Arsenal ignored as ‘most English football has to be grateful’ to Liverpool and Mo Salah

Arsenal must be very grateful to Liverpool for showing them that Manchester City might not run away with the title, apparently.

It’s VAR of a mystery
It’s been a while since we visited Garth Crooks BBC team of the week on a Monday but sometimes it’s too delicious to ignore.

He found room for three Liverpool players – including Joe Gomez, who apparently “wasn’t supposed to start the game in the first place”. It would have been news for Gomez, who started in midweek for Liverpool against Rangers and would have been confused not to start again.

Gomez is now ‘a must for Qatar’ after that one game, even though he hasn’t played for England in over two years.

James Milner and Mo Salah were also part of his Liverpool squad, with Crooks observing: “It was schoolboy marking by Joao Cancelo that gave Salah the goal, but you have to wonder why Manuel Akanji or didn’t Ruben Dias score the Egyptian?Once Salah was one-on-one with Ederson, it was game over.

First, Joao Cancelo isn’t exactly a weak link; he has probably been the best full-back in the Premier League for the past 18 months.

Second, Manchester City had a free kick and Akanji and Dias were forward for that free kick. These are pretty standard tactics for attacking free kicks; the error was by Cancelo but it is not at all an error that he was there.

It also includes Thiago Silva (who has to ‘manage’ 31-year-old Kalidou Koulibaly) and Bukayo Saka, apparently just so he can complain about VAR.

“And why Gabriel had his late red card for violent conduct overturned is a complete mystery because that’s what it was – regardless of what the Stockley Park video assistant referee said. There was a time when the referee’s decision was final, VAR has changed that.

It’s not a complete mystery, is it Garth? VAR made the right decision because Patrick Bamford had burst into Gabriel and therefore his kick was actually just a yellow card foul.

As Mark Halsey told The Sun: “VAR came into its own in a frantic final at Elland Road – I think the result was okay.”

And yet, the former Tottenham Crooks striker is still puzzled.

With hope in your hearts…
“It was not so much an improvement, but more of a complete transformation of Liverpool,” writes Liverpool fan/journalist David Maddock in the DailyMirror.

Liverpool are literally unbeaten at home in the Premier League since March 2021. Liverpool played well but they won a game 1-0 with 37% possession and just two shots on target.

Is it a “complete transformation” or a “very good defensive performance in a stadium where they haven’t lost in the Premier League for over 18 months”?

“And it’s probably no exaggeration to suggest that was precisely what English football desperately needed, to ensure the Premier League didn’t become another procession of Manchester City.”

Yes. Thank you Liverpool, for beating *checks notes* second-placed Manchester City to make sure the Premier League doesn’t become another Manchester City procession.

“No one at Anfield will think he’s back in the running just yet; 10 points isn’t just a gap, in a season that will be a ridiculous war of attrition, it’s a chasm that still seems too big to bridge against a team with such firepower.

The gap is 14 points to Arsenal, David. You’ve heard of Arsenal, haven’t you? They beat Liverpool 3-2 last week. They appear to be doing their part to ensure the Premier League doesn’t become another Manchester City motorcade.

It turns out he has heard of Arsenal as he writes:

“Yet for Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, this small sign of vulnerability from Pep Guardiola’s side, the way their defense has been repeatedly exposed by Mohamed Salah and a Reds attacking line full of desire and conviction, will offer a real hope of a real contest at the head of the table.

Yes, we imagine that when Arsenal came off the pitch after winning their ninth out of 10 games this season to stay top of the table, they refused to celebrate until Liverpool gave them “real hope of a genuine competition at the top of the table”. They probably joined in a chorus of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ to say thank you.

“Klopp was right to point out that no team can try to match the UAE-sponsored club when it comes to buying success. Yet what his side have shown here is that there is another way to bring them down.

“You have to outrun them, fight them and suffer them too. And Liverpool certainly suffered in a truly thrilling contest, which had everything from tactical and technical brilliance in the first half, to an end-to-end emotional play in the second.

You must distance a team when they have 63% possession of the ball; you literally have no choice.

“In the end it was won by Salah’s bold quality, and for that most English football has to be grateful.”

We really have to.

“Salah is back after almost 10 months of appearing from a shadow of his former self, make no mistake – and so is Liverpool.” That’s enough to give Guardiola an all-nighter and the likes of Arsenal good food for thought.

Last we checked, the Premier League were still only allowing three points for a win, so Liverpool are still 10 points behind Manchester City and 14 points behind leaders Arsenal after one win from four. Just like Brentford.

But thank you, Liverpool. Heroes and Saviors.

misleading title of the day
“Graeme Souness set for Sky Sports exit as broadcaster overhaul continues” – Mirror site.

Real story – as broken by Athleticism – is that the septuagenarian “should take a step back at the end of this campaign”.

“Revision” is a way of describing an old man who gives up one of his part-time jobs.

It has aged well