Bye-bye Coutinho, bye-bye top four for Liverpool?

Date published: Wednesday 3rd January 2018 2:40

Better. Now watch Arsenal v Chelsea and send your considered thoughts to


Trying to set Mailbox rules
Happy New Year to you all.

Now, I enjoy the mailbox as much as the next man, but I feel that the New Year should bring some renewed standards and disciplines to the mailbox.

With that in mind, can I propose the following house rules.

1. Three paragraphs.
Every story should have a beginning, a middle and and end.

With that in mind, present your argument, present your case, present your conclusions. No more scrolling through mailbox Ulysses.

2. Separate Mailboxes
One of my favourite things F365 did last year was introduce a separate Arsenal mailbox after their latest meltdown. More of this type of thing please.

A VVD mailbox would have been ideal last week.

3. Fridays
Fridays used to be fun in the mailbox, let’s bring the fun back!

4. Letter of the Day/Week.
Everyone loves awards right?

5. Be Nice to Each Other.
No explanation required.

6. (Brackets).
Let’s bring them back.

7. Humour.
Not everyone needs to be a budding journo. Sometimes its ok to crack a joke!

50. Phil Neville.

All the best.


Comments on the comments section
Co-incidentally, I was just going to write in regarding comments after reading the ever-thoughtful Peter G’s interesting article and the comments below it, but Lee (dons tin hat) beat me to it.

I wonder if the desire to post vitriolic comments on articles is indicative of mental health problems, an inability to communicate face-to-face or just a fear of somebody being able to shoot down your comments? Presumably why these characters post comments rather than email the mailbox and be moderated/junked? But I think most probably it’s because they’re either young and/or have time on their hands. And it’s probably why more reasoned posts not talking about the ‘big’ clubs and by older contributors (Ed, Peter G, etc) attract the most ire.

Is it also a coincidence that the most brain-dead responses seem to occur on articles related to Man Utd and the bigger teams? Somebody has to be clicking on those Mourinho-led pieces!

The mailbox is genuinely reflective of a more reasoning and intelligent football fan which F365 aspires to, yet the comments section mainly contains ill-thought out invective and “you’re biased against my team” nonsense found elsewhere.

So, I suppose I echo the words of Lee in that respect: What are you doing this for? The swears aren’t funny. The constant references to masturbation and genitals are immature and suggest a lack of meaningful contact with the opposite sex. In the words of Alan Partridge: “Get yourself a girlfriend”.

What I do find funny, is the bizarre and foundation-less arguments and insinuations you throw out into the ether. And of course your inability to express your opinions without resorting to insults and expletives.

So here’s the challenge. Why not do a Ben the Baggie (“Rondon” haha!) and justify your dislike for a team, player or even a writer? I for one would love to hear Mak Bewon’s actual reasons for hating Peter G’s article – obviously with all the unnecessary negative personal and misogynistic comments and penis synonyms removed.
Nick the Citeh fan, Chessington (Looking forward to the meaningful, considered words that could be written about this in the comments below)


Goodbye Little Magician
Ahh so now we know why he recently started smiling and looking happier in the last few games! 🙂

Ok we knew it was going to happen…but it saddens me to say that selling our best player every year…Suarez, Sterling and now Coutinho is not going to get us anywhere! And yes he is more important than Salah for our creativity currently and breaking down those bus parking sides. Salah is not going to score if he doesn’t get the ball! It’s a massive blow…just as our attack started to look unstoppable and we had started to sort out the defence!

This is where clubs like City and Chelski have a big advantage! Imagine City without Silva or Chelski without Hazard! However you know they would not sell key players regardless of the money on offer and just let the contracts wind down. FSG are consistently proving they can’t compete on that level and have to sell to fund transfers. There is no release clause so they should make him stay to at least the summer so we can sort a replacement first!

Disappointed! Top four will probably be a struggle without him.
Stef (Fab Four here today gone tomorrow (or some time in Jan it seems :())


…Hi, big fan of the website. Have been following it for about five years and absolutely love the insights of the editors as well as the fellow lads. I have never written here before but I would like to give my piece of mind on the stupid Coutinho saga that we have going again.

I still remember the time when he came to Liverpool and he began showing his true talent from the start. He has become an integral part of our squad but I hate the way he has approached his transfer. I truly understand the lure of Barca and Madrid for the Latin American players but I honestly expected a bit more from Coutinho. Most of the fans of other clubs say that he deserves to go to a better team. I’d not agree with this view point. He has given his best for the club all this time but it does not excuse his pathetic sh*thousery moves to get a transfer. Refusing to play for Liverpool in the CL qualifiers and submitting a transfer request just before the first Premier League game of the season does not bode well for his reputation and legacy among the reds. We were the ones who took a chance on his abilities when he was struggling at Inter and being rolled out to different teams for a loan spell. I however would not personally want to keep him. I highly doubt Klopp would like that too on the inside because he wants the players who wants to stay at the club and give it all to the jersey. He would not want it to be a recurring theme for every window.

