At around 4:35 Liverpool fans began their 77th minute protest, a walk-out triggered by the £77 the club plans to charge for the best view at Anfield. (To Arsenal fans, of course, £77 is the price of a half-time Balti Burger and an hour’s parking.)
Two goals up against a lowly Sunderland, thousands of Liverpool fans made their way to the exists, able to feel right about making a stand and pleased to have seen the crux of a home win. Seemingly, the only losers were the fans who routinely leave early to beat the traffic – for them a 46th minute exit was the preferred route.
Then Sunderland scored twice. At the final whistle, the match was 2-2. The Liverpool fans who stayed got to see all the goals, and the Sunderland fans got to serenade all seats, both expensive and less expensive, with a rendition of “Walk Out, walk out with your head in your hands and you’ll always walk alone…”
PS: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp missed this game after suffering a suspected bout of appendicitis.
“If an offer comes, then we need to discuss it. If it should go into the hundreds of millions, then we also need to talk to the player. But I’m not worrying about it because at the moment we want to keep him as long as possible, best beyond 2020.”
If a team offers nutzoid money for Aubameyang, Dortmund will flog him. Maybe. By the time that statement reached some readers it had mutated into all manner of Transfer Balls:
The Express conjured up news about Arsenal and Liverpool:
Are Arsenal and Liverpool shocked to learn that if they offer hundreds of millions of pounds for a player they stand a decent chance of recruiting him?
The Telegraph’s readers hear that Aubameyang could join Arsenal for hundreds of millions below the headline:
Aubameyang back in the picture
No. He’s not. Well, not unless Arsenal decided to spend hundreds of millions on one player and he’s painted by Picasso and Van Gogh.
The Metro conjures: “Dortmund will consider selling Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang”
Yes. They will. Just as Barcelona will ‘consider’ selling Lionel Messi to Manchester United / Arsenal / Bournemouth / anyone for, say, £2billion. Make the number big enough and Manchester United’s owner would probably sell the club to Manchester City.
The apogee of this utter balls is in the Star, which tells Arsenal and Liverpool fans:
A boost. Being told the player will stray at Dortmund unless a team pays hundreds of millions is boost is a ‘boost’.
Liverpool and Man United’s owners must be punching the air.
Last night Liverpool FC reached the League Cup final after a penalty shoot-out with Stoke. Let’s see which newspapers went to print before the match finished.
Stoke are in the mix. Stoke shaking it up. So reports the Daily Express and Daily Mail. In other news: Stoke lost.
Liverpool have beaten Stoke city to reach the League Cup final. The papers will go mad for Jurgen Klopp.
But Liverpool fans spared a thought for young Liverpool fan Owen McVeigh, an 11 year old who passed away last month after a battle with leukaemia.
Transfer balls: desperate Pato agrees Liverpool deal and signs for Chelsea as his price keeps on falling
Transfer balls: Chelsea have agreed to pay Corinthians £8m for 26-year-old striker Alexandre Pato, says the Daily Express. Is that a good price for a lightweight but talented player who has largely failed to live up the promise shown in his early carer at AC Milan? Judging by the Pato chatter over the last few months, £8m is a snip.
April 3, 2014: The Daily Mirror declares “Chelsea’s £40m Pato, deal – Abramovich green-lights Chelsea’s £40m Pato deal.”
October 14, 2015, Metro says Alexandre Pato could be on his way to Arsenal or Spurs. A source is quoted: “…if a club comes in with an offer of €25m (18.5m), we will let him go.”
November 2015: Pato is worth £15m, says TalkSport – and he’d agreed to join Liverpool. He’s the new Luis Suarez – maybe:
On January 10, the Independent said Pato was heading to Liverpool, albeit for £11m.
And finally the Western Daily Press reaches a new low price: “Brazil star Alexandre Pato agrees £7 million deal with Chelsea.”
Corinthians are desperate to sell Pato. Give it a week and £8m will look overpriced.
Liverpool have made a move for a big-named signing. It’s Alex Teixeira. He plays for Shakhtar Donetsk. He scores lots of goals. He’s from Brazil.
