Top work and a lovely Mailbox. Keep them coming to firstname.lastname@example.org
Some very happy Liverpoolers
Now you’re going to believe us, Now you’re going to believe us, Now you’re going to believe us…we’re going to win the (Europa) league.
Mike, LFC, Dubai
…I reckon Klopp knows what he’s doing.
…FAO Man City. Now that is how you play a European semi final. You give it everything you’ve got, you don’t let the opposition rest for a second, you attack with confidence and you keep pushing for goals even when you are ahead in the tie.
Wonderful stuff. Well done Liverpool.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
…Wow what a performance! Well done Jurgen.
The main difference between this team now and the team in the final few months under Rogers is the belief and passion Klopp has instilled in the players. The team as a whole seems to want to play for Klopp and players are fighting together as a unit for the team.
This new found belief and passion has raised the games of many of the players, Lallana, Milner, Lovren and Can to pick a few who performed brilliantly last night and have now all become indispensable players under Klopp.
Instead of the the previous nerves and mistakes that would creep into our game when we conceded in the past now it seems like the team believes we have the ability to come back and not only equalise but win the game. In short Klopp has totally reinvigorated the team and it is an exciting time to be a Liverpool fan.
Next season with a full preseason and transfer window we will really see what Klopp can do. Bring on the final! And finally, great to see Sturridge properly celebrating his goal like it was the first goal he’s ever scored and not the stupid dance ! Get in son!!
Ben S – Liverpool fan in Bristol
And some Liverpool vs Villarreal conclusions
I’m delighted to see Liverpool in another European Final. It was emotional and exhausting!
*Bold selection from Klopp from the start. Regardless of Sturridge starting, Can was a bold start.
*At the age of 22, Can is growing immeasurably. He was brilliant, picking up on every second ball. I’ve said it before, he’s a future captain.
*Milner put in the sort of performance that epitomises the industrial midfielder. However, there was much more to it. Clever running, not the aimless Hendo running and let’s be honest, what a peach of a ball for lallana.
*We need to talk about Moreno. Great going forward, but a liability defending. Out of position and a ridiculous push in the second half. Like a puppy chasing a tennis ball.
*Lallana worked well, should have scored in the first half but delighted to see him score.
*Firmino. Unreal. Epitomises everything about Klopp. Works hard and has the skill level to back it up. That turn in the second half…. Filth.
*Clyne was as solid as ever. In the words of Mr Gump, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
*Soldado is a petulant striker. I’d say Spurs fans are thinking thank Christ he’s gone!
*Kolo and Lovren. Immense. What else can I say?
*Sturridge: Too often he comes across as arrogant but wow, the emotion after scoring. Just phenomenal to witness. Delighted to see it.
*Finally, Klopp. Can you think of a more passionate manager that looks crazy but has his shit together at the same time?
Miguel Sanchez (Basle is lovely this time of year)
(Deserved) Love for Steady’s piece…
There’re a great many reasons I visit F365 on such a regular basis. The mailbox, (especially when I get published), MediaWatch, Portrait of an icon, Football people on TV and all the great regulars especially IGTBABWF…
But it is the little line or two such as Matt Stead’s comment ‘Even Alberto Moreno and Simon Mignolet had their moments on the triangle’. Brilliant. I thought Mignolet received unnecessarily effusive praise from the ever sycophantic Macca and Mo (seriously!?) for a routine save. Perhaps it is that Mignolet is such muck that anything he doesn’t fuck up gets too much praise? And where to start with Moreno. When your offensive work is woeful and that is the only reason you are in the team as your positional sense is akin to a 5yr old in the play ground then you are in trouble…
Anyway, pass me the tambourine! I don’t know if am referencing my footballing ability, my musical ability or both with that comment. And a note to the giddy Scouse army. We’ve the small matter of a tasty Sevilla side to negotiate still. And no second leg at Anfield to bail us out. We could still hilariously “do a Spurs” and royally fuck this up!
