Liverpool will be dismayed after ‘nervous’ referee forced to ‘abandon’ silence against Ajax

·6-min read
Liverpool pay their respect with a moment's silence Credit: PA Images
Liverpool pay their respect with a moment's silence Credit: PA Images

Even in light of a Champions League win over Ajax, Liverpool must be frustrated after the ‘nervous’ referee ‘abandoned’ the moment’s silence.


Silence treatment
After Tuesday’s wildly irresponsible promise regarding the behaviour of 50,000 football supporters, Martin Samuel is back in the Daily Mail on match reporting duties at Anfield.

It just so happens that Liverpool pretty much held up their end of the bargain and so presumably Samuel can briefly mention it and move on. After all, what more can really be said about a moment of silence during which the vast majority were momentarily silent?

Well you know it’s going to be good when Samuel breaks off from his article for ‘a brief digression’. One which, it should be noted, lasts for nine paragraphs. Like all good asides.

‘Those of us who felt that Liverpool’s supporters would rise to the occasion of the minute devoted to the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will feel largely vindicated because the overwhelming majority of the 54,000 present did exactly that,’ he writes.

‘There was no mass chorus of boos, no wide demonstration of dissent.’

So why are we still on the subject?

That would be because ‘the odd voice’ could be heard, then ‘more noise’ was generated by those attempting to quieten the dissenters, and so referee Artur Dias ‘grew nervous and blew his whistle early, just 24 seconds in’.

‘For Liverpool, the club, that would have been disappointing. For the majority of supporters, too.’

Except no such thing happened. It wasn’t a minute’s silence. It was very specifically referred to as “a moment’s silence” over the Anfield PA system and the referee treated it precisely as such. To suggest he ‘grew nervous and blew his whistle early’ is utter nonsense and paints him in a bad light, never mind the fans.

Samuel was in the stadium. He heard the message describing it as “a moment’s silence”. He ignored that. He then made a well-observed period of reflection an ultimately negative focus of his match report and it really does feel like that was the hope and aim all along.

‘For Liverpool, the club, that would have been disappointing’ more than anything else.


One moment, please
It turns out that all chief sports writers suffer from selective hearing because this was Oliver Brown’s take in the Daily Telegraph:

‘Abandoned’? Christ.

The best bit is when Brown refers to ‘the moment’ at the end of his tweet, having seemingly subconsciously heard the message over the tannoy before just deciding to plough on with calling it a ‘minute’s silence’ anyway. Oh so fucking close.


Dog whistle
How might a journalist working for a newspaper which has been justly ostracised on Merseyside describe the situation at Anfield?

Charlie Wyett of The Sun is here with the answer:

‘It was only a minority of fans who spoiled it but they were noisy enough for Portuguese official Artur Dias to blow his whistle after just 25 seconds.’

It’s wild how easily the nation’s best-selling newspaper propagates a damaging misrepresentation of the truth.

The moment of silence – again, announced exactly as such – that Manchester United held before their Europa League game against Real Sociedad lasted a few more seconds but still not close to a minute. Because it wasn’t a minute’s silence. And nor was Liverpool’s. This really is all pretty pathetic.


Engine, engine, number nine
Over at the Daily Mirror, David Maddock reckons Liverpool ‘finally jolted into top gear’ and ‘chief mechanic Jurgen Klopp will take much heart from the fact that his side’s engine finally seems to be running sweetly again’.

This same team lost 4-1 to Napoli in what Klopp called “the worst game since I’ve been here” six days before. Could be worth waiting a bit longer before declaring they’re back.


Darwin’s theory
Maddock also writes, of Liverpool’s poor finishing:

‘That even extended to a terrible late miss from substitute Darwin Nunez, an £85million summer signing don’t forget, who dragged wide of virtually an open goal after some delicate work from Mohamed Salah, who saw a shot deflected onto the bar soon after.’

Oh Mediawatch won’t forget how you wrote the following in June:

‘With Nunez, Liverpool would have that fluidity, but with one extra ingredient – a more clinical goalscoring talent. He can play on the left, he can track back, he can drop into the false nine and create, but what he can do without question, is find the net. 34 goals for Benfica testify to that.’

One goal for Liverpool less so.

‘And perhaps that is why Klopp is hoping to essentially exchange Senegal forward Mane for Nunez for very little money, net. A 30-year-old wide player with a good scoring record, replaced by a 22-year-old with a better one.’

Liverpool signed Nunez for up to £85m and sold Mane for up to £35m. In other words: ‘Very little money, net.’

‘Like Manchester City with Erling Haaland, Klopp is perhaps thinking he needs a final piece of the jigsaw, that goalscorer to win the tightest of games. But unlike Haaland, Nunez won’t disrupt his system.’

It was a bizarre thing to write then and three months’ worth of hindsight has not been kind.


Hey, Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold will find it ‘DIFFICULT’ to start for England at the World Cup, says Rio Ferdinand after Ajax error,’ screams part of a MailOnline headline not particularly worth repeating in full.

Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard have both started more England games under Gareth Southgate than Trent Alexander-Arnold; Danny Rose has more caps in that time. Alexander-Arnold’s solitary appearance at a major international tournament was in a dead-rubber defeat to Belgium at the 2018 World Cup.

Is it absolutely necessary to put ‘DIFFICULT’ in shocked capital letters for an opinion that is not only perfectly reasonable but widely accepted to be true and entirely backed up by mounting evidence?


Nag’s head
‘Julian Nagelsmann expresses Sadio Mane concern after taking him off against Barcelona’ is one intriguing headline on the Daily Mirror website.

The 30-year-old wide player with a good scoring record has five goals in 10 games for his new club so what might this ‘concern’ be?

“He put in so much for Liverpool. He’s a new signing. He just needs to adapt. He was trying. I’m certain he will succeed for us.”

Nagelsmann really does sound remarkably worried.


Let’s talk about Sesk
‘Can Chelsea tame the new Erling Haaland?’ asks the MailOnline, discussing Benjamin Sesko.

The Salzburg striker has 17 goals in 62 senior top-flight games for club and country.

By the same age (19 years, 3 months, 14 days), Haaland had scored 43 goals in 73 games for club and country, including five hat-tricks, one of which was in the Champions League.

One of those things is not like the other.


Graham crackers
‘Graham Potter admits he has never even been to a Champions League clash ahead of first Chelsea game against RB Salzburg’ – The Sun website.

That’s quite the confession. And how bizarre that a former York City and Macclesfield Town left-back whose coaching career has taken him from Ghana women to Leeds Carnegie, Ostersunds, Swansea and Brighton might not yet have attended a Champions League game live.

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