The Fiver is the most woke teatime football email in the world, and not only because it’s probably the only teatime football email in the world. We pride ourselves on being acutely aware of the extent to which social injustice can be used to make us look virtuous on social media disgraces. And that’s why we’ve been weeping all morning – literally – for the plight of Lads It’s Tottenham Hotspur FC. Just when Spurs were getting back on their feet after a tragifarcical start to the season, with a rousing 1-1 draw against Watford and a 5-0 defenestration of Red Star, the fixture computer has dealt them the sickening blow of a trip to Anfield. Not only is it a ground where Spurs have won only one league game since 4 Non Blondes and Urban Cookie Collective were in the top 10 of the pop charts, it is also a right-in-your-grille-sahnshine reminder of their saddest hour: the tame Big Cup final defeat in June.
It’s only 18 months since Spurs finished above Liverpool, but since then their paths have diverged. “I can say nothing about their situation,” said Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp. “I can’t say anything about Tottenham. It’s not possible to judge from outside. Reporters always ask for your opinion on other clubs and players but you have to be in a situation to understand it. What I can say is what I saw on Tuesday night and that was a very good Tottenham team playing well.”
Liverpool had a thumping victory of their own in midweek, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring twice in a 4-1 win away at Genk. But Klopp did not agree that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performance had made life difficult for him. “If my players playing a good game gives me a headache my life would be really sad,” said Klopp, snorting two crushed Ibuprofen off the table and hoping it would all be so surreal that the assembled hacks would assume they imagined it. “He’s had a big impact,” continued Klopp. “It’s no secret how much I like him as a person and a player. His second goal, especially, was incredible. I didn’t see one like this for a long time, if ever. So it’s all good – no headache, just a bigger number of players to choose from.”
That number should increase this weekend, with Liverpool’s world-leading fullbacticos Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold expected to be fit enough to ping insouciant crossfield passes to one another all afternoon. But Joel Matip may miss out through knack. That would probably mean another outing for Dejan Lovren – but he has traumatic memories of playing against Spurs, having been hooked after half an hour of freestyle entertainment when Liverpool lost 4-1 at Wembley two years ago. Even the best team in Europe can’t escape the cruelty of modern life. We all need to change. We all need to do better. Wake up, teatime emails!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Ultimately, I can’t copyright stripes. I would be a very rich man if I could … it could have been beautiful” – Haçienda designer Ben Kelly is miffed he wasn’t consulted over Man City’s Madchester-themed away shirt, but not because he wants cash for stripes. No, he just thinks he would have helped the club do a better job of selling borrowed nostalgia to a new age of fans who have no idea who Clint Boon is.
“Is it safe to assume Fiver Jr is adopted?” – Tim Marshall.
“In response to Ian Smith (yesterdays’ Fiver) who said that it is not possible to win a chess game in under four moves:E4 G5 – B-F7 F6 – B-H5 – Mate. May I join all the other 1,056 pedants in pointing this out” – Robert Darby (and 1,056 other budding Garry Kasparovs).
“In reply to various letters, etc on the matter of latest example of being penalised for time-wasting … every Fiver reader, every day” – Tony Christopher.
“To the running commentary on the Liverpool ace striker’s barnet: When Hairy met Salah?” – Keith Webb.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Leyton Orient have postponed their Sherpa Vans Checkatrade Leyland Daf Trophy match against Brighton Under-21s for fear of thousands of Ajax fans turning up after they were banned from attending their Big Cup match at Chelsea.
Liverpool have won again! This time in a court battle with kit manufacturer New Balance, who have lost the rights to have their logo on the Reds’ kit to Nike, who will take over next season.
Pep Guardiola will have to invent another new Manchester City formation after Rodri (hamstring-twang) and Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee-knack) were ruled out for a number of weeks.
Arsenal’s two-goal Big Vase hero Nicolas Pépé has admitted that getting his head round the whizzy world of Premier League football has been tough, man. “It is a league totally different to Ligue [Urrrrrn], with a different intensity,” he panted.
And Ole Gunnar Solskjær is mulling over the idea of playing two up top, perhaps because it’s what Manchester United did in the 1990s and he just can’t help himself.
STILL WANT MORE?
Robbie “Brisbane Roar” Fowler laments to Ben Smee: “At times you can never win when you go into management.”
West Ham host Sheffield United this weekend, with simmering bad blood over the roles Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano played in 2006-07 relegation matters, cautions Jacob Steinberg.
“The team we played yesterday had #EqualPay painted on their legs” – how a Burlington high school team’s push for equal pay caught fire. Suzanne Wrack reports.
Click here for The Royal Dyche pub and Sean Dyche’s head carved into a tree trunk. Stay for Andy Hunter’s deep dive into Burnley’s top-tier fairytale.
Canada beat the USA! USA!! USA!!! earlier this month. Now the country will put down its box of Timbits long enough to crown its first Premier League champion, salutes Will Unwin.
That main Steinberg again, declaring Christian Pulisic increasingly fit to wear the hallowed Yokohama Tyres logo across his breast.
David Squires hits the Aussie beat once more, considering Richard Scudamore’s A-League consultancy gig.
If you crave 11 things to look out for in this weekend’s Premier League games, we can’t help. Still, here’s 10 to put you on.
Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!
You can get your hands on some of David Squires’s favourite cartoons of his from down the years at our Print Shop.