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Klopp: He’s irresistible
After reading Matt Stead’s piece on Liverpool reaching the Legue Cup Final something clicked.
With Klopp, every game is important, every tournament is important. He has shown this in the League Cup and the Europa League. The reason this obvious statement is making things click for me is because I believe football and football clubs are very simple things, on the basic level.
If Klopp shows his players his want to win, the importance of what some people or clubs may write off as a nuisance trophy it will install this mentality into the players.
Win, just go out and win the damn thing. Whether it’s Carlisle or Chelsea, go out and win the game, I was so fed up with Brodge by the end but the ultimate in losing mentality was the game against Real Madrid. What example is that to show your players? If the manager lacks ambition or lacks the necessary drive on a cold night in Stoke to win games so will the players.
He’s leading by example, he cares. If that’s adds 10% to the players’ performance it’s invaluable.
Plus, he’s box office entertainment. I would happily watch 10 years of fifth place with Kloppo than one of Rodgers finishing top four.
Dealing with corners, Liverpool style
So the major change in our approach to handling corners tonight seemed to be that the players were intently focused on getting out the box as quick as possible and forcing the line-up. This is a good strategic change as it gets the congestion away from Mignolet and also meant that when the ball did inevitably drop onto a Stoke head or foot, it was at least in less dangerous positions. Only once did the team not press out, Mignolet flapped it behind and then went fairly mental at everyone. The only other discernible change was Moreno standing as close as possible to the free-kick and doing a silly jump. I quite liked that though I’m not sure it served much purpose.
I thought it was a shame that we seemed to lack a creative presence on the pitch to string a decent final pass onto the end of some decent possession in good positions. I was surprised Teixeira didn’t get a chance to show what he was capable of given that is exactly what he’s good at. He’s turning into this season’s Dani Pacheco for me. (I’m also going to find out what happened to Suso after this email…)
Delighted to be in a cup final. Liverpool aren’t the sort of team in a position to turn their nose up at a trophy. We are in no-man’s land in the league and with any luck a win against Everton in the final (please oh please let them get through) might motivate the team to believe they can push on in the Europa League. Would be so happy if we could find a cheeky back-door route into the Champions League for nostalgia more than anything; our last showing in front of big ears wasn’t exactly our finest).
Two minutes later
It hasn’t gone great for Suso. Sad times.
Worst performance yet?
I know we won in the end but that was the most infuriating Liverpool performance this season. I’d like to see the stats because I would be surprised if any player had a pass completion over 50%.
We have got to improve in every area.
Luke, Red in Sussex
Could somebody tell Jordan Henderson that he is allowed to play a simple pass now and again. I lost count of the number of aimless, Stevie wannabe punts he made to nobody last night. Klopp noticed that the ‘captain’ had a stinker too and relieved me at least when he took him off.
Other than that, another 90…no wait 120 minutes more of wasted life, Stoke seemed happy for pens from the second half kick off and we seemed unable to do much about it.
Pens always fun to watch of course and nice to see Mig put a solid hand on the ball for two of them. Felt a bit for Crouchy for the booing, but that’s the penalty pantomime I guess. He usually gets a well-deserved cheer from our lot so hope he doesn’t take it personally.
Adrian (someone explain offside to that linesman) LFC, Hants
What does Milner do?
As I saw the news of James Milner signing over the summer I remember thinking to myself ‘huh that’s not a bad signing and on a free as well.’ Over the past month or so of watching a frustrating Liverpool team struggle week in, week out, I have started to question what it is certain players bring to the team. My focus for quite some time was Adam Lallana who neither seems to score, assist or be involved enough to actually warrant being classed as ‘doing something.’ In this light my attention then changed to James Milner. I see him line up on the right side of a front three and come the end of a match I can’t think of a single thing he has really done other than run around a bit and generally look tired. I guess this all leads back to my initial reaction when we signed him. It was not one of great joy and excitement it was more comparable to someone giving you a calendar when you already have one that’s fully filled in for the year. I’m not sure what use I would get out of it but it may serve some purpose further down the line and I guess it’s nice that I got it for free.
Hugh (yes I got given two calendars this year) Davis LFC
What Lallana does…
Plenty of valid criticism heads Liverpool’s way. Plenty of valid criticism heads Adam Lallana’s way.
But for some reason that entirely predictable, yet somehow effective 180-degree turn he does on the ball when he catches it on the half turn is oddly calming.
I have nothing else to say.
I wrote in a while ago extolling the virtues of Joe Allen. I was laughed out the Mailbox. I even had the honour of a name change from the MC to a certain ex manager. Am I now allowed a little gloat?
Mick T, Liverpool
…Apparently Liverpool did replace Steven Gerrard…
With JOE F*CKING ALLEN!!!!!!!
Brian (Klopp got us to Wembley spending absolutely nothing) LFC
…Joe freakin’ Allen. So that was 15 million well spent after all.
Loving Glenn Whelan…
It’s currently 10 mins into injury time. Whichever way this goes, my love for Glenn Whelan grows stronger and stronger! He is the antidote to Lallana’s complete nothingness.
And his reaction to that Flanagan challenge was first class. Would definitely have hurt, could have made a meal of it and got the youngster a second yellow. Instead he gets up and carries on. A1 GW A1.
The only choice for Man United…
Really surprised that no one has mentioned the obvious candidate for the MUFC job. The winner of the Champions League and runner-up, two-time UEFA cup winner, two La liga titles and a host of other cup and title-winning glories, a proven track record of coming in to steady the helm of a club in disarray, an acknowledged master of facts, and currently out of work…step forward Rafa Benitez, your destiny and the stars have aligned! Can’t see the downside personally! Plus the net spend record will make Woodward all moist…
Paul, AVFC, London (putting Degsy size amounts of cash on this to happen)
Why rest players for the cup?
