Media balls: Spurs concede 6 goals all season, Chelsea beat Manchester United and Liverpool are pipped by Arsenal
Filling in the dull bits between transfer windows when the Daily Express’ clickbait bots can link Arsenal to every striker over 10 years of age, the ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’ has created a Premier League predictor. Using the technical marvel of guessology and powerful maths, the Express makes some bold statements.
Bournemouth, Sunderland and Stoke are all relegated – Stoke scoring 6 times all season.
In the world of the Express, The Cherries are worse than Hull City – who are better than Southampton – and West Ham. Everton, who Bournemouth just beat 1-10, finish runners up. Chelsea finish above Manchester United.
Spurs finish third, conceding – get this – 3 goals.
Manchester City win the title.
Oh, yeah – Arsenal finish fourth, naturally. Even robots can be right some of the time.
Liverpool fans will be gutted. They could have had Joey Barton and not Xabi Alonso in the side. Alsono is a terrific player. Barton has long been underrated as a result of a querulous attitude and pugnacious demeanour. This week he has been banned by his current club Glasgow Rangers following a training ground altercation with Andy Halliday, his team-mate.
He is also plugging his new autobiography. In it he notes, “My behaviour was occasionally psychotic.” And ridiculous.
Talking about his red card in Newcastle United’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool in 2009, Barton writes in his new book:
“Had things panned out differently, I could have made the obsessive debate about the mutual suitability of the Gerrard-Lampard axis redundant. From what I gathered, Steven Gerrard agitated to get Liverpool to sign me in 2004, because he felt we had the potential to forge a partnership.
“I met with Gerard Houllier at Melwood, and agreed everything verbally. A deal was close to being concluded but then he was sacked that summer. It was never revived.”
Fast forward to the match. Liverpool have Xabi Alonso in midfield:
“Xabi and I had history. He blamed me for knocking him out in what he thought was a deliberate clash of heads in one of our earliest contests, and I blamed him for stealing my move to Liverpool.”
Which he didn’t.
“All that remained to be agreed with [Manchester] City was the fee, when Rafa Benitez took over from Gerard Houllier. I was in Dubai when I was informed that he had instead decided to sign a kid from Real Sociedad who had just broken into the Spanish national team.”
A kid? Alonso was 22.
“…(In 2009) Thirteen minutes remained. Liverpool were two up, cruising and playing keep ball. The Kop conducted an incessant, infuriating chant of ‘Ole, ole, ole!’ Xabi retained the ball near the corner flag fractionally longer than was prudent. That gave me the opportunity to fly in, and disguise my malicious intent as best as I could. Alonso milked the moment with a barrel roll. I expected a yellow and was shown a red.”
You can read more of this sort of thing in Barton’s book, No Nonsense, including how in the aftermath of this foul, Alan Shearer, Newcastle’s interim manager, called Barton a “f***ing coward” and when Iain Dowie, Shearer’s assistant, stepped in to prevent things from getting out of hand, Barton quipped: “You keep it shut, boxing-glove head.”
You might not like Barton, but he is entertaining.
Transfer balls: the BBC says Liverpool are on course to sign 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic. They’re not.
The Bleacher Report says Liverpool tried and failed to bring Pulisic – the “wonderkid” – to Anfield over the summer with an £11m bid. They are looking to bid again next summer.
The Mirror says the 17-year-old is “one of the most highly-rated prospects in world football”. With such a billing, is £11m a cheeky offer? The Mail says Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea have “followed his emergence in recent months”. You can add any number of other clubs to the list.
ESPN FC says Dortmund “are not willing to sell him due to his potential”.
Other clubs had their chance to sign him. 442 reports:
He played for the PA Classics, a U.S. Soccer Development Academy program which has produced several MLS players. And although Pulisic enjoyed training stints at Barcelona, Chelsea, Porto, PSV Eindhoven and Villarreal while playing with the PA Classics, he chose to continue to play close to home – for a while, anyway.
Pulisic is under contract at Dortmund until 2018.
Does he want to leave? His father told Bild in August: “Christian has no interest in leaving the club. He had a good half year last season, and wants to continue to break through.”
How good is he? USA Today says:
Pulisic has a ways to go. He isn’t Lionel Messi, not even close. But he’s young, confident, he’s still growing, and he has an attacking spark and creativity that American players aren’t supposed to have, if you believe the accepted soccer wisdom
And finally know that Pulisic supports Manchester United, “loves” Wayne Rooney and says his favourite player at dortmund was Henrik Mkhitaryan.
