HANGING TOUGH, STAYING HUNGRY
After seeing his stand-in goalkeeper make the crucial penalty save to win a Super Pot on his first start for Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp couldn’t help but channel his inner Sly Stallone. “ADRIAN!” he roared down the camera in his post-match interview, mimicking Rocky Balboa’s emotional address to his wife after beating Apollo Creed to become heavyweight champion of the world. What Liverpool’s manager would do well to remember is that in a sequel to that particular success, the Italian Stallion got a little bit too fat and lazy and was subjected to the daddy of all beat-downs from Clubber Lang.
With a trip to Southampton looming in barely the time it takes to cobble together a decent training montage, his side cannot afford such complacency. “We have to find a way to be ready to win that game,” said Klopp, as his players warmed down by donning muscle vests and extra tight shorts, sprinting in slow-motion and frolicking in the surf with Apollo Creed. “Only one team celebrated more than us tonight and that’s probably Southampton when they saw 90 minutes, no decision!” Having bounced back from emphatic defeat at the hands of Manchester United with a far less emphatic defeat at the hands of Liverpool, Chelsea will host Leicester on Sunday.
With one paw already in a play-off against Torino to make the group stages of Euro Vase, Wolves entertain Pyunik of Armenia at Molineux tonight. With his team leading 4-0 from the first leg, Nuno Espírito Santo has stopped short of forcing his players to chop logs or chase chickens, but has warned against complacency. “It’s not over,” he said, even though it kind of is. “It’s going to be over at 10 o’clock. It’s not over. That would be a mistake.” Elsewhere in Euro Vase, the Pope’s O’Rangers will have seen, laughed at and hopefully learned from the Queen’s Celtic’s exit from Big Cup at the hands of Cluj on Tuesday and will try not to make the same mistakes in their match against Danish side Midtjylland. “My players need to take note of last night and make sure we deal with our second leg much better,” said $tevie Mbe, whose side lead 4-2, in the wake of a Queen’s Celtic’s exit that will have put a spring in the step of all O’Rangers supporters.
In other Euro Vase news, Aberdeen are 2-0 down and facing an uphill task if they are to avoid being eliminated the competition by Rijeka, from – Fiver consults Wikipedia – the Croatian port city of the same name on Kvarner Bay in the northern Adriatic Sea. And finally, in Wales, they’ll once again be dancing on the streets of Total Network Solutions, if The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club can somehow manage to overturn a 5-0 deficit against Ludogorets.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Barcelona don’t need Neymar. Where is he going to play? He would be a bomb inside the locker room. The Barça fans were hurt by how he left. They will not forgive him” – no, Hristo Stoichkov, tell us how you really feel about Neymar’s potential return to Barcelona.
QUOTE OF THE DAY II
“He’s like an empty crisp packet in the park, flying around all over the place” – Chelsea and Republic O’Ireland legend Tony O’Cascarino offers N’Golo Kanté some poetic praise.
Head this way for Football Weekly Extraaaaaa, where Max and Barry are joined by Jacob Steinberg, plus former Jamaican international and prominent podder Marcus Bean. Get it in your ears!
“While I’m as pleased for Adrián as any Liverpool fan, I can’t help thinking that his widespread description as a ‘penalty hero’ is a bit excessive, given he only stopped one in six (and sort-of gave one away). Still, this new 16.67% benchmark for heroic achievement is going to come in very handy during my next work appraisal” – Tim Woods.
“Noble Francis’ letter about The Queen’s Celtic (not to be confused with any of his other letters) actually did make me smile, which is quite something as I’m a Queen’s Celtic fan, so let me explain. His mention of the 2010 defeat to Portugal’s Sporting Braga created quite a bit of mirth from the Spaniards in the office. You see, braga means pants in Spanish. Rather ironic, considering it was Celtic who were pants” – Paul Dixon.
“Frank Lampard’s Chelsea’s Frank Lampard can be well pleased with his youngsters despite losing on penalties in Istanbul. But surely it was Frank Lampard’s Chelsea pensioners who stole the show. Old, creaky N’Golo Kanté and ageing wrinkly Jorginho were the stars of Big Pot. Might I suggest a comeback for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea’s Frank Lampard?” – Mark McFadden.
“The Queen’s Celtic must have thought their Big Cup fixture was a repeat of the old radio standby, ‘I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Cluj’” – Nick Adams.
Today’s winner of our letter o’the day prize is … Paul Dixon, who wins a copy of 50 Years of Shoot! We have more to give away, so get scribbling.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Sol Campbell and Macclesfield have mutually agreed that the former England defender be assisted through the door marked Do One. In other news, the League Two club are skint and facing a winding-up petition.
USA! USA!! USA!!! superstar Megan Rapinoe has hit back after equal pay talks stalled. “We show up for a game, if we win or lose we want to be paid equally, period,” Rapinoe told Good Morning America.
Things that probably won’t happen dept: Bury South MP Ivan Lewis has called on Manchester United and City to “step up to the plate” and help the crisis-hit club, who have had another League One game suspended by the EFL.
QPR are demanding strong action from Uefa after their U18s were subjected to racist abuse during a friendly in Spain. The Andalusían football federation have opened an investigation.
Meanwhile, Kick It Out has urged social media companies to clamp down after Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham was subjected to racial abuse on Twitter.
Conor Coady might have a touch of carpal tunnel after writing to all 48 Wolves fans who travelled to Armenia last week to watch their side romp to Euro Vase victory.
Flamin’ Newcastle Jets winger Joe Champness is taking a break from bothering A-League touchlines to focus on his hip-hop career. “He’s made inroads in the business and the opportunity to chase those dreams is one that’s too big for him to pass up,” smirked a Newcastle suit.
And Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac are reportedly back in Arsenal training after their recent security scares.
Colombian tyro Anderson Díaz bobs and weaves like a Tin-addled Weird Uncle Fiver, before adding the playground finish. Get it in your retinas.
STILL WANT MORE?
Turkish Super Lig previews: we got ‘em. And Emre Sarigul reckons the title race will go to the wire again.
Premier League footballers are more woke than ever before, writes Big Paper’s Toby Moses.
Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kanté gave Frank Lampard’s Chelsea reason to chin up after their narrow Super Pot loss, writes Andy Hunter.
USA! USA!! USA!!!’s Alex Morgan thinks the country’s development model is broken, though MLS suits disagree. Who’s right? Steve Brenner discusses.
Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!