even reading any of Holt’s actual words.

He does at least mention Jarell Quansah in his opening paragraph, for it is the 21-year-old Liverpool defender who so captivated Holt, despite his ‘rare mistake’ leading to a Bruno Fernandes equaliser.

Quansah did the exact same thing early in the first half, giving the ball away negligently to launch a Man Utd attack he helped stifle soon after Alejandro Garnacho’s offside goal. But do go on.

READ MORELiverpool fans turn on ‘arrogant’ Rolls-Royce players throwing away title

With the elephant in the room addressed quickly, Holt attempts to move on. ‘It was obvious to most that if there was an underlying reason for Liverpool failing to win, it was that they missed too many chances,’ he writes. And that is fair. But carelessly passing to an opposition player who subsequently and immediately scored cannot have helped.

Still, mistakes happen. Every player makes them. Not every player then has Roy Keane v Juventus comparisons foist upon but here we are.

Even Holt writing that Quansah put in ‘one of the most impressive individual performances I have seen from any player in the Premier League this season’ after his mistake is broadly fine, if a tad twee. It showed his ‘strength of character’ to recover in difficult circumstances. Quite why it needs to be any more than that is a mystery.

The sense that this is all an excuse to just write about Keane against Juventus again is not helped by the four consecutive paragraphs Holt dedicates solely to that performance, even if he does then ludicrously add: ‘I’d put what Quansah did on Sunday in the same category.’

Keane scored and inspired a remarkable win in a Champions League semi-final against a side containing Ciro Ferrara, Gianluca Pessotto, Antonio Conte, Didier Deschamps, Edgar Davids, Zinedine Zidane and Filippo Inzaghi. Quansah made a mistake and played pretty well thereafter in a draw against, well, this Man Utd side. The two things are not the same.

The game wasn’t as important as a Champions League semi-final but it was probably the biggest match the 21-year-old from Warrington – who was out on loan at Bristol Rovers last season and was making just his 11th Premier League appearance at the weekend – has ever played in. There was an awful lot riding on it.

Quansah literally played 90 minutes against Manchester City last month. He has appeared in a Carabao Cup final. Both were significantly bigger games.

Holt is right to say Quansah ‘represents everything that has been good about a season that was supposed to have been about transition and modest progress’. It is fair to say the responsibility for the draw is not entirely on him – and also foolish to pretend he doesn’t deserve some of the blame. And he really ‘could easily be a mainstay of the England defence for years to come’.

But Mediawatch is left wondering: why the f*** was the Keane against Juventus stuff necessary? Does Holt think it is in any way helpful? And can a national newspaper tabloid writer not offer praise without somehow linking it back to the Man Utd team of the late 1990s?

Liverpool players Jarell Quansah and Luis Diaz, and Manchester United defender Harry Maguire
Jarell Quansah, the next Roy Keane


The joys of six
The Daily Mail player ratings from the game put Quansah down for a 6/10, by the way; only two Liverpool players scored lower.

The Liverpool Echo gave him the same mark, although they did add that he ‘responded very well’ to his error, crucially without then comparing him to Steven Gerrard in the 2005 Champions League final.


Departure lounge
But there is some hilarious cheekiness on display from the Liverpool Echo with this headline:

Jurgen Klopp left fuming at Liverpool decision as Erik ten Hag delays departure

The ‘Liverpool decision’ which had Klopp ‘fuming’ was a weird short corner routine. No problems there. But what of the second part? The words ‘Erik ten Hag’ and ‘departure’ evoke only one thought and it doesn’t feel like a draw ‘delays’ it; the absolutely absurd Man Utd would not have sacked the Dutchman if they lost.

Alas, Mediawatch is miles wide of the mark. Because ‘Ten Hag delays departure’ actually relates to how the manager signing autographs with Man Utd fans after the game meant that some journalists ‘were thwarted for several minutes’ in their attempts to leave, as ‘the path had to be left clear’.

Even their transport home means more.


‘Man Utd can qualify for Champions League by finishing 6th after rule change’ – The Sun website.

They can – if West Ham finish fifth and win the Europa League. But unless this ‘rule change’ helps David Moyes overcome a Bayer Leverkusen side which is unbeaten in all competitions this season, while closing a 12-point gap to Aston Villa in six games, it seems unlikely.

READ MOREHow Premier League teams qualify for Champions League and Europa competitions for 24/25


And finally…
A middle finger to the MailOnline, The Sun, the Daily Mirror website, talkSPORT, Goal and any other outlet who decided to run Eric Dier’s quotes while sticking the name Dele has expressly requested not be used in the headline. Some things are more important than pleasing the Google overlords, guys.