I was going to write in on this subject last week when my team Ipswich were dumped out of the FA Cup by Portsmouth and thought the moment had passed – but with calls for emails from anywhere but the Premier League and the fourth round approaching this weekend I thought I would contribute.
Ipswich’s recent history in the FA Cup is woeful having lost in the third round the last six years on the trot. This year it was League Two Portsmouth who played us off the park at both our place and then again in the replay at Fratton Park. We made a number of changes for the home game and then more for the replay (11 changes to the team and took mainly youngsters as subs). When we went out there were a number of cries from fans on social media stating that ‘we can now focus on the league’ and ‘we were never going to win it anyway so what is the point of trying’. Two of the worst arguments there are with the second one is the easier to refute ‘Why play in any competition that you are not amongst the favourites if that is the attitude?’ – but it’s the first one which really grinds my gears.
Before the first Pompey game we had started to build up momentum beating QPR, Brighton and earning a good point away at Burnley. But since that game we have lost some of our fluency, needing a last minute winner to get past Leeds and now going three without a win. Did the rest help? Arguably it has hindered more than helped. Is that the case every time? No, but it is often said that momentum and confidence are incredibly important, so why change it if the players are fit enough to play?
More annoyingly though is that it is said that resting the players for one game will let us focus on the league when we then don’t make any signings to improve our first team at the same time. Others teams (especially Brighton) are making shrewd loan or permanent purchases to give themselves a boost by adding quality and being able to offer rotation in that area of the squad. Instead we get Mick McCarthy’s old mates on frees and kids who aren’t considered ready yet.
This has turned into a longer email than intended and is not meant to belittle Big Mick’s achievements in the league (fighting for play-offs again is more interesting than mid-table obscurity). But it screams lack of ambition that we won’t invest properly in the squad to properly drive for promotion whilst also treating the cups as meaningless. Is this frustration felt by other clubs? Who should I look out for this weekend to join the ‘Won’t invest, won’t play full strength’ group?
Mar, (ITFC), Cambridge
This has gone on far too long.
I am confused, puzzled, bemused bamboozled, startled, baffled, shocked, bewildered, discombobulated, stressed out and downright appalled.
What in the name of mercy has happened to the cameramen of the world?
This has been weighing down on my shoulders for a long time, and I won’t stand for it anymore. Can I just ask if anyone else out there knows my pain?
Picture the scene: I’ve heard of a ‘great Messi volley’ that wins the Malaga game. I’ve risen early from my slumber like a child on Christmas morning to watch the goal on you-choob.
Excitement builds as the cross is whipped in. Here it comes…oh, get in. Yes!! Great finish. Now let’s watch some slo-mo replays. Now…now hold on. The first cameraman might has well have missed it altogether. We’ll let him off, maybe he has the coffee shakes. The second camera man is so zoomed in I can see Messi’s leg hairs but have no idea where the ball is, or where it went. The third, again, is zoomed in inexcusably far – catching what looked like ‘a football unexpectedly flying past a lens to an unknown destination’. The fourth is zooming in and out so uncontrollably it feels as if I’m I’m headed through the Space Jam time portal.
Time for assumptions (correct me if I’m wrong):
– These men are highly trained
– These men are well paid
– These men have some of the world’s best filming equipment
– These men like football (hopefully!?)
Their job is as follows:
– To film the match
– To show us the ball going in the goal
Now, call me ‘High Standards Steven’, but I feel like there should never, EVER, be a problem here. But the sheer amount of times I have failed to actually witness the kicking of a ball and the travel of said ball into onion sack, is absolutely frightening. What in the world is going on!? Why can’t cameramen film football properly? It’s like watching your drunk Nan try to film a wedding speech on your cousin’s upside-down iPad.
Who is hiring these shaky-handed, one-eyed, good-for-nothing ‘camera’ men? And who is telling them to try zoom in on the ball so far that you can’t see the…ball!?
ZOOM OUT!!! For the love of all things beautiful just ZOOM, OUT!!! It’s unbelievably simple.
Peace and blessings on your frantic football watching.
Ben ‘If only I cared this much about the world’s real problems’ Doherty. Bristol, UK
On the Orient express…
So you want to hear from the Football League? Well last night Orient introduced their first player-manager to the field since 1969 when one Kevin Nolan subbed himself on with Orient Locked at 0-0 against a tenacious Newport County (they are from Wales in case you didn’t know).
OK he looked a bit ring rusty but within five minutes he had dinked a ball into the box and the usual sub standard League Two referee had pointed to the spot for a nothing challenge to be honest.
Cue the country’s top league goalscorer Jay Simpson to put missing his last two penalties (in the same match I might add) to bed as he smashed it down the middle to give Orient a slightly undeserved 1-0 win.
Not much to report you may say but given this season we at Orient have had an owner running onto the pitch and kicking the assistant manager up the bum (all Bantz all around of course); locking the team into solitary confinement (Waltham Abbey Marriot) when they failed to best Hartlepool away and a thankfully now sacked manager who allegedly turned down signing West Ham wunderkind Reece Oxford saying, he couldn’t cut it in League Two, things are suddenly looking a bit rosy. Two clean sheets in a row and Orient are in touch of the play-offs!
The Brisbane Road Circus rolls on but now we have super Kevin Nolan to make us feel like dancing!
Nick, LOFC, League 2