The Guardian says Liverpool have made a £24.5million bid.
The Liverpool Echo says Liverpool can forget it because Shakhtar ‘value the player at around £38.5million.
What that means, of course, is that when an English club comes knocking the player’s foreign owners looks at the massive TV deal – every Premier League team next season is guaranteed about £95m just for taking part – and bumps up the price. That explains why the Daily Mail says Shakhtar are “willing to sell for £29m”; the Daily Mirror says Shakhtar want around £36m; and The Times says Shakhtar “value Teixeira at closer to £40m”.
They don’t know because the fee is because Shakhtar keep pulling the lever on the one-armed bandit.
Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers tells us:
“Well…it was a group decision, really. It was certainly not something I would have the sole or final say on. It’s difficult really. When there is a list of players and the player that you want isn’t on that list, you have to take someone. You can’t have no players. If you haven’t got a left-back, if the left back that you want, for whatever reason, you can’t bring in, if there is a list of three or four, you are having to take the best on that group. It’s the model.”
Is that the same Brendan Rodgers who when Liverpool manager told Liverpool Echo on May 28 2014:
“Obviously, I am involved heavily in the identification of the player,” Rodgers told the ECHO.
“The principle idea when I first came in was that like any manager you will have the first call on a player and the last call.
“That’s the call on whether he’s good enough to continue to look at and try to organise a deal and the last call to say yes or no.
“There is a big part that goes on in between. In modern football you need to trust other people to do the work. That’s something we do here and that’s why we have had the success we’ve had.
“The finer details of that are left to Ian who does a terrific job and our other guys in that field who will go through the contracts. I am aware of where the situation is at right the way through the process.
“We will never bring in a player here who the manager doesn’t want in. That’s a great credit to the owners and the other people at the club.
“We work very closely together – it’s worth stressing that. It’s key that we are very much one club.
“We are really preparing for next season. I’ve had some very good meetings with our recruitment team. We are very much together as one.”
Such are the facts.
Transfer balls: Liverpool and Arsenal compete to sign Iñaki Williams – La Liga’s fastest ever player
Liverpool are looking at Athletic Bilbao’s winger Iñaki Williams, 21. Any club can buy Williams if they can produce the €20m needed to activate his release clause. His current contract expires in June 2017.
Will Liverpool get him? The Guardian says Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid also fancy the player. Given that both Madrid clubs are facing a two-window transfer ban, either club could move fast.
The paper adds that Arsenal and Tottenham have also sent scouts to watch Williams. Keiran Gill of MailOnline says the Gunners like what they saw and are ready to spend £15 million on Williams, who has been clocked as the fastest player in La Liga, being recorded at 22.2 miles per hour in a league match last May. That’s 35.73 kph, putting Williams right up with Premier League flyers.
He’s quick. But is he any good?
Yes. He looks like the real deal. £15m for such a talent seems a little chap. Atletico want him to sign a new contract with a €100m release clause. Williams is on a reported £16,000-a-week at Atletico. At the very least he will use the interest in him to negotiate a hefty raise.
The tabloids are attempting to light the bunsen burner beneath Liverpool’s home match with Manchester United. It’s not an easy thing to do. Liverpool, an ordinary mid-table side, versus also-rans Manchester United. Game on!
The papers looks at the charisma-free players on either side, fail to spot any signs of tension, fight, star-quality or feuds, and decide to focus attention on the teams’ respective managers.
The Sun says Liverpool boss Jurgen Kloop, fresh from wildly celebrating a last-gasp home draw with Arsenal – Liverpool fans still unsure how far their club have fallen should study his frenzied reaction and weep – “Said No to United.”
JURGEN KLOPP snubbed a chance to fill Alex Ferguson’s boots at Manchester United.
The Liverpool boss was approached by Fergie himself three years ago. But Klopp admitted: “We spoke and it was a big honour but there was a time I couldn’t leave Dortmund. It was April and in the middle of the planning for next season… We spoke but I first had to finish the job with Dortmund then think about other things. Maybe that is not smart but that is my way.”
No snub, then. Klopp was tied to his beloved Dortmund. He would not leave them in the lurch.
