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Liverpool’s injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must learn from Spurs Harry Kane

oxlade-chamberlain injury

 

When Liverpool signed midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal, many wondered how long a player with such a long history of injuries would last before he was crocked again, especially playing for Jurgen Klopp’s pell-mell team. At last night’s throbbing Champions’ League 5-2 victory over Roma, Oxlade-Chamberlain was stretchered off in the 15th minute with the scores tied at 0-0.

After the match, Klopp went on the record to say: “”It’s probably a really bad injury. If you can say that already before the scan then it’s never good news.”

The Ox has made an impressive 41 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool, scoring five goals. But there was an inkling that injury would always come. According to the TransferMarket site, Oxlade-Chamberlain has now injured his knee four times. In 2013-2014, a knee injury caused him to miss half the season:

 

Alex Oxlade-chamberlain injuries

 

 

He’s been unlucky. But to what extend are players invited to suck it up and play though the pain, pushing themselves too far before their body has fully healed?

Top athletes are primed like race horses. They are highly strung, fitter than amateur sportsmen and women. Their bodies are pushed to the limit. Recovery time is vital.

Tennis player Raphael Nadal talks of his own injuries in his autobiography:

“Playing sports is a good thing for ordinary people; sport played at the professional level is not good for your health. It pushes your body to limits that human beings are not naturally equipped to handle. That’s why just about every top professional athlete has been laid low by injury…I’ve had to push and mould my body to adapt it to cope with the repetitive muscular stress that tennis forces on you . . . [We] have to learn to live with pain.”

To what extent does an injury play around with an athlete’s mind? Oxlade-Chamberlain is acutely aware of his medical history and the state of his knees. But it’s a fair bet he’ll be wishing to get well enough fast so that he can play in the World Cup finals, pain or no pain – maybe the rush of playing can mask the niggles and the agony. Drive and adrenalin will pull him through.

But taking it slower is wise. When Spurs’ star striker Harry Kane damaged his ankle on March 11 in their 4-1 win at Bournemouth, he returned just three weeks later for his side’s 3-1 win over Chelsea. “The swelling went down quickly,” said Kane “and whenever I get injured I prepare right and make sure I do everything I can to get the swelling down and get back on the pitch. Hopefully this time it was quicker than last time… The injury was pretty much exactly the same time as last year, funnily enough. I was feeling strong last year and that’s what I’ll try to do this year.”

Since then Kane has been more miss than hit. He’s scored twice since his return but was largely anonymous when Spurs lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals. The FA apologised for posting a message asking United defender Chris Smalling “What’s in your pocket?” and including a short clip of him saying, “Harry Kane”.

Kane, England’s best striker, has returned from injury a figure of derision, not all of it underserved.

In Spurs victory over Stoke, Kane claimed a goal initially awarded to team-mate Christian Eriksen. Kane said Eriksen’s free-kick grazed his shoulder on the way in. The Premier League goals accreditation panel awarded him the goal “after taking the player’s testimony into account and reviewing the match footage”. Jokes followed. When Liverpool’s mighty Mohamed Salah was named PFA Player of the Year for 2017-18, his teammate Simon Mignolet told him to “take care” as “someone else might claim it”.

 

 

Kane was desperate to matter again. He wanted to get well fast and score. It’s debatable how much that desire to succeed clouded his judgement, causing him not to consider the long-term implications of playing too soon after injury.

So get well soon, Oxlade-Chamberlain. But don’t rush.

Posted: 25th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool striker rewrites history for Mo Salah; Manchester City star never stood a chance

Mohamed Salah is the Liverpool tyro scoring goals with great awareness, no little skill and finishing with elegant panache. He’s been terrific for Liverpool all season. And he’s won an prize, taking away the PFA player of the year award. It was pretty much a toss-up between Salah and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, like Salah also flogged for not being good enough by monocular Jose Mourinho’s winning-is-all Chelsea. De Bruyne has been sublime, an imaginative driving force for City’s title victory. I’d have voted for him to win the award. But goal scorers get the headlines – their attributes are measurable in the baldest terms: Salah has an impressive 31 PL goals.

Choosing between the pair is hard. But not for former Liverpool player Stan Collymore, who told his Daily Mirror readers: “Mo Salah was the outstanding choice for the PFA Player of the year award. The sheer variety of goals he has scored in his debut season playing for a club where expectation levels are huge has been phenomenal.”

But were expectations all that high about a player who’d left Chelsea for Roma – a player who in the era of absurd fees came in for £36.9m – just £4m more than Liverpool paid Arsenal for the overrated Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?

No.

 

Stan Collymore Mirror

 

On February 12, Collymore told his readers: “Harry Kane and Mo Salah have their merits as potential Player of the Year award winners. But that honour has to go to Kevin De Bruyne. He has been weighing in with goals and important assists at important times in games all season. His level of consistency has been outstanding. I saw one article saying they feel up at Manchester City that he should be in the reckoning for a Ballon d’Or shout, and I wouldn’t disagree with that.”

A short while on and Salah is the only choice.

Vote now and vote often!

Posted: 24th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Pep Guardiola is nicking a living at Manchester City

Manchester City were a little unlucky to lose 5-1 to Liverpool in the Champions’ League. Raheem Sterling should have been awarded a penalty in the first game; and City should have been just 3-2 down when the referee wrongly disallowed a goal that had gone in off Liverpool’s James Milner. But to Stan Collymore, a Cup result was all about puncturing the Pep Guardiola bubble:

Tweeting under @StanCollymore, the former Liverpool player notes:

“Changed the game”
“Never seen anything like this ”
“Revolutionary”
“Favourites for the quadruple ”
“Greatest team ever in English football ”

Not one or two, the most sycophantic press pack ever towards one man, desperate for the exclusive 1 on 1 sit down.

