GONE IN 38 SECONDS: WHY GERRARD’S TIME AT THE TOP IS UP

There are plenty of things that can be achieved in 38 seconds.

We can produce around 72 million red blood cells; we can listen to Her Majesty by The Beatles; we can run a 200m dash; we can make love to a beautiful woman (twice) …

… or if you’re Steven Gerrard, you can pick up a red card against your bitterest rivals just moments after coming on as a half-time substitute.

Ordered off for stamping on Ander Hererra, the 34-year-old Liverpool star made his way back to the dressing room quicker than a shifty Scouser darting off with your car stereo.

RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD

After the match, the former England skipper attempted to speak to the press about Martin Atkinson’s decision to send him for an early bath, but the Scouse-to-English translator – a bloke in a Fellaini wig and a stick-on Souness tash – was too pissed to convey Gerrard’s explanation.

Hackneyed Liverpudlian stereotypes aside, it’s clear The Reds captain’s rush of blood was notthe way he wanted to sign off in his last game against Manchester United, although the internet responded to his trampling transgression in typically brilliant fashion.

steven gerrard heat map

Steven Gerrard Heat Map

early bath for gerrard

Early Bath for Gerrard

After the sixth sending off his career, the midfielder is likely to miss the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Blackburn, as well as two of the remaining eight Premier League games, including Arsenal away and Newcastle at Anfield.

GERRARD’S OFF TO A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY

Clearly, even the greatest players are prone to moments of madness.

But Gerrard was meant to be Liverpool’s cavalry against United. He was meant to lead the charge and drag his team back into the game. He was meant to leave the field straddling Kenny Dalglish and flicking a middle finger to the away fans in the Anflield Road stand.

However, his 38-second cameo suggested Brendan Rodgers is flogging a dead horse.

While Gerrard’s not ready for the glue factory just yet (he’s looking to add to his 10 honours before jetting off to California) his period at the top is coming to a timely conclusion, as he gets set to swap football for soccer after signing for LA Galaxy.

It’s a sad day for fantasy football fans, as Liverpool’s number eight has been a mainstay of many successful squads over the years, but it’s the right time for Gerrard to hang up his armband and let Jordan Henderson lead the battle weary Red Army into another fight for EPL supremacy.

‘til next time …

THE REAL REASON ROONEY WOULD KNOCK OUT ANY EPL ATTACKER

Everyone knows Wayne Rooney is a warrior.

When he’s not busy banging in goals for club and country, the England captain can be found satisfying his bloodlust by stalking the streets of Manchester in search of misfiring former United stars.

According to witnesses, Rooney has previously snared Juan Sebastian Veron with a bear trap, maimed Massimo Taibi with a Nerf Gun and seriously injured Eric Djemba-Djemba with his caustic Liverpudlian wit.

We’re kidding, of course, but Croxeth-born Rooney has been involved in a “brawl” with a former teammate recently.

As reported in the Sun on Sunday, a video of the Man United star being “knocked out” by Phil Bardsley has been doing the rounds on social media – although Rooney was quick to stress that it was just two friends “messing about”.

In response to the tabloid’s front-page headline, the 19-goal striker celebrated his counter in a 3-0 home win over Tottenham on Sunday with a flurry of punches and a KO that made Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson look like Woody Allen taking part in a knitting contest.

And it’s on the pitch where the 29-year-old continues to deliver his own knockout blows.

ADDING ROONEY TO YOUR FANTASY FOOTBALL SQUAD

Quite simply, Wayne Rooney should be one of the first names on your team sheet.

Although the Old Trafford goal-grabber’s hair looks like two furious ferrets fighting on top of a bowling ball, his points to match ratio over the last few seasons has been nothing short of orgasmic for fantasy football aficionados.

The longer Rooney’s on the park, the more points he’s likely to get, as his all-round game – passing, defending, assists – is one of the best in the EPL. In addition, he’s very rarely hooked by his manager (substituted, not punched) so he’ll help you laugh all the way to the top of your fantasy league.

Kapow!

