For much of the past few months, you could argue that the British Prime Minister whom Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has most resembled is Boris Johnson. A hugely popular potential saviour who ends up stumbling into one contretemps after another, yet somehow always manages to plough doggedly on to the next.
Lost, amid the sublime composure of £75 million Virgil van Dijk, the fan-pleasing marauding runs of full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson and the promise of Joe Gomez, stands Joel Matip, the forgotten centre-half who may have as big a say in tomorrow’s Champions League Final as any Liverpool star.
The 24th change in top place in the Premier League did not come without the predictable healthy dose of nerve-shredding drama as Mohamed Salah’s 90th minute header forced Toby Alderweireld to turn the ball into his own goal, gifting Liverpool a sorely-needed victory.
Jurgen Klopp was at his snappiest with the Anfield press corps when it was suggested before this match that an exit from the Champions League against Bayern Munich would only boost their chances of winning a first domestic title in 29 years. He said the suggestion was mad. Now we will see if the energetic German coach is right.
Unai Emery has set a mean stall out. On Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Singapore, the team coach drove by the hotel from the airport and straight to the training ground. A signal of intent to his new players, perhaps, and certainly an instant contribution to the ‘narrative’.
Luckily for Manchester City, the bloated Champions League format means that opening group games can hardly be regarded as critically important, never mind ‘must win’, but even if the competition couldn’t ever hope to hit the ground running the way the World Cup did in Russia, this week’s action did see some of football’s global superstars exhibiting varying degrees of luminosity — from dull to blinding — in their attempts to twist again like they did last summer.