Send your mails to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a bonus Sunday Mailbox. Don’t forget to read Ryan on his beloved Dundalk in the meantime. He’s one of your own…
The Liverpool Dortmund match last night was not only a fantastic spectacle but also a victory against the stat-crazy sterility and of modern football. When all is said and done, Liverpool’s victory came out sheer bloody-mindedness and that made it all the better.
When you have a match with so much drama and passion, nobody cares who got more shots on target or who had the most possession because the match itself was the talking point.
Talking of stats, shots on target is one of my biggest bug-bears. A soft dribbled shot along the ground and into the keepers arms is worth more than a screamer that misses the top corner by inches because it was on target? Do me a favour.
And possession is next on the list. My own team’s fans can be one of the worst with this one. “Well we might have lost one nil but we were pretty good today – we had 96% possession!”
In Klopp, Liverpool have got themselves one of the top mangers in the game. Sure, managers like Mourinho, Guardiola and Ancelotti have won lots of trophies but would they be able to do it if they didn’t take over such amazing squads or have infinite resources to build a team with? We will never know because they don’t have the balls to take on such a challenge.
Klopp’s teams tend to be in his image. Full of passion, belief and never-day-die attitude. It’s the same breath of fresh air that Leicester have brought us this season. Forget boring rent-a-quote managers (and players) that have sucked all the fun out of our game. We want fun and excitement – not stats.
Also, at this level, I think being able to instill belief in your players is a massive skill and not all managers have it. It can take players and teams that step further. Look at Jamie Vardy for example. Jamie Vardy for goodness sake.
Sure tactics, team selection, yadda, yadda, but you don’t get to manage or play at the top level if you’re not good at that stuff anyway. It’s not that hard. You know, if you’re playing against Andy Carrol and you have a 6 foot 7 defender, you should probably play him. Oh.
Adonis (Kloppfan) Stevenson AFC
Normality is restored
Thank you Raúl H. García (you never even deserved to come back against Munich in 99!) Liverpool FC – YNWA for reminding why I hate a lot of deluded self entitled Liverpool fans, most United fans who wrote in were gracious in complimenting Liverpool on an epic night of football, then you go and write that vitriolic bullsh*t to once again balance out the World, hope you get stuffed in the semi’s you tit
Dave, Manchester – Thank you. Thank you so much.
With all the love (or at least grudging respect) from United fans, I was starting to feel the tiniest bit guilty for dreaming of a season in which United get fourth, City get fifth but win the Champion’s League, and Liverpool win the Europa League. Why would I feel guilty for dreaming of that you ask? That set of circumstances would keep United out of the Champion’s League. We hilariously did it to Everton in Moyes’ best season there, doing it to United would complete a unique set of rival shutouts, and it’d be great for people that don’t like United because City get to be involved. So I was starting to feel a bit ashamed of myself, what with all the praise and respect.
Then you wrote you hoped we get thrashed in the semi final. Phew. Normal service resumed. On with the pettiness!
Matt (ignoring all the evidence of decent United fans in the mailbox to justify myself… I’ve the morals of a tabloid journalist) LFC
No Guy S, no-one is blaming Rooney. We just point out that he plays sh*te most weeks and occasionally he plays ok and might score a goal. Why do you have such blind faith when all evidence suggests you’re wrong?
Following on from what someone said in the mailbox this week about shots on target, I thought of the cliche before a free kick in Beckham territory (haven’t said that for about 10 years) where the commentators say ‘just work the keeper’. Do you want to work the keeper or do you want to score a goal? Go for the top corner!
I cheered Lovren’s goal and I felt the Liverpool magic last night and it disgusts me to my core. However, Raul Garcia saying only Liverpool have nights like that is mental. Have you not heard of Fergie time? Or the champions league final in 1999?
Even Michael Owen couldn’t ruin that game last night.
P.s in your Icon feature on Beckham, please watch back footage of him rather than do it from memory. He was so much better than people remember, fame has made people forget what a great player he was.
I will forgive Raúl H. García (you never even deserved to come back against Munich in 99!) Liverpool FC – YNWA from this morning’s mailbox for his mail and attribute it to him being stone drunk/deliriously happy (delete as appropriate) when he sent it in. Tone down the rhetoric a bit mate. You’re making us all look bad.