Sycophantic cobblers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 11th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool: James Milner tweets his ironing

James Milner, the Liverpool player, has tweeted a photo of himself doing a very James Miler thing: he’s ironing a T-shirt. It really is James Milner and not the famous joke Twitter account “Boring James Milner” that updates its hundreds of thousands of followers with news of him sorting his cupboards, lining up his socks and, yep, ironing.

 

 

Looks like Milner, the super-focused footballer has a sense of humour.

He’s also a lesson in now drive and ultra-professionalism can take a player to the top of the game. Here are few words from people who’ve worked with ‘boring” James Milner:

Roy Hodgson: ”We know what James will do. James isn’t and doesn’t pretend to be as exciting as some of the wingers we sometimes use these days.”

Steven Weeks, who taught Milner at school: ”James is still exactly the same really nice, calm, quiet, totally unassuming, popular lad he was at school but I always thought that, inside, he had the sort of controlled aggression that takes people to the very top.”

Glenn Roeder: “James can seem a goody two shoes but he deserves every bit of success going. Unlike the vast majority of professional footballers he works to his maximum and extracts every last ounce of ability.”

 

Posted: 23rd, March 2018 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool balls: no comment from United Nations On Carragher spit – yet

The Daily Mirror leads with a photo of former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher gobbing at a 14-year -old Manchester United fan. And it will not rest until every molecule of water in Carragher’s spit has earned its own headline on the paper’s clickbait-heavy website. There are 1.674 x 1021 molecules of water in a drop of water. That’s a lot. But the Mirror has embarked on its mission with gusto.

There is no word on the incident – yet – from the UN, the Pope, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Prince William and other great moralisers on how Carragher’s flob epitomises the great societal ills at the heart of football, the working-class people who still follow the game and society. But when they do comment, the Mirror will top and tail the words into sensation.

The following news stories have been broken on the Mirror’s website:

Sky Sports to hold talks with Jamie Carragher after Liverpool legend’s “unacceptable behaviour” in spit storm

”Inexcusable!” – Liverpool fans condemn Jamie Carragher after Reds legend caught up in spitting storm

”Vile and disgusting” Jamie Carragher’s previous comments about spitting come back to haunt him after incident with Man United fan

Spit row pundit Jamie Carragher needs to learn that with great privilege comes great responsibility, says Alison Phillips

Lorraine Kelly slams ‘horrible’ Jamie Carragher after he was filmed spitting at 14-year-old football fan: “It’s not acceptable”

Jamie Carragher breaks cover for first time since spit storm as he prepares for showdown talks with Sky Sports

“Filth!” Vinnie Jones wants Jamie Carragher sacked and reveals what he’d have done if he spat at his daughter

“I didn’t see her”: Jamie Carragher claims girl was out of sight after he was filmed spitting at 14-year-old and her dad

Jamie Carragher backed by former Liverpool team-mate after spitting at Manchester United fan and young daughter

“You couldn’t make it up!” Football fans take aim at Joey Barton as he hits out at Jamie Carragher for spitting at fan

Danny Murphy reveals conversation with Jamie Carragher following Liverpool legend’s spitting storm

Richard Keys reacts to Jamie Carragher spit storm after former Sky Sports anchor was sacked for sexist remarks

Jamie Carragher arrives in London ahead of Sky Sports showdown talks after spitting at fan and 14-year-old daughter

Big debate: Who should replace Jamie Carragher as MNF pundit if he gets the boot after his spitting shame?

Jamie Carragher is removed from first TV pundit role after spitting at Manchester United fan and 14-year-old daughter

Billy Joe Saunders blasts Jamie Carragher for spit shame, branding former Liverpool star a “sick w*****”

Jamie Carragher fans trying to justify his spitting are the worst sort of football supporters – you can’t excuse the inexcusable

Gary Neville backs Sky Sports colleague Jamie Carragher after spitting shame and insists it “shouldn’t stop us working together”

Jamie Carragher forced to watch moment he spat at football fan and 14-year-old girl during Sky interview

Jamie Carragher suspended by Sky Sports after spitting at football fan and 14-year-old daughter

Manchester United fans make brilliant Michael Carrick suggestion as Jamie Carragher is suspended by Sky Sports

Jamie Carragher apology: Full transcript as Sky Sports pundit admits ‘disgust’ with himself over spit shame

Why Sky Sports have cut Monday Night Football by half an hour after Jamie Carragher spit storm

Monday Night Football without Jamie Carragher – live updates as Sky Sports suspend pundit following spitting video

Police to quiz father of Jamie Carragher spitting victim because he filmed football pundit while driving

Sky Sports presenter Dave Jones’ cheeky last remark as MNF FINALLY reference Jamie Carragher spit storm

Gary Lineker’s Jamie Carragher tweet sparks row with Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves

Body language expert analyses Jamie Carragher’s live TV apology following spit shame

Jamie Carragher spits at football fan and his 14-year-old daughter in shocking video following Liverpool’s defeat to Manchester United

Jamie Carragher’s former Liverpool teammate hints at personal turmoil behind spitting shame

John Arne Riise urges people to “move on” following Jamie Carragher’s spit shame

Spotter: Football 365

Posted: 13th, March 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher cops a suspension for Manchester United fan attack

Photos of Jamie Carragher, the former Liverpool defender, spitting at a teenage girl are all over the media. Given his tongue chewing, whale-voice way of speaking, we first thought the huge spray was Carra’s mouth wrestling with “Ryan Sessègnon scores screamer”. But then the story came that after Liverpool’s defeat to Manchester United, Carragher had been the target of banter as he drove home. Sat in traffic, a passing United fan wound down his window and reminded Carragher of the final score: “Unlucky Jamie lad – 2-1!” The driver was with his 14-year-old daughter. Carragher showed that he’d lost none of his old bile and gobbed at the girl sat in the passenger seat.

