The Review: 'Billions' watch Gerrard follow a worrying trend

Pity the graphics department at Sky Sports who are required to conjure up on a regular basis suitably grandiose concepts to match the approach of the satellite station to Barclays Premier League football.

'The World is Watching' was how Manchester United v Liverpool was billed, as if it were Cuba v USA at the Bay of Pigs.

That said, the world must have loved what it saw, a 'proper game', as Andy Gray would put it. And did.

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Gerrard plants a kiss on one of Sky's cameras

Intimate viewing: Gerrard plants a kiss on one of Sky's cameras

Richard Keys, who adopts the statesmanlike approach of the late Richard Dimbleby on such occasions, backed up the global claim with the kind of statistic that sounds as if no one can prove or disprove it.

'The game is being watched in 600million houses in 200 countries,' Keys declared in that my-conker-is-bigger-than-your-conker tone demanded of presenters by the number-crunching executives.

If his figures were correct then - if there were four people in each household on average - 2,400,000,000 people, give or take a few billion and if I have got my 'ions' right, received a right smacker from Steve Gerrard. A replay from a different angle showed the Liverpool captain reacting to the successful conversion of his penalty by sticking his face deep into the rubber surrounds of the pitchside camera and planting a kiss on the lens.

This is a deeply worrying development in bringing the action right into the living room.

What with tennis players scrawling their autographs on the camera and High Definition television, it can only be a matter of time before Rio Ferdinand leaves his muddy footprints on Aunt Pat's living room carpet or El Hadji Diouf spits into the fireside basket.

Commentator Martin Tyler, another veteran who was there when Sky Sports kicked its first ball, had a stat of his own. Not a so-called killer stat, as first airing. Something about Manchester United losing only one league game at Old Trafford last season, to Manchester City, in the 14th home game of the campaign.

This was the 14th home game of 2008-09. Gray seemed unimpressed, only slightly more responsive when Vidic was shown a red card and from the resulting free-kick Aurelio gave Liverpool a 3-1 lead. 'What was that about the 14th game?' he asked.

Back in the studio, Jamie Redknapp, resplendent in his favoured light grey suit, could scarcely contain his glee. Once a Liverpool player, always a Liverpool supporter.

Paul Ince, who, of course, played for both, was more muted as befits a man who had clearly chosen the wrong tie.

It was difficult to see without High Definition but Ince seemed to be wearing something made from an offcut of the velvet stage curtains at the London Palladium.

Geoff Shreeves, meanwhile, was asking his questions. He had asked one of Gerrard during the build-up and received the reply: 'Don't ask me stupid questions, Geoff.'

Shreeves tried again after the match. 'Does it beg the question:Why don't you play like that every week?' It was a perfectly reasonable question posed to the wrong person. Fernando Torres lets his genius do his talking.

Without yet knowing of his dissatisfaction, I was waiting eagerly to see Sir Alex Ferguson graciously accept a hammering, but some idiot in my Edinburgh hotel changed to the Italy v Wales rugby match. Talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous.

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