Victor Lindelof was a solid 6/10, Roy Keane will be recovering from his emotional rollercoaster and Paul Pogba’s Manchester United end nears.
To the Victor go the spoils
Player ratings are a harmlessly fun part of the match reaction fabric that will endure long after the robots take over and that is fine. After all, they always offer some weird takes from people tasked with watching and marking at least 22 different players.
Joshua Jones was assigned that duty by The Sun and his Manchester United grades are suitably scathing at times – 2/10 for Bruno Fernandes – but also weirdly kind. Like this on Victor Lindelof’s performance in a defence that shipped four goals:
‘Was just about the only man in pale blue willing to put a foot in and go through with a heavy challenge.
‘Yes, he gave a few fouls away but at least he was showing signs of passion.’
Definitely sounds like he was their best starter.
War (What is it good for?)
David Maddock writes about ‘the faraway stare of the shellshocked trenchman’ of Manchester United, who were stunned by ‘the noise from the big guns of the Kop’.
He adds that ‘they had been tortured – and that is the correct word – by the sound of small explosions at every turn, all around them’.
‘To continue the war analogy which it surely must have felt like, they were outflanked by a superior general with modern methods.’
After a brief break in which the Daily Mirror writer decided not to write about a football game as if it was a deadly conflict at a time when events around the world make that ill-advised at the very least, Maddock picks up the baton in his penultimate paragraph:
‘Diaz was substituted on 70 minutes. It was to rest him for further battles ahead, but it felt as though Jurgen Klopp had taken pity on his old friend. They had taken enough torture, they could stand no more explosions.’
And we can’t stand any more of that nonsense – and that is the correct word. One line is vaguely forgivable but didn’t everyone quietly, subconsciously and understandably decide that war analogies really don’t belong in football match reports any more, if indeed they ever did?
‘United have arguably grown worse under his management than they were under his predecessor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ – Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail.
They were awful and Ralf Rangnick’s appointment has been a failure but do we really have to pretend that Leicester 4-2 Manchester United didn’t happen? Or Watford 4-1 Manchester United? Or Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City? They have more points per game this season under Rangnick than they did under Solskjaer.
This wasn’t even Manchester United’s heaviest defeat to Liverpool this season. Remind us again who was manager when they were hammered 5-0 at home by the same team in October?
Silence is golden
What happens when no Manchester United player breaks their silence on social media just hours after the game? The MailOnline thankfully have the answer:
‘Nothing to say? Humiliated Man United players (and their PR teams) stay SILENT on social media after Liverpool shocker – resisting the usual ‘vanilla’ platitudes after another inexcusable performance’
The lesson here: there is always a story. And it generally involves scouring Twitter and Instagram. And when the word count of that story needs to be padded out, just copy and paste the messages some players posted after beating Norwich.
Excuse the choice of words, but it does feel a little bit like they can’t win. Of course ‘there has not been a peep from any of the players’ and obviously they ‘did not hesitate to celebrate’ after other games. Perhaps they need a bit more time ‘to emerge from their cloud of shame’ and give a more considered response that will allow you have your cake of mocking their social media output and eat it by sticking it top of your website whether they do or not.
The defeat sent Roy Keane on an emotional rollercoaster, if Giacomo Pisa of The Sun website is to be believed.
His opening paragraph details how Keane unsurprisingly ‘fumed’ at the defeat. No surprises there.
But as early as the third paragraph, we are told that the Sky Sports pundit ‘duly tore into’ his former side, only for it to immediately be revealed that ‘an exasperated Keane admitted he now just felt “sadness” at the continued shocking run of form, rather than anger.’
By the 14th paragraph, ‘his sadness turned to anger as he fumed’.
Three paragraphs later, Keane was again ‘upset’. And three more paragraphs after that, he ‘seethed’ in his assessment.
The poor bloke is confused. Or someone just needs to find more ways of introducing a quote.
The end is nigh
‘It is the beginning of the end for Paul Pogba at Manchester United after latest collision with Jose Mourinho’ – Neil Custis, The Sun, September 25, 2018.
‘Paul Pogba’s Man Utd career is OVER with player and club both desperate to move him on from Old Trafford’ – Neil Custis, The Sun, January 3, 2020.
‘Paul Pogba’s Manchester United career is over. Despite suggestions that a peace deal is being made, both sides want a splitting of the ways’ – Neil Custis, The Sun, March 19, 2020.
‘Man Utd chiefs want Paul Pogba OUT of the club in January transfer after Mino Raiola’s latest outburst’ – Neil Custis, The Sun, December 10, 2020.
‘That could be the end for Paul Pogba at Man Utd after Liverpool, he was a big name, on big money and big disappointment’ – Neil Custis, The Sun, April 20, 2022.
From ‘the beginning of the end’ to ‘could be the end’ in 1,303 incredibly short days. What a journey. See you on November 13, 2025 for what presumably ‘might be the end for Paul Pogba at Manchester United’.
Ask a simple question…
‘Are they the worst side to ever challenge for the Champions League?’ – David Maddock, Daily Mirror.
‘No’ – Mediawatch.