Liverpool and the Telegraph show the problem with the way football is reported and debated



By Sir Hardly Anyone

There is a headline in the Daily Telegraph (an upmarket UK newspaper aimed supposedly at the more intelligent reader) which says, “Liverpool’s defence is a laughing stock – here is the proof”

Now the article does provide a number of case studies that build up a picture of Liverpool’s defensives woes, and to be fair to  

But there is one fundamental piece of evidence that is missing – and that is a comparison of the number of goals Liverpool have conceded this season and the number that other clubs have conceded – and a consideration of whether things are getting worse or not.  And surely to justify “laughing stock” that is important.

But no, there is none of that.  The Telegraph piece is based totally around six instances within three games.   So let us fill in the gaps that the SENIOR SPORTS WRITER at the paper left.

First of all, let’s consider what the Premier League table would look like if positions were awarded not based on points but on goals conceded – which the Telegraph is claiming is the big problem.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
5 Newcastle United 23 10 11 2 35 15 20 41
1 Arsenal 23 17 3 3 51 23 28 54
10 Chelsea 23 8 7 8 23 23 0 31
2 Manchester City 24 16 4 4 60 24 36 52
3 Manchester United 24 15 4 5 41 28 13 49
8 Liverpool 22 10 5 7 38 28 10 35


Based on the conventional points system Liverpool are eighth, but if the table was based on goals against, Liverpool would be sixth in a league which is hardly the “laughing stock” zone.  That surely is occupied by clubs like Leicester (41 conceded, but endlessly talked up by the media in order to continue to hide the scandal of the way they got away with tackling without referee interference. 

But – and this is the key point that Tom Gibbs (SENIOR SPORTS WRITER in capital letters) and his editorial team have missed.  And it’s quite a big one.  Liverpool have conceded exactly the same number of goals as Manchester United, a club currently being lauded by much of the media for being third in the league.

And here’s another goodie that seems to be relevant – across 22 games Liverpool have only conceded four more goals (that is 0.18 goals per game) than the constantly glorified Manchester City,

Which seems to make the headline “Liverpool’s defence is a laughing stock – here is the proof” look rather erroneous.  Indeed it might be better to write, “The Telegraph sports department’s analytic ability is a laughing stock – and here’s the proof”.

Now if you are a regular reader here you will know that we often like to glance at what the league table is like over a set number of games rather than the whole season because that shows us the trends.   

So Liverpool’s defence across the last six games – what does that look like?  They have conceded nine – which is exactly the same as, well, not to put too fine a point on it, Arsenal.  And there is no screaming about Arsenal’s defence at the moment.

And across the last 10 league games… they have conceded 13 goals.  OK that seems like a lot, but hang on a minute, across the last 10 league games Tottenham have conceded 17.  So where is the article in the Telegraph saying “Tottenham’s defence is a laughing stock – here is the proof”?

But does this matter?  After all, we know because we prove it every day, most football writers just make up stuff while ignoring key issues like how some referees seem to have a preference for a certain type of result.

And this really is the big point.  As we have constantly shown, the media ignore key issues about referees – how some clubs see the same referee over and over again, why it is necessary for PGMO to be an ultra-secret organisation, why referees won’t give interviews, how the figures of different referees differ so enormously in terms of home wins and away wins, why referees are so influenced by the crowd.

As you will know if you are a regular reader, this site has no brief to be nice to Liverpool, but on the other hand nor do we seek to produce false information about that club or any other club.   The fact is that a newspaper’s SENIOR SPORTS WRITER has produced a load of old cobblers while that paper along with virtually all other outlets ceaselessly ignores key issues.  

In fact this is a case of seemingly deliberately writing nonsense in order to distract us all from the big issues that exist within football, but which are hidden beneath the surface.   We have for example regularly written about issues with the way young players are treated, from the sexual abuse of young players through to the lack of proper treatment for the players when injured.  Where are the articles on that?  

There are important topics.  And the scandal is not just that the media won’t write properly about them, it is that they fill space with outrageous nonsense to distract us from the proper issues.   “Liverpool’s defence is a laughing stock – here is the proof” is wrong.   “Football journalism is a laughing stock – here is the proof” is closer to the mark.



5 Replies to “Liverpool and the Telegraph show the problem with the way football is reported and debated”

  1. As the SENIOR SPORTS WRITER for absolutely nobody may I suggest the headline “Tottenham football club is a laughing stock and no proof is needed”. Great article Sir Hardly

  2. I’m sure this article will be bypassed by many but for me it hits the nail well and truly on the head.

    No, it’s not new for UA but it is still analytically 100% correct and so simply identifies how inept/corrupt/biased the media is. They rarely offer anything valid and, more crucially, ignore what is actually important.

    The only thing for certain is that the media is, by and large, morally bankrupt……..or totally corrupt! I actually can’t believe they’re inept….there’s money at stake and the billionaires that own the media care a great deal about money. After all, it’s money that allows them to continue being what they are.

  3. Philippe Auclair was yesterday lamenting the fact that the UK media still haven’t picked up the story regarding Lord Coe, FIFA and Betano.

  4. If English Football becomes a government-regulated industry, we could be suspended or banned by FIFA, in-line with what happened in Pakistan, Mali, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and soon, possibly Somalia.

    It’s interesting that FIFA doesn’t seem to apply the same rules where China is concerned.

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