Premier League

‘You cannot be third without fantastic players’: Klopp all praise for Salah, Firmino

Salah teed up Firmino to open the scoring, before the Brazilian returned the favour in Liverpool’s 2-0 win at Southampton.

Jurgen Klopp backed Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino’s cases for player of the year honours after they each bagged a goal and an assist to ensure an easy 2-0 win for Liverpool at Southampton.

Salah teed up Firmino to open the scoring with his 20th goal of the season after just six minutes, before the Brazilian returned the favour with a stunning backheeled pass for Salah to slot home just before half-time.

Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero furthered their cases to win the golden boot by downing Arsenal and Leicester respectively on Saturday. But Salah is now just one behind Kane and has one more than the Argentine with 22 Premier League goals in a prolific first season at Anfield.

“I really think Aguero and Kane and a few others are realy good players as well, but our boys are important for us,” said Klopp.

“I love their skills and attitude, but their work rate is outstanding.

“Both get the profit from our style of play. We play in the areas they like to have the balls, but in this strong league you cannot be third without fantastic players.”

Much of the attention before kick-off at St Mary’s was focused on Virgil van Dijk’s return just weeks after he became the world’s most expensive defender by becoming Liverpool’s latest signing from Southampton in a £75 million move.

However, the Dutchman couldn’t have wished for a more straightfoward 90 minutes as he shrugged off the boos of the home fans to record a first clean sheet and Premier League win in a Liverpool shirt.

“He did really well,” added Klopp. “He coped with the situation fantastic. We had a little talk before the game but I didn’t want to make him nervous if he isn’t nervous (and) obviously he wasn’t.

“I understand everything in football. The crowd is there to make life difficult but I don’t think it was too difficult for him.”

Four-way top four battle

Victory saw Liverpool leapfrog Tottenham back into third and close to within two points of Manchester United in second after Jose Mourinho’s men were shocked 1-0 at Newcastle earlier on Sunday.

However, victory for Chelsea over West Brom on Monday would see second and fifth separated by just four points in the fight for the top four.

And with the battle to avoid the drop still including up to 10 teams, Klopp believes their desperation could influence the top end of the table.

“It will stay pretty tight until the end of the season I’m pretty sure,” added the German.

“The quality of the teams is too big. The interesting thing in the past few years since I am in (as Liverpool manager) a few teams had already reached their targets to stay in the league... this year they will fight and that will make the league really interesting.”

Southampton’s toothless second-half display saw the home crowd turn their ire from Van Dijk to manager Mauricio Pellegrino.

Chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ greeted the Argentine’s substitutions and he criticised his side’s lack of belief in the second period.

“We had to be more brave in these situations,” said Pellegrino.

“Sometimes you can be losing 2-0, but you have to show another spirit to try and bounce back, and at least to try until the end.

“But I think today the biggest defeat was the way we played in the second half.”

Without a home win since November, Pellegrino admitted it is hard to complain about the reaction of the fans after Southampton slipped into the relegation zone.

“It’s really difficult to ask for more support than this when you are in this situation.”

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.