It’s all on camera.

 

jamie carragher spitting

 

What happens next is a sign that football punditry is not as far removed from the on-field action as first appears. Team Sky Sports have suspended Carragher. He calls it “a moment of madness” – “four or five seconds I can’t explain”, calling to mind the “It’s not the kind of thing he’d do” defence favoured by manager’s explaining ‘Chopper’s’ studs-up challenge on the opposition nimble midfielder.

Carragher adds:

“It’s devastating for the family involved and I’m sorry for my actions. I called the family, obviously they were upset last night. That is my biggest regret, that a 14-year-old girl was caught up in the middle of this.”

Not in the middle. More full in the face.

And just like in actual football, after the suspension, comes the expert punditry. So here’s former England and Manchester United defender Gary Neville to review the action. “I’ve just watched Jamie Carragher say sorry,” he said. “No excuses, he’s made a big mistake… I’ve been on TV for three years with him and, in my opinion, this isolated incident shouldn’t stop us working together.”

But where are you both going to work?

 

Posted: 12th, March 2018 | In: Liverpool, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Referees confused over Liverpool v Spurs penalties prove VAR is rubbish

More reaction to Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Spurs. No VAR was used in the match, which featured two penalties for Spurs. It might have been three pens had the referee not spotted that Dele Alli dived. Liverpool were aggrieved by the decisions. Spurs were elated. Would VAR have helped? Well, that depends on which referee is sat in a sealed box reviewing the action on the telly.

NO pens says retired ref Mark Halsey in the Sun:

“HARRY KANE was in an offside position for the first penalty. Yes, the ball has come off Dejan Lovren before falling to Kane, but the Liverpool defender has tried to clear the ball knowing that Kane is behind him – and not knowing if the Spurs striker is offside or not. So Kane has clearly impacted on the Liverpool man, thus interfering with an opponent. The assistant should have flagged at this point so the Loris Karius foul is immaterial.”

YES pens says former ref Graham Poll in the Mail: “Assistant Eddie Smart got Tottenham’s penalty decisions spot-on… it topped a good afternoon for referee Jon Moss and his officials at Liverpool.”

Well done Eddie Smart. The assistant got involved in both penalty decisions and he was right to do so. For the first penalty, he called for Jon Moss because Harry Kane was in an offside position and Smart could not be clear whether a Liverpool player had touched the ball before the Tottenham striker was fouled.

They discussed the situation and Moss decided that Dejan Lovren had played the ball, which meant Kane was onside before being taken down by Loris Karius…

And then Smart persuaded the referee, deep into stoppage time, to award the second penalty to Spurs.

To the naked eye it looked as if Erik Lamela had dived. People who had seen it numerous times on TV replays could not be sure, but Smart was. And he was right.

YES pens says former ref Dermot Gallagher on Sky:

“In the debrief after the game, they’ll be told that they made the big, match-changing decisions correct on the day.”

NO pens says ref Mark Clattenburg on the Times:First penalty

Pen 1. Was it offside?
This should not have been a penalty because it was offside….Second penalty

Pen 2.

This a tough decision. I believe that there is a suspicion of offside in the build up to the penalty. The ball is touched by Fernando Llorente and into Érik Lamela, who is fractionally offside in my opinion. As we have seen with VAR now, offside is a matter of fact and no benefit is given to the attacking team. Therefore, the penalty should not have been allowed. Once the offside is missed, It looks as though Virgil van Dijk goes to kick the ball and then tries to pull away his leg, but there is a still a bit of contact. It is a soft penalty, but not definitely a wrong call.

Clear as mud, then. Just the way we like it.

Posted: 5th, February 2018 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Biased Balls: Spurs and Liverpool club websites at odds over penalties in 2-2 draw

Liverpool and Spurs drew 2-2 in a vibrant Premier League match in which the Londoner were awarded two penalties, scoring one in the 95th minute. shold they ahve been given? Let’;s see what the locals papers and clueb’s webiste says of things:

Liverpool FC:

First, Kane was felled in the area by Karius before Liverpool’s goalkeeper read the striker’s intention to put the resulting spot-kick down the middle and palmed it away.

Kane was fouled for the first penalty, which he missed, says the official Liverpool website. What about the second, which he scored from?

….Kane converted his second penalty of the match – given after Van Dijk had been adjudged to have fouled Erik Lamela – deep into added time to earn a point for Spurs.

Not so clear that time, then. Although one opinion on the Liverpool website – the only one – says Liverpool were robbed:

Here’s what ex-Red John Aldridge made of an incredible game at Anfield – he was on co-commentary duties for us at Anfied today.

“An unbelievable ending and, for me, that is never a penalty, so it’s a hard one to take.

And in the live blog:

Lamela goes down in the box and linesman awards a penalty to Spurs. That looked soft, you have to say.

