SWANNY'S WORLD OF SPORT: Blame Klopp not Karius for the latest Liverpool failure
For a couple of weeks I was reading Mo Salah was better than Lionel Messi, Jordan Henderson was as good as Steven Gerrard, and should be skippering England at the World Cup, and Virgil van Dijk was the new Alan Hansen.
Luckily no-one tried to compare goalkeeper Loris Karius with Gordon Banks. Even one-eyed Liverpool fans presumably realised that was a step too far.
But the problem with over-confidence caused by too much unwarranted hype is the defeat that often follows feels so much worse.
As I said last week, Liverpool were the fourth best team in England last season. They haven’t won anything since 2012 and nothing at all in two seasons under Jurgen Klopp. Not even a Premier League game against a terrible Manchester United side.
At best they are a work in progress. They should have approached last weekend’s Champions League final as humble underdogs. After all Klopp is always an underdog in a final. That’s six in a row he’s managed to lose. Instead, backed by an absurdly partisan press, defeat appeared to be unthinkable.
Naturally Reds’ fans blamed the admittedly sly nature of shifty Sergio Ramos for their loss after his tangle with Salah led to the striker’s departure, as well as the uselessness of their goalkeeper, when the blame really was pretty much all Klopp’s
He’s had two years to find a decent ‘keeper for a start. He also shouldn’t have come into a game as big as this against a team with Real Madrid’s nous without a plan B. Liverpool were hopeless when their main man left the game.
But Klopp’s magnetic personality seems to have earned him another free pass. I suspect the biggest names on the biggest papers in my profession are kind to articulate England coach Gareth Southgate because he gives a grand press conference.
And Klopp is treated with great deference, possibly because of his undoubted charisma and the exciting nature of his team.
I’m used to the gruesome cheerleading of the BBC commentators and pundits when the Olympics come around, but I don’t expect it from our national newspaper people.
Some great writers lost leave of their senses in the aftermath of Kiev presenting judgements on the Ramos/Salah incident as fact by portraying the Real captain as some sort of evil genius with Bruce Lee qualities capable of dislocating a shoulder with a crafty manoeuvre. The reality is we’re all guessing at the Spaniard’s intentions, but I’m happy to take the word of Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard over bias journalists by accepting it as a footballing accident.
I really want Liverpool to win things under Klopp. He appears to be a great bloke, but I am yet to be convinced he will ever out-coach Pep Guardiola, or even Jose Mourinho.
I hope I am wrong. The flamboyant deserve to succeed over the pragmatic.