TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Liverpool are doomed
This is going terribly, even by Liverpool’s standards from the nineties and noughties. Virgil van Dijk has fallen. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson now have to defend, and can’t really. Mohamed Salah has fewer league goals than Philip Billing. Darwin Nunez’s first successful header in the Premier League was on Joachim Andersen’s chin. And to cap it all off, their main shining light this season just went and got himself injured.
How to watch Rangers v Liverpool in the Champions League
AN HOUR AGO
Luis Diaz has been pretty good this season. Not Sadio Mane good, but good nonetheless. He may have only scored four league goals – although that’s still two Salahs in today’s market – but he’s much more than just his goals. An aggressor, never happier than when chasing a lost cause, he was keeping Jurgen Klopp’s pressing machine afloat. Tenacious D, as absolutely zero people were calling him.
Sure people say it every year, but this really was meant to be Liverpool’s year. The last time they narrowly missed out on the title, they went on an absolute rampage the next season until Covid struck. They had Salah, only behind Karim Benzema in the Ballon d’Or rankings, out for revenge and ready to spend six weeks relaxing alongside Diaz while the rest of the world did battle in Qatar. And okay, Manchester City had a fancy new toy, but their manager had already tearfully declared that no one could ever replace the last guy, Sergio Aguero. And even if this gangly Norwegian did click, he would be no match for Darwin Nunez.
All of that means it’s now a bit awkward. Liverpool are in serious danger of being not just out of the title picture, but also out the top-four battle by the time Diaz returns in a fancy new Christmas cardy. At least they can collect themselves with a nice easy game in the league on Sunday against… ah no, it’s Manchester City. Maybe they can get the British act at Eurovision to weave in the Champions League theme next year, in lieu of the real thing?
The Ashley Young effect
Ashley Young has a unique gift of making you forget he ever existed the moment he disappears off screen. Then suddenly he’s back, lining up a strike from the edge of the penalty area on MNF, and your mind darts off to hidden memories of him tearing it up alongside John Carew and taking bird poo straight in the gob.
And then he’s gone again, wiped from your mind completely. Weeks later, your mate pipes up and asks who England’s left-back was at the 2018 World Cup. You swear you know the answer – didn’t he somehow have the Man Utd armband at one stage? – but his face just won’t resurface.
Given the Ashley Young effect, and their performances this season, we wouldn’t rule out Villa joining Forest in the Championship. Honestly, Monday night’s football offering really was that bad.
‘Some dreams come to an end’ – Farewell Enock
The Warm-Up has a confession: we bought ‘shares’ in Enock Mwepu on the ill-fated Football Index while he was at Red Bull Salzburg. Why did we do that? No idea, given it was such a blatant Ponzi scheme, but we do know that at the time, around 2019, we were keeping a suspiciously close eye on Mwepu and his Salzburg team-mate. You’ve probably heard of him, goes by the name of Erling.
“A boy from a small Zambian township called Chambishi has some news to share. He stood strong to follow his dream of playing football at the highest level, and by the grace of God he lived his dream by reaching the Premier League,” said Mwepu on social media.
“Some dreams however come to an end, so it is with sadness that I announce the need to hang up my boots because of the medical advice I have received. This is however not the end of my involvement with football, I plan to stay involved in some capacity.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supported me in my football journey, including my wife and family, my agent 12MAN, the Zambian FA, all my previous clubs, team-mates and coaches, and specially everyone at Brighton & Hove Albion.”
We’re not crying, you are. Oh stuff it, we all are.
IN OTHER NEWS
Ronaldo phone slap, six months on
Given Ronaldo apologised immediately after the incident, tried to make amends with the supporter and has already been cautioned by police, this all feels a bit unnecessary.
Still, it would be mildly amusing if, after spending much of the season on the bench, he was banned just as Erik ten Hag planned to reintegrate him following Anthony Martial’s latest injury.
We interrupt the Warm-Up to bring you this broadcast from Aaron Lennon. It’s important.
IN THE CHANNELS
When we scanned the fixtures ahead of the weekend, Bradford City v Stockport County in League Two didn’t really jump out. But then Yann Songo’o lost his bearings.
Your favourite classical anthem is back in town. Eight Champions League matches for all you sports fans, including Copenhagen v Manchester City (17:45), AC Milan v Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk and PSG v Benfica (all 20:00).
Hello to Man City’s main title challengers, Arsenal Football Club – The Warm-Up
YESTERDAY AT 05:38
Klopp concedes Liverpool ‘not in title race’ after Arsenal loss
YESTERDAY AT 19:18