While his scoring form can occasionally be patchier than his barnet, not to mention van Gaal’s insistence on playing him in a deeper role, Rooney’s overall form means plenty of valuable points in the bank – and as our man Bruce Forsyth once said: “Points make prizes, you punt!”

‘til next time …

HOW TO REIGNITE YOUR LOVE FOR FANTASY FOOTBALL

How’s your fantasy football team looking?

If you’re anything like the rest of us, you’re languishing at the arse end of the table.

Despite your encyclopaedic knowledge of the English game, Adam from accounts, that vomit-inducing sycophant, the one who can barely spell EPL let alone pick a winning team, is riding high in the workplace league …

.. and you’re understandably depressed.

But it’s not your fault.

After all, your star striker’s early season form vanished quicker than Donald Trump’s wig in a whirlwind, while news of yet another injury to your crumbling back four was about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit.

In a final attempt to shore up your leaky defence and knock some goals in at the other end, you’ve worked hard to switch your washouts for winners, your flops for frontrunners, your chumps for champions.

Nothing works.

You need a miracle to drag your charges – 50 Shades of O’Shea – away from a fictional relegation battle. You spend days tinkering with your team. You’ve installed a tactics board in your lavvy. Your pals have stopped calling. Your girlfriend’s left you.

It’s enough to make you eventually throw in the towel.

Lost Interest?

Clearly, the pressure of season long fantasy football can take its toll.

When you join Premier Punt, however, you can dip in and out each week, allowing you to pit your wits against other halfwits, without ruining your relationships. It also means you can use your skill to win real money or simply play for fun with fantasy money.

Even if you don’t have the time, knowledge or confidence to pick a team, you can take advantage of the auto-pick function, allowing you to challenge a friend or enter one of the many multiplayer games.

Interested?

All you have to do is pick 11 players, with each player awarded points based on their performance. Your team value mustn’t exceed £100m and you can’t have more than three players from any one club.

Got it?

Sign Up For Premier Punt

If you don’t already have a Premier Punt account, what are you waiting for?

Registration couldn’t be simpler, so hop onboard, get ready for game week 29 and unveil your new team – Maradonna Kebab – to the world. Together, we’ll finally show that brownnoser from accounts who’s boss …

Good luck, you gallant punt!

SUPER MARIO GOES BALLISTIC – HIS HAIRDO IS ATROCIOUS

Mario Balotelli is having his hair trimmed.

“The usual?” asks the barber.

“No,” replies Balotelli, “Give Mario something utterly ridiculous. Something to help English press fall in love with Mario. Something that look like crazy ferret trying to burrow into Mario’s skull.”

“Very well,” says the barber, “One Ferocious Ferret coming up.”

As he bounds beaming from the barbershop into the brittle Liverpudlian air, a pack of paparazzi pounces. He’s so tired of this. All he wants to do is grab his gold plated skateboard, hitch on to a passing bus and discard £50 notes until he reaches home.

All he wants is a quiet life.

When you’re infamous for letting off fireworks in your bathroom and throwing darts at youth players from Manchester City’s training ground window, however, your off the field antics tend to overshadow your prowess in front of goal.

At Anfield, though, our Mario has struggled worse than a blind angler when it comes to finding the net – and this has led to reports of Napoli getting ready to open talks with the 24-year-old striker.

ANDREA PIRLO OFFERS HIS OWN BRAND OF ADVICE

While the big Italian has hardly set the world on fire at Liverpool, Andrea Pirlo has jumped to his defence, claiming the £16million hitman simply needs some tender loving care to jumpstart his faltering career.

Pirlo may be on to something.

After all, when Luis Suárez struggled to fit in after his move from Ajax in 2011, Liverpool legend Ian Rush was actually drafted in to provide free cuddles and rubs of his moustache in an effort to help the flesh hungry Uruguayan feel at home.

A similar approach may work for Balotelli, but it’s unlikely to satisfy the appetite of a frenzied English media. Instead, it seems the press won’t be satisfied until Mario is caught bathing in a tub full of Ian Rush’s tears and shooting puppies out of a cannon.

