TV View: Why do we feel we have been caught offside by kick-offs at the same time?
Tribunals have been held for lesser matters than Uefa’s woeful scheduling
Mohamed Salah scores Liverpool’s opening goal during the Champions League round of 16 first leg game against RB Leipzig at Puskas Arena in Budapest. Photograph: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images
We shouldn’t grumble, of course, we need to be just grateful for the very lovely midweek distraction from bad things that is the Champions League.
Yet tribunals have been held for lesser matters than Uefa giving Barcelona v Paris Saint Germain and RB Leipzig v Liverpool the very same kickoff times.
“Spring has sprung, there’s a grand stretch in the evenings,” said Virgin Media’s Tommy Martin as he welcomed us to their coverage of the Barca game, but, just to labour the point, the evening would have stretched a whole lot bloody further if the kickoffs had been staggered.
(Speaking of being staggered: Niall Quinn’s hair-do. An angry person texted in to Claire Byrne’s radio show recently insisting that anyone sporting a fresh hair-do should be fined, their rage, perhaps, prompted by them currently looking like Lemmy from Motorhead, circa 1976. But Niall would never be convicted of having a professional chopper tend to his locks, him, to be honest, looking more like a man who had a heated argument with a pair of shears).
Over on BT, meanwhile, Gary Lineker, who you would have sworn had just been visited by Vidal Sassoon if Vidal Sassoon was still of this earth, was asking Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and Peter Crouch what had gone wrong with Liverpool, the general consensus being that the club has the most overworked medical department in world sport, to the point where half of the city probably stand outside their homes most evenings to give them a clap.
They then addressed the issue of Jürgen Klopp’s job security, him having only won the Champions League and Premier League in the last two seasons, all concluding that the doubters had mislaid the plot. They have too.
The one thing, though, that Klopp might not miss if he was to move on to pastures new are his chats with BT’s Des Kelly, his teeth-grinding during these sessions suggesting that he would rather endure a root canal than speak to the fella.
This time, at least, Des was marooned back in Blighty, so could only talk to Klopp by a video-link.
“It’s a bit like Eurovision, ‘we can go now to Budapest, your points please’,” said Gary. “Three for Liverpool! Although, obviously, you don’t get points for knockout games.”
Alan Partridge was sitting at home purring.
He is, what they call in the football trade, a “character”. E.g. he once revealed that he comes up with his best tactical plans while sitting on the toilet (“I paint my idea on a piece of paper with a ruler and a lead pencil. I work like a baker. I mix things, shove them in the oven and see if it tastes well”) and sometimes does the 7km s trip to training on his skateboard.
When did you last see Sam Allardyce do that? Waiting.
Over to RTÉ, where Damien Duff was wearing a highly bristly beard, the fella bristling himself a bit when Darragh Maloney asked him why he had left the Irish set-up.
“I appreciate you have to ask, but I don’t really have a lot to say on the matter,” he, well, bristled.
His departure, he said, was “a chance for Stephen Kenny to bring in a better coach than me – he’s done it already on the goalkeeping side by bringing in Dean Kiely”.
As tributes go to the departed Alan Kelly, that fell into the oooooooh territory.
Kickoff(s). At the time of writing, Barça v PSG is recorded, so don’t you dare share the result. Confident prediction, though: Kylian Mbappe had a “mare” and Barca romped home. Even if they’re in debt to the tune of a billion-ish.
As Brian Kerr put it, “they’ll need to sell an awful lot of keyrings and pencil cases to clear that”.
Another prediction: there’s no way Glenn Hoddle will call PSG’s Draxler “Dracula”.
BT viewership: “Hold my coat.”
Budapest, then. Mo Salah had only scored 23 goals by February 13th, so the crisis was real. Then he made it 24 and Sadio Mane did his thing and suddenly the crisis felt less crisisy.
It could be that Liverpool will have to settle for the Champions League this season. God love them.