Tottenham Hotspur FC:

…when Kane was tripped by Loris Karius and referee Jon Moss awarded us a penalty, even after extensive consultation with his linesman, the striker looked odds-on to score his 100th Premier League goal and give us a rare win at Anfield.

Karius saved it, though…

First penalty: nailed on.

But you can never write off this team! We kept pushing and after Virgil van Dijk’s foul on Erik Lamela was spotted by the assistant referee

Second penalty: also nailed on.

What about the clubs’ local papers?

Liverpool Echo:

Eyebrows were raised when Kane was given a penalty late on, despite appearing to be in an offside position

Eyebrows? Spurs fans were surely rising hands and fists.

Virgil van Dijk was judged to have upended Erik Lamela in the fifth minute of injury time after initially seeing the appeals waved away by Jon Moss.

So much for the judgement. What about the first Spurs penalty?

That was incident [sic] wasn’t the first controversial one of the day however after Spurs were given a penalty minutes earlier with the game finely poised at 1-1.

Kane was in an offside position as he latched on to a through ball from Dele Alli before going down under a challenge from Loris Karius inside the area.

The paper then notes that because of the rules – those pesky rules – Kane wasn’t offside.

London Evening Standard:

Penalty 1:

Kane was…brought down in the box by Karius.

The Tottenham and Wood Green Independent:

Van Dijk caught Lamela with an attempted clearance

Bias? Yes. and no VAR, which would have made the decisions no clearer.

Posted: 4th, February 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


BT Sport dismisses Jurgen Klopp’s latest excuse for a Liverpool defeat

When Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup by West Bromwich Albion, the game was marred by referee Craig Pawson pausing the the action several times to ask the video assistant to investigate a number of decisions. The first half lasted 50 minutes (BBC). Pawson did his best to stymie all the verve and drama of a Cup tie by taking “three minutes and 53 seconds” (Guardian) / “almost 3 minutes” (BBC) /  “well over 3 minutes (Telegraph) ‘ “four minutes” (Times) to award Liverpool a penalty. It was awful.

 

Klopp was happy:

“Is it nice that West Brom celebrate a goal then somebody tells them it’s not a goal? No, but I think it’s important if a goal needs to be disallowed, it is disallowed. Normally after a game I have to explain to you a defeat which was not deserved because we didn’t get a penalty or they scored another goal.”

So he was not going to moan. Until he did. Klopp was unhappy, accusing broadcaster BT Sports of pressuring the officials to reduce injury time. Klopp told media:

What I heard was that the actual extra-time in the first half should have been 10 minutes. It was only four minutes. I heard that television said it (can’t be) longer than four minutes.

Of course that’s not possible, you can’t cut match time because there is something else to broadcast. I don’t know what was afterwards, maybe the news or something. It was 10 minutes and so you need to play 10 minutes longer. You cannot say it’s now a little bit too long.

BT Sport host Jake Humphrey called Klopp’s claim “laughable”. BT Sport’senior director Simon Hughes added:

I directed the match and I can categorically state that at no point did I (can add ‘have I’ or ‘would I’ to that) ever try to influence the officials, including the allocation of stoppage time. Not only would it be unprofessional, it would also be utterly futile…

So far this season, Klopp has attributed disappointing Liverpool results to the wind, a dry pitch and a midweek tactical session being skipped due to illness.

Posted: 30th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Sanchez left out of Arsenal squad at Bournemouth as Manchester United wait

The Daily Sanchez: a look at the future of footballer Alexis Sanchez, currently stinking up the place at Arsenal. Let’s kick off with the Star’s scoop that Liverpool have joined Manchester City and Manchester United in the chase for Sanchez.

 

liverpool sanchez daily star

 

“Flirty Sanchez,” declares the Star, the headline a pun on ‘Dirty Sanchez’, which according to the “Top Definition” on Urban Dictionary means: “its when a man and a woman engage in anal sex, then the man takes his penis and rubs it on the girls upper lip leaving a moustache.” Is that the bitter taste Arsenal fans taste in the air when Sanchez plays?

The Mirror has the same story. But given that Sanchez wants around £300,000 a week plus a huge signing on bonus, do Liverpool want to upset other players at the club? The paper tells us:

Armed with the cash from the £142million sale of Philippe Coutinho , Liverpool have no worries about meeting the £35m the Gunners want for Chilean Sanchez.

Good for Arsenal. But those wages?

Coutinho was paid around £200,000 by FSG so stepping up to £300,000 would be a big hike — but Liverpool know that’s the going rate for world-class talents.

They do? Because the Mirror also says Coutinho earns £200,000 a week at Barcelona. Isn’t the £142m players world class?

Over in the Mail comes news that desperate Manchester United are “prepared to sacrifice summer moves for Atletico Madrid’s 26-year-old France striker Antoine Griezmann and Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale, 28, in order to sign Sanchez on wages of £350,000 a week.” But Griezmann and Bale need not panic. United have given Sanchez an ultimatum, says the Express: sign up Friday or the deal’s off.

But a deal looks very much on. Sanchez has been “dropped” (Mirror) from Arsenal squad for today’s match at Bournemouth. Good. The paper adds: “The 29-year-old is now closing in on a stunning transfer to Manchester United after being dropped from Arsenal’s squad.”

In other news, Goal says Sanchez’s family are in London to help him pack. When you see his agent rubbing his hands together and ordering a spare jet, you’ll know the deal’s done.

