15 to One
‘NO Premier League manager has done more to help the revival of the England team than Mauricio Pochettino,’ writes Dave Kidd in The Sun. Sounds plausible, though Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp might want a word. Impossible to quantify though…
‘First at Southampton and then Tottenham, Poch has propelled 15 players into the national side of his adopted homeland.’
Oh you really are going to try and quantify this.
Fifteen though? Has he? That sounds like an awful lot of players to ‘propel’, especially as there are only four Tottenham players in this current England squad. Let’s take a closer look at this…
1) Harry Winks: Well, he has started three whole England games, so he has definitely contributed to England’s revival.
2) Kieran Tripper: World Cup hero. Well done, Mauricio.
3) James Ward-Prowse: Made his England debut while being managed by Claude Puel. Nope, you’re not having that.
4), 5) and 6): Danny Rose, Eric Dier and Dele Alli are all big ticks. And all are in England’s current squad.
7) Ryan Mason: Not sure his 16 minutes under Roy Hodgson make him part of the England revolution.
8) Harry Kane: Yep. Well done, fella. That has gone well.
9) Nathaniel Clyne: Capped while playing at Southampton under Ronald Koeman. You’re not having him.
10) Calum Chambers: Capped while at playing at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger. Nope. Sorry.
11) and 12) Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana: Yes, well done Mauricio. Though neither are in England’s current squad nor went to the World Cup.
13) Jay Rodriguez: 57 minutes in 2013 does not an England revival make.
14) Andros Townsend: Sorry what? Is that the same Andros Townsend who made his England debut in October 2013 and then played 20 Premier League games under Mauricio Pochettino between 2014 and 2016? That Andros Townsend?
15) Rickie Lambert: Thanks Mauricio. Really. Where the hell would we be without you?
Because we’re young…
‘Liverpool’s young team is so clearly built to last, seemingly more stable than a City side which has lost its influential captain Vinny Kompany and will need to recruit more urgently and develop more swiftly than the Reds’ – Dave Kidd, The Sun.
Average age of Liverpool’s starting XI in the Premier League last season: 26.
Average age of Manchester City’s starting XI in the Premier League last season: 26.7.
The Big Chill
‘JOE GOMEZ believes a unique spirit of togetherness in the Anfield squad means the days of Liverpool being a selling club are over,’ writes a giddy David Maddock in the Daily Mirror.
‘And the talented England defender issued a chilling warning to world football’s elite when he said: “The boundaries are limitless on what this team can achieve”.
It’s like somebody walked across our grave.
If there’s one man who knows Jurgen Klopp, it’s the Daily Mirror’s Stan Collymore. He has ‘been around Klopp enough over the years to know that beneath the grin there’s a very ruthless man, someone who knows what he wants and exactly how to get it’. Meanwhile, Mediawatch wonders whether they have actually, you know, met.
But that is obviously immaterial as Collymore truly knows Klopp, who is apparently some sort of Machiavellian character who has ‘worked out…how to engage with the masses’ – which makes him sound a little bit like Nigel Farage – and has everybody ‘wrapped around his little finger’. Well he has just won the bloody Champions League.
‘Klopp is a very, very hard man and after leading them to Champions League glory against Tottenham on Saturday he owns Liverpool Football Club lock, stock and barrel,’ he writes. Mediawatch is not clear how this makes him ‘a very, very hard man’ but we will read on; it will all surely become clear.
‘No mean feat given he lost a League Cup, Europa League and Champions League final before finally landing the last one at the second time of asking.’
‘Finally landing the big one’? We are talking about the Champions League here, fella. That’s kind of a big deal. And he has only managed Liverpool for three complete seasons; Arsene Wenger had 22 years at Arsenal and never won the Champions League.
‘I know Liverpool only finished a point behind Manchester City this season but a year ago they came up short big time in the race for the Premier League title.
‘And a manager without Klopp’s personality would have been under way more pressure.’
Oh do f*** off. He took Liverpool to the Champions League final after starting the campaign as 22/1 outsiders. Oh and they started the 2017/18 season as the fifth favourites for the Premier League title; literally nobody expected them to challenge for the title. Stan Collymore certainly didn’t.
‘But the way he has managed to buy himself a lot more time over the years is a lesson to others around him. One which says that, if you can cultivate a persona, you are going to get much more time to do your job.’
Yep, it’s definitely all about the ‘persona’ and not about delivering back-to-back top four finishes to a club that had previously spent just one of the previous seven seasons in the Champions League.
So after ‘finally’ becoming champions of Europe, what does Klopp now have to do to make Liverpool champions of England again?
‘On the pitch, Klopp needs a midfielder who, like Fernandinho at City, will function at 9.8/10 over a season, and a striker who will challenge Bobby Firmino on a regular basis, as well as a couple more to flesh out the squad.
‘And he will already be thinking about those upgrades.’
Well he’ll probably just assume Fabinho will continue to improve, but we take your point…
‘Because while City will still be most people’s favourites for the title next season, Klopp has taken his side from being a third of the way to where the ‘Blue Moonies’ are to being three-quarters of the way there.’
Now we know Stan has a problem with maths, but since when is 97 points ‘three-quarters of the way’ to 98 points? Since you have decided that Klopp is only still in a job because of his ‘persona’?
Fountain of youth
What do you do with a list of the top ten Premier League teenagers by minutes played if you are the Daily Express website?
Well, you see the names of Matteo Guendouzi, Diogo Dalot and Callum Hudson-Odoi and come up with this…
‘Do these stats suggest Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea don’t need big signings this summer?’
We’re going to go ‘no’.
Talking ’bout a revolution
Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail on the Nations League third-place play-off: ‘Just as no one will blame Southgate or his players, whatever action is deemed suitable in the event of defeat by Holland on Thursday. ‘Would we rather have gone home two days ago? If I’m honest, yes,’ said England’s manager before losing the third-place tie to Belgium a year ago.
‘Maybe, faced with a similar fate this time, he should take his own advice. No one could blame him, and he wouldn’t be missed.’
Is he seriously suggesting that they simply f*** off home?
SEO headline of the day
‘Cristiano Ronaldo: Why Juventus star has the edge over Lionel Messi in the GOAT debate’ – Daily Star.
(‘according to former Juventus star Antonio Cabrini’).
Recommended reading of the day
Adam Bate on the challenge of Manchester United to ape Liverpool
David Squires on Liverpool
Ken Early on Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp