Viet Nam News
by Paul Kennedy
Now it’s time to get down to business. The domestic leagues around Europe kick off in few weeks’ time and my eyes will be firmly focused on all things Premier League.
Clubs in England have been splashing the cash like there’s no tomorrow. And this year’s big spenders, so far, have been my team, Liverpool.
Including the acquisition of Virgil van Dijk (£75m) and Naby Keita (£54m) back in January, Liverpool have so far spent a small fortune in 2018, adding Fabinho (£40.5m), Xherdan Shaqiri (£13m) and Alisson (£67m) to their squad.
That’s a total of £250m or VNĐ7.6 trillion.
So what does that mean for a team that finished fourth last season and haven’t won a major trophy in far too many years? Is it all or bust for manager Jurgen Klopp? If he doesn’t bring silverware back to Anfield come May, will Klopp get the chop?
Many feel this is last chance saloon for the German who has gone all out with his spending this time around and I’m reading comments and hearing lots of noise from rival fans saying the same thing.
I don’t agree. Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho for £146m in January and made an estimated £70m by reaching the Champions League final.
The new arrivals will mean a clear-out of Liverpool’s current squad and with the expected departure of a few strikers, a goalkeeper or two and other deadwood lying around, this year’s LFC spend isn’t so shocking anymore.
Personally I think Liverpool will win the league this season. Granted I’ve been saying that since around 1995 and the words on the lips of every Reds’ fan since as long as I can remember have been “next year will be our year”.
Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But one thing that is an absolute nailed on certainty is the knives will be out for Jurgen Klopp each and every time Liverpool don’t win.
Same old Jose
Manchester United have also spent a fair few quid this time around, but buttons compared to their Northwest rivals. And already manager Jose Mourinho is back to his old tricks, excuses.
He is fast becoming the most miserable man in world football. At a press conference last week he was bemoaning his team’s current situation like a spoilt child who didn’t get the action figure he really wanted on Christmas morning.
"I’m worried because I’m not training and then I go to the Premier League without lots of players,” he said.
"The preseason is very bad,” he added.
At one point, he actually said: “Everything is very bad.”
Now I like Jose. Always have done. He’s cool, a proven winner and entertaining. But after what was a pretty poor season last, finishing 19 points behind Manchester City, maybe Jose isn’t getting the financial support he craves from the board and sees the writing on the wall already.
Fit as a fiddle
The results of Christiano Ronaldo’s medical for Juventus were released this week and raised a few eyebrows.
It revealed the 33-year-old was basically as fit as a man aged just 20. His total body fat is 7 per cent and has a muscle mass of 50 per cent. In Russia, he recorded the fastest sprint 33.98mph. Not bad for a man considered by many in the twilight of his career.
Ronaldo will go on and on and will be a great addition to the Italian league.
We are all human!
Finally I’d like to thank Anastassia Goloubeve for pointing out the error of my ways. Last week I turned into ‘statto’ to reveal some interesting facts and figures from the World Cup. But I clearly become so bogged down in the numbers I got one wrong. I said the only goalless draw of the competition was between Denmark and Russia. It was Denmark and France. Thanks Anastassia.
Now where is my dunce hat? — VNS