Posted: 14th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Clickbait Balls: Liverpool to replace Coutinho with a goalkeeper says Daily Express

More clickbait in the nadir of journalism (surely apogee of clickbait? – ed) that is the Daily Express website. The headline offers: “Philippe Coutinho replacement: Most likely Liverpool transfers in January.”

Who is “most likely” to replace Coutinho, now at Barcelona? Well, the fifth player on the list of people to replace the Brazilian playmaker is… Kevin Trapp. Given that the story is based on the science of guesswork, you’d suppose the Express’s writer would at least look at Wikipedia for some info. Had they done sso the hack would have discovered the following:”

Kevin Trapp (born 8 July 1990) is a German professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Paris Saint-Germain and the Germany national team.

WOW! I know some ‘keepers are good with their feet, but who knew one could operate as Liverpool’s playmaker? Daring stuff at Anfield…

 

Posted: 10th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Liverpool balls: Mahrez guff, Coutinho paid to leave and Nike called the shots

So keen was Philippe Coutinho to quit Liverpool than he paid part of his own £142 million transfer to Barcelona. The Times says it’s “understood” the Brazilian invested £9 million “out of his own pocket and is committed to paying another £2.5 million in the future”.

Of course, it’s not hard to understand anything in the world of big business than now owns top-flight football: it’s all about the money. As Liverpool were reiterating their desire to keep hold of their best player, Nike, which sponsors Barcelona, Coutinho and Brazil, last month published a photo of a Barcelona shirt with the player’s name across the back. “Where the magic happens,” said Nike. “Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. Get your 2017/18 FC Barcelona kit with the Magician’s name on it. Act fast – free personalisation only available until January 6.”

 

Liverpool looked strong when they blocked Coutinho’s mover to Barcelona six months ago. At the season’s start, after Liverpool had rejected three Barcelona bids for their playmaker, Jurgen Klopp told media: “I wasn’t manager when Suarez was sold, I wasn’t manager when Sterling was sold, and we’re not selling Coutinho.”

Faced with predators from Nike and Barcelona, Liverpool caved in, waving a not-all-that-fond farewell to the player who now joins another former Anfield star, Luis Suarez, in attack.

Minds now turn to what Liverpool will do with all that money. Well, £75m has been invested in Virgil van Dijk. And the rest? We, the Times says, “There is no appetite, as it stands, to pursue AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar or Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez”.

Or as the Mirror puts it: “Liverpool to test Monaco’s resolve over Thomas Lemar transfer with January bid.”

 

 

Which on Sky Sports becomes:

 

 

As for Mahrez, well, the BBC reported on January 7: “Liverpool are set to sign Riyad Mahrez, with the 26-year-old Leicester City and Algeria forward expected to have a medical on Sunday.”

The story echoed a report on BeIn Sports, which guffed:

 

Total balls, then. Who Liverpool sign next is unclear, but one thing is certain: they’ll pay well over the odds.

 

Posted: 8th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Barcelona puts Premier League in its place with £142m deal for Liverpool Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool have have sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142m – and reassured the world that the Spanish league is bigger, better and starrier than the hyped Premier League. The mighty Reds will get £105m up front for the 25-year-old Brazilian and more should he win cups in the Nou Camp, which he will do.

It’s a huge profit for Liverpool, who paid Inter Milan £8.5m for the player in January 2013. It was also a big profit when Liverpool sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona for £64.98 million in 2014. Suarez went on to win:

La Liga: 2014–15, 2015–16
Copa del Rey: 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Supercopa de España: 2016
UEFA Champions League: 2014–15
UEFA Super Cup: 2015
FIFA Club World Cup: 2015

Liverpool have in that time won nothing.

The top players don’t dream of playing for Liverpool. They dream of playing for Real Madrid and Barcelona. Unless Liverpool can compete with mega-buck Manchester City and pay huge wages to hire talent the big Spanish clubs don’t want or can’t find room for, they won’t win titles.

Cheerio, Philippe. You’ll be missed…

Posted: 6th, January 2018 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment (1)


Liverpool balls: Coutinho is determined to join Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho wants to leave Liverpool for Barcelona as soon as possible. The Times says Coutinho “believes that he has played his last game for Liverpool”. Not that belief is as legally binding as a contract.

Liverpool have rejected a bid of £119m for the 25-year-old. But Liverpool are now, reportedly, willing to sell should the Spanish side come up with an improved offer for the Brazilian – something in the region of £130m.

Coutinho has been playing well for Liverpool, scoring 12 goals in 20 appearances. But the problem for Coutinho is that his contract keeps him at Liverpool until 2022. He earns a not-too-shabby £150,000-a-week on the deal he signed last year, but his earning would rocket at Barcelona, and that’s without any signing-on bonus, which would be huge.

So is Coutinho, who was absent for Liverpool’s scrappy win New Year’s Day win at Burnley, off? Last week, Nike, the player’s sponsor and suppliers of Barcelona’s kit, stated a deal had been done. That was incorrect, say Liverpool.

Over in Spain, the front page of Mundo Deportivo declares: “Coutinho 145 millones.” Of course, what the newspapers say is ofter utter tosh. In October, the Liverpool Echo opined: “Philippe Coutinho deal to Barcelona may have already been done.” Or it may not have been.

One thing is certain: Liverpool are primed for Barcelona’s next move.

Posted: 3rd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: the Sun spins Wenger’s words to annoy Liverpool fans

Forget circumspection. When opining about Alex Oxlade-Champberlain, the player Arsenal sold to Liverpool for the best part of £40m, Arsene Wenger was scathing. The Sun and Mirror heard Wenger accuse the former Arsenal player of laziness and made it their lead sport story.

