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Was it ever thus?

I am sure I have quoted Jock Stein’s observation after his Celtic disposed of Leeds in the old European Cup that English football overrates itself.

Over the years of watching English domestic and international football I have felt this. We are good – especially the media – on expectation but when it comes to delivery…

Certainly I agreed with the “Big Man” after the two Champions League semi-finals this week in which both English clubs were easily beaten.

The only English winner was our John Pargiter who predicted both victories. Spurs can say they were bereft of Son, Kane and Winks but the first half was a master class by the Dutch outfit.

As for Liverpool, Klopp bottled it with his selection.

No Firmino, so he could not field the pacy trident of Salah, Mane and Firmino.

Even worse he omitted full back Trent-Arnold whose pace on the flanks is such a feature of Liverpool’s success.

His choice of James Milner, a journeyman with a tendency to be over-vigorous in the challenge was never going to keep at bay Lionel Messi and his cohorts in midfield.

True at the beginning of the second half, Liverpool were on top and it required fine keeping by Ter Segen to keep Barca in the game. However it could have been 5 -0 as the home side had their chances on the break and Dembele missed the easiest of them all to convert .

It may well be that Liverpool win nothing. This will not displease many outside that city.

Pochettino is often reminded of his lack of success in his career but a German football follower informed me that Klopp, for all his jokey fluency with the media, did not win that much either at Mainz or Borussia Dortmund.

And now Liverpool.

Whenever I see Ronaldo I think he’s the best in the world.

Then you see the free kick Messi executed last night, his 600th goal for Barcelona and you realise he is number one.

Until English clubs can produce such players they will remain also-rans.

About Rex Mitchell

Rex Mitchell is a Brentford supporter from childhood. This has not prevented him having a distinguished Fleet Street career as a sports reporter and later deputy football editor. A widower, Rex is a bit of a bandit golfer off his official handicap of 20 and is currently chairman of his local bowls club. More Posts