Garth Crooks has taken aim at both Mo Salah and Dejan Lovren – despite including both of them in his BBC Sport Team of the Week.
The duo were both on the scoresheet against Newcastle United on Boxing Day – as most players are in the former Spurs man’s weekly selections – but Crooks still managed to get in a dig at them.
About Salah, Crooks wrote: “This was a stroll in the park for Liverpool. Newcastle were out of their depth from the moment the game started. In fact, I doubt whether Salah’s kit required washing after this game.
“Newcastle should also have known better than to place hands on Salah in the penalty area, especially at Anfield. Such incidents only result in spot-kicks and Salah normally obliges.”
That second part, in particular, is peculiar given the Reds went 424 days without getting a penalty at Anfield. The number of times that Salah has been hacked down and either got up and gone on to score – as he did at Bournemouth – or been denied stonewall penalties proves he is not a diver.
There was a shirt pull from Paul Dummett even if he went down easily, so it was still a foul.
On Lovren, Crooks said: “You had better take a picture of this! You won’t see Dejan Lovren in my Team of the Week that often when he’s got Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold in the line-up with him.
“But when you strike a half-volley as well as Lovren did against Newcastle, I think exceptions have to be made.”
Even that is a backhanded compliment, when the truth is that Lovren has been exceptional for the last year or so.
He reached both the Champions League final and the World Cup final – neither by coincidence – and has looked very solid for the Reds, especially alongside Van Dijk.
This is simply the latest in a line of lazy analyses of the Premier League, with very little of what Crooks says founded upon anything.