The Sun thunders: “OX LAZE – Arsene Wenger accuses Liverpool star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of sitting in a rocking chair and refusing to fight for Arsenal spot.” Wenger gave Oxlade-Chamberlaie a “verbal battering”.

 

mirror ox arsenal

 

The Mirror says Wenger aimed a “dig” at Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Sun quotes Wenger. It’s much the same in the Mirror:

“What do you want to be, a big player and not have to fight? You can’t be a big player, sit in your rocking chair and say I do not want to fight. It doesn’t work like that. Every player has to fight. In a big club you have big competition with some good players. That is absolutely normal…

“I offered him a contract to stay but in the end he decided to go and we just had to try and get the best possible price.Sometimes it happens when one player who we don’t want to go, goes.

“We respect his decision and I have no problem with that. What’s important is that the players make a good career, preferably in your club. If it doesn’t happen, you still want them to have a good career. I personally think he will be an important player for England and will continue to develop.”

 

 

What neither paper finds room to note is what Wenger also said. This in the Guardian:

“What do you want? To be a big player and not have to fight? What do you want on top of that – sitting in your rocking chair and saying: ‘I’m a big player? I don’t need to fight?’ No. It doesn’t work like that. Every player can do that and Chamberlain does it. I am convinced it’s part of being a top player.”

If that’s a verbal battering, the mind boggles as to what praise looks like?

Posted: 30th, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Desperate Liverpool outbid Manchester City for Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk

If Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk is worth £75m to Liverpool, rival clubs must be running audits of their playing assets and discovering new riches.

Liverpool will take delivery of the Dutch defender on January 2 in a £75m deal, making him the world’s most expensive defender.

It say something about the price when you know that massive-spending Manchester City were not prepared to match Liverpool’s offer for yet another Southampton player – Van Dijk will become the sixth Southampton player signed by Liverpool since 2014. He’ll join former Saints: Sadio Mane (£34m), Adam Lallana (£25m), Dejan Lovren (£20m), Nathaniel Clyne (£12.5m). Rickie Lambert (£5m) has left the club. And Liverpool boast another former Saint in Oxlade-Chamberlain, who they recruited from Arsenal for £35m.

Might it not be cheaper for Liverpool to hire Southampton’s talent spotters? Or why not buy the club? In 2017, Southampton sold 80% of the club to Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng for around £210m. Liverpool have spent not far shy of that on Southampton players.

 

Posted: 28th, December 2017 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Biased balls: Everton’s masterplan, Liverpool make a point and Crystal Palace and Bournemouth adjudged

Biased balls: a look at one0eyed football reporting.

Liverpool drew 1-1 with Everton in the Merseyside derby. A goal to the good courtesy of Mohamed Salah’s opener, Liverpool were hauled back by an Everton penalty, converted by Wayne Rooney. Should it have been given?

The Everton website tells us Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin was “pushed inside the area by Dejan Lovren”. Foul by Lovren, then. Everton’s “patience and application paid off when Dominic Calvert-Lewin was felled in the box by Dejan Lovren with 15 minutes to play – and Rooney rifled into the roof of the net from 12 yards.”

But the Liverpool website makes the player benign, says “Lovren was adjudged to have pushed Calvert-Lewin”. It wasn’t a push. It was a judgement. Liverpool’s official website hammers home the point by adding, “Dejan Lovren was deemed to have push Dominic Calvert-Lewin.” And: ” Dejan Lovren adjudged to have pushed Dominic Calvert-Lewin inside the area.”

More adjudgments in the Crystal Palace v Bournemouth match:

The Bournemouth FC website says: “A flick on from Benteke soon found Zaha running free and he was adjudged to have been brought down by Begovic.”

WAs it a foul or not?

But the Palace website see a clear foul: “…a superb flick-on by Benteke allowed Zaha to brush past Nathan Ake and speed into the area, and as he tried to round Begovic he was brought down by the Bosnian stopper for a spot-kick.

Pravda has nothing on this lot.

 

 

 

Posted: 10th, December 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: when will Liverpool sign Didier Baptiste?

Didier Baptiste liverpool

Dream Team

 

November 24 is the day when Liverpool moved to sign Didier Baptiste for £3.5million. It was an unforgettable moment of Transfer Balls on November 24 1999. The News of the World reported that Liverpool were looking to sign the “French Under-21 international” from Monaco.

Baptiste to Liverpool was on.  The Times and The Guardian agreed, albeit valuing Baptiste at £1million. But Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool would never get the young defender: He didn’t (and still doesn’t) exist.

Baptiste was a character played by the late Tom Redhill in the Sky One football soap opera ‘Dream Team’ who arrived at Harchester United from Monaco in 1999.

The aforementioned papers were all drawn into a hoax that began on an Arsenal fan forum and got rehashed on Liverpool’s Clubcall line (a premium rate phone number supporters could ring to listen to the latest club-related gossip), from whence the News of the World plucked the ‘story’ and ran with it.

The News of the World duly blamed the Hayters sports news agency for feeding them the rumour, though the damage had already been done.

As Chris Wright quips: “The tabloid was ultimately forced to cease publication in 2011, though whether the Baptiste cock-up was directly to blame is still subject to debate.”

