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Why Not Call It The Premier League?
Right, it's going to seem like I am a bit bitter because Liverpool took a running dive out of the cup, and while watching a top team getting owned by a team 50 places beneath it can be rather fun, it does ruin the next round a little bit in my opinion. I suspect Leeds and Oldham will both end up going out in the next round and all the fight and bluster they showed today will end up being for nothing.
After the match this afternoon I was watching the draw and vying for a big game to look forward to but actually with so many top teams already out the chances of a mouth-watering tie are hugely diminished. What is the eye catching tie of the 5th round - Reading away at Man Utd? I realise that some people will point out I've missed the essence behind "the magic of the cup" but for the most part football tends to follow a very predictable trend where the team with the most money wins the game so the chance of seeing a lower division club make a run to the final is pretty low, evidenced by the fact that Millwall are the only non-Premier league club to have reached the final since the Premiership was formed.
It's obviously a bit silly to point this out but had Liverpool actually seen off Oldham then there would be a Merseyside derby on the cards which I think most people would be a bit more excited by than watching Luton at home to Millwall.
The magic of the cup is a nice dream but I reckon when the magic truly comes to life, on the scale it has done this time around, it just leads to lower viewing figures, which means less money, which means less attention paid to the trophy, which ultimately means that everyone fields weak teams and doesn't worry about what happens.
I am sure someone is going to point out that the list of FA Cup winners is dominated by the top teams but a scan through the semi-finalists in previous years implies that there really weren't many genuine contenders left by that stage in many of the past ten years of the competition. Allocating the fourth champions league spot to the FA Cup winners would really make the competition a far more interesting watch; I very much doubt Liverpool and Tottenham would have had one eye on their mid-week fixtures if they knew winning this competition would get them into the promised land.
'Enjoy Losing In The Next Round Against Everton'
I'm fuming while writing this mail, so please excuse me if I am not as civil as I usually am.
*Time and time again this season Liverpool have struggled against physical rugby pub sides like Stoke. Brendan Rodgers made a real mess of things choosing 2 green defenders and a physically weak midfield. Where was Lucas? Gerrard? Shelvey? These are the players that would have a chance, Allen and Sterling were pushed around like ragdolls the entire game. Rodgers needs a plan B or 1 or 2 physical midfielders.
*Oldham are going to get the plaudits blah blah, they played rugby and should not have finished the game with even 10 men. Sick and tired of pub sides getting away with all the non-calls just because they're playing on their home ground, not to mention the shocking quality of what can't even be loosely described as a "pitch".
*Still fair play to them I guess, I haven't seen such a woeful Liverpool performance since the home loss to Aston Villa who wouldn't look too out of place in the 2nd tier with their current run of form. Oldham put in a tremendous effort and were more deserving at the end. Enjoy losing in the next round against Everton.
*Coates was utterly *%(*@%*(@&%*!#)((%. And I feel bad saying this because I like the lad and I think he has potential (god I'm so sick of using that phrase), but he put in the absolute worst performance I've ever seen him play.
*Borini has yet to play in 1 game where I say to myself, well he might be a decent signing. Nope, he literally has showed 0 signs of any sort of hope that he might be a real striker in the future. He lacks strength, his finishing is poor, his speed isn't the best, so he has no outstanding talent that sets him apart. We paid over +10M for him and I believe we were properly skinned by Roma. He might prove me wrong SOME DAY, but based on the evidence thus far I'm going to have to say I doubt it.
*Sterling played like crap, to be fair so did most of the team.
*Special shoutout to Brad Jones for one of the worst goalkeeping performances I have ever witnessed. I've been bleating all season for a proper goalkeeping replacement and nothing has been done. We've been linked with Ochoa and Butland, chances are nothing will happen but boy would it be nice if we had a proper goalkeeper backup.
So there we have it, Liverpool embarrassed and the laughing stock of the Premier League once again, thanks to everyone involved. None of this will be remembered if they beat Arsenal in their next fixture but don't blame me if I'm not feeling too optimistic. And again keep in mind that this was written right after the defeat so apologies if I come off as a bit of a ****.
CB (Don't think I've heard the word cupset so many times in a weekend) West Palm Beach, FL
Brendan's Tactics Like A Terry Tackle
After the anaemic display against Oldham, Brendan Rodgers expressed his disappointment in the youngsters chosen to brush aside a team struggling in League One. The introduction of experience with Gerrard and Downing showed that Rodgers has the tact to read a game and change its course through correct substitutions at the correct time (an antonym to Rafa if you will).