The Express says Klopp “turned down Fergie”. Klopp was not first choice for United. Ferguson sounded out many managers about them taking over at Old Trafford.
The Mirror and Star both lead with Louis Van Gaal, a man who for week has been on the “brink” of getting the sack at Old Trafford – well, so the papers have told us. He’s still there. Asked if he thinks United will go as long without winning the title as Liverpool, who last won the league in 1990, Van Gaal says:
“I am part of the transition so I cannot imagine that shall happen with Manchester United. But when it’s happening to Liverpool it can happen to Manchester United but I cannot imagine that because we are in transition and we are going in the right way.
“Maybe it shall take a longer time but I cannot imagine that it shall be the same period for Manchester United – the club is too big, too well organised and we have an infrastructure and we are improving that every year.”
So much for his having a pop at Liverpool. He says it could happen to any team.
Paul Tisdale giving Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp a present is just one one of the nicest things ever
Paul Tisdale giving Jurgen Klopp a present before the start of FA Cup match between Exeter City and Liverpool “is just one one of the nicest things ever”, says George Caulkin.
And it is.
Paul Tisdale giving Jurgen Klopp a present before the start of this game is just one one of the nicest things ever. pic.twitter.com/OBXsSIa09z
— George Caulkin (@CaulkinTheTimes) January 8, 2016
Liverpool manger Jurgen Klopp “may be forced into the transfer market”, reports the BBC. During Liverpool’s 1-0 League Cup semi-final first-leg win at Stoke, Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren were forced from the field with hamstring injuries. At the final whistle, Kolo Toure looked to be struggling.
With Martin Skrtel already injured, Liverpool have no fit central defenders.
“This is something we have to think about,” said Klopp after the match when asked if he was now looking for new players. Two weeks ago we had three centre-backs, which is a good situation, and the season started with five – but now it is zero. It is a strange feeling because on one side it is very, very good then we have these injuries.”
BBC Radio 5 live pundit Kevin Kilbane, blames Klopp for the injuries:
“I’ve seen it at some clubs before. Perhaps it’s down to the change in training methods. Under Jurgen Klopp they’ll train much harder day in, day out. The amount of medical attention footballers get at football clubs now – and also the physical work which is put in – this shouldn’t be happening. I put down the various hamstring injuries down to Klopp’s change in style.”
Does Klopp agree? “Maybe I could look at our training methods but we don’t train – we only recover. There is no training,” he says. “I’m responsible for these things and if you want to make me responsible for our hamstring strains, then OK.”
On the matter of what players Liverpool should buy, the Press is full of guessing.
The Liverpool Echo links Liverpool to Ilkay Gundogan yesterday ,Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Joel Matip and Leroy Sane.
The Express says “Marko Grujic looks set to be unveiled as Jurgen Klopp’s first signing as Liverpool boss today”.
The Star says Toni Kroos is on his way to Anfield – maybe.
The Metro declares: “Liverpool transfer news: Kamil Grabara deal, Max Meyer eyed, Kylian Mbappe targeted.”
Such are the facts.
Transfer balls: and now for a Daily Star masterclass is utter tosh:
Luis Suarez to Man Utd, Real eye all-star Arsenal duo, Liverpool deal close
Story 1: Suarez to Manchester United:
BuzzSport report, United bosses are concerned they will fall short in their pursuits of the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or Paul Pogba.
Unable to sign any of those players, United will – get this – swoop for Luis Suarez.
…they are looking into the possibility of a move for Suarez, hoping he could be tempted by a return to the Premier League.
Possible. Hope. Could.
Story 2: Ozil and Sanchez to Real Madrid
Reports from Spanish press Don Balon claim that the La Liga giants want the Gunners’ star duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Facts to support the Spanish magazine’s claim: zero.
Story 3: Liverpool deal
Simon Mignolet is set to be handed a new deal by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp despite his latest blunder.
Liverpool fans must be overjoyed.
When plucky Liverpool drew 2-2 with big-spending West Bromwich Albion, Reds manager Jurgen Klopp got the party started at a jubilant Anfield. They’ll be talking about his at Anfield for years: