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Let that be the last time that Can and Lucas play together in midfield. Please.
Paul M (My eyes!) LFC
Klopp got it wrong
I don’t like to overreact to one game which was poor to say the least, and Southampton should at least have a two-goal lead to take to Anfield. Good effort from them and a game plan which worked completely. Liverpool one shot on target of note…
1. Lallana as has been noted by many pundits has been Liverpools best midfielder this year. The key word being midfielder, having had a poor last 18 months playing wide in a front three, Klopp puts him back up top, and hence his worse performance of the year. He cannot play with his back to the goal, he needs to see the ball in front of him, never again Jurgen please.
2. That midfield three should never be seen together again, Can was horrendous and Lucas worse, did you note the fall over when outpaced in the last five minutes with a 10-yard head start? Thank you our sideways passing Brazilian but you are not good enough anymore and there is consistency in our poor performances when he has been playing either CB or DCM. Kudos for anybody who can name a slower midfield.
3. Lovren is just a poor man’s Skrtel, or not so poor basis he cost £25m, no wonder Klopp is so keen to get Gomez back in the side, Matip had better be fit Sunday otherwise United start big favorites.
4. Klavan, no comment just watch their goal again.
5. We play our youngest side ever on Sunday and the performance was miles better. What the likes of Stewart think when seeing Lucas on the pitch is beyond me.
6. It really annoys me when big teams play their youngsters or reserves throughout the competition and then if they get to the semi the first team comes back in. The boys who got us this far should have played, at least one or two of them.
7. Bad performance or not Jurgen got this one wron , we are not out and surely can’t play as badly again in the second leg. Get the team right please.
DL, LFC, Geneva
Awful, awful, awful from Liverpool
Shocking performance from the boys last night. Really disappointed with the midfield especially.
We really need to stop moving Lalananana forward. He is much more of a threat from midfield.
A midfield trio of Lucas, Can and Gini does not strike fear into any team. Can and Lucas were particularly poor.
Poor first touch, too slow and no discipline. Special angst for Can who was rubbish. I would have pulled him out of our pub team.
We miss Hendo. Incredible how is has made himself that important to the team.
Our front men were largely anonymous. Bobby was OK I suppose.
Yet we are only one down and I suspect the Saints will be more disappointed with the result. They really should have put us to the sword. I can’t imagine we can play that badly again. That’s probably the biggest positive from that game. I did like Milner’s exquisite face control though.
Oh and Coutinho is back. Yay! Just in time for Mourinho and his merry band of men.
H (please don’t be THIS crap on Sunday)
…First of all I’d like to say bob on Mr Storey, I agree (almost) entirely with your summation of the debacle I’ve just watched. I say almost because I think we did improve noticeably when the little magician came on but still nowhere near enough to get anything out of he game.
Wijnaldum is very good at being the utility/keep it simple/Ronnie Whelan type midfielder that recirculates the ball and keeps momentum going and that’s fine, but that only works when there’s some dynamism around him. And I don’t mean Emre Can’s poor impression of it either. He’s an absolute f*****g liability, marauding around like the kid at school who was bigger than everyone else but constantly gets mugged off by the players who could actually, you know, play football. That midfield three should never play together again and if that’s a result of tonight’s game then a 1-0 loss is worth it.
The problem now is what does Jurgen do for the must-not-lose game on Sunday. My suggestion would be Wijnaldum, Lallana and then go balls out and put in Ejaria purely because I think the boy is an absolute star. I’d also seriously consider swapping Sturridge out for Ojo as he’s the nearest thing we have to Mane currently at the club. This would hopefully allow Coutinho and Firmino to get back to what they were doing earlier in the season without having to accommodate a massively talented but clearly square peg into a round hole. But what do I know, I’ve been thinking Harry Wilson (under 23 captain, left peg like a wand) is about to take the first team by storm for two years now and he didn’t even get a game against Plymouth.
Carl (honestly, like a wand) the Welsh
…What the hell happened? The nicest thing I can say about ‘that performance’ is that the team is extremely lucky to only be 1-0 down going back to Anfield. I am not sure what’s going on, but I’m having flashbacks to the 14/15 season, where nothing is going right and no one seems bothered enough to give a ****. The only bright spot was Karius who, if he works on his cross flapping, might become a pretty good goalkeeper.
Klopp needs to steady this ship ASAP, whether it’s motivating the lads, getting a January signing, or hell, just actually managing to deliver a corner kick to a Liverpool player. Lose to Man U during the weekend, and suddenly a chance at a trophy and top four could quickly devolve into a complete collapse and derailment of the season, which would be a real shame considering how strong the start was.
