Garth Crooks says a lot of things.
When it comes to pundits’ Team of the Week selections, BBC Sport’s Crooks is usually every football fan’s first port of call because it’s always better to get the most bonkers XI out of the way first.
Never go full Garth Crooks https://t.co/GhAnaRhbYp
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOE_UK) August 16, 2016
In recent seasons we’ve seen Crooks select five-man forward lines, credit David Luiz with a pass he didn’t make and bizarrely leave Jamie Vardy out of his Team of the Season last May.
The former Spurs forward has developed into one of the more outspoken analysts in football and while his most recent Team of the Week is hard to argue with, his explanations for his selections brought forth some raised eyebrows.
Crooks named three Liverpool players in his side after their 2-1 comeback victory over Stoke on Saturday afternoon.
The Brazilian duo of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino came off the bench to score and deliver all three points to the Reds while goalkeeper Simon Mignolet put in arguably his best performance in a Liverpool jersey to guarantee the win.
A stunning save from a Saido Berahino effort earned manager Jurgen Klopp’s praise as “one of the best I have ever seen – the save of the year,” while Mignolet also kept out former Reds midfielder Charie Adam with an outrageous display of quick reflexes.
Klopp couldn’t wait to embrace his usually under-fire ‘keeper in the wake of the victory and that hug was not viewed favourably by Crooks.
“Hugging Mignolet in sheer relief that his keeper has kept him in with a massive shout of Champions League football next season is a bit of a cop out for me,” Crooks wrote.
“Liverpool should have been challenging for the title.”
And while we can take from that that Crooks is not a big hugger, it’s clear that he felt Klopp’s outpouring of emotion about Mignolet’s heroics was simply proof that Liverpool are guilty of underperforming throughout the season.
“Mignolet has recovered his season with some sparkling performances since being dropped earlier in the campaign,” he continued. “Yet if the German manager had got his back four right it’s difficult to see how Chelsea could be 12 points clear of the Reds with six games left to play.”