After a week dominated by rubbish beach-ball puns, Liverpool were universally declared to have bounced back
with their 2-0 win against Manchester United yesterday.
United, inevitably, were flat, and everyone agreed the
result breathed new life into the title race. Based on ED's
childhood experience of beach balls, the best metaphor it can come up with is
to say it was blown away.
Following the hilarity of Darren Bent's
deflected goal for Sunderland, the travelling
fans released a barrage of inflatables onto the Anfield pitch before kick-off.
But, showing a surprising and welcome capacity to laugh at
themselves, Liverpool supporters chucked just
as many beach balls out of the Kop, just making the whole thing faintly absurd
and defusing the situation nicely.
It was a pleasingly good-natured outcome in view of the po-faced
warning that stewards would be armed with safety pins to burst any outside
On Sunday morning Callum Campbell, the teenager who threw
the original beach ball at Sunderland, and the only rival to Vernon Kay* and Nick
Griffin for the title of 'Britain's most loathed man',
made a heartfelt apology in the Sunday Mirror.
The last week had been a living hell, he said, revealing he
had seen death threats against him on the internet.
matter. Well, not until you discover what one of them said: "I'm not only going to stab you, but mince you up and
make curry out of it."
Not sure about a curry with minced meat in it. Early
Doors suggests he might be better off making a keema naan.
Hopefully the remorseful young Campbell will now be off the (butcher's) hook after a fine performance to lift spirits at
If United fans were in party mood before the game, their
good humour quickly subsided during a truly woeful display in which they hardly
mustered a goal attempt worthy of the name.
When Liverpool won 4-1 at
Old Trafford last season, Andrea Dossena capped it off by lobbing Edwin van der
Sar from long range.
ED wondered if anything could be more embarrassing for
United, and yesterday came confirmation that, yes, humiliation could get even
more acute - a David Ngog goal assisted by Lucas Leiva.
The concern for Liverpool
fans is that the goal might buy the pair another handful of first-team appearances.
Immediately, United have taken Liverpool's 'crisis
club' mantle, and all the questions
posed of Rafa Benitez's side now
apply to Alex Ferguson's men.
The former defensive colossus who looks a shadow of his old
self? Before: Jamie Carragher. After: Rio
The underperforming midfielder loathed by all but the man
picking the team? Before: Lucas. After: Nani.
The inspirational scouser on whom his team are worryingly
reliant? Before: Steven Gerrard. After: Wayne Rooney.
Fergie took the setback with typical good grace, of
Just days after copping an FA charge for his criticism of
Alan Wiley, he laid into another ref - this time Andre Marriner.
Fergie accused Marriner of making several "bad
decisions" and allowing the occasion to get to him.
He will probably escape further censure by using a rhetorical
question: "Whether he had enough experience or not, I don't know." ED suspects he knows.
primary beef was with Marriner's
failure to show Jamie Carragher a red card for his rugby tackle on Michael
For his part Carragher said Marriner was right to show
him just a yellow for hauling down his great mate Mikey.
Carra said: "Do I think I should have been sent off? No. I didn't know it was Michael, but you just have to do what
you can to stop him going through."
Er, isn't that almost the
precise definition of a professional foul?
Still, ED wouldn't have sent
Carragher off either. You need to deny the opposition a clear goalscoring
opportunity to deserve a red card; the way Owen played, the only thing
Carragher prevented was a Liverpool goal kick.
You suspect that if Carragher had known it was Owen, he wouldn't have gone to the trouble of bringing him down,
and would have just shown him goalwards.
Every Owen conversation comes back to his chances of playing for England again.
But on current form (and by 'current' ED means 'since
2005') there is hardly an English
striker in the Premier League ED wouldn't
rather have at the World Cup.
Kevin Davies? Certainly. Zavon Hines? Why not? Even Craig Fagan looks like
a more attractive option at this point.
*Kay was roundly booed at Wembley last night after being introduced as an 'honorary'
captain of the appropriately atrocious Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The jeering
exceeded that directed at John Terry when he led out the New York Giants in
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It was a horrific miss and it was a pity
because he played so well. Unfortunately people who watch on the TV will see
the miss and they won't see the 96
minutes and 45 seconds in which he was absolutely magnificent. Really it should
have been seen as the crowning moment of a great performance but instead it is
going to be seen as a glaring miss and a blot on his copybook which is sad for
him." Roy Hodgson tries to make Bobby Zamora feel better about squandering an
open goal. And fails.
FOREIGN VIEW: Sao Paulo
goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni scored with a free-kick before being sent off in an
electrifying 4-3 victory over Santos
in the Brazilian championship.
Rogerio Ceni, the world's
highest-scoring keeper with 84 goals, scored Sao Paulo's winner in the 69th minute of the match at Santos, finding the net
for the first time in a year.
He was sent off 11 minutes from time for a
foul outside his area on Santos
striker Jean who was heading unmarked for goal. Santos,
coached by former Brazil
and Real Madrid trainer Vanderlei Luxemburgo, twice took the lead in the first
half with headed goals by Andre and Rodrigo Souto from corners.
Midfielder Hernanes, with a free kick, and Washington equalised to
leave the score 2-2 at halftime.
Jorge Wagner put Sao
Paulo ahead on the hour and substitute Robson headed Santos level in the 67th,
two minutes before Rogerio Ceni's
COMING UP: Brace yourself
for the usual staggeringly comprehensive weekend review, plus a podcast at some
point in the next 36 hours. And later on we've
got live comments and scoring on Reading v Leicester.