I’ve been a Liverpool fan for a long time, and I’ve become so used to disappointment and collapse, but this time was supposed to be different. I’m not ringing alarm bells yet, as this is the most stable the club has been in a long time and there is some real talent in the team, but something has to give.
Klopp was brought in not just for his smiles and crazy celebrations, but for the inevitable tough times like now. I believe he and the team are capable of turning it around but goodness me, it’s getting far too close for comfort now. Fingers crossed there is some sort of response on Sunday, because today’s performance at St.Mary’s would be one my rec league team would be ashamed of.
CB, Washington DC
…Obviously life doesn’t work this way but if losing tonight means we win on Sunday then I’ll be perfectly happy.
We have struggled again to break down a team that sits deep which was a small pain to watch. Southampton were probably the better team and deserved the win I thought…other than the Firmino scissor-kick I really can’t remember us being very threatening at all.
This is the problem with Liverpool with a focal point; we effectively become rather predictable. When Firmino plays through the middle we seem harder to anticipate and the movements from those next to him and behind him seem to slot together better. The problem is that there aren’t enough players in the squad who can replicate the movement and pressure from the front that Firmino offers, so basically when one key cog (i.e Coutinho) is injured we have to swing everything around to make the team work.
Not the ideal warm-up for Sunday, both in terms of how we played and the result, but at least Coutinho is back! Hopefully Henderson will be available too for Sunday.
Can: Slow and cumbersome
On bringing my girlfriend along for her first ever football match back in November to watch Liverpool v Watford, she brought three things away.
1) The atmosphere is much better in the flesh.
2) Anfield is freezing in November. The club make fortunes on hot drinks alone.
3) I really do not rate Emre Can.
He scored that day. And Liverpool won 6-1. Still, she was able to come away with that understanding. Glad to see the world is coming round to my way of thinking. He is cumbersome. He looks out of place in our side of nimble, agile, quick-thinking players. He is slow, has the turning circle of a flexi bus, and he is where quick, flowing football goes to die. I actually hoped Klopp’s note told the players to stop giving him the ball.
I hope he got the full 90 as Klopp had no interest in resting him before Sunday, as hopefully he won’t be playing. Instead affording that luxury to Gini, who while hardly inspired last night, was certainly the better of our midfield.
Adam, LFC, Belfast
…Some players have improved under Klopp. Most notably Lallana. Emre Can has taken a giant step backwards. He resembled a brilliant midfielder about to emerge. A player whose pace and power gave him all the natural traits required to be great. His decision making and rash actions left a lot to be desired. Spending time training under Klopp would surely see him progress to the next level…but it was not to be. He looks out of his depth and surely in the summer he’ll be replaced with the promotion of a youth player or a new acquisition.
Without Lallana playing in the midfield three, Liverpool look flat. Even without Henderson a midfield of Lucas, Gini and Lallana should be able to trouble any side. Put Lallana out wide and mark my words it’ll be a huge result for Utd. This is the beginning of the end of Liverpool’s season. Europa beckons.
Trying to find some positives
Well that was a dire performance from the Reds! Like a drunk scrambling around for some coins in his pocket to buy another drink I can just about cobble together some positives:A) Lloris Karius was very good, B) Coutinho emerged from his 30-minute cameo unscathed, C) It is only 1-0 with Anfield to come.
Right-O, now that I’ve paid lip service to my New Year’s resolutions of focusing on the positives let’s try unpick that performance.
Lethargic, Uninventive and disjointed are three words which immediately spring to mind. Southampton played, in my opinion, the perfect template on how to beat this Liverpool side. By sitting deep, they prevented any of those tricksy runs in behind which are such a hallmark of our play. By solidifying the midfield with three nominal centre mids (Romeu in particularly impressive form) they forced us out wide were our lack of width (and pace) was exposed. Finally by lining up with Tadic, Redmond and Rodriguez they had a forward line who were willing to track back but always on the look out for the swift counter to expose our fragile defence.
I won’t highlight our struggles in midfield without Henderson as you have covered it in depth here, but the worrying trend of Firmino remaining on the periphery when played on the left continued last night. Sturridge, in fairness starved of any level of service, barely had a touch in the opposition box and resorted to wayward long-distance shots.