*Singing* Kum By Yah
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
…Though this is a fair point
Matt Stead – what kind of heavy metal bands do you listen to? A singer, 2 backing singers, a bass player, a multi instrumentalist, 2 triangle players(?) and a couple of bodyguards?
Emre Can luuuuurve
Well what can I say, almost 10 years since we were last in a European final and we are there! We do it the hard way but by gosh it’s fun!
I just have to talk about Emre and Jurgen, with Emre in the team we are a completely different force, the way he tidies up at the back and the amount of energy he brought to the team was unbelievable considering it was his first game back!
Jurgen, sorry to say it but I am in love! I said to a friend of mine he could get us relegated and I would love him…the passion and intensity he shows is massive, the way he gets the crowd up and ready and involved is just an absolute pleasure to see! And lets be honest, in press meetings he is just cool as f**k!
Lastly, Studge and Kolo and especially Dejan put in great performances tonight. Kolo isn’t getting any younger but I would give him an extra year on his attitude alone. Studge is top class, that cannot be doubted so I really hope whatever animosity there is with Klopp is sorted this summer. As for Dejan, well under Rodgers he looked a bag of nerves, now he is anything but! Proud to have the lad in the team!
The second final of a long season, against a very tricky Sevilla team but I’m confident…come on Red Men!
Spain = Good
Spanish teams have won 6 of the last 10 Champions Leagues. It will be 7 out of the last 11.
Spanish teams have won 6 of the last 10 Europa Leagues.
Spanish teams have won 7 out of the last 10 Super Cups.
3 of the 4 European Finalists this season are Spanish teams.
But yeah, Premier League…best league in the world.
Should United even want to win the FA Cup?
With the FA Cup being the last bit of silver to be contested this season I want to offer some advice to Manchester United fans should they have the misfortune of winning. Yes, I said ‘misfortune’, because you see I am an Arsenal fan and as a group received massive amounts of very constructive criticism from fans of other teams after our team’s triumphs the previous years and the bottom line is winning the FA Cup is a bad thing.
The most important bit of advice I can give is do not celebrate, Do not act cheerful or happy or pleased at winning what is the oldest domestic cup competition in the world. Instead use the time for reflection on what might have been or should have been or could have been. What is the most important thing as a football fan is not acting all fannish. Its unbecoming and boorish and lacking any kind of perspective. Did you win the Premier League? NO! Did you win the Champions League? NO! Nothing else matters, apparently, so you have accomplished nothing.NOTHING!!
I admit I was foolish enough to think winning the FA Cup was a chance to cheer along with your mates and relish in some positive accomplishment. Imade the mistake of letting on that I was pleased. But I was pleasantly and politely reminded that I should rein it in.The truth, according to the squeaky wheels is that the FA Cup is barely worth moving your fingers on the remote to watch on the television. Sure it is better than the League Cup, but is it? Yes, it is, but not really. See what I mean. Right?
I am not dismissing Crystal Palace’s chances here, and this advice does not pertain to them. It is simply a prep for what may happen.
David O, California
Middlesbrough vs Brighton: Properly massive
I just wanted to write in, partly out of nerves and partly out of excitement, about the Championship ‘winner takes all’ final day with Brighton travelling to Middlesbrough, I don’t know what to think. If you’d have asked me this time last season, that we would need to travel to Boro and get a win to get promoted on the final day, I’d have laughed in your face, given the absolute rubbish we had to put up with under Sami Hyppia following the previous two ‘glory seasons’ which culminated in playoff defeats vs Palace (ugh) and Derby under Poyet and Oscar Garcia.
Chris Hughton has come in and done a fantastic job, similar to when Poyet took over in League One. Stabilised us, steered us to safety, and led the team to an above-expectation charge towardspromotion in the next season. Well backed by the board, and combined with transfer income from Liam Bridcutt, Will Buckley and Leo Ulloa (Premier League winner!) we’ve been able to overhaul the scouting network and buy very wisely. We’ve also tweaked our tactics from stale possession football under Oscar and Gus to a combination of slightly less stale possession football and devastating counter attacking). Our strikers are even scoring goals! It’s amazing the difference between a 4-5-1 possession style and a counter attacking 4-4-2. Norwich and Newcastle, your loss is our gain.