Pulisic to United it is, then.
Liverpool FC tonked Leicester City 4-1 in the Reds’ first home match of the season. Looking on was Howard Webb, one of the platoon of former referees earning money as a pundit. Webb works for BTSport, where he analyses decisions to deadline. He told viewers that Jamie Vardy’s goal should not have stood.
Webb says Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki broke the rules when his pressing panicked Liverpool’s Lucas into a dreadful pass across an empty area that gave Vardy an easy finish. According to the absurdly picky Webb, Okazaki was illegally inside the penalty area before the ball had left it following Mignolet’s goal-kick.
As Law 16 states:
Opponents must be outside the penalty area until the ball is in play…
The ball is in play when it leaves the penalty area..
This is the same Howard Webb who told readers of his Times column:
If all decisions can be reviewed by video, referees on the pitch become nothing more than remote-controlled referees.
And how many of them will go on tot have a media career?
Liverpool have a new ‘official timing parter’. It’s a brand called Holler. This is how Holler announced the deal on their website:
Yeah, not a single wrist in sight. Odd that a brand specialising in watches would show three Liverpool players not wearing one between them.
Holler describes itself thus:
The Official Timing Partner of Liverpool FC.
Holler was born out of a long history of soul music originating in the 1960’s. Soul is a genre which combines different elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues.
And what is soul music without watches?
And they’re on Twitter. This was how @HollerFC account tweeted about Liverpool.
It looks like Holler announced the deal and then mocked Liverpool for their lack of league titles in recent years, praising Manchester United for good measure.
Like the time when Americans knew nothing about football…
NOTE: Is the @HollerFC account authentic? The Drum says:
…speculation around the legitimacy of the new Holler FC Twitter account in relation to the Holler brand has since circulated. However the @Holler_Soul twitter account, which has over 19,000 followers, had promoted the launch of the Holler FC division in its Twitter background page which read: “Coming soon at HollerFC.com”. This has since changed but a screenshot of the old background can be seen below.
Liverpool celebrate their last last league title win on April 28 1990.
In Liverpool, Merseytravel wants to ban the Sun newspaper. The city’s councillors all support the company’s efforts to force vendors stop selling the Sun across the Liverpool City Region transport network. It part of a campaign, to “eradicate the paper from the city”.
It’s rooted, of course, in the Sun’s awful reporting on the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 football fans died. The paper fanned the flames of bigotry, falsely presenting the dead and injured as agents of their own fate. Liverpool fans had not “picked the pockets of victims” and “urinated” on police officers. The Sun lied to its readers. The police lied to public it serves. They turned victims into criminals.
It was not “THE TRUTH”, as the Sun claimed in its front-page headline.
But banning the paper is weak. The Society of Editors says the move was “stretching towards censorship”. No. It is censorship.
Merseytravel chairman Liam Robinson says: “Lots and lots of people in this city get offended by this newspaper, they are offended to see it on sale. People who have to sell it are offended to touch it. We are here to represent the travelling public and local people. [This motion] was backed unanimously by all political parties.”
Paul Collins, from the Total Eclipse of the S*n campaign, says the newspaper had “slandered the dead, it slandered the city with lies. It upsets decent people.”
Are you indecent if you buy the Sun, which people do, presumably? Are you morally wrong if you read the paper?
This campaign does nothing to honour the dead, the bereaved and the hurt. It seeks only revenge.
In among the headline figure of £1.165bn spent by desperate Premier League clubs in the transfer window is news of Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli. He’s singed for Nice. And Liverpool let him go for free. Well, so go the media headlines. But what Liverpool did was to save themselves £90,000 ever week in the wages Balotelli earned nicking a living (although the Mail says it was £125,000-a-week)
Balotelli, 26, made 28 appearances for Liverpool, scoring four goals, since joining from AC Milan for £16m in 2014.
It might be worth looking at what they said when Balotelli signed for Liverpool:
Balotelli: “I’m happy to be back because I left England and it was a mistake. I wanted to go to Italy but I realised it was a mistake. English football is generally better. English football is beautiful.”
Brendan Rodgers: “This transfer represents outstanding value for the club and I think we have done a really smart piece of business here.”
Robbie Savage: “Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Robbie Savage on why the signing would be a masterstroke by Brendan Rodgers…Life won’t be dull at Anfield when Balotelli is around. And after turning Suarez into a £75 million player, who’s to say Rodgers won’t repeat the trick with another exotic striker?”
