We make no secret in Today’s Tales that we are fans of Jurgen Klopp. Not of Liverpool, of Klopp. He, along with Conte, has added a fair bit to the Premier League circus and we like him for that. We like him a lot. We like him even more for saying to the 4th official, after Costa missed his penalty on Tuesday night, that “nobody can beat us, nobody!” Now, Jurgen. I am not sure if anyone explained the rules to you, but when the opposition score more goals than you, they have officially beaten you. For example, Swansea beat you. Southampton beat you. Wolves beat you. Hell, if Plymouth had ventured out of their own half at Anfield, they might have beaten you too. It is fair to say that so far in 2017, anybody could beat you.
One of the main sponsors of the Champions League which, incredibly, is an even bigger circus than the Premier League, would like more of the matches to be on free-to-air TV. I love the world Heineken lives in, thinking that UEFA will turn down some massive TV revenue to let the poor man see Real Madrid entertain Manchester United or something like that. Face facts you beer makers. The Champions League isn’t even for champions. UEFA don’t care about the guy who cannot afford Sky or BT. No, they are interested in making more and more money which they will share with the clubs that already have most of the money. Of course, those clubs will give some of that money back to the fans by reducing ticket prices. Only kidding. That said Mr Heineken, would you like your product to be more readily available in those free-to-drink pubs? No, thought not.
All this chat is purely to distract from the fact that there were only three Premier League matches last night and not a great deal to report from any of them. Of course it was lovely to see the Robot wheeled out, sprayed with WD40 and given a bit of a kick to get it moving. Peter Crouch netted his 100th Premier League goal against Everton and it was the first goal Everton have conceded in 2017. On hearing the second stat I did have to check to see if Everton had played since New Year’s Eve and it turns out they’ve been doing alright. Who saw that coming? On a sidenote about Everton, has anyone else noticed that their current flavour of the month, Tom Davies, seems to have modelled his hair on Hunter from the 90′ TV show Gladiators? Whilst everyone was mulling that over Everton got themselves level.
West Ham welcomed Manchester City with some true West Ham hospitality. The pre-match talk was focused on Jose Fonte making his Hammers debut to sort out that defence and Pep finally noticing that Bravo is not all that in goal. There was also a first start for Gabriel Jesus. It’s safe to say that the blame for City’s problems can be firmly laid at the door of Claudio and Sergio and that Fonte might be regretting walking away from the chance to lead Southampton out at Wembley. Losing 4-0 on your home debut and giving away a penalty is not the stuff dreams are made of. However, I imagine the much bigger wage packet softened the blow. Pep must wish he could play away at the London Stadium every week.
One goalkeeper having the game of his life at Old Trafford is understandable. Two, still believable. Three, four, five? Someone needs to suggest that United aren’t that good at finishing. If you cannot find a way past Stoke, Burnley or Hull at home then it’s hard to make a case for United finishing in the top four no matter how ajar Arsenal and Liverpool are leaving the door. Juan Mata is possibly the worst finisher from a yard out that the world has ever seen, Zlatan was clearly modelling his statue and Pogba must have still been learning a new dance with Lingard. Hull nearly stole it right at the end, Markovic hitting the post. I’m looking forward to reading the papers and learning who got the blame for this one. Probably Anthony Martial.