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The Warm-Up: Klopp's crocks, Scholes eyes Oldham gig

The Warm-Up: Klopp's crocks, Scholes eyes Oldham gig

12/10/2017 at 07:03Updated 12/10/2017 at 09:10

Jack Lang tries to work out UEFA's new permutations jamboree and salutes Radamel Falcao's sinister plotting...

THURSDAY’S BIG STORIES

It never rains…

Arsenal have held a monopoly on top-half-of-the-Premier-League crises for so long that it seems like a slight when someone else tries to steal a bit of the thunder. But the early signs this season are that Liverpool are very much in it for the long haul as far as lurching from setback to setback goes.

The defence has been their strength – not in footballing terms, of course – in recent weeks, producing thrills and spills aplenty. Now, though, the attack is coming to the party, mustering something that goes beyond the broken-Daniel-Sturridge holding pattern that has sufficed for the last couple of years.

Sadio Mane fehlt dem FC Liverpool in den nächsten Wochen

Sadio Mane fehlt dem FC Liverpool in den nächsten WochenSID

That would be bad enough, but here comes Exhibit B, straight from the loose, incendiary lips of Barcelona chief executive Oscar Grau: “We are ready to sign Coutinho or any other player the technical staff request in the winter window,” he said yesterday. “We want to have the most competitive squad possible.”

Video - Euro Papers: Barcelona agree £100 million Philippe Coutinho deal with Liverpool

01:22

Oh good, how convenient. If things continue at this rate, it’s going to be Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings up front together by January, with Ragnar Klavan in the hole.

Someone pass the aspirin

Don’t be fooled by the pretty colours and the diamonds and the (frankly rather excellent) logo. They were designed to lull you into a false sense of security. The reality is that the new UEFA Nations League is hell-bent on ruining your life, one mathematics-induced headache at a time.

The Warm-Up was diagnosed as medically allergic to football-tournament permutations decades ago and as such is poorly placed to explain the thing to you. But as a concession to our loyal readers, here is a rough primer: four divisions, mini-leagues featuring different numbers of countries because why not, promotion and relegation, obscure consequences for Euros qualifying, the lingering possibility that there are about 400 potential loopholes here.

Anyway, the seedings (is that the right word?) for the four pots (is that the right word?) were revealed yesterday, providing an unexpected fillip for the down-at-heel Netherlands and dealing a body blow to fans of the many, many countries who are better then them right now:

Pastures new for the Ginger Ninja?

The Warm-Up is sure he has plenty to share in the coaching game and wishes him well, but feels Scholes would be best advised to NOT, repeat NOT take part in training sessions himself. Sharing his infamous tackling technique with the shins of his new charges would probably not be the best way to inspire devotion.

Paul Scholes has been interviewed for the manager's job at League One Oldham

Paul Scholes has been interviewed for the manager's job at League One OldhamPA Sport

RETRO CORNER

Today is the birthday of one of The Warm-Up’s very favourite footballers, the flaky through-ball baron Paulo Henrique Ganso. Yes, we know he hasn’t lived up to expectations. We know he’s coasting through his career, just like we are. We know that when he retires his legacy will be measured in a thousand ‘what if’ questions.

But come on, watch him at his best for Santos and try not to melt a little inside:

HEROES AND ZEROES

Hero: Radamel Falcao

Look, no one here is claiming this is quintessential “hero” behaviour. But in its own dastardly, scheming way, the Colombia forward spreading news of the Chile score to Peru players was probably the play of the week in the World Cup qualifiers. A victory for communication skills in the workplace.

Zero: Paul Merson

Loath as The Warm-Up is to plug Sky One’s premier jocularity rodeo for the second week in a row, we head back to A League of Their Own (shudder) for another dose of idiocy news. This time it’s Paul Merson, talking about Harry Redknapp.

“People say he’s a wheeler-dealer and it’s so disrespectful,” said Merson. “Tactically, he’s one of the best I’ve worked with.” Which… OK, we won’t get into it properly, but we’ll let it ride in the spirit of giving.

The next bit, though? Not so much. “If Arsene Wenger had Harry Redknapp’s tactical nous, Arsenal would win the league,” ventured the poet laureate of contrary opinions. Come on, Paul. Even you cannot think that’s true.

Paul Merson, en juillet 2017

Paul Merson, en juillet 2017Getty Images

HAT TIP

" In one corner is Meadow Partners, the property developers desperate to turn the Champion Hill site, that they paid £5.7million for in 2014, into 155 houses and flats, even throwing in a new £7.5million football ground too. In the other corner is Southwark Council, determined to stop them. Southwark is a Labour council, has its rules on affordable housing, and says that Meadow’s plan does not meet them, amongst other concerns. So they are holding it up in the courts and contesting the planning appeal."
Chris Kirkland kept a clean sheet in his first league outing for Preston

Chris Kirkland kept a clean sheet in his first league outing for PrestonPA Sport

COMING UP

We’ve been here before, friends. It’s the second Thursday of international fortnight. You know there’s absolutely nothing going on. Go and play five-a-side or FIFA or something. Call your parents. Read a book. Bake a cake.

Tom Adams will be here on Friday to manage your sky-high expectation levels heading into the Premier League weekend.

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