While the tie is far from over, the performance gives cause to worry when casting a glance to Sunday and beyond. Mourinho will line up his United side up in a similar manner to Southampton but with better players. Liverpool have to inject some energy and invention into their side or the result is depressingly inevitable. My main point of concern is just how jaded the team looked despite the majority getting the day off against Plymouth. Surely it is too soon in the season for Liverpool’s high-pressing, intensive style to have caught up with them?
I’m all to aware how negative this sounds so now would be a good time to point out that in two weeks time we may be through to the EFL Cup final, the FA Cup fourth round and remain on the shoulder of the Premier League leaders. That said improvement is clearly needed so what better game to get up for than United. Bring on Sunday!
Osric the Brave, (start Firmino as a false 9 on Sunday pls!), Cape Town
What is a ‘big club’? And do Liverpool still count?
Okay, so this is a debate which is possibly even more divisive than the ‘what constitutes a world-class player’ one, but it’s an interesting one nonetheless.
By popular consensus the big clubs in England are Arsenal, Man United, Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea. They are the powerhouse clubs with the biggest support, the most trophies (over whatever arbitrary period you wish to choose) and have the most support globally. So which of those factors is the overriding decider? Trophies? Perhaps, but Liverpool haven’t won a league title in 25 years, yet somehow fluked a Champions League win in that period. Yet so did Porto, Inter and Marseille.
Arsenal have not won the league in over ten years and have yet to win a Champions League, in fact only have two European trophies in their history.
Chelsea have won the league relatively frequently in the last 15 years and have won a Champions League, but prior to that, almost went out of business and had been in the second tier of English football.
Similarly Man City, minus the Champions League win and including a dalliance with League One.
Manchester United have won multiple leagues and Champions Leagues in that period, are financially the strongest club in the world and undoubtedly have the most supporters in China. Yet could not have made more of a pig’s ear of Fergie’s succession if they had tried.
So based on the trophies argument only really Man United are bomb proof. Liverpool are the least deserving of the big club moniker if we use trophies won as a guide based on a generation (roughly 25 years).
But they have history I hear you cry. Yeah so do Villa, Forest, Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Engineers and The Wolves. And I doubt many would argue they are big clubs.
What they do have though is huge support globally. As do Arsenal and Man United and probably Chelsea.
Financially all five are top ten in the world. Probably top ten in the world based on global support as well.
So based on a combination of trophies, support and money, all five of those should be considered European giants. However if we use the most important currency in football, silverware, then there is an argument to say that only Man United, Man City and Chelsea are truly big clubs.
What of the others? Spurs? Well no major trophy since 1991 and the humiliation of playing in a half-empty Wembley stadium next year (absolutely deluded if they think they will sell out a new ground every week). So no, Spurs are not a big club. Yet.
Everton? What goes for Spurs goes double for Everton. The one team that really feels like they should be big, but somehow conspire not to be.
Villa? Leeds? Newcastle? They all have the potential but in an increasingly Londoncentric Europe I think they will find it harder and harder to attract to players to get back up there.
Leicester? Haha. Bless. A big club wouldn’t be fighting relegation a year after winning the league. Congratulations though, and as a Gooner myself, kinda makes a mockery of Wengers yearly protestations about financial doping.
So in conclusion the only truly big club in England are Brand United. Followed in this order by Chelsea, Man City and then Arsenal.
Liverpool are borderline. They are big for what they achieved when it was two points for a win; Hansen, Lawro and Grobelaar could pass it amongst themselves for half a game; and they only had to beat the champions of Cyprus and Norway to get in a Euro cup final. Five more years (football loves an arbitrary time frame), without a league table and I’m putting them with Spurs and Everton on the second table.
Coming soon: The most improved teams in football over 20 years (I hadn’t used the 20-year time frame up until now).
Sorry for boring you.
How the Checkatrade could have worked…
I thought this interview with Wolves Academy coach regarding the Checkatrade raised some interesting points on the merits for Premier League and Championship academies being entered into the Football League Trophy.
Let me caveat this early that I’m not going to try and claim that this change has been a roaring success. As a supporter of a club that like an Amazon Prime membership are card carrying members of the cheaper subscription to the FL72 who once in a while get a limited time pass to the Premier League but cancel their membership before the payments begin, I totally understand why LG1 & LG2 clubs haven’t bought into the idea and feel patronised by clubs entering their youth teams and expected the likes of Accrington and Crewe to be grateful and in awe of the watching some pampered spotty nosed teenager grace their little provincial club.