When the Sun led with news that Liverpool’s American owners had rebuffed Chinese attempts to buy the club we enjoyed the headline “You’ll Never Wok Alone”.
Readers were told that “Liverpool chiefs will reject moves from the Far East to buy a stake in the club”.
It all looked an exercise in PR. Liverpool’s foreign chiefs are much more in tune with the Reds than other foreigners who want to be chiefs. The club is in safe hands.
The Chinese are a “state-backed group called Everbright”, who “value the club at £700m”. Liverpool chairman Tom Werner, part of the Fenway Sports Group, says the club would work with the right partner and offers are made “just for the publicity”.
Today the Times has more.
Liverpool, or Liwupu as it is rendered in Chinese, has received admiring glances in China. Over the weekend it emerged that China Everbright, a state-backed investment company, was looking into making a bid with Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners.
You wonder how these things emerge?
The club has also caught the attention of Fosun and Dalian Wanda, Reuters reported yesterday. Both are Chinese conglomerates with a proven taste for western consumer brands with Chinese cachet, counting Club Med and a Hollywood studio among their most recent deals.
How depressing to have your beloved football club bracketed with Club Med and cinema chains.
Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, insist that the club is not for sale despite the £800 million approach said to be in the works. However, leading figures have indicated that they would take a proposal for a minority stake seriously from investors who could open doors for the club commercially.
£700million has now become £800m. That figure could go up and up.
Nick Davis, chief executive of Memery Crystal, a law firm that advised on the sale earlier this month of West Bromwich Albion to Yunyi Guokai, said that Chinese interest in Liverpool was part of a trend established at the top of the Chinese hierarchy. Xi Jinping, the president of China who last year posed for a selfie with Sergio Aguero, the Manchester City striker, has said he wants China to become a “world football superpower” that could win the World Cup by 2050.
China buys Liverpool. China picks the Liverpool team?
David Shambaugh, a China expert at George Washington University, said that the explanation was partly domestic. “China has so much pent-up money looking to be invested abroad and the Premier League is a very sound financial investment,” he said. “It also offers excellent opportunities to expand China’s ‘brand’ abroad.”
An £800 million valuation for Liverpool compares with the £300 million paid by Fenway Group in 2010.
And what is China’s brand? Well, Amnesty International says:
A series of new laws with a national security focus were drafted or enacted that presented grave dangers to human rights. The government launched a massive nationwide crackdown against human rights lawyers. Other activists and human rights defenders continued to be systematically subjected to harassment and intimidation. Five women’s rights activists were detained for planning to mark International Women’s Day with a campaign against sexual harassment. Authorities stepped up their controls over the internet, mass media and academia. Televised “confessions” of critics detained for investigation multiplied. Freedom of religion continued to be systematically stifled. The government continued its campaign to demolish churches and take down Christian crosses in Zhejiang province. In the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the regional government enacted new regulations to more tightly control religious affairs and ban all unauthorized religious practice. The government maintained extensive controls over Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. The UN Committee against Torture regretted that previous recommendations had not been implemented.
All very fit and proper.
Media Watch: a look at monocular football reporting. In today’s match we look at biased views on Liverpool’s away defeat to Burnley. The game ended 2-0.
Ragnar Klavan’s cross-field pass didn’t do Nathaniel Clyne any favours and as Burnley pressed, the full-back coughed up possession cheaply.
Nathaniel Clyne, Liverpool’s England full-back, was badly at fault, with a poor pass deep in his own half finding only Gray who, in turn, fed Vokes.
Gray picked up the pieces from Nathaniel Clyne’s poor pass, fed the ball in to his strike partner and, with Dejan Lovren or Ragnar Klavan not even in close proximity, Vokes swept the ball beyond Simon Mignolet from the edge of the box.
Nathaniel Clyne’s pass infield from the right flank was stolen by Gray…
Clyne was not at fault. Clyne was robbed!
Liverpool FC striker Danny Ings writes exclusively for the Liverpool website. In case you missed it, “For the duration of the Reds’ tour of the USA, Danny Ings will be writing an exclusive blog for Liverpoolfc.com.”
