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I feel like I should rule myself out…
Following on from Brendan on talksport, I wish to avoid any confusion.
I feel that, as I work for a large accountancy firm, that the Man U job has gone.
Exuberance and enthusiasm not enough for Klopp
Interesting mail this morning from Derek in Ireland, regarding Klopp. It will go without saying when you’ve read this mail that I disagree with it in the strongest terms possible.
First of all, its this assumption that ‘wanting to win’ is enough and this is what makes Klopp so great. Apparently Rodgers didn’t want to win, or so that is the implication in Derek’s mail. With this taken into account, I’d like to point out that Rodger’s record in the Premier League is actually better than Klopp’s. It’s marginal, but it’s better nonetheless, with Rodgers 1.5 Points per game to Klopp’s 1.47. Just imagine if he cared and Klopp didn’t!!!
Regarding Klopp’s awesome winning mentality would affect the players and increase their ability to beat Stoke on a cold weeknight, it’s probably not the best time to make this point when the over-exuberant, inventor of pressing has feebly limped to a 1-0 home defeat, against Stoke, on a weeknight, with just two shots on target. Rodgers on the other hand had a fairly decent record overall against Stoke, with four wins, a draw and two defeats. Better than Klopp’s so far. Exuberance doesn’t seem to be trumping the loser so far.
The last part really struck me. He’d rather watch 10 years of fifth place under ‘Kloppo’ than one year of top four under Rodgers. Now I’m a Spurs fan but I can admit that the Liverpool 13/14 side under Rodgers is the best and most exciting Liverpool side in my living memory. They tore teams to shreds including my own pride and joy who were swept away with an aggregate of 9-0, a scoreline we were fortunate to achieve. I’m not buying that Dez would rather watch this painfully average shower just because their manager has crazy eyes and jumps around punching the air.
Klopp is a decent manager. He had some good years at Mainz and then later on at Dortmund, but he is showing at Liverpool that you can’t succeed if you only have one plan. His ‘gegenpressing’ clearly doesn’t work with this set of players at Liverpool yet he sticks to it. Rodgers, for all his faults, was never afraid to try something new if his tactics were not working, even playing a daring 3-4-3 rarely seen used by other teams.
I think Liverpool fans need to ‘calm down’ a little and realise that no manager can save their team in its current guise. A change in approach to transfers and moving some power from suited staff to tracksuited staff would be a start but some sort of identity for the team is crucial. Tottenham have thrived this season as we’re using more homegrown players who care about the club and put that little bit extra in. Chelsea are suffering from an identity crisis now as they only really have Terry from the old guard who puts himself on the line. Lampard, Cole, Drogba etc are all gone and they’re struggling without them.
Exuberance and enthusiasm are not the sole ingredients for a winning recipe. See Tim Sherwood for solid gold proof.
Liverpool v Stoke thoughts
Liverpool were awful.
Stoke reverted back to type and were decent – they ran around a lot and were physical but Butland to Crouch was still their most regular and effective pass. They were not unlucky no matter how much Mark Hughes bleats about it. Their goal came from their only shot on goal and shouldn’t have stood as Arnautovic was obviously offside to everyone other than the linesman who was amazingly in the best position to see.
Another thing – why do commentators and even reporters the next day insist on coaching their language with caveats even when the decision was so obviously wrong? Throughout last night I was told it was ‘possibly a controversial goal’ as he was ‘maybe offside’ and today I read that he ‘appeared to be in an offside position’. It wasn’t a magic trick. There were no smoke and mirrors. It wasn’t an optical illusion so you can go ahead and believe your eyes. He was DEFINITELY offside!
On Liverpool. I believe that is something like the seventh game in a row in which they have conceded to their opponent’s first shot on target. As Andrew Beasley’s blog that Mediawatch linked to the other day shows, we don’t allow that many efforts on our goal but they all seem to end up in the net – the opposite is of course true for our own goal scoring.
With that in mind I’d like to propose a radical solution to our goalkeeping problem. Just drop the keeper. We have two pretty dodgy ones so why not solve the problem by dropping the position altogether. It’s like having no fit or suitable number 9 so you play a false 9 instead. Why not drop him altogether and go for a playground ‘nets and in’ solution. That way we can pick another central midfielder to run around pointlessly flattering to deceive – four of them in a five-yard radius challenging each other for the header that led to Stoke’s goal.
Finally, can someone tell Jordon Ibe how long the pitch is before every game. I’ve not seen a game this season where he hasn’t attempted to run his man and just knocked it behind for a goal-kick then turned around looking confused.