Rather, looking from the perspective of a Prem/Championship club I thought Sellars’ comments demonstrated why it is strange so many top-level elite clubs boycotted this opportunity to blood their youngsters. With so many clubs struggling to find the balance between the Chelsea scheme of farming all of their players out to all four corners of the world to the Spurs model of keeping everyone in house surely the exposure to playing league football whilst being able to ensure they follow the same style and structure of the first team should have been embraced? Surely also this halfway house is a more appetising prospect that Prem clubs entering B teams into the league system.
As detailed in the interview, for Wolves this has provided an opportunity to test our academy players against the rigours of senior professional football and discover whether they can cut it whilst retaining control of style, formation and selection. Particularly since the appointment of Paul Lambert we’ve seen encouraging and surprising first-team performances from Connor Ronan, Bright Enobakhare and Harry Burgoyne with a debut for 16-year-old Morgan Gibbs-White vs Stoke on Saturday showing how much faith Lambert has in our youth over the Jorge Mendes-driven loanees we wasted money on in the summer (Helder Costa excluded). Our backline already regularly features two of the usual back four for England U21s with Dominic Iorfa and Kourtney Hause (who look promising and have been good for us but God help England’s future defence if they are the cream of the crop) but it is only thanks to the exposure through the FL Trophy that we’ve been able to bring through these extra youngsters.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is I hope that they let the academy teams in again next year and that the top sides embrace it as it could benefit England in the long run as more home grown players make the natural progression using the Checkatrade as a way to test their youngsters within an elite programme. I understand why L1&2 clubs didn’t like it but as only one U21 side remain (Wolves conquerors Swansea) it doesn’t seem to have denied the L1&2 clubs their spots in the latter stages so maybe with some tweaks it could work in the long run.
Hopefully as a supporter of a club whose only success in my lifetime is the Sherpa Van win in 1988 other fans will understand that this comes from a place of respect for those clubs but trying to see the positives, and it’s not often a Wolves fan sees the glass as half-full.
Tom S, Wolves
Farewell Kelly, you have been loved
Just wanted to say a big thank you to Arsenal legend Kelly Smith.
Yes, she’s been a fantastic ambassador for women’s football, yes she’s England’s top scorer but most of all she’s a gooner and a brilliant gooner at that.
If we could clone her we should!
Good luck with whatever you do next but remember you’ll always be loved at the Arsenal so don’t be a stranger!
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
The last China mail (from a man in China)
Sorry about being late to this latest Chinese football debate party but I thought as someone who’s actually in China it might be worth me sending an email on Chinese football.
With the general portrayal of Chinese football in the British media (other websites much more so than footie365) there seems to be a blanket dismissal of it, yet if research was done you’d know that Guangzhou Evergrande in particular have had a very very good side in recent years and won the Asian Champions League twice. You may mock the value of its trophy but its value is only going to increase over time, Asia has the most people and football popularity is growing rapidly out here in the East.
Regarding the rest of the Chinese football teams (still playing catch up to Guangzhou), often overlooked in the hoovering up of players on big wages is the five foreigners rule, each team can only have five non-Chinese players and one of these must be Asian. Until this rule changes (it won’t) the league is effectively ensuring Chinese teams only buy elite talent from abroad and allow their own players the opportunity to play with and learn from such high level players as Lavezzi, Jackson Martinez, Hulk, Oscar, Ba, Ramires and others. You won’t see Jordi Amat, Adama Diomande or Seb Larsson ambling around a pitch in China any time soon as most teams would consider them not good enough to be in their elite four players (and as far as I know none of them has an Asian grandma). China is aiming for the top and it wants to do it with homegrown players – something which I personally find quite admirable.
On a personal level, having been to watch a few professional games (it’s not as bad as you think) and also played a lot in the 5/7 a side leagues of Guangzhou and previously Tangshan (Hebei), I know how much love for football there is out here and I know that a lot of talent has previously gone undiscovered as there simply wasn’t the pathway or scouting for kids to go into professional football. However the government isn’t just having rich people invest in big names, money is being invested in grass roots football and it is getting overhauled. Look online and you’ll find countless coaching jobs out here now.
China is coming and will be a force in football within a the next decade, get used to it.
I’m a sweet transvestite…
Thanks a bunch, Steven Chicken. I read your article shortly before bed last night and, thanks to your last line, I found myself trying to sleep with the mental image of Marouane Felliaini as Dr Frank N Further seared onto my mind’s eye.
Chris (sweet dreams) Bridgeman, Kingston Upon Thames