Like Carra mentioned, the best case scenario would be to agree a Keita style transfer allowing him to leave in the summer. We should try to milk Barcelona out of so much money that it hurts them. They deserve it because of their cocky and arrogant behavior in the window. I trust Klopp to get players to replace him. We will definitely miss his ability and creativity; but I do think we can manage it because of Klopp. He was the one who lost Lewandowski but brought in Aubameyang to replace him. Hope he can do the same for the reds.

And also, I do not think it is wise to blame FSG for the transfer because they are not the ones who are forcing Coutinho to behave like sh*t. The best they can do for the club is to get as much money as possible for Coutinho and to trust Klopp to spend it wisely for the squad. YNWA
Sahil (Goodbye Phil), France


One final jigsaw piece for Liverpool?
Jack Butland…!

Is it me or is no one linking Liverpool to Jack Butland? Why not?

We sort of only require one ‘final’ piece of the jigsaw for our starting 11 (assuming actual left back Andy Robertson is playing).

Stoke are ‘having a mare’ and surely Butland fancies a top six team rather than a bottom six team? Sticking a cheeky offer in surely does no harm.. (if done correctly!)
PS. Lovren would look way less mistake prone of the keeper behind him was able to save shots that were straight at his head with two hands…rather than diving under them with one.. Though he already looks a little like that as we now have a left back that doesn’t abandon his post and leave Lovren one on onewith the winger!


Top four predictions
1) City. Only question is how many points they’ll get/will they remain unbeaten.

2) Chelsea. Quietly improving under the radar with the media focus on other teams. Proved last year they can handle the pressure of an important run in.

3) Liverpool. Klopp’s rotating pretty successfully at the moment. Virgil will improve the defence but we can only go so far in the UCL. Obviously hugely dependent on Salah staying fit though and whether Coutinho leaves in January. But the fixture list should be pretty clear after March, I don’t think he’ll focus on the FA Cup.

4) Tottenham. They’re better than this in general . But I don’t think they can sustain a battle on two or three fronts. I think they’ll have a decent run in the Champions League and their squad will struggle. Especially since defensively they don’t seem as strong as last year and Alli isn’t himself either.

And because fourwasn’t enough:

5) United. It’s going wrong there and quickly. Mourinho has lost all his man management skills and is blaming anyone and everyone for everything . Except himself of course. Tactically they’re tedious beyond belief and their fans will only put up with that so long. For the money he’s spent they should be so much better and everyone knows it.

It’s classic third season Mourinho, just a year early and without the title win to come down from.
James, Liverpool

Man City won’t finish season unbeaten

A common theme of the Guardiola years in Barcelona was that his team always looked very tired come the end of the season. That was cos’ Guardiola doesn’t rotate much, once he’s got his team settled, he plays it as much as he can and rarely changes it unless he is forced to do so. I’m less familiar with his Bayern years, but I think this trait explains at least a bit of his poor record in the Champions League semi-finals (two wins in 7 attempts if I’m not mistaken).

Now it looks like he’s doing the same at City, despite having a fantastic squad. I was very surprised to see de Bruyne start the last game for example, and while he was complaining about too many festive fixtures, he didn’t use much of his squad to play through them.

Now this mail is not to make any predictions of doom for the Champions League for City, cos’ something else he did in Barcelona was to completely rest his first team once he had the League in the bag, which in my opinion goes a long way to explain the excellent performances Barcelona put in both Finals against Manchester United with a team well rested. But my prediction is that Guardiola will do the same with Manchester City, once they will have secured the title, he will play his second string to keep his first team fresh for the European ties, and hence, unless his second string is as good as his first which is possible, City won’t be the new Invincibles this year!
Fredegar, Switzerland


Man United in a mess again
I acutally managed to catch quarter of each of last few United matches, and can understand Jose’s plight:

David De Gea – Just thank the fax machines and passwords
Valencia – We need to buy a replacement soon, preferably who can cross. He is getting old you know…
Jones – Carrying the defense…
Rojo – He is coming back from injury so let’s give him a break
Smalling – Football Manager is so easy cause you can sell him off
Lindeolf – His ball control is Barcaesque… This season is his bedding in period…
Shaw – Loves to watch the ball and given his obvious talent, it is easy to see why Mourinho gets frustrated with him.
Blind – Screwed isn’t he… Off in the summer.
Young – Is he the only one in the team who can cross the ball (No, Mata can also do that)
Mata – We need a right winger… All our attacks are down the left. Right winger will add depth (alternatively a right back who can cross and team still looks solid). Also he might be in playing in the wing cause he can you know cross… at times…
Pogba is tired and need’s a week break… He looks laboured (All matches)
Matic – We really need to give Matic a rest. Herrera is to be blamed here for not being able to get in the team!!!
Martial/Rashford – One of them should see this as an opportunity to displace Lukaku, the other get in the left wing
Mkhitarayan – Saw him in the Southampton game. Needs to get his basics fine-tuned. He is woefully out of form. As a result, we are losing the ball in really stupid positions. This has huge impact on the stamina of players with all the running back to get the ball. Saw Pogba get-out of attack a lot of times because of this…
Lingard looks our fittest player, and not surprisingly best player in this period. Not being involved so heavily early in the season is benefitting him now.
Lukaku – He looks like he has lost some pace and confidence
Ibra – He is going to take a season to recover/retire now isn’t he??