Lindsay Bell, Dublin
Enjoy the schedule, Liverpool…
If Jurgen Klopp is already finding Liverpool’s schedule over the winter hard going, wait until he discovers the arrangements for the League Cup final.
Liverpool will play away at Augsburg, kick off 8.05pm, on Thursday 25th in the Europa League last 32, before the final at Wembley on the Sunday, kicking off at 4.30pm.
The club then has the second leg of the Europa League tie, followed by the Merseyside derby the next Sunday.
Neither Everton, who aren’t in Europe, or Man City, whose Champions League last-16 round isn’t until March, will play midweek before the final.
Spurs had this same scheduling clusterf**k last season. We ended up crashing out of the Europa League (Soldado and Fazio didn’t help matters), and were comfortably beaten by Chelsea at Wembley.
Spurs started well, but Chelsea were well-prepared and new exactly what Spurs would be trying to do. By the second half, we were behind to a deflected goal, and had nothing left in the tank to seriously mount a comeback.
This doesn’t mean Liverpool are doomed – you don’t know what you are going to get from Everton or Man City, although the chance of defensive muppetry is high – but they will at a clear disadvantage.
Charles, THFC, Bristol
Why we all need the League Cup…
Spot-on article about the League Cup; there is an ongoing snobbery about it, and you even describe it (rightly) as England’s ‘tertiary’ competition, but what people forget is that, even though this years unpredictable league is trying its best to disprove it, there will be a big 4/5 again next year or the year after that will go on to dominate for a number of years (defined by money available), and only four clubs can get into the top four, and often one of those 4/5 clubs will win the FA Cup as well.
So, what does that leave for the other 15/16 clubs in the league? Mid-table boredom or the excitement of being dragged into a relegation battle? The League Cup is essential, and all the other clubs need it, and should take pride in competing and winning it as you say. I know I would love Newcastle to win it (I’d also like them to stay in the Prem if at all possible as well, pretty please?).
A corollary (<- I learnt that word this week) to this is that Liverpool’s need to win the League Cup does speak volumes about their rightful position in the order of things at the moment and just how far they have fallen. Their rivals and peers are actually Stoke, West Ham, and Everton and the like now…just like the other 15 clubs.
Last night watching the build up to the Liverpool-Stoke game, something really started to bug me. It follows on from a mail last week where somebody agreed with Harry Redknapp, but why were we subjected to how long it has been since Stoke won at Anfield. Yeah I get the fact Stoke were playing at Anfield, but why is this fact relevant? It felt like Abe Simpson was doing the build-up.
Stoke haven’t won at Anfield since 19-dickedy two; who actually cares. Not only was it mentioned, but it seemed to take up the majority of the pre-match build-up. Surely more relevant topics of discussion could surround looking at points from the first tie, or a match that has taken place in the last ten years maybe! Stoke twatted Liverpool 5-1 last year, they’re not minnows! It had a sickly feel to it where Sky were trying to up the underdog ante and an FA Cup third-round style fixture. I guess ‘Liverpool take on a team two places and one point below them on the football pyramid’ doesn’t have the same ring to it.
As if Shaqiri or Arnautovic care that Stoke last won at a stadium last century? Do you think the Stoke players consoled themselves with the fact that they hadn’t reached the final with the new story they could tell their grandchildren. Sit on my knee and I’ll tell you about the time I won at Anfield, inside 90mins, not over the whole match, a few weeks earlier they had just drawn with Exeter, which was the style at the time!
It couldn’t be you…
Can we all agree to stop referring to penalties as a lottery please?
A lottery is defined as ‘a situation whose success or outcome is governed by chance’.
Penalties rely on skill, power, technique, research and sometimes an element of luck. Nobody ever won the lottery by giving someone the eyes.
Paul M, LFC
Rafa: Not Chelsea’s saviour
I know Paul, AVFC, London’s suggestion was firmly tongue in cheek, but can we please put a stop to the apparently popular and infuriating notion that Benitez ‘steadied the helm’ (semi-mixed metaphor ahoy) at Chelsea? Somehow the ridiculous sacking of Robbie Di Matteo has been turned into a tale of long-suffering Rafa being parachuted in to prevent a Chelsea meltdown.
