Liverpool’s biggest cheerleader has launched a staunch defence of media-friendly Jurgen Klopp, while Man United are bidding over the odds.
Innocent before proven guilty
There is a degree of sycophancy we have come to expect from the Daily Mirror‘s Northern football correspondent when discussing all things Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.
This is the man, after all, who thought Darwin Nunez was sent off against Crystal Palace for the sin of turning around too quickly.
And it is not so long ago that David Maddock seemed to take defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League incredibly personally indeed.
So of course he describes the coach in 16th as ‘an intelligent man’ and ‘a student of management’, whose press conference before the defeat to Manchester United ‘was magnificently upbeat, his humour sparkling, and his engagement with the media audience endearing’.
He goes on to describe Klopp as ‘smart’, ‘clever’ and ‘considered’ in what seems like a rare case of a sort of reverse straw-man argument: is anyone genuinely suggesting otherwise? Are these traits worth painstakingly stressing with regards to a Premier League and Champions League-winning manager?
But bloody hell, this paragraph in particular:
‘The Liverpool manager may come across as almost an innocent when speaking to the media – either ‘ranting’ with emotion after a setback, or joking with what appears to be an unguarded, relaxed nature.’
Ask Des Kelly or pretty much anyone who doesn’t set Klopp up for a tap-in with a straightforward question whether he ‘may come across as almost an innocent when speaking to the media’. You might be surprised by the answer.
Also buried in that Daily Mirror article is this line:
‘Liverpool had 70 per cent possession at Old Trafford. Think about that. Manchester United playing like a small club, in terms of style and possession, but with quality players to hurt on the break.’
One man’s ‘playing like a small club’ is another’s ‘playing like a sensible club to win’.
Where’re you from, you sexy thing?
Oh and suggesting Liverpool qualifying for the Champions League in 2020/21 despite their injury problems in defence ‘was not far short of a miracle’ is brilliant.
They were four points off fourth place with 10 games remaining after losing to Fulham in March. They beat Wolves (13th), Arsenal (8th), Aston Villa (11th), Southampton (15th), Manchester United (2nd), West Brom (19th), Burnley (17th) and Crystal Palace (14th), while drawing with Leeds (9th) and Newcastle (12th), to finish third.
Taking 26 points from 30 during a run which pitted them against seven sides that finished in the bottom half and only one which came higher than eighth was hardly turning water into sodding wine, whether they had Virgil van Dijk available or not.
Remember the name
Liverpool and Klopp are not exactly focused on any title race at the minute but ‘Manchester City might just be looking over their shoulders’ at Tottenham. Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror says so.
‘Three games, two wins and a draw so far. Spurs surrendered their meeting with Wolves 3-2 under Antonio Conte last season after twice leading, remember?’
Actually no, Mediawatch doesn’t remember that at all. There are vague memories of Wolves beating Tottenham 2-0 away in February after Spurs beat them 1-0 at Molineux in August, but a 3-2 defeat for Conte’s side after leading twice? Nope.
It turns out that Spurs actually surrendered their meeting with Wolves 3-2 under Jose Mourinho in March 2020 after twice leading. Remember?
Living it Lage
But this is no coincidental, throwaway mistake, as seen a few paragraphs further on:
‘But Wolves dominated large parts of the play as Tottenham struggled to create in the first half. They simply couldn’t score – just like last season. Conte still has work to do to prevent teams bossing his teams in that regard. Seven of Conte’s starters in that March 1 defeat against Bruno Lage’s side have either gone or are out of the picture. Conte’s ruthless summer surgery has raised the level of quality, depth and expectation.’
‘Seven of Conte’s starters in that March 1 defeat against Bruno Lage’ were actually seven of Mourinho’s starters in that March 1 defeat two-and-a-half years ago against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
It is indeed so long ago that the actual coach of Wolves that day has since managed and been sacked by Tottenham.
The Portuguese even conducted some of that ‘ruthless summer surgery’ supposedly all overseen by Conte, letting Paulo Gazzaniga and Serge Aurier leave 12 months ago.
‘Manchester United will have to stump up £67.5million to secure the services of Ajax forward Antony this summer’ – Simon Jones, Daily Mail, August 18.
‘Manchester United are expected to make an improved bid of around £80million for Ajax forward Antony’ – Simon Jones, Daily Mail, August 24.
The Manchester United recruitment department has hardly earned any faith and confidence that they know what they’re doing, but even they seem unlikely to bid £13.5m above the asking price a club set six days ago.
Mediawatch doesn’t want to suggest that someone might have mixed up their pounds and Euros, but…
Where there’s a WILL…
‘Axed Manchester United captain Harry Maguire WILL fight for his future and won’t push for a move amid Chelsea interest… but Erik ten Hag has his doubts and the defender’s days at Old Trafford could be numbered’ – MailOnline (obviously).
Here we go again: if the opposite is a bigger story, it isn’t ground-breaking news. Tell us that ‘axed Manchester United captain Harry Maguire WON’T fight for his future’ after being dropped for a single game and you can have all our clicks.