Posted: 25th, November 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Ozil agrees Barcelona deal by Messi wants Liverpool’s Coutinho

Cancel that one-way ticket to Barcelona, Mesut Ozil. It turn out that Barcelona don’t want the Arsenal forward after all. It was only yesterday the paper were saying how Ozil was dreaming of playing for Barcelona and a £20m move in the January transfer window was on the cards. Now we’re told by the BBC that Barcelona’s mighty Lionel Messi has scuppered any moves for Ozil, 29.

The source for this story is Diario Gol, which thunders: “The Argentine star does not want to know anything about the German.” The story contains not a single quote from Messi. We put it through Google Translate:

Leo Messi…has already told Bartomeu and Ernesto Valverde that he does not want it. He considers that he is a very old player – Mesut is 29 years old – and that, in the event that Coutinho does not come now in January, it is better to put up with the put and go for a crack in June…

In addition, one of the things that has characterized the athletic career of the Arsenal player is his lack of regularity. During his time at Real Madrid , Mesut combined great performances with games in which he could not be seen. Just as it is happening in the English club, where he only drops a pearl from time to time but can not get the reins of the team.

So the move is off. No. Today’s Metro says Ozil has agreed to joined Barcelona.

 

 

The Metro cites “reports in Spain” as its source, but declines to mention which they are. The Express carries the same report, but does link to a source, stating: “And Catalan reporter Quique Guasch told Spanish outlet Catalunya Radio that Ozil had agreed a three-and-a-half year contract and is expected to cost around £17.8million.” How they know, no-one’s saying.

And then there’s the Mail, which says no agreement has been reached, and, as the headline tells it, Ozil wants a lot of money: “Arsenal star Mesut Ozil demands Barcelona offer him £330,000-a-week deal amid January interest.” That report is rooted in Spanish site AS, which says: “In addition to the astronomical salary, Özil will ask for a succulent signing bonus.” It also notes that Arsenal want “Leon Goretzka, an allcampists of Schalke 04”.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Liverpool undone by Seville coach’s dramatic half-time team-talk

liverpool cancer seville Manuel Eduardo "Toto" Berizzo

 

Three goals own to a vibrant Liverpool side, Seville were roused to a unlikely 3-3 drawer when the Spanish side’s manager,  Eduardo Berizzo, used his half-time team-talk to tell his players he has cancer. I see your oranges and flying tea cups and rise you a malignant tumour on the prostate.

Sevilla Info explains why Sevilla’s players raced to mob Berizzo after Guido Pizarro completed the comeback in injury time. As ever, I’ve put it through Google Translate for added drama:

Jug of cold water at Sevilla FC: Berizzo suffers from prostate cancer

The hugs senses of Sevilla FC players . his coach Manuel Eduardo “Toto” Berizzo at the end of the match played against Liverpool at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium revealed more than a long-suffering and epic draw against one of the biggest clubs in Europe. The players have thrown caste, courage and pride after a talk in the locker room, when the team, deflated, lost by zero goals to three at halftime. In that talk, as a slab in the environment, the news that the Argentine coach has moved his players and the entire structure of the Club. Berizzo suffers from prostate cancer.

We wish him well. As, clearly, do his players.

Posted: 22nd, November 2017 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Liverpool balls: the mighty Maribor

All’s well at Liverpool FC. Last night the mighty Reds swatted Maribor 7-0 in the Champions’ League. It was the biggest away win by an English team in the entire history of the European Cup.

Watching the thrashing was the Daily Mirror’s David Maddock. He was keen to show readers that Maribor are a top side. They are “seasoned Champions League performers”.

Really? The Slovenians are hardly competitive:

Ten-year European record (UEFA Champions League unless indicated otherwise)
2016/17: UEFA Europa League play-offs
2015/16: second qualifying round
2014/15: group stage
2013/14: UEFA Europa League round of 32 (having transferred from UEFA Champions League play-offs)
2012/13: UEFA Europa League group stage (having transferred from UEFA Champions League play-offs)
2011/12: UEFA Europa League group stage (having transferred from UEFA Champions League third qualifying round)
2010/11: UEFA Europa League play-offs
2009/10: UEFA Europa League play-offs (having transferred from UEFA Champions League third qualifying round)
2008/09: did not take part in UEFA club competition
2007/08: UEFA Intertoto Cup second round

Not all that good are they. Indeed, in 2014, when Chelsea thrashed Maribor 6-0, the Mirror called the Slovenian side “minnows”.

Posted: 18th, October 2017 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


The Sun: boring Liverpool have great PR and Mourinho is a genius

Liverpool v Manchester United continues to make news for all the wrong reasons. They game was a dirge. It was very much a Jose Mourinho match: slow, niggly, functional, pragmatic and dull. Over in the Sun, however, there’s a difference of opinion.

Gavin Newsham gets it right in his apprasal:

Do you remember when Sam Allardyce took West Ham to Stamford Bridge in 2014, stuck everyone behind the ball and escaped with a goalless draw and a point? “This is football from the 19th Century,” moaned then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.

Fast forward three years…Jose’s United managed just one shot on target in a game when Mourinho’s men did little or nothing to try and win the game, playing the kind of unsightly, anti-football that’s completely at odds with the way they tend to do things at Old Trafford.

Or as the Sun’s Neil Curtis told Sky Sports:

I think he got it absolutely spot on. I can’t remember a time when going to Anfield was a given for any away team, no matter how good they are. This man is supposed to be anti-football but has scored four goals on four occasions in the last seven games…

There were two chances in that game – Manchester United one and Liverpool had one – but it’s Mourinho’s fault that it was 0-0. Mourinho was inviting Klopp to take a risk yesterday – but he didn’t take one…

Where the plan fell down, for me, was with Romelu Lukaku. He couldn’t hold the ball up when it came out. Yes, he had men around him and what have you but if he holds the ball up, he can then feed it off to people and they can play on the break. Lukaku was poor yesterday and Henrikh Mkhitaryan went missing but that’s not Mourinho’s fault.

