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A little late in the day but here goes:
1) A comfortable win over a well drilled defensive side with no major concerns other than Wijnaldum’s injury. Of the four plodders in central midfield that we have (Can, Hendo, Millie and Gini himself), it is Gini who I feel is most important. He forms an important link between midfield and attack and always positions himself nicely to receive a pass.
2) A word on the atmosphere. Shocking. It is no wonder Klopp gets frustrated at times and he has mentioned it in interviews where the fans expect that we create a chance every 5 minutes playing the high intense geggenpress. It is unrealistic and not sustainable to play that kind of football. I would take a comfortable low key 2-0 win anyday over a mental 4-2.
3) I kind of wished that Dejan Lovren was injury free and could play the game. Anfield would have offered him great support after that terrible abuse he received. I also think there’s a good player in there, I only doubt whether Klopp can coach it out of him.
4) F365 mentioned a bit about Klopp’s histrionics. There is no doubt that it affects the team mentality. Klopp himself seems to occasionally lose it when things are not going his way and to date, I have yet to see him make a game changing substitution. ( this is not an anti-Klopp rant and I absolutely love the man)
5) The lack of leaders in the current Liverpool squad can be best summarized by the current penalty taking woes. Why was Milner ever removed from penalty taking duty after scoring so many last year? Why was Firmino after missing one? Liverpool miss a Dirk Kuyt as much as they miss a Carragher or Torres.
6) The Alberto Moreno comeback is almost complete. Very happy for the lad and feel he could also be key in keeping Coutinho at the club. A thought for Andy Robertson who as also looked great but will rarely feature till the FA cup in January.
7) This weekend could be very crucial in maintaining a push for the top 4. 4 of the big 6 play each other and there will be dropped points. Beat West Ham and suddenly things look a little better.
Keep playing Spurs down, we feed off it
I’ve heard people claim that City’s win over Napoli was more impressive that that of Spurs over Real. Let’s deconstruct this fake news .
City are 5 points clear in the EPL having not lost a game and last won the league just a few year’s ago. Napoli, despite also being undefeated in Serie A are only 2 points clear of their nearest rivals with a further two teams just 3 points behind them. It’s early days and they probably will not win the title which they haven’t won since 1990. The truth is that Serie A has a handful of good teams and the rest are weak. In the CL – which is actually the competition we’re supposed to be discussing, Napoli have now lost three group games out of four, and will soon be knocking Arsenal out of the Europa League in the next round. City were always favorites for this fixture, they should have won it and they did. Nothing to see here.
Spurs are currently 8 points behind City in the EPL and haven’t won the title since 1961. A much smaller club financially than both City and Real. Despite everyone writing them off Spurs have yet to lose in the CL group of death, every result they’ve got they have deserved. Real, in comparison to Napoli are CL and La Liga champions, they have the best player in the world in their team and the best midfielder (ex Spurs player Modric) and many other players that would walk even into City’s team, and the same manager as the past two seasons when they won this competition as well. Oh, and this game was played at a neutral ground, Wembley cannot replicate the advantage of White Hart Lane.
There can be no doubt at all that Spurs win is much more impressive. We were simply better than Real, we gave them nothing in defense, it was almost a faultless defensive display, combined with lightning quick, accurate and composed counter attacking. It’s sad to suggest this win wasn’t ten times more impressive than that of City over Napoli.
But Spurs are used to this. We’re told we can’t do things: beat the top four teams, break into the top four, overhaul Arsenal’s superiority, challenge for the title, hold on to our best players, have world class players, beat the best teams in Europe, and win the title or the CL (these last two we will accomplish like all the rest). When we do achieve things our achievements are downplayed, instead of being celebrated. I think it’s proper weird. But it’s fine, we’re used to it and actually we feed off it. Keep it up and we’ll win the CL even sooner.
Success = trophies
So people saying City’s win against Napoli was a better result than Spurs against Real, but what have Napoli won though?
Dean (even Ramos got a slap) Spurs
Spurs AND City were brilliant
Modern society loves to give with one hand and take with the other. I am a Spurs fan but can absolutely appreciate having the perspective that the City result was slightly more impressive, not that I actually agree but, hey, both great results. With that in mind can we not just enjoy that both teams had brilliants games gaining brilliant results? One team having a great result doesn’t diminish the others achievement and I have to take comments like ‘Everton would of given Madrid a game’ with copious amounts of salt….although it is a United fan speaking so I can understand why they might be bitter at having to watch multiple teams play, ya know, actual entertaining football.