Di Matteo was sacked with the team two points off the top, having beaten Arsenal and Spurs away in the League and played some beautiful stuff with a massively overhauled squad. We struggled in a very tough European group (Juve plus the Willian-Texeira-Costa Shakhtar), but he essentially lost his job because Roman never wanted him to have it and a run of bad results in Chelsea’s traditional crap November gave him a (wafer-thin) excuse to pull the trigger. By the end of the season Rafa had us 14 points off the top, and masterminded limp exits in the Club World Cup (to Corinthians) and League Cup (Swansea). We did win the Europa – comfortably the best squad in the tournament sweeping aside European heavyweights Steau Bucharest, Sparta Prague and Rubin Kazan by one aggregate goal each (and Basel more convincingly), eventually rather undeservedly beating Benfica with the last kick of the final.
Nothing particularly against Rafa and the abuse he got was pathetic, but pull Chelsea out of the fire he did not. His achievements were about par for the squad he had, no more than Robbie could have achieved that year, and I’d suggest he needed Chelsea to reboot a stalled career more than Chelsea needed him. Nothing he’s done since has suggested a great deal better either.
Sam (Di Matteo sacking was Roman’s most absurd, Jose II sadly possibly least), CFC SW6
How much for Pochettino?
Following the gossip this morning that Chelsea and Man Utd could look to Mauricio Pochettino, can you imagine Daniel Levy’s face when that particular fax comes through?
And given Mr. Levy’s previous, how much would he demand in compensation?
I’m thinking £20m+ as a minimum.
Graeme (I miss F365’s non-football story of the day), Glasgow
More Football League love…
Nice to see F365 delving into mails on Football League sides and hopefully you’ll have been nice enough to publish this also.
My side is Bristol City, who after a spectacular season last year (League One Champions and Johnsons Paint Trophy winners), are currently struggling towards the foot end of the Championship. In my mind, Bristol City are a strange club – without looking it up, Bristol has got to be the biggest city in England and Wales to never have hosted Premiership football (the last top-flight football at Ashton Gate was in the Old Division One 1979/1980 season), yet suffers from something of a lack of status, thanks largely to lack of historical success (a runner-up finish in 1907 and FA Cup final defeat to Manchester United in 1909 are the closest the club has come to major trophies). To opposition fans, the team ‘Bristol’ is spoken about, with supporters of Championship sides unknowingly referring to City and supporters of League Two sides to Rovers – on an irritatingly frequent basis, Jeff Stelling will call both sides Bristol Rovers, such is his association of his beloved Hartlepool United more often playing the side in blue and white when visiting the West Country.
Amongst our own supporters, the club is considered a sleeping giant of sorts, though mixed in with an excessive amount of self-degradation, particularly when things aren’t going well (such as at the moment for example). The club is owned by local business man Steve Lansdowne (I say local, he ‘lives’ in Guernsey for tax purposes), whose personal wealth would eclipse the majority of chairmen in the league. Opinion of him is divided – at one end of the spectrum, he has invested a significant amount of money and has finally managed to begin the redevelopment of Ashton Gate, after plans to build a brand new stadium stalled due to legal wrangling over the proposed build site being granted village green status by opponents. At the other, he is attempting to run the club ‘on the cheap’, by not spending enough on transfer fees and wages to lure more high profile players to the club, in line with a new policy which favours the signing of players under 24 that can be developed, which was implemented following City’s relegation from the Championship in 2013 with an expensive, bloated squad that resulted in posting a loss of many millions (for what it’s worth, I’m much closer to the first opinion).
On the pitch this season, City have often played quite well, with a somewhat possession based yet direct philosophy instilled by Steve Cotterill. However, this hasn’t reflected in results, as chances are too often spurned and opponents too easily able to hit us on the break (City have one of the worst defensive records in the League) – Cotterill’s reluctance to stray from a 3-5-2 formation is cited as the main reason for his departure earlier this month, with the return of a flat back four implemented by caretaker boss John Pemberton heralded as the sound base required to complete a league double over League-leaders Middlesbrough and nearly knock out West Brom in the FA Cup, before a 96th minute equaliser at the Hawthorns took it to a replay. A 1-0 defeat to Leeds last weekend brought us back to Earth and whilst many observers have said they expect City to survive based on the level of their performances, a lack of experience or nous could mean that valiant efforts that are ultimately fruitless are the norm.
The appointment of a new manager is taking some time, with Nigel Pearson an early front runner, followed by ambitious links with David Moyes (a former City player), before more recently Neil Warnock; though there is a growing feeling that Pemberton will be given the job full-time, which wouldn’t be popular, based on history after the slightly disappointing tenure of Keith Millen and the downright disastrous tenure of Brian Tinnion. With the end of the transfer window looming, the feeling is that City look set to be relegated, though that could change if we manage to pull a rabbit out of the hat in the form of a new head coach and an exciting signing or two.
Nick Hamblin, Bristol