“BALOTELLI BATHES IN RUSH’S BUBBLES!” the headlines will shriek, before the flamboyant Italian is forced to retreat to Palermo and a life of anonymity, living out his years making mozzarella and offering discounted haircuts.

“The usual?” asks Balotelli the Barber.

“No,” replies the customer, “Give me something utterly ridiculous. Something that looks like a crazy ferret trying to burrow its way into my skull.”

“I know just the thing,” says Balotelli.

Hang in there, Mario, we know you’ll come good …

GONE IN 600 SECONDS: 5 OF FOOTY’S SHORTEST MANAGERIAL STINTS

It’s a tough gig being a football manager.

Aside from spewing tired clichés to the press and dealing with a team full of underperforming man-children, the threat of the axe often looms larger than a levitating Grim Reaper.

For every bulletproof Alex Ferguson or Arsène Wenger, there’s some hapless bugger thrown in at the deep end who’s expected to pull a crisis club to safety with a meagre budget and a psychopathic chairman stalking his every move.

When you add in team talks that involve throwing Subbuteo pieces at a whiteboard while blasting a hairdryer over their centre forward’s quiff, it’s easy to see why these managerial morons are typically cannon fodder for cold-blooded chairmen.

Quite simply, as a career move, football management is more unstable than Paul Gascoigne riding a unicycle through a beer garden at Oktoberfest.

While it’s easy for us armchair fans to lounge around in Y-fronts and scratch our arses as we criticise beleaguered managers, years of fantasy football have actually taught us a thing or two about running a successful squad.

With that in mind, take a look at five of football’s shortest managerial stints and thank your lucky stars that, when Saturday comes, the same fate won’t befall you if you forget to tinker with your team …

LEROY ROSENIOR – TORQUAY
TIME IN CHARGE: 10 MINUTES

Poor old Leroy was in charge at Torquay for just 600 seconds, which makes him the unfortunate record holder for the shortest spell as manager EVER. To be fair, the circumstances surrounding his dismissal were outwith his control (a consortium took over the club and wanted their own man), but the regrettable Rosenior was out on his ear faster than you can cook a batch of frozen chips.

DAVE BASSETT – CRYSTAL PALACE
TIME IN CHARGE: 4 DAYS

Although Bassett – the old hound – didn’t actually sign on the dotted line during his time at Palace, it only took four days for him to do a swift u-turn and head back to his previous position at Wimbledon. The reason? Well, it was 1984 and times were much simpler, but it’s actually a little known fact that Bassett returned to Wimbledon to carry on his clandestine affair with a womble.

MARTIN LING – CAMBRIDGE UNITED
TIME IN CHARGE: 9 DAYS

We’ve all been warned about taking a position at a company where the head honcho has a reputation as a bit of a madman, but it seems Martin Ling wanted to make his own mind up. Despite his predecessor quitting due to clashes with Cambridge United’s chairman, Ling evidently thought he could tame the beast. Nine days later, however, Ling also left with his tail between his legs.

PAUL HART – QPR
TIME IN CHARGE: 28 DAYS

A manager having a heated run in with a player is nothing new, but there seems to be something in the water at Loftus Road. After a bust up with Adel Taarabat, following in the footsteps of his predecessor Jim Magilton, who was suspended after a heated exchange with Akos Buzsaky, Paul Hart was swiftly relieved of his duties by QPR’s flamboyant owner, Flavio Briatore, after just 28 days.

STEVE COPPELL – MANCHESTER CITY
TIME IN CHARGE: 33 DAYS

Portsmouth’s former Director of Football hasn’t had his troubles to seek as a manager, although his time at Maine Road probably ranks up there with the worst of them. After just six games in charge, Coppell claimed the stress of the job was too much, quickly scarpering to Crystal Palace as chief scout. To this day, Coppell’s reign is the shortest of any Manchester City manager.

Reckon you can do a better job than the boys listed above?

Prove it by registering with Premier Punt today and join a community of likeminded individuals bidding to outwit their rivals with first rate managerial ability – and, best of all, there are no bloodthirsty chairmen in sight …