Liverpool are now public enemy No.1
The message was delivered with a wit so dry, it would have been hard to suppress a laugh even on the Liverpool bench.
As Thiago Alcantara pinged a 25-yard effort at Illan Meslier’s goal inside the first 10 minutes, the faint sound of a saxophone could be heard in full flow.
That ‘Money Money Money’ was the chosen tune was not lost on anyone who heard it, either.
So this, then, is Liverpool’s fate for now.
The actions of their owners, Fenway Sports Group, will ensure that the Reds – wherever they go and whoever they play – will be public enemy No.1.
In the eyes of the rest of English football, they are the power-grabbing hoarders desperate to grasp at the exorbitant riches of a brand new Super League.
They won’t be alone there, at least, as the dirty dozen of European football continue to draw the understandable ire of those not involved in hugely controversial proposals that have decided that sporting competition is now an expendable commodity.
But for now, alongside Manchester United, Liverpool should probably brace themselves for the most brickbats on these shores.
They were certainly on display at Elland Road as disgruntled fans made their feelings known with banners slating the club’s owners backing of the plans.
“Love for the working class game, ruined by greed and corruption!” read one banner.
“RIP LFC. Thanks for the memories.”
More derision was heading Liverpool’s way during the warm-up as Leeds wore t-shirts demanding that access to the Champions League was earned rather than gifted.
And perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back was when Jurgen Klopp was confronted with that same t-shirt in the visiting dressing room before the game.
“If someone thinks they have to remind us that we have to earn it to play in the Champions League it’s a joke. A real joke!” he fumed.
Of course, those Reds fans who have given the Super League plan the short shrift, they have been keen to make the point that they are not of the same viewpoint of the American owners who are driving this.
It’s a key point.
But expecting opposition to make that same distinction is probably fanciful.
Instead, Liverpool will simply have to take their medicine between now and the rest of the season, even if Klopp continues to publicly denounce the entire premise of the Super League.
Liverpool’s reputation is set to take a battering, but for the owners, it will sadly be worth it.
This Means More? Not anymore
Of all the slogans that have been foisted upon Liverpool in recent years, it is a three-word one that is thrown back at them more than any other.
Because for Liverpool, This Means More.
Or so we are told.
The reality now, though, is it doesn’t.
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In fact, Liverpool are teetering on the brink of seeing a new phrase emerge in connection with them.
This Means Nothing.
It was hard to escape that sentiment as Sadio Mane ended a nine-game drought for a goal to put Liverpool 1-0 up.
It was even harder to evade when Diego Llorente equalised late on to earn a share of the spoils.
Because the apparently imminent arrival of the Super League means little will matter in the domestic game for the Reds if they are not aiming to win the Premier League title.
And that is something that has been far beyond the limits of this team across a forgettable season that will, for all the wrong reasons, never be forgotten.
That is unfair on the players whose efforts during an energy-draining, injury-hit campaign deserve better than the apparent apathy that will greet these last few weeks of the season.
For the teams and the coaching staff, of course, the objective remains.
The future of the Super League is still not cemented and it is not their job to second guess how the game navigates its way forward in what are sure to be a tumultuous and seismic few months off the pitch.
The goal is still there to be chased, at least.
Credit to them for their levels of professionalism here then, even if their energy levels dipped in the second half.
*What do you think of the European Super League plan? Take our quick survey HERE.
FSG sent two messages
If Liverpool’s owners were tuning in from Boston on Monday evening, they might have been searching for clues.
Clues for how their controversial backing of the Super League might have been received inside their own club.
Messages from Jurgen Klopp and James Milner, either side of the game, might just have given them a fair idea.
“People are not happy with it and I can understand that but I cannot say a lot about it,” said Klopp as he reiterated his stance against the formation of this breakaway European league.
“We were not involved in any processes, not me, or the players, we didn’t know about it.
“[My feelings] didn’t change. My opinion didn’t change.”
So the biggest name at the football club is not in favour of it.
Next up, the stand-in skipper, the club’s vice-captain, Milner.
“In my personal opinion, I don’t like it and hopefully it doesn’t happen,” he said.
If the Boston bigwigs are gauging the temperature, they will find this is a feeling that is likely to pervade through this Liverpool squad.
Of course, with a reported £344m per season for a guaranteed 23 years, FSG may just continue on their blissfully ignorant pathway.
But if they want to engage, like they have done in fairness for previous controversies, they will find this is an idea that is not wanted.
It’s not wanted in the fanbase and Klopp and Milner have confirmed it is not called for on the football side of the operation, either.
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