“Liverpool have no chance of winning the title this season and I fear the club are going backwards unless drastic changes are made” – Stan Collymore

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “I’m absolutely amazed. It is basic law in football. The goal should just not have stood. The laws of the game state that if there’s an outside interference the game has to be stopped. I am absolutely amazed that for a referee at that level of football, that between him, his assistant, the fourth official, they didn’t see what had happened and give the correct decision. I try to defend referees wherever possible having been there and knowing the problems they face but, on this particular occasion, everybody’s having a laugh and a joke about it, but this is far more serious in terms of the laws of the game than when the referee doesn’t see the ball go over the goalline.” – Former Premier League referee, Jeff Winter.

Runner-up: “People talk about loyalty and for a football supporter that’s easy to preach about. I’ve got to earn a living, provide for my family. I supported Everton as a kid, I never supported Real Madrid, but I played for them. It’s a job opportunity, like anyone else’s work. The longer you’re at a team, if the fans welcome you and the players take to you then you build an affinity. So now I look for Real Madrid results and Newcastle results, but it doesn’t make me any less loyal to Manchester United.” – Michael Owen.


Today’s overview: It’s day two of beachballgate and the forecast for Liverpool continues to remain dark and gloomy.

As far as the Football Association goes, Louise Taylor explains that the matter is dead and buried. “The Premier League has ruled out a replay of Liverpool’s highly controversial defeat at Sunderland… With the ‘human factor’ a big part of football, the Premier League has clearly decided that allowing results to be voided and games re-scheduled could open the floodgates to countless manager appeals and set football ‘on a road to madness.'” But that doesn’t mean that referee Mike Jones is off the hook as Janine Self trumpets “Jones is set to be bounced off this weekend’s match list for his beachball clanger at Sunderland… Jones will be hammered when the Professional Game Match Officials board meets today.”

Looking ahead to the worse-case scenario, Oliver Kay speculates what dropping out of the top four would mean for Liverpool. “The owners reject the idea that it would be calamitous, but it certainly would not be pretty. Javier Mascherano would be an obvious sacrificial lamb, given that he is already casting flirtatious eyes at Barcelona, but for how long could they resist offers for Fernando Torres?”

Alan Hansen is also highly concerned that Liverpool may miss out on next season’s Champions League. “Liverpool are by no means a shoe-in to finish in the Premier League top four this season. Manchester City and Tottenham arguably have stronger squads and you also have Aston Villa, who underlined their qualities by beating Chelsea on Saturday… The big problem on the pitch is that, six months ago, Liverpool looked rock-solid in defence, yet they now look so vulnerable.”

Completing the Liverpool analysis in typical outlandish fashion is loudmouth Stan Collymore. “Liverpool have no chance of winning the title this season and I fear the club are going backwards unless drastic changes are made… I don’t just want to slag Liverpool off as I realise there have been accusations of me being a disloyal former player, who is bitter and jealous. But such claims are totally unfair as I genuinely believe the only way the club can move forward is by getting rid of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.”

The Sunday tabloids talked up the possibility of a potential takeover at West Ham, but as a new week starts Sam Wallace lowers expectations. “West Ham are treating with caution a pledge by an American-led consortium to buy the financially-troubled club for £100m. The club have indicated that they have only had the briefest of contact with the Intermarket Group, led by Wall Street financier Jim Bowe.” And from one London takeover to another, as Addicks fans today learn from Geoff Sweet that “Dennis Wise and Newcastle sidekick Tony Jiminez are closing in on a £30million takeover of Charlton.  They head a consortium being funded by a Middle East tycoon that looks certain to pip ex-Birmingham co-owner David Sullivan.”

The issue of racism in English football is raised by Patrick Barclay with the scribe insisting that the debate is a non-starter. “While it is tempting to imagine English football’s boardrooms being full of rednecks, a few things should be borne in mind. One is that most chairmen would sacrifice even the most perverted principle for success. Another is that, to their credit, they have made football one of the more inclusive areas of our society.”

Staying with managers, Sam Wallace turns focus to Holland where Steve McClaren is working miracles at table-topping FC Twente. “McClaren is due to sign an extension to his current two-year contract and if he does leave Twente he is leaning towards a job in Portugal or Spain. His road to redemption is starting to look similar to that of another former England manager, the late Sir Bobby Robson…if McClaren can grow up and leave the past behind, how about the rest of us doing the same?

In the wake of Diego Maradona and Marcelo Lippi’s public outbursts last week, ow much abuse and what kind of abuse are fans and the media entitled to direct at coaches? And does it make a difference if it’s the national team, who are supposed to be a reflection of an entire nation and are, essentially, a public trust?”

Happy to regurgitate old stories and claim them as a piece of breaking news, the Daily Mail splash with the long-reported rumour that “Manchester City are prepared to sell Robinho to Barcelona if they can bring in Franck Ribery as a replacement.” And keeping in the Daily Mail, headliner Martin Samuel devotes his Monday column to voicing his opinion on who City should replace Robinho with – Atletico Mineiro forward Diego Tardellli. “Whether Tardelli is the man is immaterial; he is the sort of man that Manchester City should be targeting, because to come to the club would be better than playing in deserted stadia in an inferior league.”

With the two clubs seemingly joined at the hip, Alan Nixon claims the Spurs and Pompey are set to do business yet again. “Portsmouth are ready to swoop for Tottenham’s Mexican misfit Giovani Dos Santos as their new owners prepare to pay for three top signings.”

Finally, despite having categorically denying the rumours last week, John Cross farts “Sven Goran Eriksson is wanted by Sweden to become their new national boss” in the Mirror.