It’s easy to criticise him, it’s easy to blame him but Klopp wasn’t taking any great risks yesterday either. He’s got a great PR team

He’s not the only one…

How many chances? One each, right, says Curtis. Wrong, says the Daily Mirror:

For all the grim reality of that pragmatic approach, United still should have lost, with David De Gea making a world-class save from Joel Matip and both Mo Salah and Emre Can spurning wonderful chances – while even at the end, Matip and Dejan Lovren had clear headers they put over.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 16th, October 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1)


Mourinho inspires Manchester United to another boring encounter at Liverpool

It’s Liverpool v Manchester in the Premier League, which means one thing: 0-0. Before today’s bore drawer – Liverpool were the better side but wasted opportunities in a game the BBC describes as “marginally better” than the “drab stalemate” when Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool last hosted Jose Mourinho’s United in the PL – the Sun was assuring readers it would be a thriller:

“JOSE MOURINHO has warned Jurgen Klopp he will be facing a much stronger Manchester United than 12 months ago. Then Mourinho took the Red Devils to Anfield and shut up shop for a tedious goalless draw to stop a free-scoring Liverpool.”

He shut up shop this time, too. Manchester United managed a single shot on target to Liverpool’s 6; committed 13 fouls to Liverpool’s 7; and just 38% possession. Dullsville stuff from United. But this is how Mourinho’s cheerleaders at the Sun trailed last season’s match that ended 0-0, in which United had 35% possession, committed 20 fouls and had  – yep – one shot on target.

JOSE MOURINHO is desperately trying to rid Manchester United of the memories from the Louis van Gaal era. That is why he will never serve up a borefest like the Dutchman with his much vaunted ‘philosophy’.

A pox on Van Gaal!

Mourinho’s side travel to Anfield tonight where Van Gaal somehow squeezed out a 1-0 win last January. But as so often with LVG it was the way it was done and that is certainly not the Mourinho way.

You know how many shots on target United had that day? One.

Plus ca change at Old Trafford. (Although under Van Gaal the annual shot went in and enjoyed 47% possession. Not quite ‘Bing Back Louis’ but the hype over Mourinho is absurd. He’s George Graham with lots more money.)

Posted: 14th, October 2017 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Liverpool regrets: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain plays and Arsenal fans laugh

Don’t panic, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Arsenal player who left the club for Liverpool in a £40m transfer. Four matches into his rosy-fingered dawn and ‘The Ox’ has yet to be on the winning side.

No need to panic, though.

When Gareth Bale was at Spurs, it took 25 matches (!) for him to be on the winning team. The Sun’s Pat Sheehan covered Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat by Everton on 30 November, 2008, writing: “One glance at the score and any Spurs fan will tell you without looking at the line-up that Gareth Bale must have played.” Bale went on to be brilliant.

Of course, the problem is that Oxlade-Chamberlain is nowhere near as good as Bale. He’s a mediocre player who went for a stupid amount of money. Arsenal did very well in getting shot of the nice middle class boy in the final year of his Arsenal contract. ESPN says Arsenal had a “disastrous” transfer window. Balls. They hung on to Alexis Sanchez – their best player – and waved goodbye to the player who has always promised much and delivered less than a geriatric Deliveroo cyclist.

Last night Liverpool were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Leicester City. And Oxlade-Chamberlain was every bit as ineffective as he was at Arsenal.  Someone has produced this damning compilation of his night’s work:

This is the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who left Arsenal because he wants to play centrally, rather than waste his talents at wing-back.

Well played, Arsenal. Well played.

Posted: 20th, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Bias balls: Liverpool robbed by Sadio Mane red card as ref favours Manchester City

Media Bias: Manchester City annihilated Liverpool 5-0 in the Premiere League. A goal down, Liverpool’s cause was not helped when in the 37th minute their striker Sadio Mane was red cared after his raised foot “collided with the face” (BBC) of City keeper Ederson.

City were the better side. But should Mane have been sent off? What say the clubs’ respective websites and local newspapers? The bias is best summed up by the Manchester Evening News, which reports:

Mane was shown a straight red, to the fury of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and the visiting fans. But City supporters were left in no doubt that the forward had to go.

Manchester City official website: “Mane definitely catches Ederson with a high foot. Dangerous play and the correct decision.”

Manchester Evening News: “…he cannot go into a challenge with a boot that high. It was dangerous, although without violent intent, and for that alone he had to walk.”

Manchester is united. Mane had to go. Referee Jon Moss was spot on.

But in Liverpool…

Liverpool FC official site: “Mane is sent off for a high foot on Ederson. The No.19 was attempting to get on the end of Matip’s long ball – Ederson beat him to it by a fraction and Mane’s boot connected with the City ‘keeper. There was certainly nothing intentional there, but referee Jon Moss has adjudged it to be dangerous play and Liverpool are down to 10 men.”

Liverpool Echo: “Jon Moss has managed to completely ruin what could have been a very good game of football. Presumably a decision for dangerous play for the high foot but ball was there for both to go for.”

Liverpool says: ‘It’s not as if Mane could expect the goalkeeper to be there.’

Such are the facts.

Posted: 9th, September 2017 | In: Liverpool, Manchester City, Sports | Comment