Good oh. We like a footballer’s diary. We recall when Finland’s Aki Riihilahti wrote a diary of life with Crystal Palace, which The Times sensibly picked up. It was witty, concise, pithy and engaging
August 26, 2002:
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD A secretary starting to yell and run around the office just because she succeeded to answer the phone? In football this is considered normal. If you score you often just bellow like a horny animal and do these ridiculous madman celebrations that would in the normal life get you hospitalised. And when the ball goes a bit wide from the target everybody raises their hands, throws their neck and sighs ooooh! Can’t really see a barber doing that just because he cut the customer’s mullet a bit too short.
September 9 2002:
So the truth is, Roy Keane is a much better player but also a very different type of person than I am. Well, I prefer it to stay this way. And maybe after this article I have to be careful if I ever play against him. But whatever happens, I am not going to sue him, because I enjoy watching him playing.
October 7 2002:
A FOOTBALLER ATE GREASY fries, coke and a burger and actually played like Ronald McDonald next day.
Highlight October 21, 2002:
“RIIHILAHTI WON THE game for Finland”. “Finnish football is flying high thanks to Riihilahti”. “Riihilahti is leading Finland to his nation’s first European Championship tournament”. These are the headlines I could have made. Instead I just got 5 in the players’ ratings in the local papers and a little mention in the side paragraph: “Riihilahti could have won the game for Finland but finished poorly
Brilliant. So to Danny Ings.
Usually at this level, a lot of players do actually know each other from previous experiences, but of course some don’t. Things like we did today, going to Alcatraz and having a walk around together, means people can get to know each other’s personalities a bit better, find out who can speak which languages and find out who has got banter and who hasn’t.
To be fair, the majority of the new boys have got banter…
Aki wrote in English as his second language. Danny Ings is English.
Balotelli joined Liverpool for £16million on a three-year, £125,000-a-week deal from AC Milan in August 2014. In his time at Liverpool, the Italian striker has scored four goals.
Balotelli’s contract offers him the option of a fourth year when this deal runs out.
Understandably, current Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp wants shot of the overpaid Italian signed by his predecessor, Brendan Rodgers, now the Celtic boss, who opined in 2014: “I think to get someone of that quality in this market is a very good deal for us.”
Balotelli cost Manchester City £22.5m when he signed from Internazionale in 2010. He was sold to Milan for £19m and to Liverpool for £16m. It was a risky singing, which Rodgers acknowledged.
But Rodgers and the Liverpool transfer committee should have paid more heed to José Mourinho, his old boss who coached Balotelli at Inter.
“We went to play Rubin Kazan in the Champions League. All my other strikers were injured. No Diego Milito, no Samuel Eto’o,” recalled Mourinho. “I was really in trouble. Mario got a yellow card in the 42nd minute and when I got into the dressing room at half-time I spent 14 minutes of the 15 available speaking to Mario. I said to him: ‘Mario, I can’t change you, I have no strikers on the bench, don’t touch anybody and play only the ball. Mario, if someone provokes you, don’t react. If we lose the ball, no reaction. If the referee makes a mistake, no reaction…. The 46th minute: red card.”
Klopp has seen and heard enough.
“He’s not at the stage of his career where he should be battling with four or five players for one or two positions,” says Klopp. “So it’s clear we need a solution. There will be a club who would be happy to have the new Mario Balotelli.”
But will there be a club willing to cough up a big whack of cash and pay the likeable lunk half a million pounds a month?
As Mario Sconcerti put it in Corriere della Sera, Balotelli possesses “the strange talent of making everyone happy when he arrives and even happier when he leaves”.
Here are a couple of stories that offer insight into how football transfers work. First up the news that last January Manchester United offered a massive £35m for Watford’s Odion Ighalo. You didn’t know about this because both clubs kept quiet. Watford didn’t want to upset their striker. Manchester United didn’t want the markets and money men to know their pulling power was so diminished that signing a Watford player for a huge fee was beyond their reach.
On the upside, Marcus Rashford got his chance and the then United manager Louis Van Gaal looked like he knew what he was doing.
The second story is that Barcelona have not bought Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne. Barcelona don’t buy lots of players, of course. Clyne’s story is newsworthy because the story goes that his people offered him to Barcelona. The Catalans weren’t interested. Good for Clyne that he sees himself in one of Europe’s top sides but surely bad for his Liverpool career.
Clubs and players are not always in harmony.
Transfer Balls favourite Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, 28, will not be renewing his contract with Napoli, reports Spain’s Radio Continental. We know, of course, that Higuain plays for Arsenal. The Sun reported Higuain signed for the Gunners in 2013.
