Betteridge’s law of headlines is trying to pretend Liverpool have a double dose of bad news, while there is Alejandro Garnacho and Garth Crooks nonsense.
Liverpool secured a pretty solid result at the weekend. A 1-1 draw from behind away at Manchester City, who had won 23 consecutive home games in all competitions, is clearly positive. There should be no complaints. That seems obvious.
But things are not all rosy for Jurgen Klopp and friends. The Daily Mirror website explains why with this exclusive:
Darwin Nunez costs Liverpool extra £8.5m after fiery altercation with Pep Guardiola
Oh wow. The whole thing seemed relatively innocuous and has since been explained away as “nothing” by the managers of both teams, but that deliberate phrasing sounds like a fine has been meted out as punishment to Nunez. And what a fine that would be – £8.5m! That’s more than four Michus!
This obviously requires closer examination. Literally just reading the first paragraph before shaking heads and applauding in disbelief at some outrageous clickbait ought to do it:
‘Liverpool are due to pay Benfica an extra £8.5million for Darwin Nunez after he made his 60th appearance for the club in the 1-1 draw at Manchester City.’
That is an absolute work of art. And obviously The Sun website (‘How Darwin Nunez cost Liverpool extra £8.5m after heated row with Pep’) has no choice but to copy it.
Aside from adhering to legal agreements and paying Benfica an agreed sum upon the triggering of contractual clauses, Liverpool still have possible penalties to consider.
This time, we head over to The Sun website to learn more:
‘Alexander-Arnold could face FA disciplinary action after admission in interview’
He could. But you yourself say ‘FA disciplinary beaks’ warning Alexander-Arnold not to celebrate in front of rival supporters – “really funny” as it is – ‘is more likely…than any other action’.
Mediawatch did enjoy reading that ‘in his post-match interviews, Alexander-Arnold conceded it had been a deliberate act,’ as if he had accidentally stumbled to the wrong section of the stadium and shushed them while celebrating an important goal.
But it is not possible to move past the Nunez stuff without first checking in on the opinion of football punditry’s leading voice.
‘This was a good performance by Liverpool at Manchester City, although Darwin Nunez tried his best to spoil it. Nunez should really spend his time concentrating on why he’s not scoring more goals instead of picking fights and venting his frustrations with the opposition manager because he’s been substituted.’
Garth Crooks, there. Fluent not only in Spanish but lip-reading. Not sure anyone associated with Liverpool will feel as though a fine result was ‘spoiled’ by the briefest of post-match disagreements. Plus Nunez has scored seven club goals this season; Robert Lewandowski has eight for Barcelona in more minutes. He’s probably ‘concentrating’ on such apparently dreadful form just enough.
Sticking with Crooks, here are the best bits from his BBC Sport team of the week (of whom seven scored and two others provided an assist):
Michael Olise is in, much like this wholly unnecessary dig at a former teammate:
‘However, they have a player in Michael Olise who is clearly going to be as important to Crystal Palace as Wilfried Zaha was during his time at the club but hopefully without the attitude.’
That excerpt also includes immense praise for…Roy Hodgson?
‘Roy Hodgson’s concise, dignified and measured contribution in his post-match interview leaves him as the doyen among managers. He was cutting and biting towards the officials without breaking any of the rules. It’s time this man was knighted for the contribution he has made to the game.’
Arise, Sir Roy, for not hammering the referee after losing a Premier League game to Luton.
And finally, in goes Nathan Ake for his sublime work in setting up Erling Haaland to score against Liverpool. Almost as good as this closing Crooks line:
‘City didn’t pay a fortune for him but still managed to uncover a gem.’
a) He cost £41m and is one of the most expensive centre-halves in Premier League history, and b) Manchester City ‘uncovered a gem’ that had more than 100 Premier League appearances and 15 Netherlands caps at the time.
Thunder only happens when it’s raining
‘Erik ten Hag’s dream XI if Sir Jim Ratcliffe lands three ideal January signings’ – Daily Mirror website.
Erik ten Hag’s ‘dream XI’ would definitely contain Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Scott McTominay.
If your reaction to Alejandro Garnacho scoring a stunning goal in a 3-0 Manchester United win is to claim it showed Ten Hag up as a fool then congratulations, for you are the Daily Mirror website.
‘Alejandro Garnacho proves Erik ten Hag wrong as he breaks Man Utd record with wondergoal,’ is their choice of headline. It feels like Garnacho scoring within three minutes of his third successive Premier League start is testament to the manager but nope, that bloke is a fool.
And here are the receipts that show us Ten Hag was proved wrong, based on something he said about Garnacho in September:
“You have seen at the start of the season we played him and then his contribution was not good enough. But he also had some good actions. You see always he is a threat in the game even when he is not playing that well.
“He has to learn when he does his job in defending he will always have his moment and he will always be decisive because he has great qualities.”
That, if anything, suggests Garnacho proved Ten Hag right.
And as for that ‘Man Utd record’ Garnacho broke, he would surely put his ‘the earliest a teenager has ever scored for United in Premier League history’ trophy on the mantlepiece.
Don’t call my name
Ten Hag even gave Garnacho more ammunition to prove him wrong – how furious the Manchester United manager will be if one of his players starts scoring overhead kicks regularly – with his post-match comments.
Again, it’s the Daily Mirror website with: ‘Erik ten Hag fires Cristiano Ronaldo warning to Alejandro Garnacho after Man Utd wondergoal’
The entire ‘warning’ is a whole lot of guff which can be boiled down to “you have to work hard”. But well done for getting a Cristiano Ronaldo mention in there, based not on Ten Hag’s answer but the journalist’s question.
Where there’s a WILL
And then there’s the MailOnline with this:
‘Man United boss Erik Ten Hag insists Alejandro Garnacho’s sublime overhead kick WILL be the goal of the season… as he hails his side’s ‘very good’ display at Goodison Park’
Ten Hag ‘insists’ nothing of the sort. Probably because he can’t. What if Harry Maguire scores a 90-yard header next week?
None of this matters until we know what Roy Keane thinks of it all. The Sun website thankfully oblige:
‘Roy Keane’s savage five-word response to Alejandro Garnacho’s overhead kick goal’
Oh this sounds good. What words come before and after “that’s your job”, do we think?
It turns out Keane’s five-word response was so ‘savage’ that Michael Dawson had to reveal it, following the Irishman’s praise with: “You never said that straight away Roy! You said he should’ve saved it!”
“He should’ve saved it” is four words. And Dawson immediately added: “He did say it in jest to be fair!”