In a genuinely chilling development, it appears as though the world of Trumpian politics is beginning to bleed into the football sphere. Following his team’s aggregate victory in the EFL Cup semi-final last night, an increasingly creepy looking Jose Mourinho refused to acknowledge the reality that Manchester United had just lost the second leg 2-1.
Sporting a buzz-cut that only added to his unnerving appearance, the sullen Portuguese eye-gouger presented an “alternative fact” to the assembled hacks. The score, you see, was actually 1-1 because the Manc overlord “didn’t see” the penalty Hull scored. Now, this presents a potentially terrifying vista of a dystopian future in which Mou simply reimagines reality in his image. Someone get us Elon Musk’s number because Latest News wants off a planet where such ghoulish things are possible.
Back in the more prosaic world in which most of us exist, Steven Gerrard has been talking about his reunion with Liverpool FC and the nature of his new coaching role with the club. The timing of his return has coincided with an unfortunate slide in the team’s results and performances, a fact not unnoticed by one or two Reds-watchers of this scribbler’s acquaintance. Let’s hope Jose isn’t trying out his new powers on his most detested rivals.
The man who held aloft the greatest trophy in world football some 12 years ago is clearly delighted to be back in the bosom of his Merseyside people but was keen to point out the decision was not a sentimental one. As one would expect from a man who has always seemed to wear his existential angst so openly, he admits to being “a little bit nervous and a little bit anxious” about taking on his new role as he works towards his UEFA A licence with Liverpool’s youngsters.
“Liverpool are prepared to help me an awful lot. They want to help me to become a better coach or a better manager,” the former captain told BBC Sport. “But at the same time, I’ve got to commit to it and put in the hard work. With me and Liverpool there will always be an emotional pull. But the decision to go back as a coach and what that entails, I couldn’t really make that decision on sentiment or emotion because I’d have been doing it for the wrong reasons.
“There’s no rush, no timescale. The silly thing for me would be to rush and go in when I’m not ready. I’ve got incredible people around me and hopefully, in the future, there’ll be some exciting opportunities. I’ve a lot of dreams and aspirations to be the best I can be in terms of coaching and management – but we’ll have to wait and see if I’m going to be good enough.”
Understandably, Gerrard was quizzed on the aforementioned recent decline in Liverpool’s fortunes. Displaying characteristic wariness, the man with the smallest forehead in football sounded a cautiously hopeful note but remained resolutely behind Jürgen Klopp, when a vocal minority have embarrassed themselves with excessive criticism.
“I hope it’s just a blip,” offered the Huyton man. “I’ve experienced it myself and blips are difficult to play your way out of, but I believe we’ve got the talent and personnel to do it. We’ve been one of the most exciting teams to watch [during Klopp’s time in charge]. There’s a bit of a sticky patch the past three or four weeks – but I’m absolutely delighted he’s our manager.”
All sane supporters of the Redmen are “absolutely delighted” to have the German at the helm but it’s good to have Gerrard back. He simply gets it.