BP (still smiling!) Johannesburg, LFC
Just as we were becoming more likeable…
Just when you thought Liverpool had bought a tremendous amount of goodwill through last nights titanic efforts, up pops Raul. Still; it makes a refreshing change from Raul claiming Benitez is a fraud and should be waiting on tables. Now whilst I never went along with “the neutrals favourite” tag peddled by our friends in the media during our recent title tilt (lots of oppo fans have losts of reasons to dislike us) it does seem as we’re becoming less dislikable. From the KloppMeister being around (I never warmed to Mr Veneers overly) to not having Steve Me or Suarez coupled with our match-going fans demonstrating what really makes them special. Not unique (we were all in awe of the yellow wall) but special and when we turn it on there a few clubs that can match the noise and fervour.
Raul just gives them an excuse to label us all as entitled and imagine what we’d be like [truly insufferable!?] if we won the thing we all crave most and stop this 20dd year barren spell. I just want us to be relevant and competitive, involved at the business end of the season. We’re heading in the right direction and when even United fans are congratulating us you know the dark days of the fans of all PL Clubs laughing at us when the slip happened may just be a slightly more distant memory. But smug, preaching mails like Raul’s do no favours in our efforts to become better winners like Citeh and less like those truly awful United and Chelsea fans.
Zip it Raul.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
Why I can’t enjoy Liverpool’s heroics
First time writer in. Long term reader.
Amazed to see Liverpool fans I know bowling about like they’ve won the world cup this morning…they’ve progressed from the quarter final of the Europa league…
These same people, didn’t even want to be in the competition in the first place!
“We almost won the league when we weren’t in Europe last time, blah blah”
At. Their. Deluded. Best.
It was an incredible comeback and result…against an excellent side who absolutely dismantled my clubs reserves.
But their typically ostentatious, gaudy, deluded, and OTT reaction sours this, and destroys any goodwill I may have towards them after this game.
By all means behave this way IF you reach the final AND win a big shiny trophy! (they won the league at Norwich away in January didn’t they?)
I’ve read and heard that this result eclipses Istanbul. REALLY?!?!?!
Frankly it cheapens the clubs incredible trophy haul and history…and their ignorance puts peoples dislike down to envy. When really it’s their lack of class & taste in the good times…and lack of perspective & unyielding delusion at all times.
Rant over. I’ll get off my soap box now. As you were.
Chris (At least it’s a break from having the Leicester narrative rammed down our throats) THFC
The fourth step
I have been with my wife for nearly 10 years.
It’s not been the greatest period in Liverpool’s history, but it has included an FA Cup and Carling Cup win, a Champions League final and the incredible fun that was the 2013/14 season and nearly winning the title.
In that period my wife has slowly morphed from:
Stage 1 – being completely disinterested in football
Stage 2 – to wanting Liverpool to win because it makes me happy
Stage 3 – to knowing which are the good and bad players and understanding the difference between the Europa League and Champions League.
Decent progress but slower than I would like.
Last night, however, she moved onto stage 4. On 84 minutes she got off the sofa and screamed at the TV: “Lovren! You are a ducking banker [language modified]. Why the duck would you shoot from there? You had all the time in the ducking world!”
I am very proud of her 🙂
P.S. Fair play to the Man U fans who were particularly magnanimous in this morning’s mailbox.
The further Jurgen Klopp takes this Liverpool team this season will further show how much of a fraud Brendan Rodgers is.
3 players that Brendan had no time for got us through that game last night and have been the basis for some of our better performances over the last 6 weeks
John Still buzzing (LFC Dublin)
Just come down from the ceiling to send this; Brendan, THAT is what outstanding looks like.
Conflict of interest
Still buzzing after last night I was reminded by my mates that the 5th of May, the night of the 2nd leg of Liverpool’s semifinal, is the day I get married!
I’ve spent the morning concocting elaborate plans to sneak off to watch the game somewhere and try and schedule my first dance for half time!
Paul, (just don’t tell the bride!) The Wirral
The final words from my three-year-old daughter
“Lurgen Klock is the best Daddy. Can I invite him to my birthday party?”
After that match, the invite is already in the post.
Mike (LFC), Cardiff
LVG = Yoda
It hit me this morning on the way to work. LVG must idolize Yoda. It’s the only explanation for consistently using players in their wrong position. Everything LVG does is confusing and backwards because he wants to be like Yoda! Speak must he to players about philosophy of his. Damn…LVG has also ruined one of my favourite movies now. I really don’t like this guy.
