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The Roker Ramble: Jurgen Klopp Loves To Hug

Hugs and handbags, comebacks and put-downs. You've got to love the Premier League.

Liverpool v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Is there anyone that Jurgen Klopp won’t hug?

If I had to guess I’d probably say Arsene Wenger – despite being French, Arsene doesn’t strike me as much of a hugger. But, anyone else is fair game as Bournemouth found out after their dramatic comeback against Liverpool at the weekend. Having run out of Liverpool players to embrace he set about working his way through those members of the Bournemouth squad still on the pitch. They’ll know better next time to get down the tunnel pretty sharpish if they don’t want the full Klopp post-match treatment.

However, I’m not sure Loris Karius, the Liverpool keeper, would make his cuddly top-ten just at the moment. Whilst the Liverpool attack is rightly being lauded for their style and flair, the opposite can be said of their defence, and certainly against Bournemouth, goalkeeping errors played in a big part in the result. One has to feel sorry for Simon Mignolet, demoted to the bench this season and who’s been labelled primarily ‘as a shot stopper’. Well, when the alternative is primarily picking the ball out of the back of the net, being a ‘shot stopper’ sounds to me like a step in the right direction.

Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

There have been similar problems at Manchester City where hugs were in short supply against Chelsea, but the level of defending and goalkeeping was pretty much the same. City have only kept a clean sheet once in their past fifteen games and whilst Joe Hart may not be a ‘sweeper keeper’, might not be able to do things with his feet that would have them swooning on 'Strictly', he would have saved Chelsea’s second and would contribute a hell of a lot more to the spine of the team than the current incumbent does.

Much has been made of Chelsea’s set-up, the 3-5-2 or 3-4-3, playing three at the back. It has taken the Premier League by storm and is supposedly one of reasons why Chelsea have now gone on a nine-game winning run. I don’t get it. Why is three at the back better than four at the back? With four at the back, you have an extra guy at the back – that has to be a good thing right? When we played Liverpool, we had six at the back at times and that worked really well, right up until the time they scored, and then it didn’t. And it probably cost us a hug.

But it’s working for Chelsea, and in the great tactical battle between Conte and Guardiola, it was the little Italian who came out on top. And whenever a person of authority in whatever walk of life has to admit they were second best, they inevitably do one of two things – they either start hugging people, or they elevate the conversation to a higher plane to explain what went wrong.

Football is a continued transition’, Pep explained – at which point I was pretty sure he should have gone down the hugging route, but he continued:

When you attack well, you defend well. It’s not about the strikers just focusing on attack and the defenders just focus on defending. I don’t think like that.

Well perhaps you should bonny lad, because anyone who watched Otamendi and the rest of your back three, four or whatever, fall apart whenever Costa crossed into their half of the pitch, also noticed that the continued transition wasn’t perhaps going as well as it could be.

And of course there were handbags, as there seemed to be all over the football this weekend – it wasn’t a full moon was it?

At Hillsborough the two Preston players Jermain Beckford and Eoin Doyle were sent off for fighting each other, despite Wednesday already being down to ten men. At West Brom, Watford’s Roberto Pereyra was dismissed for reacting to James McClean, but it was the two Manchester City players who made the headlines.

The Aguero and Fernandinho incident could have been prevented if the referee had done his job properly and sent off David Luiz in the first half for a blatant foul as the last man on Aguero. But, he didn’t, and when the game was lost, Aguero took his revenge and it all kicked off. Aguero seemed quite happy with the card, but it was Fernandinho I felt sorry for. Cesc Fàbregas slapped him and then tried to play the innocent as he’s done before. Fernandinho should have realised that it wasn’t going to end well, and just decked him. You can only be sent off once, you may as well make it count.

There were no sendings off during the Everton v Manchester United game but it wasn’t for the want of trying. United defender Marcos Rojo should have gone for a two footed exocet impression on Everton's Gueye, and then Zlatan Ibrahimovic was accused of kicking Séamus Coleman in the head.

Trust me, if I want to kick someone in the head, I know how to kick someone in the head.

Given that we’d just seen him kick someone in the head, we can only conclude that it wasn’t his preferred method of kicking someone in the head and there was a much better way of doing it. Let’s hope he doesn’t show us in the Liverpool game or he won’t get the hug from Jurgen.

The Mars Landing Curiosity Rover arrived on Mars over four years ago and has remained isolated and alone on the surface of the planet ever since. And every year, on the anniversary of it’s landing, it hums ‘Happy Birthday’ to itself.

It reminds me of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who landed on his own red planet back in the summer for £30 million as part of Jose’s new look transfer policy – round pegs for round holes – and has been trying to find his hole ever since. Before the Everton game he’d only clocked up 105 minutes playing for the club, despite being last season's ‘Players Player of the Season’ in Germany. Where, by the way – Klopp really liked him – big hugs there.

Jose, true to form, won’t comment on the situation and although he started and impressed against Everton, Mkhitaryan was pulled off to allow Fellaini to come on as substitute - and we all know how well that went.

In the post match interview, Mourinho did a good impression of the Monty Python Contractual Obligation Album, gave one word answers, stony silences and generally behaved like a petulant child. The interviewer should’ve just chinned him.

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