We start with Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp…
The wider football media has long struggled with simply using the word ‘said’. A player, manager or pundit only ever ‘insists’, ‘reveals’ or, well…
‘DIOGO JOTA struck a stunning hat-trick to fire Liverpool to the brink of the knock-out stages – and admitted he is loving playing in the best team he has ever known.’
Congratulations to the journalism world on somehow extracting that confession. And to The Sun for sticking it ever so proudly on their back page.
I’m not saying it’s your fault…
Last Wednesday, Charlie Wyett described Liverpool’s summer sale of Dejan Lovren as ‘naive’ and ‘an unbelievably bad decision’. He claimed that Jurgen Klopp ‘needs’ the centre-half ‘now’. He wrote that not predicting Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Fabinho would all be unavailable simultaneously had ‘bitten him on the backside’.
That piece referred to Klopp and Liverpool’s ‘defensive crisis’ – and made barely a mention of the fact they kept an actual clean sheet in beating a Midtjylland side that lost narrowly to Ajax 2-1 on Tuesday.
A 5-0 victory over Atalanta means Liverpool have now allowed just two goals – one a penalty – in their last five games. The ‘crisis’ is real. And so are the gods, as Wyett is on match report duty again.
There is praise for the ‘fine performance’ of Rhys Williams at centre-half and a sentence about how ‘Liverpool’s inexperienced defence soaked up the pressure, fed the ball to their attackers and watched them cause all sorts of damage,’ but really little else. No apology to the ‘naive’ Klopp for the ‘unbelievably bad decision’ that has left his team top of the Premier League and their Champions League group. And certainly no suggestion they were missing Dejan bloody Lovren.
Atalanta had scored 23 goals in eight games this season. They had failed to score in just one of their last 39 matches, dating back to last November. It didn’t feel like Klopp selling Lovren had ‘bitten him on the backside’.
Experience, or just imagination
That ‘inexperienced defence’, by the way, contained three seasoned internationals and Premier and Champions League winners in Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Andy Robertson, backed by one of the world’s best goalkeepers in Alisson.
Van Dijk was literally the only first-choice defender that was missing. It’s almost as if the others are not complete chumps.
Wyett understandably dedicates much of his article to Diogo Jota. But one line in particular stood out:
‘Yet while Jota has made a stunning impact, his arrival seems to have revitalised Mo Salah who looks like the player of a couple of years ago. He has now scored nine times for Liverpool, his best ever start to a season.’
Can someone that scored or assisted 36 goals in 48 games last season really be ‘revitalised’? Is he not just continuing to be very good?
And as for resembling ‘the player of a couple of years ago’, you wrote 21 months ago that Salah’s form was a ‘real cause for concern – and the reason why Liverpool’s title challenge is in danger of collapsing’, in a season that he ended as their top scorer with a goal in the Champions League final.
Pray tell, is he still impersonating Mesut Ozil?
As for this…
‘Certain team-mates would probably have tumbled to the ground looking for a penalty as there was contact from defender Jose Palomino but Jota showed real strength but also quality by delivering an exquisite finish over the keeper.’
Steady on, Garth Charlie.
Behind every great hat-trick scorer…
Good on Jota for finally reaching SEO worthy status.
The boy has made it. pic.twitter.com/QktpJWbTVX
— Football365 (@F365) November 3, 2020
Mediawatch is not about to suggest that the Daily Mirror are trying to manufacture something out of absolutely nothing, but the fact that this story…
‘Man Utd’s pre-match Zoom farce forces Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to apologise’
…is barely even mentioned by a single other media outlet speaks volumes. The Manchester Evening News make a passing mention of it in their full transcript of Tuesday’s press conference but do not pretend that ‘technical glitches’ in this of all years is headline news.
David McDonnell presumably has the best internet in all of the land as he pokes fun at Solskjaer having to answer questions asked by journalists through a chat box and read out to him by Manchester United’s Head of Football Communications, Karen Shotbolt.
It was ‘a process which was unsatisfactory for all concerned’, writes a man whose job was inconvenienced ever so slightly, if indeed at all.
McDonnell can be given the benefit of the doubt with regards to that awful headline designed to maximise website clicks, mind. Solskjaer wasn’t ‘forced to apologise’ whatsoever. He said sorry for technical issues completely out of his control because he is polite.
Perhaps someone can ask Solskjaer about this at his next troubled press conference?
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told he will be sacked if Man Utd lose “enormous” Everton clash’
…by Jason Cundy. As the Daily Mirror only make clear by the fifth paragraph of their non-story.
‘Harry Maguire has hit back at Roy Keane’s taunt that Manchester United lack leaders’ – The Sun.
‘Manchester United captain Harry Maguire hits back at Roy Keane comments’ – Manchester Evening News.
‘Man Utd captain Harry Maguire hits back at Roy Keane over comments following Arsenal loss’ – Daily Express website.
‘Man Utd’s Maguire hits back at Keane over leadership criticism’ – ESPN.
Does “I haven’t seen his comments but we don’t look on what’s happening, especially after a negative result,” really qualify as a ‘hit back’?
F365 shithouse headline of the day
‘Man Utd captain Maguire hits back at Keane jibe’
Recommended reading of the day
Chris Sutton’s open letter to Gordon Taylor.
Jonathan Liew on Liverpool.
Simon Hughes on Brendan Rodgers. (£)
Recommended watching of the day