Glen, Spur in East London
Results are important. They really are. There is a reason why they called the game Winning Eleven (or also known as PES – Pro Evolution Soccer).
The rule since Day One has been straightforward – score more than your opponents and you win the game. After Manchester United’s midweek game against Benfica in the Champions League, Mourinho commented that he was more than happy because his team had scored two goals, did not concede, and on top of that, “it’s more money for the club because every victory means money”. Mourinho’s teams, past and present, are well-drilled and against Benfica, he “knew the goal would arrive” because he “knew the Benfica pressure could not stay for 90 minutes (and replicate) the amazing defensive work Liverpool did”. In a nutshell, Manchester United was waiting for Benfica’s (no disrespect, but a slightly inferior team) defensive shape to break before attacking them. It sounds slightly similar to the kind of tactic that Big Sam might use when playing Bolton (again, no disrespect) against Arsenal.
Mourinho is a smart man(ager). For most club owners, if you hire Mourinho, you should get a bigger trophy cabinet too because you can be sure that Mourinho is going to deliver. Most managers analyse and try to influence the game from the touchline. But for Mourinho, he does it from the top. Just like a chess master. When Mourinho eventually retires from the game, there will be tributes from the entire football community. Video clips of his teams – Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United – will be shown over and over again.
However, there will not be too many heart-in-the-mouth moments. Mourinho’s teams are highly effective, but lack entertainment value. More often than not, when he play against inferior opponents, his team would try to retain possession and control the game, restricting the opponents to one or two shots on target, and then try to score a goal or two from their own four or five shots on target. 2-0. Against slightly better opponents, he would park his proverbial double-decker bus and wait for the opponent to slip up (I’m sorry Stevie G) to try to snatch a victory. 1-0. Or even 0-0, which is not the worst result because you can always walk away blaming the opponents for not trying hard enough.
There are many ways to get to Success. Driving down single-lane one-way Boring Avenue is Mourinho’s way. Do not expect too many hiccups or accidents along the way. It is a safe but uneventful method. Another way would be to speed through a narrow two-way back alley. Most drivers may not get to the final destination (Klopp’s Liverpool) but if you are really skilful enough (Sir Alex’s Manchester United), you can be rewarded with lots of exciting memories at the end of the road.
Just like Greece and their 2004 UEFA Euro Cup, Mourinho will always be remembered as a winner, and rightly so. However, if you are a Mourinho supporter, do not bother with the video clips. Just admire the trophies while you make yourself a hot cup of tea sitting next to the chessboard.
GJD, Merseyside Red
Wednesday night action reaction
*Unsurprisingly the boom was not as loud as two weeks ago against Maribor for Liverpool which is to be expected as Maribor just came with a plan for parking the bus, but job done they’ve taken the points against the worst team in the group.They still got the same issues miss too many chances etc but there one win away and even sturridge scored .
* Sevilla and Spartak have done enough to at least keep this group interesting for another week. Sevilla will be happy with the points total Spartak with the head to head record. You get the feeling this will be the group we will be tuning into on the final day
*Ok F365 you called this one right. I’m not sure there a team in more devastating team right now than Man city and the defense is holding it’s own. Both teams gave great attacking displays and the movement for some of the goals like Napoli’s first and City’s last was exquisite.
* This isn’t actually the worst of their performances but overall what the hell is wrong with Dutch Football. After last years fairy tale,Feyernoord have been abysmal and finishing without a point will surprise no one.
You feel Shaktar are going to take advantage of the way the matches have been scheduled and just power through to the next round such has been the lack of resistance. They’ve got the six already from the Dutch champs and will play the last game at home to man city’s reserves.
* Monaco feels like a movie franchise. After wowing u all last year with a sleeper hit the sequel just hasn’t come off the stars that were great in he first one the new cast haven’t really got up to speed yet.
That being said Besiktas seem to have learnt from last years mistakes and are on the brink.All this while reminding us that Ryan Babel has an interest in football beyond jumping in helicopters on deadline day who knew…..
* 3 points for Porto to go into the drivers seat .Rb Leipzig still have a great chance but really should just take this year as a learning experience.
* Along with Monaco and Atletico the big disappointments overall this year have been Dortmund.While Monaco can point to changes in personnel and Atletico their playing style and age of the squad Dortmund don’t really have that excuse.