However, these changes are like John Terry's defending: a last ditch tackle to recover from a mistake that shouldn't have been made in the first place:
*Starting a midfield with Henderson and Allen against an opponent that is going to be extremely physical. Okay, he wants to rest Gerrard and Lucas, but why not start with Jonjo? His form might be poor at the moment but at least he won't be a push over. Baffling decision.
*Coates. Again, makes sense to give him some experience but should have started with Carragher. Playing a technically minded, ball-playing defender against an physical, aerial team that's well versed in the little book of dirty tricks (more on that below). I almost felt sorry for the kid.
*Making Suarez captain. Don't make a guy who can barely speak English captain. Oldham players were a dirty bunch, not for their physicality but for the little things they pulled: the superbly hidden elbow into Sturridge, the leading with the arm, the grabbing around the neck and constant "argy-bargy" in the box during set pieces. Yet the referee did nowt, and the captain couldn't/didn't speak to him. Gerrard was in the referee's face as soon as he was on the pitch. Regardless of whether you think those issues were fouls or not, you would rather have a captain that brings them to the referee's attention in order to influence the game, particularly when playing away.
-Sid, (obligatory credit to Oldham) LFC
In the build up to Oldham's second goal there was a clear foul perpetrated by an Oldham player on a Liverpool player. This foul went unpunished by the referee and Oldham went on to score a goal. This goal turned out to ensure that Oldham won as the game finished 3-2 to them. I therefore expect to see a media campaign highlighting the disgraceful ('diabolical intent' according to James Lawton and 'nefarious & actions of a cheat' according to Jon Champion) nature of the Oldham player who, can you believe it, failed to notify the referee of his misdemeanour!
Or, shall we in the real world realise that sometimes things happen on the football pitch that go one way, and sometimes they go the other way. And that we shouldn't get our knickers in a twist one way or the other...
1. First off, credit to Oldham for a gritty performance that also showed more class and guile than I'd have expected. With a bit more luck Liverpool could have drawn or won the game, but, aside from some truly tenacious defending during the heaviest spells of Liverpool pressure, Oldham weren't content to sit 10 men behind the ball. They pushed and pressed and harried Coates and Skrtel all day long, and a bit more composure from Baxter or Simpson when clean through would have seen the result out of sight long before Allen's deflected effort gave Liverpool a lifeline. Oh, and Wabara's header was just lovely.
2. I find it extremely disconcerting that Liverpool showed absolutely no cohesion or drive without Gerrard on the field. Obviously a player of his class and determination can always change the game, but prior to his introduction there were painfully few moments that suggested this Liverpool squad had ever played together, and even fewer moments that indicated they cared about getting a result. I wonder if the result would have been different if he was introduced at the start of the second half.
3. Between his defensive performances at QPR last season and Mansfield and Oldham this season, can we agree that Coates has absolutely no business being anywhere near the squad? His positioning isn't terrible but his decision-making is atrocious. He's also clumsy with the ball at his feet yet constantly tries to play his way out of trouble, and he can't seem to be assed to jump more than 6 inches. He and Matt Smith have fairly similar builds, yet Smith won every aerial battle without breaking a sweat. He still has time to improve, but I think he needs a loan-spell and some regular first-team football to avoid washing out completely.
4. What, exactly does Brendan Rogers see that makes him think Brad Jones is an acceptable deputy for Reina? Jones is frequently at sea when dealing with high balls into the box, he gives up rebounds like the catastrophic one today with some regularity, and his distribution is poor. I could understand if he was young and learning, but he's 30 years old. He should be tossed out with the trash and replaced at season's end.
5. This is the sort of performance fans were worried about when Daniel Sturridge was signed. His petulant response to getting elbowed early in the game probably should have gotten him sent off. Instead he stayed on the field for 96 minutes, misplaying nearly every pass, flubbing every shot, and generally demonstrating the sort of selfish play that lost him his place at Chelsea. I have no doubt he'll have plenty of good days for the club. I just hope that, when all is said and done, they outnumber the days like this.
