The Daily Mirror busies itself giving an awful lot of space to an EXCLUSIVE about the theoretical possibility of something they already know isn’t happening, David Beckham sends a message to Taylor Swift’s latest fella, and some top boffins have got their calculators out…
Liverpool neither want nor expect their Premier League game against Tottenham to be replayed. That’s pretty clear, mainly because it would be mental and set an appalling precedent that nobody really wants.
Liverpool definitely should have made this clear in that piss-poor statement on Sunday night that leant far too eagerly into the tubthumping language of conspiracy with its nudge and a wink to the more extreme online reactions among its supporters. But it’s not what Liverpool are aiming for.
What they want is a ‘thorough investigation into Saturday’s remarkable Video Assistant Referee error at Tottenham’. We know this, because the Daily Mirror told us so on Monday under the headline Liverpool’s ultimate aim in bitter VAR row becomes clear as new evidence comes to light
Now that’s a very modern headline that deliberately obscures the really quite dull but understandable aims of Liverpool here beneath all the rhetoric. But the story is clear enough. They don’t want a replay, they don’t expect a replay, there will quite obviously be no replay. Look, it’s right here.
This does not mean that they will demand to replay the game despite suggestions to the contrary. It is purely confirmation that they do not accept the PGMOL’s explanation of “significant human error” to be adequate.
So what’s this ‘EXCLUSIVE’ doing on their website on Tuesday evening (yet tellingly already buried well below the fold on the Mirror’s football homepage by Wednesday morning)?
Premier League rule could see Tottenham vs Liverpool replayed after VAR blunder
The Premier League could decide to replay Tottenham Hotspur’s game with Liverpool – if an appointed commission rules that the match officials breached the Laws of the game when it came to ruling out Luis Diaz’s goal.
It’s too boring to go into, but the details are that, yes, technically within the Premier League rulebook there is a mechanism by which a match might be replayed as an absolute last-resort failsafe against true dodgepottery. They ‘could’ do it.
But they’re not going to. There is no indication that they are considering it, no suggestion that anybody sensible wants it, and giving the idea even a second’s thought makes it obvious as to why. Going down the road of treating mistakes from officials – even really bad ones – as being a breach of the Laws of the game is a dangerous one. Nobody with good-faith intentions to improve the overall standard of officiating should want to go down that road.
Indeed, had the officials on Saturday night deployed some oft-requested common sense rather than sticking rigidly to The Rules, and taken play back to the goal despite the game having restarted, that would definitely have ‘breached the Laws of the game’. And while understandable would, if anything, have been a more deliberate act than the careless, inexcusable but very clearly not calculated and wilful shitshow that actually unfolded. Would Spurs then be in a position to demand a replay?
We know it’s terribly dull, but the real and meaningful outcomes Liverpool might actually achieve from all this are protocol and process changes. They may well be significant changes, they may well improve things and help avoid further errors like this one. But there is not going to be anything so jazzy as a replay, and the Mirror – which knows and has stated as much – really should stop pretending there might be, no matter how tempting a URL containing ‘liverpool-tottenham-premier-league-replay’ might be.
There’s actually quite a lot of sense in Theo Squires’ Liverpool Echo column, which concludes that the best thing for Liverpool’s staff and players might just be the ‘return to normality’ offered by the chance to play a game of football against Royal Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday and do their talking on the pitch.
But also an undeniable irony that such a worthy ‘move on to the next game’ sentiment is carried in a 14-paragraph column of which 13 are mainly or entirely about the Tottenham game and subsequent fallout under the headline ‘Liverpool dressing room could be about to send strongest message yet on VAR failings’.
We are, by now, long past the point of no return with deliberately misleading headlines that don’t contain any actual falsehood but very deliberately and obviously guide you in an incorrect but clickier direction than the reality.
But while Mediawatch concedes that battle is lost even on our own bloody website, we would like to think we’d all retained enough basic humanity not to use someone’s ‘cancer battle’ as a chaser in such shenanigans.
The Sun have no such qualms as they happily go with this headline…
Ex-Man Utd manager Louis van Gaal, 72, lands new job at crisis club as he continues to battle prostate cancer
The ‘crisis club’ as you’ve already no doubt twigged is Ajax and not Manchester United but that’s not really the point, is it?
Something about that headline makes us uniquely queasy.
Weirdly aggressive intro of the day
Over to Phil Thomas in The Sun, who argues the perfectly valid case that differing expectations now and then mean that, while this may statistically be Manchester United’s worst start to a season since 1989, in reality it is far worse than that.
And then puts that argument below an intro that makes us a little bit scared.
The next time someone quotes that stat about how this is Manchester United’s worst start to a season since 1989, tell them where to stick it.
In fairness, you can see why ‘David Beckham sends message to NFL star Travis Kelce over Taylor Swift romance’ would be close to an irresistible headline for someone in the Daily Express content farm. Just look at those keywords!
‘Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham has sent a message to Travis Kelce amid continued dating rumours about Taylor Swift,’ announces the intro, breathlessly.
No great surprise, though, to find out Beckham did not in fact do any such thing. Here’s that ‘message’ in full:
‘Taylor is an amazing talent and she’s an amazing person and she deserves to be happy. And whatever she does, and whoever she’s with, as long as she’s happy that’s the most important thing. It’s the same with me and Victoria.’
That’s not a message to Kelce or anyone else, lads. It’s barely an opinion.
Mediawatch admits to a certain fascination with the spectacularly tabloid word ‘boffins’ and the way it can describe anything from the world’s finest scientific minds to some poor sod in a bookmaker’s PR team doing a bit of very basic maths.
The Daily Star may, though, have taken the ‘boffins’ bar to an all-time low with this headline
Boffins predict 100 red cards in ‘dirtiest Premier League season in history’
Does it really need boffins to work out there have been 0.25 red cards per game this season and to further work out what that total would add up to if maintained across a whole season? And if so, could you not also reasonably expect said boffins to come up with the actual correct answer of 95?
Headline of the Day
We’ve pulled The Sun up on their Van Gaal unpleasantness, so it’s only fair we also highlight good work well done. Mediawatch has long maintained a guilty-pleasure affection for a particularly well-formed tabloid headline, and this on Galatasaray’s win over shambling Manchester United really is one of the greats.
ICARDI & CHOKE
Trebles all round.