Liam Rosenior was released by Hull, he’s fitted in seamlessly for us, and hasn’t lost a league game all season (our bad run coincided with his injury, among others), Connor Goldson has been the find of the season for pennies from Shrewsbury, our 35 year old RB Bruno has found himself drinking from the elixir of youth to get into the Championship Team of the Season and of course we had a great lift when our beloved lower league hero Bobby Zamora rejoined us after many years away, scoring many vital goals in the first half of the season. Anthony Knockaert as well – what a buy in January. Sold by Leicester to Standard Liege after their promotion, we picked him up in January and he has been absolutely outstanding. Brighton have a net spend of around £4m over the last two seasons – way below the likes of Boro (£14m), Derby (£26m) and Sheffield Wednesday (£12m) with Hull and Burnley not counting due to parachute payments. This could be the stuff dreams are made of.
Middlesbrough have themselves been excellent for a couple of seasons – over the last two years they have been incredibly solid, last year were known for not scoring many but conceding less before they lost the playoff final to Norwich, and this season have definitely tweaked their style to be a little more clinical in front of goal. They had a blip right around the time manager Aitor Karanka had a mental clusterblip, but have recovered extremely well to take this to the final day. Jordan Rhodes was obviously a big financial risk for them but he’s done a phenomenal job since joining and scored some vital goals.
This is one season where I feel the top 3 have all fully deserved promotion. Each side have been incredibly consistent, going on long unbeaten runs (Burnley 22 and counting I think, Brighton the first 21 games). It’s crazy that on the last day of the season, any one of three teams could either win the title or two sides could either end up in the playoffs and not promoted. This is the beauty of the Championship. Anyone can beat anyone, and even as a Brighton fan I cannot be certain that Burnley will beat already relegated Charlton on the last day, meaning the battle between Boro and Brighton is not only for promotion and the playoffs, but also potentially for the title.
I’m nervous just typing this, and I’m certain if we don’t go up that we will end up failing in the playoffs for the 3rd time in 4 seasons because that’s how things roll. But either way, the drama is excellent for football, and let’s hope all eyes are on the 12.30 fixture at the Riverside Stadium. This season, promotion just seems a lot bigger because the likes of Leicester, Watford and Bournemouth have shown what can be done on a lower budget.
Naz (Dreaming of a home CL tie vs Barca in October 2017), Staines
On Rashford and analytics
I enjoyed reading Nick Miller’s article on Marcus Rashford, mostly because it’s no small feat to write 800 words without a real argument at all. Something about the optimism and promise of youth, terrific romantic stories of local lads done good. Someone give Nick the PFM of the year award right now.
Look, that ‘football analytics man on Twitter’ (who you should really cite properly if you’re going to quote) didn’t say Rashford was rubbish, far from it. He said that Rashford’s numbers were not those of a future star, based on his model (which is one of the more widely accepted and cited ones out there). He didn’t say that Rashford was a bad player, and that he couldn’t one day be a star. He just said the numbers – a very limited dataset – didn’t show any evidence of it. As you rightly say the boy only has 9 appearances – nobody with any understanding of statistics or analytics would ever argue this is anywhere near enough to make a realistic judgement based on the stats. Nor did your football analytics man on Twitter.
You at F365 are all about cutting through narratives to look at the objective reality of what lies beneath. Analytics helps to do that. It is still in its nascent stages and will never be perfect, but it helps cut through the bullshit. Publishing articles about how we should enjoy the warm glow of this local lad’s resurgence doesn’t help your own mission.
Zeddington (I do like Nick Miller, I think he’s one of your best writers in general)
(MC – We won’t have our Friday afternoon spoiled by the pros and cons of analytics, so don’t bother)
A lovely long mail on Chievo
We’ve seen Leicester’s miracle and we have been reminded about the achievements of the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest. However, mentions of the ‘Chievo miracle’ have been conspicuously absent.