David, Guelph, Canada (please let the exciting Man Utd show up at Old Trafford this weekend)
The natural successor to Arsene
Dortmund’s attacking play was a joy to behold – Sharp, incisive and clinical. Defensively, weak from crosses and prone to a lapse in concentration.
The phrase “Dortmund did ‘An Arsenal’” is already trending among my friendship circle. Our beloved Arsene would be proud of you, Thomas.
Scott (Obligatory brackets), AFC
Leicester: Winning because of Ferguson
I’ve developed a theory this morning about Ferguson’s departure paving the way for Leicester to make a charge at the league. This doesn’t relate specifically to Leicester and I’m not attempting to explain their achievements in any way, I think it is brilliant for football and I love it. What I am saying is that the consistency that Ferguson had at United meant that in any other season where clubs like Chelsea or Man City faltered, United were there to pick up the title. Now Fergie is out of the picture it has meant that a less likely team has had more chance to capitalise on the others poor form.
Fergie’s average points total in the Premier League 92-2013 was 82 points, average. Leicester currently sit on 72, and 81 wins them the league. Arsenal have hit that twice since they last won it in 03/04. Liverpool have hit it 3 times in the Premier League era. Chelsea had a spell of 3 years, 10/11 to 12/13 where they missed it. Man City haven’t hit it other than their two title wins. Spurs have never reached it. So you can see that the biggest and best are all prone to their down seasons. United would generally be there at those points to claim the trophy.
So what I am saying is, that when Fergie left United, this type of season was an inevitability, at some point. Not the type of season where a team that finished on 41 points last year pretty much doubles that with minimal enhancements to the personnel, that in itself is a different story that will be written about in greater depth. But the potential for it to happen was greatly increased the moment Ferguson p*ssed off. Seems a fairly obvious statement I guess, most successful manager leaving gives more chance to others to win something but I thought it has maybe not been considered as much as it should. It really highlights how absolutely incredible a manager Ferguson was, of the 8 times he didn’t win the Premier League he lost by a single point 3 times and on goal difference once.
Ahead of Sunday, five predictions about the Leicester v West Ham game:
– Payet and Lanzini will be the recipients of some very heavy tackles. A couple of yellows will result, but no red, even if the tackler is already on a yellow.
– Leicester will at some point be awarded a penalty for contact on Jamie Vardy in the area.
– There will be at least one incident when a Leicester outfield player (probably Robert Huth but other options are available) will appear to handle the ball in the area. No penalty will result from this.
– Leicester will win, ‘against the odds’.
– No more than one penalty will be given in all the other nine games this weekend.
James Syme, Highbury
Spare a thought for Newcastle
I’m glad you’re all enjoying this bonkers season, I genuinely am. I too would love nothing else than to sit back, kick off the brogues and bask in the utter glory of it all. The Anfield comeback, the Leicester underdog story, Chelsea’s spiral into obscurity, a hilariously sterile ManU and their droves of supporters bemoaning their 3 year post genius hangover like its a 70 year capitulation. But alas, I am a Newcastle fan and therefore caught in a whirlwind of envy and misery. Envious of teams like the mighty Bournemouth and Watford who’s fans can watch on in safety and starry eyed wonder at the pure madness of surely the most entertaining premiership season to date.
I’m not asking for much. 17th please crazy, drunk football gods. Thats all. Or do we have to push it all right to the wire? Must we be written off by anyone with a sense of footballing logic before you give us the will to win? Can we only survive in the most insane way possible (like beating spurs 8-0 on the last day) to fit into your fickle, eccentric 2016 mindset?
Jim NUFC (worst season ever)
Norwich v Sunderland: The Big Match
Just about everything pales in comparison to last night (how about James Milner’s long-distance run and cross for the winner!), but here’s my best shot at a preview of Norwich City – Sunderland, the crunch game of the weekend:
*Norwich have to go all out for the win. The big question is who Alex Neil starts behind Dieumerci Mbokani in the usual 4-2-3-1. Robbie Brady is certain on the left. I keep pushing for Wes Hoolahan in the number 10 spot; as I’ve written in before, the attack is almost always more effective when he’s in the side. On the right, if Nathan Redmond is fit to start, I hope he gets the nod over Matt Jarvis. Against Patrick van Aanholt, Redmond’s superior lateral movement can make a difference.
