It is starting to make sense, all in all. Liverpool players are obviously paid some kind of ‘entertainment bonus’ following another thriller in the Champions League.
What else could explain the match against Roma? The routine between Lovren and Milner takes years to practice and perfect so it is only reasonable that they get some extra cash for pulling it off on the biggest stage. And clearly, the fans were starting to get bored in the last ten minutes with it being clear Liverpool were easing through to the Final in Kyiv. So it was necessary for Ragnar Klavan to enter the game and give away the penalty that added just a smidgen more drama to things.
Whisper it quietly, but what if the linesman hadn’t got that offside wrong and Karius had given away the penalty and been sent off? That would have made things very interesting indeed.
All joking aside, the way Liverpool have performed en-route to their next European final suggests that Real Madrid’s defence could have something to worry about. Equally, Ronaldo and Benzema are already salivating at the thought of doubling up on Dejan Lovren. The 26th May will be a special night for sure.
Transfer chitter-chatter is picking up pace now as the footballing media have little else to speculate as the season draws to an end and England haven’t started ballsing up the World Cup just yet. Chelsea look like they will be operating a “one you have heard of, one you haven’t heard of” transfer policy this summer. Having been linked to Manchester United’s Anthony Martial yesterday (he’s the one you have heard of), they are now thought to be in the market for Bayer Leverkusen right-back Benjamin Henrichs (the one you haven’t heard of unless you are some kind of Bundesliga loving hipster). Henrichs is highly-rated, of course he is, and has a Germany cap at the age of 21.
It won’t just be players coming in the via the revolving door at Cobham, some well-known names will be heading out with “permanent deal” tattooed to their foreheads to avoid any more unfortunate loan deals. David Luiz, lurking in the shadows of the Chelsea bench, is going to head to Serie A where the pace probably suits him a bit more now. Jose Mourinho is hot for Willian because he cannot have too many hard-working, functional and very occasionally spectacular midfielders around the place. It has been finally confirmed that Danny Drinkwater was made to look good by N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy at Leicester so he will be sold to anyone foolish enough to give Chelsea their money back (Everton). Michy Batshuyai, Kurt Zouma and Lucas Piazon are all out on loan, naturally, but will be sold at the earliest opportunity.
The aforementioned Jose Mourinho also has a nice long list of players he’d rather not to have to bother coaching. Quickly draw up your own and let’s see how many you got. Danny Blind? Yes, Jose wants shot of him. Matteo Darmian too, and there won’t be many complaints on that one. Eric Bailly? Well, we didn’t see that one coming as decent centre-backs are in short supply at Carrington but hey, Jose probably noticed he didn’t track back once or something.
The managerial merry-go-round is just being oiled up ready to get going as soon as the season ends. Of course, we have the first vacancy waiting to be filled but that is looking likely to be taken by someone either currently unemployed or someone who has never managed a team before in his life (or, reading further, by someone in MLS so that doesn’t really count either). Luis Enrique is still everyone other than the Arsenal financial department’s first choice but the former Barcelona manager is believed to be asking for a little too much dough to return to a dugout. The rumours about Zelijko Buvac are still hanging around like a bad smell but nobody is really falling for that one. Does that make the last men standing Mikael Arteta and Patrick Vieira?
Rafa Benitez is having more ‘talks’ with Newcastle United about his future as rumours start to build that he could be off to Napoli. With the Naples dream of winning Serie A crashing and burning their coach Maurizio Sarri could well feel he has done as much as he can – a thought process that would alert Chelsea.
See, dominos just waiting to fall.