6. Liverpool need some size and strength. They are a small team, and getting smaller, with Rodgers recruits generally bordering on diminutive. Allen, Borini, and, assuming we land him, Coutinho, are all slight of stature and will struggle to win any physical battles. Ditto Daniel Sturridge, who, despite being over 6' is easily outmuscled far too often. A bit more size, especially in the middle of the park, could add a whole new dimension to the team and would be a huge asset in games like this, where graft and grit go further than technical ability.
Andrew English, LFC
Jones Had A Shocker
Liverpool are you kidding me? What the hell was that? Coates has to be one of the largest crap bags in football. He is huge, yet can't jump, and is physically intimidated by journeymen lumps of a striker. Brad jones you had an absolute shocker mate. Robinson is not ready to step up. Borini, oh man what was that? Rogers picked the wrong team for this game.
If you want to win the cup, you play your strongest team, if you have a decent lead, then you rest your big players. Didn't you learn anything from the Swansea league cup game? With only the Europa League to play for, Rodgers has no excuse in the Premier League now. Does this result also put pressure on Rodgers from the owners?
Liverpool, nothing surprises me with you lot any more.
Donjuan ( despondent, disappointed, disgusted, devastated ) King, LFC
...I don't wish to kick a man when he is down, but how is Brad Jones Liverpool's reserve keeper? I'm going to estimate that he earns around 20k per week. How? Why?
It has been shown time and time again that he is simply not up to the job, and while he is probably a nice guy, he is not a good goalkeeper.
If my 10 year old nephew fumbled a cross like that I'd just about let him away with it, for a 30 year old it's just embarrassing for all concerned.
As Churchill Said
If you think you're going through hell...always always always rely on the Spuds and 'Pool to cock-up worse every single season...so just keep going.
Fire Sale At Old Trafford
If the money were reinvested in transfers, how many United fans would take £30m for Rooney?
...I'll skip the introductory lines and go straight to the point. Nani is the most frustrating player in the whole wide world. When he first started his career at Old Trafford , we all had high hopes for him. I remember he used to score some wonderful goals , including unforgettable screamers against Tottenham and Middlesbrough. Back then we all thought , wow this lad is going to be something special. And when Ronaldo left in 2009 , everyone thought , now is the time for Nani to step out of his shadow .. and he didn't quite live up to the expectations. And quite frankly I can't remember the last time Nani had a good game.
I think if teams like Juventus or Inter Milan are willing to pay as much as 20M quid for him , SAF should sell , because he is offering nothing to the team , he is frustrating the fans and the players (See Rooney and Hernandez's reactions when Nani elects to shoot the ball into the stands instead of squaring a decent ball in) and I think that , aged 27 , we can no longer say that he is still young , or that he will develop with experience.
The only thing Nani has developed is a selfish approach to the game. (He once tried to score from a corner, and of course failed miserably)
I'm not doubting Nani's efforts or talent , but there is something missing in that lad , and we can't keep waiting on him to deliver.
TONY (You could hear the Old trafford fans groaning every time Nani sends a cross/shot to the stands, and that happens A LOT ) MUFC
Congrats, Cape Verde
That was incredible, I've lost my voice after those crazy last 10mins.
I've spoken to my family and friends in Sao Vicente, the place has gone mental. All the ships in the harbour have blown their horns, parties in the street. There will be plenty of sore heads at work tomorrow.
I'm going to crack open the grouge and drink the night away the night celebrating the greatest night in our country's history since independence in 1975.
Three games unbeaten and a quarter final which will probably be against Ghana. Even if we lose (most likely) just getting to the AFCON was a fantastic achievement. Today was amazing.
Summary: Cabo Verde, unbelievable Jeff.
LA (Cape Verdian immigrandae) London
Just want to wade in on the ridiculousness of bens Schmeichel statement.
When we were kids, playing football down t' park with jumpers for goalposts, if somebody ever pulled out a piece of skill it was often met with a Motsonesque scream of whoever was the player of the day for the sublime.
The biggest names in football history had been shouted not only in the Aeroplane Park, Five Acres, The Steps and the mega arena which was "The 'Venny". Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Van Basten, Le Tissier and Cantona were imitated on a daily basis as were countless other players on a season by season basis.
There was only one real constant. When ever anyone put a finger tip save round a naff naff jacket, whenever they pushed the ball onto the red line of bricks, whenever they went to ground, diving into shards glass and concrete round the back Pete and Barrys to take the ball from someone's feet they only ever came screaming one name.
SCCCCHHHHHHHMMMMEICHEL!!! Best Premier League keeper by a country mile.