Nothing brings Peter Crouch to a standstill more than VAR and his mailbox was full of questions on the subject this weekend.
They left the Sportsmail-based columnist in buoyant form, but he also found time to talk about Diego Maradona, selflessness – and his prospects for a career in tennis.
Nothing makes Peter Crouch angrier than VAR, and he doesn’t hold back again
Punishment or not?
Matt Dickinson via Twitter
I know you’re asking me about Andrew Robertson through Danny Welbeck, Matt. My answer is simple: yes. This will result in a penalty in 2020. I really wish it wasn’t – and I have no foothold in the Liverpool camp – but here we are with the game.
I really don’t like what football has become. Let me explain to you this way – in real time, neither I nor Joe Cole, who worked with Jake Humphrey on BT Sport, thought a decision had to be made. Nobody complained on the pitch, nobody I could see complained on the sidelines.
The match continued as usual, as it would have a few years ago, until VAR intervened. If you slow down a bit frame by frame, you’ll see fouls in every clip. Once Stuart Attwell went to the pitchside monitor, there would only be one result.
VAR controversy continued on Saturday when Liverpool received a late penalty
The game becomes a joyless, sterile spectacle. Can something be done?
LFCNHS via Twitterr
I would never say football is joyless, LFCNHS. I understand your frustrations after Saturday’s game, but I still enjoy watching football and you just had to watch Everton play Leeds to get the excitement.
What I think is that for nine months right now people have not been able to do all the things that would be associated with football. Believe me, players get tired of playing in stadiums with no supporters.
All fans are desperate to continue their tradition of going to the same cafe or pub before kick-off, then seeing the same people and just enjoying everything that is magical about the game. The novelty of seeing football behind closed doors has waned. We all want normalcy back.
Jürgen Klopp (left) made his misfortune clear to the officials after the game in Brighton
Football is about celebrating goals – that is gone with VAR
Rags to Riches on Twitter
You have it in one, rags to riches. I was talking about Sergio Aguero and the 2012 title decision goal a few weeks ago, but a couple of other incidents came to mind. For starters, I think what it would have been like if VAR had been there when I met for Tottenham in Man City in 2010.
The exhilaration, the spontaneous joy that came up at that moment – it wouldn’t have been the same if we had waited for things to be checked again. What about Martin Tyler’s comment of Liverpool v Newcastle in 1996? “Collymore is approaching !!!”
All of those explosions of happiness have been watered down because now you never know if a minor infraction will ruin everything. The essence of football spins in a split second when you feel the ball fly in. A few weeks ago I played against five in front of 10 people and scored. It felt the same as when I scored it in the Ryman Premier League before 500 and before 70,000 for England. I can’t stand the fact that we have to wait for the green light now. It’s not football.
Mohamed Salah celebrates a goal with Diogo Jota – but it was offside
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola leads calls for a return to five submarines per game in the Premier League this season
Is there any chance the subs rule will allow five changes again?
Akhil Bhandari via Twitter
Honestly, Akhil, I think this is no fuss about nothing. I don’t know why people get so upset about it. Not every team uses three substitutes during a game, and I strongly believe that introducing five changes would make the games a farce.
It’s difficult for everyone right now, but there is an alternate view and we are fortunate enough to be in an industry that functions relatively normally. Other people weren’t nearly as lucky.
Can you tell us what it’s like to play on a Wednesday night and then on a Saturday at 12.30 p.m.
Thomas Kelly via email
It’s hard Thomas, but nothing is harder than Christmas time if you go from Boxing Day to December 28th and then New Years Day with all the travel. You are not in your family when everyone else is together and that is difficult.
In terms of how it is physically, I’ll make it that way for you – not a player who plays a game during the week will be 100 percent fit on the weekend. It’s physically impossible and I’ll explain why.
If you play on Wednesday, your Thursday session will be all about relaxation. You go to the pool, get on the exercise bike, jog lightly just to get your legs moving. Friday you will go through set pieces and try to rest.
But everyone has bruises, cramps, a kick and scars. In fact, I would say that you could never be more than 70 to 80 percent fit. I actually played some of my best games when I was stiff and having difficulty walking. The adrenaline of it all gets you through.
Klopp also complained about playing midweek followed by a 12:30 p.m. start on Saturday
Nice thing, Peter. It reminded me of a very clever walrus and it suits you. Will you keep it
Adam Daley via Twitter
Thanks Adam. It’s comments like this that have made everything worthwhile. I’m pretty sure Abs has had enough of the pain now and I’m glad we got to November 30th as the razor and foam can come out before I’m at BT Sport tomorrow night.
Seriously, it was a lot of fun. I planned to have a handlebar by the end of the month and I think I made it. Hope Movember has made men more aware of the need to have themselves checked regularly. Don’t avoid it if you think there is a problem.
Our husband Peter shows off his spectacular Movember-inspired mustache live on TV
If you had a hat trick, would you ever give up a penalty to allow someone else to score?
Steve Baldwin via email
Not a chance, Steve. It was a very noble thing for Bruno Fernandes to give Marcus Rashford the chance to score during the week. But if I was in the same position, my only thought would have been to choose my seat and make sure I converted. I find it strange how you can give up a goal.
Bruno Fernandes gave up the penalty kick so Marcus Rashford (pictured) could score
Everyone has shared stories about how they met Diego Maradona – do you have one too?
Mike Barker via email
I was lucky enough to meet a lot of famous people, but Maradona wasn’t one of them. I didn’t meet Paul Gascoigne either, and they were both my childhood heroes. I’m too young to remember the 1986 World Cup but I’m going to tell you all about Italia 90.
I’ve watched the Diego Maradona documentary again and I can’t recommend it enough if you haven’t seen it. I love Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but I’ve always been drawn to those whose genius was flawed, like the original Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Maradona.
My god, what a player Maradona was. Joe Cole and I wrote a piece on Saturday 1986 about his goal against England. If you break it, you won’t believe the speed, ability and strength. Thinking if it happened now it would be ruled out by VAR for a foul on Glenn Hoddle!
Diego Maradona was a childhood hero of Peter and his goal against England was amazing
I saw you imagining your chances against Andy Murray when you played tennis against him for Children In Need. Are you thinking of a new career?
Paul Lippo via email
Well, Paul, when Andy’s hip is finally torn to pieces, I’ll have no hesitation in taking him out on the court and showing him how to play tennis properly.
Until then, I think he might just be one step ahead. What I’m going to say is that we had a fantastic time recording this show.
Andy is a great boy and an absolute merit – a national treasure if you will. I’m really looking forward to seeing him in court again in the New Year.
As always, stay safe and healthy until next time.
Peter Crouch still doesn’t think he can beat Andy Murray on the tennis court