Modern football has a Klondike, grasping fever

Big clubs get no sympathy, nor should they.

Modern football has a Klondike, grasping fever

Can’t put in two great performances in three days? Why the hell not? You’ve got money to buy everyone else’s players and have massive squads, haven’t you? Get a grip.

As you age you begin to feel less football’s a blessing. Those in charge clearly believe otherwise.

Never mind the physical strain on footballers; they can rub their exhausted limbs with banknotes, apparently.

Massage that hamstring with your Platinum card and all’s well. It’s a wonder we need doctors at all. The game’s run for money obviously, what we think is of no consequence. Was it ever?

This time last year Liverpool won a tight, exhausting game against Man City. Two days later they schlepped up to Sunderland to face the worst side in the division and chucked away two points.

No reasonable person admonished them. David Moyes was there then but you couldn’t even get stroppy about that.

Capitalism is about choice, nobody’s forcing you so we’ve only ourselves to blame. A club like Liverpool has millions of fans all over the world. A percentage of them want to go to one game a year and make a holiday of it.

People ask how long it’ll take for this bubble to burst but do the maths; this cash cow will be milked eternally.

Even managers don’t know when to quit. Clearly Salah needed a break sometime but the kind of run he’s on? Giving him a rest was like cutting your throat.

He limps off against Leicester and you fear the worst. They’re saying he’ll face Everton, I’m not so sure.

If you gave Klopp extra rest days, he’d probably go heavy metal plus and crank the gegenpress up to 11 anyway.

Burnley was Liverpool’s ninth game in 30 days. It’s mindless. Modern football has a Klondike, grasping fever; a swarm of chancers and prospectors mining the motherlode dry.

You have to distance yourself from it all to stay sane. That gets trickier if your team’s doing well, the danger of losing your place in the queue too easily exploited.

Is it nicer to follow a less prominent club? Some Reds I know gave up completely, opting for an FC United-style return to ‘the old days’ while watching a distinctly amateur brand of football. It’s not for me, but you can see the appeal.

Dyche isn’t Moyes; he’s got a team that draws at Anfield and Old Trafford, even wins at Stamford Bridge, so any performance Klopp could conjure up from his weary warriors was a bonus.

They’ll claim Burnley had a similar schedule but work-rate’s their raison d’etre. When you demand more of your players than sweat, that’s when it can get a bit tricky.

Fab Four became Fab One, and he’s been struggling. Mane looked a bit grumpy first half, unhappy being the expendable one perhaps.

When, after 45 minutes, you can only cite a Lawrenson-esque tackle from Lallana as a highlight, you stop worrying when the end comes — you just hope it’s swift, painless.

It was a better second.

Mane got two goals on Saturday, both disallowed, and an assist for Salah.

His peach of a finish here might be exactly what he needs, but he still got subbed.

Bit of a weird one (Solanke wasn’t great) but presumably there’s fitness issues we can’t know about.

Trust Liverpool to chuck the lead away at the end, but then, like a late Christmas miracle, they snatched it back again.

It’s a stumbling, angry way to get three points but they’re priceless. The solution’s tough.

Does he want van Dijk to spread his knowledge, particularly to Gomez who keeps falling asleep at vital moments? Up to now it doesn’t really look like Klopp has any defensive answers of his own.

OK, OK, six points from two awkward fixtures. Yes, I’m delighted. Yes, I can rain on any parade — but you knew that already.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox