Some classic Liverpool clickbait before we pretend that Jamie Vardy has said something incendiary about the Big Six which may or may not still exist…
Imagine that you are the chief Liverpool writer for the Liverpool Echo and you write 914 words on a momentous win sealed with and all your many words to describe an ‘unforgettable afternoon’ and ‘it’s astonishing finale’ (obviously, we have only so much sympathy now we have seen that apostrophe) are reduced to this:
A pure clickbait headline that belies the 914 words beneath, only two of which are the words ‘raucous cheers’, which form the entirety of the information teased by that ludicrous headline.
Mind you, this is the website that also brings you this classic on Monday morning:
‘Liverpool analysis – Thiago Alcantara’s next move clear as Mohamed Salah curiosity emerges’
It turns out that Thiago’s ‘next move’ (changed from ‘next trick’ because ‘trick’ is not even close to suggesting a transfer) is ‘to maintain this level for the next week and then carry it through to pre-season, August and then beyond’. Sensible.
And as for the ‘Mohamed Salah curiosity’ that has ’emerged’: ‘It is curious that the man dubbed the ‘Egyptian King’ is as overlooked as he is when the pantheon of Premier League greats are discussed in a wider context.’
And exactly when did this ’emerge’? Just this weekend? Or just when you wanted a headline that goes clickety-clickety-click as writing about the football is just so damned old-fashioned?
The real emerging curiosity about is how negative Garth Crooks can be about the Egyptian even when including him in his BBC team of the week.
He wrote this in October 2020:
‘Salah needs to be careful, I’ve seen him sacrifice his team-mate before for glory. The reason have been so successful is due to the collaboration of their front three. Didn’t the Beatles break up over something rather petty?’
And then literally :
‘I wonder if Henderson might have a gentle word with Salah to remind him that he has placed himself among the Liverpool greats – and not to spoil it with cheap nonsense like diving.’
Last week – under cover of praising Thiago – Crooks manages to slip in this nugget despite Salah literally setting up Sadio Mane for a goal:
‘Mohamed Salah only seems interested in the Golden Boot and I think that is having a negative effect on some of his teammates.’
This week he simply cannot ignore a man who scored a goal as well as setting up his teammates for four chances.
‘Here they come again. Liverpool have been far from convincing this season but sprang into action against Manchester United on Thursday. It was the best performance I’ve seen from Mohamed Salah for some time.
‘Then against West Brom on Sunday, they showed patience and class. Salah is a different player when he plays for the team and can be a delight to watch.
‘However, I see a different player when I get the feeling he’s chasing the Golden Boot. His game becomes selfish in crucial parts of the pitch. Not so against United or West Brom. When he is in this mood, he is a different class.’
Mediawatch would like to extend a warm hand of respect to whichever BBC employee took it upon themselves to type out that bitter pill from Crooks and then write these words underneath:
‘Salah’s equaliser was his 125th goal for Liverpool since signing for the club in 2017, the most by any Premier League player across all competitions in that period.’
Not bad for a player who only really delivers when in a certain ‘mood’.
A word for Garth, by the way, who had the perfect opportunity to realise his team of the week dreams by naming an entire XI of goalscorers but foolishly went for Kasper Schmeichel instead of Alisson. Mediawatch is surprised the Brazilian wasn’t at least crowbarred in at right-back instead.
The Vard word
Such is The Sun‘s attitude to all things Liverpool, we half-expected Alisson’s 95th-minute winner to be buried somewhere in the inside pages of the sports section, but they did indeed splash it on their back page. Along with this utter nonsense:
‘FA CUP HERO’S VOW’
‘Vardy trophy warning to ‘big’ clubs’
‘JAMIE VARDY has warned the Big Six: ‘Well keep on gatecrashing your party.’
Excuse us but, well, has he f***.
Not once does Jamie Vardy mention the Big Six. Or the ‘big’ six. Or indeed any other club but Leicester City, with whom he has just won the FA Cup. Because the day was about them and not some bizarre ‘warning’ to the bigger clubs that’s not remotely a warning at all.
The quotes were utterly anodyne – “When the gaffer came in over two years ago, he said he wanted us to be challenging for trophies. Now we’ve got one, we’re wanting more” – so to make those into a back-page leads takes some phenomenal imagination. They should have just gone with a bigger picture of Alisson.
On the inside pages of The Sun, chief sports writer Dave Kidd is revelling in all things Leicester, but we cannot help but think that he is getting a tad carried away…
‘There is no ‘big six’ any longer, just a Shady Six who wished to stitch up the English game.’
Now this is all very sweet and romantic but it is also nonsense.
Less than half the revenue of Arsenal. Less than half the wage bill of Liverpool. Ranked 51st in the UEFA club rankings. And once again for those in the back: Let’s not pretend that spending more than 100% of your turnover on wages makes you a model Premier League club.
Why do some people – some of whom are supposedly experts – still look at the league table when trying to identify the biggest clubs? It’s naive in the extreme.
Let’s all celebrate Leicester but let’s not pretend that ‘finishing above Arsenal for a second successive season’ makes them a bigger club. There is still a Big Six and the Foxes are not yet part of that conversation. Fingers crossed that one day this ‘air of semi-permanence’ translates to more than a two-year story but can we all just hold our horses/foxes for now please?
Recommended reading of the day
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