“The curse of ITV,” where was Robbie Keane and can AC Milan really get David Beckham for free?

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “Liverpool are out of the FA Cup. If you missed the goal we apologise. It was because of technical problems we had at that time.” – ITV’s studio-anchor, Steve Rider.

Runner-up: “My intention is to stay in Milan and I hope that can happen. At the moment the club wanted to know if I wanted to stay and now they know that. The length of the deal will be discussed once we know it is possible. I have a contract until March, so we have got time. I didn’t expect to enjoy things as much as I have done, and to play every week. My main objective now is to stay at this club; I enjoy playing at this level. I want to play for this club; it is one of the biggest in the world. I have been made incredibly welcome, made to feel at home and that makes me want to stay.” – David Beckham.

Today’s overview: The backpages this Thursday almost have an air of a Kennedy moment, as hacks all across the fifth estate jump on their soapboxes to explain where, when and how they felt as ITV’s broadcaster cut to adverts just as Dan Gosling scored his 119th minute winner for Everton last night.

Matt Scott laments ITV’s “lame attempt at an excuse [which] was all viewers were provided until a statement 30 minutes before midnight” while noting “that last night’s debacle was not the first time that it has courted controversy with its coverage.” For Bill Edgar, he simply wrote “the curse of ITV struck again,” while John Ley added to the complaints writing “ITV also failed to show the game’s other pivotal moment, the dismissal of Liverpool midfielder Lucas for two bookable offences, instead focusing on close-ups of other players.”

Mark Lawford was left fuming by ITV’s coverage. “Apologies were not enough. After serving up the kind of FA Cup coverage that was the worst since ITV Digital’s attempts at covering empty stadia on Thursday nights (there’s a theme developing here), cutting to an ad at such a key time smacks of incompetence of the highest order.”

The clock said 118 minutes. I switched the TV to digital radio in time to hear Alan Green scream that it was Everton 1 Liverpool 0. As I jabbed at my remote to see if ITV could provide me with proof of this, I was already conjuring up conspiracy theories. The goal had been created from bits of coverage stuck together from previous matches. My favourite conspiracy is now that if a live game does not show a live goal, the result is invalidated.”

Liverpool’s decision to allow Robbie Keane to leave is already looking highly dubious according to Andy Hunter, noting “Benitez’s bench at Goodison, however, and the resignation from 6,000 Liverpool fans when Gerrard succumbed to a hamstring strain revealed how tame those alternatives truly are.” Rory Smith picked up on the same line of thought presuming “a wry smile crossed the face of Robbie Keane to see Gerrard limp from the field, knowing that had Benitez not taken the huge gamble of selling him he would undoubtedly have made an appearance there and then.”

Sam Wallace pieces together all the negatives of Liverpool’s performance from last night. “The injury to Gerrard, the decision to leave out Javier Mascherano last night in favour of Lucas, the absence of a cutting edge when Torres is not on form – it is enough to shake the faith of even the most stubborn Rafa loyalist.”

Oliver Kay lays into Lucas for getting himself sent off. “Already the closest thing there is to a whipping boy among Liverpool’s supporters, the midfield player did his popularity at Anfield further harm with two clumsy, lazy second-half fouls… perhaps Liverpool will appeal against his one-match suspension — in an attempt to have it increased.”

Picking up on Frank Lampard’s red card reprieve, Mikey Stafford observes how “four red cards have been overturned in the top flight already this season – twice as many as were rescinded in the whole of the last campaign when Jeremie Aliadiere even picked up an extra game for a ‘spurious’ appeal for a soft sending off at Anfield.”

In other footballing news, Charles Sale explains how Setanta are in danger of losing out to ESPN in the bidding for the Premier League broadcasting contract, while Neil McLeman announces that David Beckham will leave LA Galaxy – perhaps for free. “The Italian club know of a clause in Beckham’s five-year contract which allows both parties to terminate the deal after three years with no cost to either side. This get-out clause can be activated on November 30. LA Galaxy face a choice of selling Beckham now or losing him for nothing later.”

Ahead of England’s friendly in Spain next week, Kevin Easton whips up fresh fears of local racism “after two postings on an internet forum for Seville fans contained highly offensive material aimed at, among others, black English people and the Queen.”

On the transfer window, Giles Smith rants against the flexi-time. “When we say ‘deadline,’ let’s mean ‘deadline,’ shall we? The nonsense whereby the confirmation of Andrey Arshavin’s move to Arsenal was drawn out into a second day … it just makes a mockery of the whole business, frankly. Pens down when the examiner says so. After that, nobody moves. It’s a window for some, but for others, apparently, it’s a barn door. We need a level window for everybody and then, maybe, we will get the drama we crave.”

Keeping with the Arshavin transfer, troublemaker Antony Kastrinakis has stirred the pot by saying “the Andrey Arshavin transfer mystery deepened last night as suspicions grew that rules had been broken.” Steven Howard asks is the Russian the “right man at the wrong time. Wenger’s most pressing requirement is for a central defender or two and a holding midfielder.”

Marina Hyde takes a sideways wipe at the transfer window. “If people still really require a venal, double-crossing, and wholly unedifying pageant to enliven the month of January, then might I suggest again a Wag transfer window, where in-form footballer consorts could transfer to bigger names, whilst promising youngsters could be parked with lower league players, with a view to a major move come the summer?”

Lastly, having produced their list of the 50 worse things in modern football, The Times has today compiled a list of 20 more suggestions forwarded by readers. “9. Premier League records ‘The fastest goal in Premiership history? The best defence in Premiership history? The longest losing streak in Premiership history? These statistics are meaningless – football wasn’t invented in 1992.’ Tracey, Hornsea.”