Finally, Jose needs to learn from, dare I say, Klopp, on importance of rotation!!! Hell, Ferguson, won his titles by beating the best with Park, O’Shea who wouldn’t otherwise get in the first team!!!
Essdee (Can’t believe Pool have a better rotation policy than us)


Love for Peter G
Excellent article today from the Stein-train,

When you pick apart any manager’s philosophy it always comes down to increasing the odds in your favour and reducing the risk of the outcome least desirable. Conte’s 3-5-2 chokes the opposition’s space to stop their best players creating opportunities. Pep’s possession stops the opposition having the ball and therefore creating opportunities. Dyche’s block squad, whilst allowing plenty of opportunities, only allows the poor percentage opportunities and lull’s teams into taking the easy option rather than fight for a better opportunity. There is no such thing as luck, only chance (or risk as PG calls it).

And that is what infuriates me when a manager will say “we were unlucky today, if one of those three chances had gone in it could have been a different game”. But surely any manager does in fact have an element of control on the ‘chance’ of those chances.

Why didn’t the shot go in? Was the player too tired to use proper technique after sprinting to the ball, was the player low on confidence and opted for power rather than precision or did the GK pull off a world-class save. In the first two cases, why was the player not fitter or why was his confidence low? Both elements the manager is responsible for. In the third, you have come up against a better player and the chance of scoring was too low. So yes for all means “if one of those three chances had gone in it could have been a different game” but you were not unlucky, you just did not stack the deck heavily enough in your favour.

We wouldn’t stand for our mate down the pub claiming his biggest failings were all down to luck, why should we allow Jose to. Short of standing at a roulette wheel is there anything in our own lives where we don’t try to force the odds in our favour before we take a risk.

I was unlucky not to get that promotion, I was unlucky not to get a second date there, I was unlucky to not win big at the poker table. Did you not try to show off to the boss, be as complimentary as possible to your date or (and hopefully it’s not just me that does this) drink lime and soda’s all night instead of G&Ts in an attempt to trick everyone else at the table you were plastered and therefore ensuring they underestimate you?
Tom, (always give 3 examples) CFC


Don’t blame World Cup failure on fatigue
In response to James, Liverpool I don’t see why people focus on English players being tired for World Cups and European Championships because of a heavy schedule over the Christmas period, it’s a good six months before the competitions even starts. Also correct me if I’m wrong but a lot of the world’s top stars play in the same league and play the same amount of games as their English counterparts. If we also look at the last three European winners of the World Cup (Germany, Spain and Italy) two out of those three countries have 20 teams in their top flight the same as the Premiership so over the course of the season the demands on these players and the workload is exactly the same, you could even argue that they should be more tired come the summer tournaments as they have a few weeks off around the start of the year and they have to play a more congested schedule at the end of the season..

The reason that England don’t perform well at major championships is simple, they just aren’t good enough. Members of the ‘Golden Generation’ admitted a couple of weeks ago that there is little team spirit in the England camp as they too focused on what is happening at club level. Changing the schedule of the festive period will not enhance England’s chances of winning a major tournament, good coaching, better team spirit and playing as team rather than individuals would give them a better shot!!
Kev, Belfast


…In response to the e-mails this morning, I’ve got a great solution to England players supposedly being too knackered by the time they get to the World Cup.

Why don’t they all move abroad and play in the Bundesliga/Serie A/La Liga or Ligue Un. They can all play supposed soft gentle football away from the “rough and tumble” of the Premier League, in warmer climates and with a nice winter break.

Everyone complains about the high number of foreigners in the Premier League but their countries don’t seem to be affected by their representatives lack of winter break whilst playing in the Premier League. I say get more foreigners in, fill the league up until there isn’t an Englishman in sight and force the non-English to play a full 90 minutes in every game across the winter period.

I wonder what the excuse then would be when England turn up to a World Cup and get knocked out in the group stages again. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because England just haven’t been good enough and the fitness work and tactical acumen of other nations is simply at a higher standard.