He never did, of course. The Sun was wrong.
So is Higuain leaving Napoli for the Premier League?
“There was talk of a project worthy of the Champions League, a convincing plan to fight for the Scudetto,” says Higuain’s agent and brother.”
The agent then dangles a large carrot:
“I don’t need to talk with the Parisian club about my brother, if PSG want him they should call [Napoli chairman] De Laurentiis.”
The Express says this puts Liverpool and Chelsea “on alert”.
But what of Manchester United? On March 16, the Metro declared: “Gonzalo Higuain agrees Manchester United.” One day later the Express added: “JOSE MOURINHO has personally agreed a deal to bring Gonzalo Higuain to Manchester United if he becomes manager.”
On May 30, the Metro changed its mind: “Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain is keen to sign for Liverpool.” The Sun agreed. On June 7, it reported: “Liverpool set to seal mega-money deal for Napoli’s goal-scoring hero Gonzalo Higuain.”
Such are the facts in the tabloids.
Transfer balls: Liverpool are keen on Arsenal forward Theo Walcott. The Sun says Liverpool will pay £25m for the 27-year-old.
The Sun says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp intends to offer Walcott more first team game time than he can expect to get at the Emirates. If Arsenal do buy Jamie Vardy – and, c’mon, that deal is a sure thing – Walcott, who covets the striker’s role, will move one step down the rung. And then there is Alex Iwobi, the powerful forward who broke through into the Arsenal first team last season.
Walcott is not a vital cog in the Arsenal machine. He can leave.
The Gunners were shrewd enough to secure Walcott on a four-year deal last summer. That deal keeps the player at the Emirates until 2019. It also means any move away will come with hefty fee.
And they should sell. There has always been something of the nice middle-class boy about Walcott. Does he want it? How badly? Walcott has been “one for the future” for so long you wonder when, if ever, he’ll rise to the fore. He is infuriating, rarely imposing himself on a fullback you feel he can beat with ease.
At Liverpool he’ll gets a fresh start. And that’s Walcott all over – a player who petitions for a new go in a better position but never quite convinces in any.
Transfer balls: The Sun says Liverpool’s striker Christian Benteke has “warned” Jurgen Klopp: “Pick me regularly or I’m off.” Benteke has issued a “Kop Threat”.
Klopp must be fretting. Will Benteke, who scored ten goals in 42 games, leave the club unless he gets more chances to score? The Belgian striker started eight league games after German Klopp was appointed Liverpool manager in October 2015,
Will Klopp take kindly to being threatened?
What Benteke said was far from threatening:
“I still have a contract at Liverpool and I’d like to stay there, if I remain in the coach’s plans. If that’s not the case, it will become difficult to stay… When Klopp arrived I saw that I wasn’t in his plans. That was frustrating because I knew that during my first season at Aston Villa he wanted me. But we had several discussions together – I respect and I understand his decisions. I’ll think about if after the Euros.”
Not exactly a warning, then. More resignation that if Klopp doesn’t rate him, he’ll be on his way.
And the Sun has been trailing Benteke’s departure for months.
Jurgen Klopp’s Kop clear-out: Liverpool boss ready to ring the changes at Anfield this summer. German boss wants to overhaul the squad at the end of the season. The main casualty will be Christian Benteke after the £32.5million summer capture from Aston Villa – The Sun, Feb, 2016
Liverpool transfer news: Reds flop Christian Benteke set to be offered lifeline by Italian giants Juventus – The Sun, March 2016
Dean Sturridge reckons Christian Benteke will not be a Liverpool player next season. Uncle of Reds striker, Daniel, claims Belgian is not part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans – The Sun, May 2016
He’s been warned.
They hated and criminalised football fans when 96 innocent Liverpool fans died at Hillsborough in 1989. They hate and criminalise football fans now, idiots included.
A 50-year-old man has been charged with a public order offence after he was seen at a pub wearing a T-shirt mocking the Hillsborough disaster. Paul Grange, from Worcester, was charged by West Mercia police with displaying threatening and abusive writing likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
Any police officers been charged with, you know, treating innocent people like criminals, putting their loved ones through years of hell, branding the survivors as killers, sending for the dogs as the dying cried out for help, causing distress, harassment and alarm?
