Ronnie Whelan: Charmed Jurgen Klopp survives another weekend of awful football
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THERE wasn’t one bit of the whole weekend of football that didn’t disappoint me. With big stakes in play, it should have been packed with stories.
From the bottom up, I saw some truly terrible football but from the whole sorry mess, my biggest irritation was with Hull.
I saw lads on the pitch against relegated Sunderland who barely moved a leg for their club. How is it possible that there are not 20 players from these islands better than the people Hull are buying?
I saw football which was well below League of Ireland standard and players getting £30,000 or £40,000 for it. Hull are not alone. This now extends right up to the Top Four.
Massive salaries don’t buy you much these days and watch what happens this summer with all the broadcast deal money sloshing around the Premier League.
Another layer of ordinary players with foreign names will be added to the pie and the football will get worse.
Jose Mourinho sent out a ‘B’ team against Arsenal and got a kicking from a team with no backbone. He obviously thought that he could not get three points from this fixture even if he put out his full team.
The United squad has many players who are not at the required standard and I’m red in the face pointing out the same weakness at Anfield.
My fear that we would have to watch Liverpool through our fingers for the rest of the season has proven unfortunately accurate and more points were shed with a whimper yesterday.
The game against Southampton was awful. The basic standard was unacceptable and Liverpool are now relying on circumstances and Mourinho’s relentless pursuit of the Europa League to get them over the line.
Klopp is leading a charmed life and every time his team makes a mistake, rival clubs do the same but he cannot longer rely on Manchester City to do that any more and Spurs will be focusing very firmly on staying second now that they seem to have blown the title chase.
Realistically, we are talking about fourth place for Klopp and his players and if Mourinho had focused on the Premier League instead of the Europa League, I think Liverpool would be in big trouble by now and probably behind United in the table.
Just about everyone successfully predicted that Liverpool would be vulnerable to ordinary teams and would slip-up, Mourinho must surely be kicking himself.
Mourinho needs the Europa League and so he played six across the back against Arsenal and started Wayne Rooney.
He will break the Old Trafford bank this summer and he needs the Champions League to make everything happen – notably Antoine Griezmann.
Big clubs can afford to do things like this and virtually sacrifice a season to come back stronger. Look at Chelsea.
But I don’t accept Mourinho’s argument that United have had a good season.
They won a Cup that Alex Ferguson used to give to his reservists and are likely to reach the final of another without playing a decent team along the way.