*A bad sign: Sam Allardyce has called this match “must-not-lose” instead of “must-win.” But he can look at the fixture list as well as anyone else, and must realize this is his best chance for three points. In the most recent games, he’s started a central midfield of Jan Kirchhoff, Yann M’Vila, and Lee Cattermole, and there’s just not enough attacking punch there. He has to find a way to keep Jermain Defoe from becoming isolated. The logical move would be Jack Rodwell instead of Cattermole. Except…one of the local newspapers unearthed this impressive statistic: Rodwell has started 31 games for Sunderland, and the team has won exactly zero. A long shot would be Seb Larsson, who’s been out of favor lately.
*A big miss for Norwich City will be the injured Timm Klose, easily their best defender. Sebastien Bassong will take his place. Bassong is very good in the air, not so very good at marking. Watch for Defoe’s movement to cause him problems, and see if Sunderland can get runners from midfield to make his job even more difficult.
*At the other end of the pitch, watch for how the in-form Mbokani does against Lamine Koné and Younes Kaboul. He bullied the Newcastle defenders, but Sunderland’s are physically stronger. The extent to which he flourishes as a target and holdup man will be a big factor in Norwich’s attack.
*If you’re thinking set pieces, both sides have a danger man: Brady for Norwich, Wahbi Khazri for Sunderland. Both have been erratic.
I’m not smart enough to predict a scoreline, but the way this season has been going, a draw is most likely. And don’t forget that Newcastle have the easiest run-in.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (great assist from Milner on the Coutinho goal, too)
Pep, ‘Pool and Cheltenham
Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, let’s imagine that City progress to the CL final to meet Bayern Munich. Following a last day league defeat they finish fifth, meaning no CL football next season unless they beat Bayern…. managed by their incoming manager Pep Guardiola. No conflict of interest there for Guardiola is there?!
Stunning win for Liverpool last night, as a neutral fan probably the best game of the season. Let the inquest into Liverpool’s defence wait for another day. Can’t people just enjoy the match for what it encapsulated – all the reasons we love the beautiful game?
Finally, good luck to Cheltenham tomorrow as we bid to become the first team since 1989 to win the Conference immediately following relegation from the football league. Gary Johnson has come in and (assuming we get one more win) saved the club from part-time football and potentially years in the non-league wilderness. He is rapidly becoming a club legend!
Jamie Bedwell (Anyone still think football is better with the sound off?!), Cheltenhamshire
Interesting comment yesterday on the article about fan protest, regarding dissatisfaction amongst Wolves supporters at having The Money Shop on their shirts next season. Ignoring the main point about the appropriateness/morality of it, it got me wondering about the actual benefit of being a shirt sponsor.
This might just be my age, but I really don’t pay any attention to shirt sponsors anymore. I think, because they tend to be short term, bigger-than-the-last-one deals, the names don’t stick. Ask anyone of a certain age to name, for example, an Ipswich town sponsor, and their first thought will be ‘Fisons’. Google tells me that today they are sponsored by marcusevans (their lower case and lack of spacing, not mine), who provide global summits and strategic conferences. I know, game’s gone. Norwich, in my mind are, and always will be sponsored by Colman’s, Newcastle by that brown ale stuff they like. I’ll always see Crown Paints on a Liverpool shirt and Holsten on the lily whites, despite the millions of pounds thrown at the clubs since by companies desperate to be associated with the Premier League.
Is this just me? I really couldn’t name more than a half a dozen current shirt sponsors of teams I don’t support, and most of those are because of links to ownership or some sort of controversy. If I see someone wearing a replica shirt, my attention is first directed to their face, in a ‘oh look, a grown-up wearing a football shirt, I wonder why’ sort of way, before I surreptitiously check the back to see if they have a player name printed, so I can properly judge them, like the awful person I am. The sponsor completely passes me by. Try this yourself. Name the current sponsors of Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Stoke.
In summary, either I am the only person in the world who stopped paying attention to this stuff years ago, or companies are wasting their money.
Jeremy (Mansion Group, also Mansion Group, Bet 365) Aves
I wanted to reiterate that Mats Hummels is a specimen of man.
The pass he plays to Reus for Dortmund’s third is absolute world class. What.a.player
Brian (JFT96) LFC