Maybe if one of these ultra-sensitive coppers pulls on a rude T-shirt, his comrades will lock him away for the good of society…
Higuain Watch: striker demands Chelsea, wants Liverpool, shuns Manchester United, signs for Arsenal, moves nowhere
Transfer balls: every summer a familiar platoon of players feature in tabloid stories telling of their imminent moves to the Premier League. One of that number is Gonzalo Higuain, who, as you will recall, signed for Arsenal on July 6 2013. Well, so said the Sun.
For anyone who missed that scoop, the good news is that the story of Higuain to Arsenal still features as fact on the Sun’s website.
ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain… Higuain, 25, has been given permission by Madrid to fly to London following weeks of negotiations. And boss Arsene Wenger has made it clear he wants the powerful goalscorer on board when Arsenal head for their tour of the Far East next Thursday.
The deal, which has been confirmed by the player’s father Jorge, comes as a huge relief for Wenger… The Gunners’ previous biggest signing was the £16.5million they paid to sign Santi Cazorla from Malaga last summer and propels the club back into the big time. Now Wenger wants to build on Higuain’s imminent arrival by pressing ahead with negotiations for Wayne Rooney and Julio Cesar… Wenger believes that the capture of Higuain will convince other world-class stars to join.
And so to todays news in the Mirror that Higuain, who plays for Napoli, has made a “plea” to join Liverpool.
“The former Real Madrid striker, who has attracted interested [sic] from Arsenal previously, is keen to come to the Premier League would would like to play under Kop boss Jurgen Klopp.”
So. It’s Higuain to Liverpool. Or not. These other news facts from the Sun:
May 4: “Chelsea target Gonzalo Higuain wants £42million move to the Bridge… but only if Diego Costa leaves”
May 22, 2016: Higuain not move to Chelsea, Manchester Untied nor any other Premier League club.
Manchester United and Chelsea dealt massive blow as Gonzalo Higuain will NOT be making a Premier League switch in the summer
More on Higuain to come…
DID Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne “admit” that England’s defence, in which he plays, is a “weakness”? The Mirror says he did, thundering: “Clyne admits ‘defence is a weakness”.
John Cross begins his story by telling readers more about the Liverpool player: “Clyne has admitted England’s defence is a major ‘weakness’.”
This is what Clyne actually said: “We analyse the games and we see where we can do better. We can definitely do better defensively . It shows us our weaknesses.”
He didn’t say the England defence “is a weakness”. He said the players can be better and are working hard to reduce errors.
More of what Clyne said appears on Sky Sports:
“There are players fighting for positions all over the pitch when they get an opportunity to show what they can do and that is healthy. I think it is good as it keeps everyone on their toes and keeps everyone fighting for positions – everyone wants to be hungry and has a determination to get themselves into the squad… England have a strong team and hopefully they can do well at the tournament.”
Clyne and Spurs’ Kyle Walker are battling to be England’s first-choice right-back.
In March, Liverpool were “confident of signing Mario Gotze”. So said the Guardian. Gotze has played for Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, before he left the second best team in Germany for more money and silverware at the best team in Germany, Bayern Munich. The Guardian added that Gotze was “understood to be keen on a reunion with Jurgen Klopp”.
Gotze “is keen on a move away from the Allianz Arena despite the impending arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as Pep Guardiola’s replacement… The combination of a fresh start away from Bayern plus renewing acquaintances with Klopp is believed to appeal to the Germany international.”
The Express agreed:
The Metro also agreed: “Liverpool are clear to sign Mario Gotze as he is not in Bayern Munich’s plans for next season.”
And the Star added:
On May 21, the Sun stated that Liverpool were “close to landing £20million World Cup winner Mario Gotze”. The deal would be done in “the next few days”.
And so it is that today the Mirror declares: “Gotze snubs Kop – Gotze has pledged his future to Bayern Munich.”
Words from Gotze, Bayern and Liverpool in all reports mentioned above: nil.
War Chest Watch: Manchester United, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Everton, Manchester City and Liverpool transfer budgets announced
As the Premier League season ends big media turns to transfer rumours. One issue is deciding how much each club has to spend on new players. With every club in line for a £99m bonus next season, you’d suppose every PL club can spend large on recruitment.
