Christmas is around the corner, the football and the darts are in full flow, pints are being consumed at an unhealthy rate – festive goodness is in full flow, but has been eclipsed by a moment of pure Barclays carnage.
Peter Drury and Gary Neville were in full voice as Liverpool and Arsenal went joust for joust in a battle of the titans just days before Santa arrives, with the Premier League title race hotting up in the cold of Merseyside.
When Sky Sports pile on the build-up for their most box office fixtures, they can often flatter to deceive. But when Gabriel’s Joga Bonito forehead smashed Arsenal in front at Anfield after just four minutes, the tone was set early doors.
Seatbelts on, mulled wine down – we’re strapped in for 90 minutes of chaos.
It took Liverpool half an hour or so to hit back through Mohamed Salah, who rolled back the years with an exquisite equaliser for 1-1 , but the game had nicely simmered throughout the half to the point where you’re no longer quite so keen to leave the couch for a mince pie, or head to the bar to avoid the half-time queuing.
Did that culminate in a team taking a lead into the break? Or in the form of a textbook Neville ‘oooooo’ somewhere down the line? Did the game even prompt some of Drury’s best, poetic work and win over a nation of miserable b*stards once and for all?
No to all of the above.
With the undisputed king of chaos Darwin Nunez starting from the bench, it was time for heroes. That hero presented itself in the form of Nunez’s Greek doppelganger.
What Kostas Tsimikas lacks in mercurial finishing ability or even world-class potential, he makes up for with a man bun to rival his Uruguayan colleague.
That wasn’t enough on the big stage against Arsenal, though. Instead, Tsimikas did one better, going full Nunez to gift us a Christmas present better than anything we could’ve wished for.
With half an hour on the clock and the game finely poised, Tsimikas unsuccessfully brawled near the technical area with Bukayo Saka, going to ground like a prime Jeff Hardy and taking out Jurgen Klopp in the process, while also injuring himself.
Klopp goes flying. pic.twitter.com/hB1TqH8qzI
— Connor Humm (@TikiTakaConnor) December 23, 2023
Someone get Triple H on the phone – that bump from Klopp belongs at WrestleMania.
After getting completely bodied by Saka, Tsimikas is sent tumbling to the floor and takes out his manager’s legs, who goes flying with him.
Amid the chaos, the Greek full-back actually injures himself.
We can’t imagine there’ll be much sympathy from the gaffer, however, considering he not only forced him into an early substitution, but has also dirtied his best tracksuit and coat on the big stage, at the busiest time of the year.
It’s beautiful. A work of art. With football feeling the crunch at Christmas as people tune into the darts and see just how good sports entertainment can be, Tsimikas and Klopp have hit back hard with a slapstick moment that no darts player could match, no matter how hard they tried.
Brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it? Award the pair of them a trophy just for the entertainment value.
A true Christmas miracle in the form of the Barclays getting its chaos back. Long may it continue.
By Mitch Wilks