Did you know that Phil Coutinho has a new tattoo of Mickey Mouse on his abs? Or were you aware that Le Bron James, nominal celebrity Red, is very disgruntled at going bald and has almost EIGHT times my country’s population following him on Twitter? How about the fact that Ben Woodburn has been called up to the Wales senior squad at 17 years of age? Maybe you’ve seen, amidst the talk of a celebratory crest to mark the club’s 125th birthday, some of the older Liverpool badges that have been circulating today, the earliest of which seem to feature some form of merman?
This, friends, is a fairly typical cross-section of the kind of Reds-related trivia to which one is exposed on the daily search for something to bind together a column that might be worthy of your perusal – visual or aural. Can you ‘peruse’ something aurally? I don’t know. I’ve begun to wander. It’s an age thing. At any rate, none of that stuff, clearly, cuts the mustard as a column skeleton but the recent lengthy interview with Sadio Mané is an altogether different kettle of seafood.
Have I ever told you of my affection for Mané? It’s quite pronounced at this point. The searing pace is great, of course, the dribbling and body strength is a delight and the surprisingly deft finishing is a pure joy, but none of these things are the reason why the Senegalese is fast becoming my favourite Redman in a while. The real pleasure in watching the attacker is his incredibly chippy on-pitch demeanour.
The man referred to in the aforementioned interview as “warm, self-effacing and softly-spoken” is a different prospect when operating between the white lines. He scowls and snarls and bitches and moans and has a permanent curl of disdain on his lips and it is WONDERFUL. In a squad full of lovely personable young gents, who could do with being a tad nastier when donning the Liverbird, Mané, like his club captain, Jordan Henderson is a narky nightmare on the park.
I know what you’re thinking, as a famous moustachioed detective used to say, and you’re right. It is typical of a scrappy Irishman to be enamoured with a fighter. However, as today is St. Patrick’s Day, a pointy-hatted fellow who was noted for his own rage issues around reptiles, you will hopefully indulge your scribbler’s lauding of our number 19’s bellicose nature. It’s so endearing, you see. Maybe it says more about me than I’d like but I love to see a player for whom it so patently matters. It’s like having Suarez back, without the problematic flesh-nibbling.
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