Eric Dier is to blame for Tottenham’s demise, Klopp nearly destroyed the universe and Jordan Pickford’s helping hand to Liverpool – 10 derby day hot takes
1) Jurgen Klopp Lifestyle Coaching
“Live your life like Jurgen Klopp celebrates this goal,” said one twitter user, after Divock Origi scored his freakish 96th-minute winner in the Merseyside derby. Don’t. You’ll be dead by fifty.
The man who bleeds triple espresso sprinted onto the pitch, hugged his goalkeeper, went back to the touchline and duly apologised, as pundits queued up to accuse him of disrespect and others waited to see if this was the moment his blood would achieve critical mass and begin a small nuclear reaction.
2) Make your opponent miserable, not angry
Klopp was at least sensible enough to wait until the 96th-minute before celebrating. When Eric Dier scored Tottenham’s first-half equaliser the “shush” gesture he made incensed the home crowd and Arsenal’s substitutes. Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger in particular, used to visibly sulk after conceding. If Dier had ignored them Arsenal’s players might well have started arguing among themselves and the fans might have turned. Instead he arguably contributed to Arsenal’s furious second-half backlash.
3) Mourinho’s mastery of English humour
Since the Emirates opened in 2006 Spurs have won there just once. According to Opta, since 1992 they have surrendered a whopping 40 points from winning positions against Arsenal, a Premier League record. Despite this, at half-time the former Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp told UK television viewers: “There’s no possible way Tottenham Hotspur lose this match.”
When Jose Mourinho saluted Jamie Redknapp’s “footballing brain” he was demonstrating a grasp of British irony Redknapp has yet to master.
4) Don’t tempt me …
Redknapp’s statement was part of Tottenham’s fate-tempting tradition. In the 2011-12 season Spurs were leading 2-0 at the Emirates when their fans began to sing: “North London is ours.” Arsenal won 5-2, overhauled Spurs’ 10-point lead over Arsenal and stole their place in the Champions League.
In 1987, with Spurs 2-0 ahead on aggregate in a league cup semi-final, the PA announcer at White Hart Lane announced ticket arrangements for the final at half-time. Arsenal scored twice in the second half and won the replay, inspiring this fanzine:
5) There’s no substitute for a tactical substitution …
You can’t really criticise Wenger’s record in North London derbies. In 22 seasons he never lost at Highbury and only once at the Emirates. He was however, notoriously reluctant to make changes before the 70-minute mark and almost never subbed anyone at half-time unless he was either injured, or Christopher Wreh.
At half-time Unai Emery made two match-turning substitutions. Ramsey, one of the subs embroiled in the Dier-inspired ruck replaced Mkhitaryan was key to the revival, while Iwobi made way for Lacazette, who scored Arsenal’s third.
6) Divock Who?
When Jurgen Klopp threw Divock Origi on for Firmino in the 86th minute at Anfield it looked almost like an act of desperation. Origi hadn’t played for Liverpool since August 2017 and yet he ended up a hero because of what might well have been …
7) One of the worst shots of all time
This angle of Virgil van Dijk’s 96th-minute shot reveals the man himself turning away in disgust as the ball shanks off his foot and arcs high into the air. Van Dijk gives up. Everton’s defenders give up. The only person who doesn’t give up is Jordan Pickford who knocks the ball from above his crossbar to the lurking Origi, who deserves credit for following in on the one in a million chance something like this would actually happen.
8) Stand by your man …
Everton manager Marco Silva, admirably, backed his keeper: “All the support I can give to Jordan, I will. He is a very good goalkeeper. He did not expect that situation.”
9) There’s always someone worse off than you …
Tottenham fans who despair of seeing their team ever win at Arsenal can at least console themselves they don’t support Everton, who haven’t won at Anfield since 1999.
10) … Unless you’re Fulham
Who lost today’s other derby 2-0 at Chelsea. Where they haven’t won since October 1979.