Not for the first time last night, Monday Night Football was essential viewing. There was a football game in there somewhere. Leeds took a point off Liverpool at Elland Road in a dent to the Reds' chances for a Top Four finish that actually means nothing. If Liverpool get their way, they won't have to win football matches anymore to qualify for Europe. They're already there, along with 7th place Tottenham and 9th place Arsenal.
Naturally, the reason Monday Night Football was as good as it was last night wasn't because of the football at all. Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher book-ended the actual game was an extraordinary conversation on the formation of the Super League and the state of football.
With Sky being the platform for the this discussion, this conversation was always going to go quite light on their part in how the sport has been taken away from fans over the last 30 years, but taking that obvious criticism out of the equation, it was a remarkable discussion with a number of highlights.
Carragher and Neville's call to arms:
JC: "Football fans get together, all of us, in TV, pundits, players, managers, get together and stop this. Because it can be stopped. I'm convinced of it. And going forward, I think that's what we need. Marches on stadiums, supporters getting together, this cannot be allowed to happen."
GN: "We have to now mobilise, organise. It's difficult not to get emotional and feel sick, but honestly, you've got write to your MPs, your local football clubs, everybody's got to come behind this. Pundits for BBC, ITV, BT Sport, forget allegiances. Forget who you support. We've got to come together to stop this proposal."
Gary Neville calls Manchester United owners scavengers:
"I feel slightly complicit. I've stayed pretty quiet in terms of the Glazer family over the years. I've stayed pretty quiet because when the club was taken over as a PLC, you knew it could be bought and it was out of the control of players, of fans, of everybody. I believe in the free market, generally in life. And I've always thought, 'what's the answer to the Glazers? Who takes them out? Russia? China? State money... for the two or three billion quid that it would need?'
"And I've stayed quiet on the basis that it's still Manchester United. I can still go and watch the lads play. I can be happy and I can be sad. I'm still watching football in this country. If they take dividends out, alright it's dividends, I can live with it slightly. But what I can't live with is attacking every single football fan in this country. They have stepped over the mark. They are scavengers. And they need booting out of this football club and need booting out of this country."
In fact, Neville's entire five and a half minutes once he takes the reigns from Carragher in the above clip might be as good an unwritten speech as we've ever seen in sport, politics or anywhere else!
The Klopp Pre-Match Interview:
In fairness to Klopp, it's hard to know what's he's expected to do or say. He's on record speaking out against a Super League and didn't back down to that belief here. But he's an employee of a business who have thrown their eggs in this basket, and did it behind his back. Then, he's expected to go out and field questions about it in public. He did it well for the most part, but his genuine anger at Leeds given everything that happened was a bit much.
Neville's dig at Arsenal and Tottenham:
"Arsenal and Tottenham, I mean, I'd rather watch the champions of San Marino than them two at the moment, to be honest with you. How them two have wangled their way in... they're a joke to watch!"
James Milner comes out against Super League
"I don't like it, and hopefully it doesn't happen."
Patrick Bamford absolutely nails it!
🗣 "It's amazing the amount of uproar that comes in to the game when somebody's pockets are getting hurt, it's a shame it's not like that with racism."
Patrick Bamford speaks openly about his thoughts on the prospect of a 'European Super League'
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 20, 2021
Klopp Vs. Neville
Klopp's attack on Neville after the game was a bit odd. He seemed a bit rattled by the whole thing, and wanted to come out fighting. It's hard to see how he hasn't gotten the wrong end of the stick with his perceived criticism of Neville.
— MD (@MD_AFC35) April 19, 2021
Neville, understandably, passionately defended his right to talk about the issue.
🗣 "Liverpool & Manchester United should be pioneers, they should be leading the way."@GNev2 gets passionate about Liverpool & Manchester United because their history & values means we should expect better pic.twitter.com/AM4tcOD0s1
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 19, 2021
"They would rip that stadium down!"
"If that man left #LFC over this, the supporters would have the owners out within a week."@Carra23 highlights the importance of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool after the manager spoke out against the European Super League. 🔴pic.twitter.com/thTDKrCeug
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 20, 2021
Remember when José Mourinho being sacked would take up the whole episode?
😂 How Gary Neville closed out Monday Night Football pic.twitter.com/Mdsju1aEje
— Chris Hammer (@ChrisHammer180) April 19, 2021
The reaction to the show was huge and people felt they had witnessed something seminal.
This is the best episode of Monday Night Football history. Utterly compelling viewing. pic.twitter.com/Z4epLGYC9i
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) April 19, 2021
Really good from Carragher and Neville on Monday Night Football. And actually, Milner and Klopp both admitted they're not in favour of the ESL is a big deal. Becomes harder to push this through if your own people aren't with you.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) April 19, 2021
How good is Monday Night Football on Sky Sports this evening? Bloody brilliant
— Matt Lawton (@Lawton_Times) April 19, 2021
Tonight’s Monday Night Football is phenomenal television. Superb, forthright punditry from Carragher and Neville marshalled expertly by Dave Jones.
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) April 19, 2021
I’ve always thought that @SkySports Monday Night Football would work without a live match. Leeds v Liverpool was the only part that I wasn’t glued to last night. @DavidJonesSky, @GNev2 & @Carra23 it was was excellent.
— Andy Bayes (@AndyBayes) April 20, 2021
Sky actually broadcast the entire show for free on YouTube, and you can watch it in full here.