It wasn’t just a deserved win by footballing standards—insofar as “deserved” should be applied to football—but also a victory for footballing and non-footballing morality and ethics. Newcastle were particularly appalling in their attempts, usually successful attempts, to waste as much time as possible.
And of course, there is the ongoing background story of yet another human rights abusing regime using a club for sportswashing purposes. Congratulations, Newcastle, I hope all the blood is worth the eventual trophies that will be coming your way through ill-gotten means.
“We know what we were trying to do,” said Howe during his pre-match press conference. “We were trying to win the game. I’ve given reasons as to why there were stoppages. Nick Pope went down twice, the first time he was feeling a bit dizzy, the second time, I think he fell on his back. I’m not sure there’s a lot we can do there.”
Yes, Nick Pope injured his back in the same way Phil Coutinho injured his back when Barcelona came calling. Pope should really consult with Coutinho on this matter.
Also, if Newcastle were trying to win the game, they certainly didn’t act like it. Indeed, when the Magpies actually played football, they were able to threaten Liverpool’s defense. But as the game wore on, it was clear that they were just trying to hold on for a point. Had they been actually trying to win the game, they might have come away with another goal and all three points. Unlucky.
“We want to fight for every point, every tackle and do everything we can to win. If that’s unpopular with people, then so be it, but we’ll continue to hopefully play in the way that we all see that we should. Aside of Newcastle, what people think of us – that Is not my concern.”
“I don’t have any emotion about being booed off. Certainly, we don’t want to be clapped off by the opposition in a sympathetic sense. We’re here to compete and no part of me thinks differently. How that’s perceived by other people has no relevance to me.”
Yes, we can tell that Howe, like Pep Guardiola at the other major sportswashing team in England, “doesn’t care what others think.” Though, like with Pep, there is more than a hint of being deeply upset that media and fans alike aren’t fawning over their performances.
There is also a more than a hint of petulance, no doubt coming down all the way from the ownership, whenever any criticism—about football or anything else—is leveled at them. As such, it is our duty to remain vigilant and critical.