Just a thought.
Sunny, Wolverhampton


…I’m sorry, but I don’t buy into the “England players are going to be knackered” narrative, although I’m happy to agree the football overload is a bit much over the Christmas period. It’s hard work trying to keep track of everything going on when you’re not sat in an office trying to look busy whilst actually reading F365.

Firstly, why will it only effect England’s chances? We have a lot of the world’s top players in the Premier League, is it really going to harm England’s chances with the likes of De Bruyne and Hazard playing so many games this season as well?

Secondly, the actually number of games played this season for some of England’s key players is possibly less than you think. The top 30 players in F365 latest World Cup ladder have played an average of 13 games out of a possible 21/22 in the league (based on games where players have played for more than 70mins) that’s 62% of games. The top Premier League sides now have options available in most positions, so rotation is far more common place. Injuries have also reduced game time for some of England’s regulars.

The biggest effect on England is probably Spurs’ lack of squad depth with Kane, Alli and Dier all playing more than 85% of league games. Six others also join this group (Pickford, Maguire, Walker, Vardy, Butland and Bertrand).

Players hitting the average of around 13 games are Rashford, Sterling, Cahill, Henderson, Hart, Jones, Keane, Trippier, Gomez, Delph, Loftus Cheek, Young and Smalling.

Stones, Lallana, Rose, Lingard, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Winks, Welbeck and Sturridge are yet to hit double figures.

So arguably you could say, due to England’s players being less relied upon due to squad depths as well as injuries sustained early in the season, England’s world cup chances have greatly improved.
Mark (Squad rotation hit my Fantasy team) Oxford


More festive football please
James, Liverpool makes a decent point for a winter break – fair enough.

But personally I am happy to forsake any chance international success for games every couple of days over the holiday period. Who would you rather spend Christmas with? Messrs Mourinho, Coutinho, Klopp, Allardyce, Hazard, Salah, Mahrez, Alonso, Kane, Zaha, Mooy or the family?

Lets be honest, we aren’t gonna win the world cup and there will be great games to watch this summer even after we’ve been knocked out at the group stage, but the holiday period? Without football we’d have to spend the whole period talking to family and watching Mrs Brown’s Boys and hour long Eastender marathons!
James, Manchester


Who thought Pardew was a good idea?
West Brom haven’t won in 20 league games. Twenty one if you include the cup. In the middle of this run we sacked Pulis a man who – since his Crystal Palace court case defeat – had completely lost what game plan he had. Pulis had won 38 points from 37 games, and won just two of his last 23 games.

This is Pulis dream (nightmare?) squad. With a bigger budget than any WBA manager ever, he decided to completely ignore our need for attackers and sign another FOUR holding midfielders in his final six months. The ‘Pulis always keeps teams up’ motto was stretched to breaking point and he had to go.

However, to then hire Pardew – a man with an even worse record at Palace who, in size and shape, are basically West Brom in different coloured stripes (see how Hodgson is doing well there as he did with WBA) – was utterly stupid.

Pardew had got 26 points from 36 games there. By any measure, who the F thought he would do a better job?

We’ve won three out of our last 34 games and one away game in a calendar year. We offer nothing to this league at all in goals, drama, flair or heroes. Our chairman wants to market West Brom in China as a means to build tiny leisure towns. What Chinese man wants to grow up on Hal Robson-Kanu Avenue?


Looking at next England squad
The next England squad and, more importantly the final 23 for Russia is going to be very interesting in light of current form/fitness.

I was looking back at the last F365 World Cup ladder written a mere seven weeks ago and we should expect some major changes in the next one…

– The goalkeeping situation.
Given that at the last squad announcement Gareth said about Jack Wilshere “I don’t know how you get in an England squad without getting in the Arsenal team” we should therefore expect Joe Hart to be omitted from the next squad on the same basis, no? I think Southgate will bottle dropping Hart from the squad, but by rights one of Pickford or Butland should get the starting gig in advance of the WC. In the form they are both in, either option would strengthen the side for Russia.

– Central Midfield
Unlike in November, both Jack Wilshere (40 in the ladder) and Danny Drinkwater (35) are starting regularly and performing at a Top 6 side, which is usually deserving of a call up. The form of both raises the possibility of a combination of Wilshere, Drinkwater, Winks and Dier giving England’s World Cup midfield a Henderson-less sheen, or is that just too much to hope?

Commonly accepted as the Three Lions weak point, this actually means that we have five central midfielders playing regularly for Top 6 teams, and that is without considering James Milner and an out of position Fabian Delph. Should hopefully mean the end of the Livermore experiment.

– Striking Options
Most teams will take at least three strikers to the WC in their 23 man squad. Kane and Vardy obviously go if fit and your last ladder had Rashford as a wing/forward backup. As he has played less as a forward and more as a winger recently, does this open the door for a third striker option, and if so, who? Is this the time of year when the ‘Andy Carroll’ question rears its head once again?
Paul, London

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