Sunderland: “Sam Allardyce will demand a summer war chest of up to £50million” – Sun
Spurs: “Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to be handed £60m war chest to strengthen squad” – Mail
Arsenal: Arsene Wenger £75m transfer fund this summer to bolster fragile defence and midfield” – Daily Telegraph
Everton: “£100m war chest to fund spending bonanza” – Daily Mirror
Liverpool: “Liverpool boss handed £100m summer transfer warchest… and targets have been identified” – Daily Star
Chelsea: “Chelsea to use chunk of £130m warchest to beat Arsenal to Alexis Sanchez replacement”
Manchester City: “Manchester City to hand Pep Guardiola a huge transfer chest for the summer” – Manchester Evening News
Manchester United: “Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal to get £150m war chest even without top-four spot” – Daily Express
Manchester United: “United Uncovered: Jose Mourinho’s £300m warchest” – Daily Express
Such are the facts…
Liverpool left it late to beat Borussia Dortmund at Anfield last night.
Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel sums it up: “I can’t explain it, it was not logical. It was very emotional. At the end at 3-3 everyone here believed it was meant to be, it was destiny.”
Papers are calling it a “miracle”, a sign of God’s love. Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, is more circumspect: “We fought back like devils and it is deserved. A little bit lucky.”
Dortmund had surged into an early lead. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored inside the first nine minutes. Liverpool needed three goals to progress to the Europa League semi-finals. Divock Origi got one for the Read. And then Marco Reus restored the German’s advantage. Cue Liverpool goals from Philippe Coutinho, Mamadou Sakho headed and at the death Dejan Lovren.
Nothing better than watching your team fight to come back from the brink to win. Wonderful stuff:
Liverpool FC’s Spanish full-back Alberto Moreno has a tattoo of a chimpanzee holding a gun. He showcased the ink on his Instagram:
How we interpret this tattoo is unclear. What’s the ape listening to, if anything at all – footballers often wear cans to dodge calls from fans and journalist asking for interviews. Isn Cheetah contemplating suicide, murder or a novel and dangerous way of picking his nose? Much to discuss.
It’s a new angle on skin art, moving on from fat lettering, Latin scripts and numbers, and Doodled arms.
One more reason to like Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s charismatic manager. Asked if will celebrate a Liverpool goal when the Reds take on his former club, Borussia Dortmund, in tonight’s Europa League quarter-final match, the German said, “of course I will celebrate”.
Good. Go nuts. Footballers who look apologetic when they score against a former club are pathetic and joyless. Goals are what the game is about. Anyone failing to celebrate them should be sent off.
Are Liverpool making ready to sell Jordan Henderson? The Mail says Henderson’s sale is on the cards. The paper says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would want £20million for the former Sunderland player, with Spurs his most likely destination.
Given the two clubs’ respective Premier League positions, wouldn’t a move from Liverpool to Spurs be an upgrade for Henderson?
The Mail writes:
Significantly, Klopp refused to rule out Henderson’s departure should the player knock on his door following reported interest from Tottenham. ‘Everything is OK in this moment but nobody in the world, maybe only (Lionel) Messi, is unsellable,’ said Klopp. ‘There is always a situation. I come from a club where always the best players are picked by other teams and at the end, you have to accept a few things and always need to have a Plan B or C.’
Overlook the Mail’s twist and Klopp’s words could be interpreted as, “Henderson’s one of our best players. If he wants to go, how can we stop him?”
Does Henderson want to leave? We’re not told. But Klopp does add:
‘I am pretty sure it is only a rumour (Tottenham) but if not and if a player – let’s not say Hendo but any player – comes to me and says he doesn’t feel comfortable and wants to leave, style of play, more money, then you always have to start thinking. That’s all I can say on this.’
The Mail says this adds up to “Henderson facing an uncertain future this summer”, making it sound as if Klopp is calling the shots and Henderson is on tenterhooks. But the Sun notes:
Champions League football could lure Reds skipper to White Hart Lane
Liverpool are a mid-table side. Spurs are on the ascent. If Henderson’s future is uncertain it is only because he wants better.
Manchester United will not be punished for its fans revolting chants about the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters when the club faced Liverpool in the Europa League. A Uefa spokesperson says United have no case to answer because the chanting was not mentioned in the match officials’ reports.
Are some football chants just too offensive? But what’s the point of an insult if it doesn’t cause offence?
The problem begins when you rule on what is and what is not permitted to be said. Better if it is left to United fans to tell the idiots in their number shouting “murderers” at Liverpool fans to shut up.
This United chant heard on the night is much better anyhow**:
Going on up to the spirit in the sky
It’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go on the p*** with Georgie Best
** We in no way condone alcoholism and the terrible toll it takes on the…blah… blah….blah