In short, in 2001 Chievo were promoted to the Serie A for the first time in their history. They occupied first place for a couple of months early in the season and went on to finish fifth.
Now, that may not sound as impressive as Leicester’s achievement, but it must be seen in context. Chievo’s starting position was nothing like Leicester’s, as they came practically from nothing.
Chievo is a suburb of Verona with only 4000-odd inhabitants. The team were not even playing in a professional league until the late 1980s and, while it’s hard to get accurate figures, the Chievo squad of 2001 certainly cost much, much less to assemble than than Leicester’s £57m squad, even taking into account today’s inflated prices.
Here’s Chievo’s story in a little more detail:
1986 – promoted to the professional leagues (Serie C2) for the first time and only thanks to another team having been disqualified. For the first time they will play their home games at Verona’s Stadio Bentegodi, capacity 30,000+
1989 – promoted to Serie C1
1994 – promoted to Serie B
2001 – promoted to Serie A
2001/02 – finished 5th in Serie A in their debut season, having been widely tipped for relegation at the start of the season
Finished 7th, 9th, 15th and 7th (which changed to 4th after Calciopoli) in the following seasons
2007 – relegated to Serie B
2008 – won Serie B to achieve instant promotion back to Serie A
Have remained in Serie A ever since, currently sitting 9th in the table (while the town’s bigger team, Verona, are rock bottom)
Amazingly, Chievo have achieved all this and become an established top tier team while seemingly spending hardly any money at all (in football terms of course).
Their record signing is Paloschi, signed for €6.5m but later sold for €9.5m.
They also signed Amauri for €4.5m but later sold him for €8.5m.
To this day, all their other signings have been for little or no money, while they have sold important players – Corradi, Legrottaglie, Perrotta, Semioli – for significant sums (€5-10m each).
If Ranieri has been the catalyst for Leicester, for Chievo it was the similar-sounding Delneri, who has also managed a whole host of clubs with limited success (less silverware than Ranieri). He got Chievo promoted to Serie A in his first season in charge and took them to successive top-half finishes in the next three seasons, before departing.
Where Leicester have relied on Vardy and Mahrez, Chievo’s star players were arguably the two wingers Eriberto and Manfredini, who became known (somewhat politically incorrectly) as the Black Arrows.
Manfredini was born in the Ivory Coast but adopted by an Italian family as a child. He is, I think, the first non-white player with an Italian name to make an impact at that level (followed by Liverani and Balotelli later on). To me at least he symbolised the potential of Italian society to celebrate diversity and integration, instead of resisting it.
Eriberto’s story is unique. He was signed by Chievo as an exciting 22 year old, but years later he admitted to having obtained a false passport. His real name was Luciano and he turned out to actually be four years older than previously thought.
He had obtained the passport so he could qualify for Palmeiras’ youth team. In all likelihood his career would have amounted to nothing if he hadn’t done so. He says he came clean because the secret was too much of a burden to carry and because he wanted to pass on his real name to his son.
He seemed a genuinely nice guy despite his indiscretion and told stories of how his Chievo teammates used to make fun of him for looking much older than his (fake) age! Thankfully the authorities were relatively merciful and he was given only a six-month ban, plus a hefty fine.
Maybe I am seeing it through rose-tinted glasses but to me the Chievo miracle is at least as special as Leicester’s…
Some valid corner griping
Footballers: when taking corners, stop thinking you’re clever by placing the ball on the furthest sliver of the quadrant (eg – James Milner).
Yes, we know it’s in the rules. But you are not gaining an advantage – half the time your corners are overhit, so it’s actually a disadvantage. Just concentrate on aiming for one of your own players.
I don’t know what’s worse – the fact that Joe (The missing 2% is for the moments of skill) hates football enough to cynically prejudge the biggest game in the European club football calendar, or that’s he’s right.
Ohio Joe (Spurs aren’t dirty, it’s facking passion) London