Aubameyang is still there Isaak and Puilisic are available to replace Dembele they were supposed to be fighting at the top of this group and taking advantage of slip ups not trying to work out if they’ll play on thursdays.
* OK saved the best game for last can we all just leave personal affiliations aside and commend Spurs for just sticking the booth in . Wembley curse pah not enough bottle in big games stick it up your pie hole this was a master class that showed Spurs belong at this level ya’ll deserve a standing ovation and special praise ………. now win something already.
* As an extra point i know it’s early days but it seems the tides are really turning towards the premiership again maybe it has been brewing since most of the big 6 went out and got new managers one loss in 20 games is nothing to look down on .
It could change after all Madrid don’t show up till the second round but looking around right now things look rosy Barca are solely dependent on Messi , Bayern and Juve aren’t looking the same Dortmund Atletico and Monaco will be lucky to be playing Europa after December only PSG look ominous could this be the year there are multiple english teams in the semis again ?
Is it just me or is Fernandinho celebrating City’s goal last night with a combination double Rock Bottom & chokeslam on Kevin De Bruyne in this morning’s mailbox photo…
History repeats itself?
As an Arsenal fan I’ve been trying to keep an eye on who is likely to drop down from the Champions League in the seeded and unseeded brackets. Considering that we should win the group and be seeded for the round of 32, the unseeded teams are more of interest at the moment. Those teams currently are,
Atlético Madrid – 3pts
Napoli – 3pts
Celtic – 3pts
Borussia Dortmund – 2pts
Here I was thinking we would avoid a European exit in the first knockout stage this year..
The last week or so has given us plenty of opportunities to test the most popular current clichés or truisms in the English game so I thought I would share my conclusions.
Cliché number 1- Spurs are the Harry Kane team.
Started by Pep Guardiola and vigorously denied by Mauricio Pochettino this is the assertion that Spurs are a one man team, with that one man being the one/ two/ three/ four season wonder Harry Kane. The last few games has given us an insight into Spurs with and without Kane. First up was West Ham in the Milk Cup- no Harry and a 3-2 home defeat to a side in wretched form. Next was Utd- no Harry and a 1-0 defeat to a title rival. Finally Harry returned and Spurs totalled the champions of Europe. However, this isn’t the full story- they were 3-0 up with him on the pitch but 1-0 down after he went off.
Verdict- cliché is correct, Spurs are the Harry Kane team.
Cliché number 2- Liverpool’s defence is not fit for purpose.
Started by everyone with eyes, the comedy stylings of Lovren, Moreno and the rest have led to calls for Klopp to go based on his inability to organise a defence. The pesky thing is though that Liverpool have kept four clean sheets in the last five matches and no-one except Utd have kept more clean sheets over the last 15 Premier League games.
Verdict- bizarrely the evidence suggests the cliché is incorrect.
Cliché number 3- Lukaku is a flat-track bully.
This is the accusation thrown at lots of strikers- ‘oh yeah, all well and good banging them in against Rag End Rovers, wait until you play Petrochem Utd’ (oddly, if they then do the statement reverses to ‘can they do it on the wet Tuesday in Stoke’). It has been especially levelled at big Rom. He started the season in sparkling form banging in 11 in 10. However, Utd did have a lovely ease in to the season and ‘they’ suggested the challenge would come against the big boys. Liverpool, no goals for Rom. Spurs, no goals for Rom. Back to back Champions League matches against Benfica, no goals for Rom. In fact none in six for Lukaku, with away to Chelsea the next match. Jose is now shushing the crowd in defence which cannot be a good sign.
Verdict- cliché is correct so far but a brace at Chelsea will allow Lukaku to do the shushing.
Cliché number 4- Mauricio Pochettino is a good manager but he hasn’t won jack.
It goes without saying (although plenty of people seem to need to say it) that Mauricio Pochettino has done a belting job at Spurs. However, the easy stick to beat him with is that he hasn’t won anything as a manager. Third and then second in the league is real progress but these have been achieved while doing not much in the cups. So, what has the last week or so given us? A 3-2 home defeat in the Littlewoods Cup and a loss to a title rival in the League. Pochettino’s record away to the big teams is approaching Moyes-esque levels of ineptitude. However, then came the badgering of Real Madrid…
Verdict- cliché remains intact but a real tilt at the Champions League isn’t out of the question. Meanwhile- have a pop at the FA Cup eh Poch?
Old fashioned pub talk
Let me give you a scenario. You’re a relatively young man and you go down the pub with your mates of a similar age.
You’re sitting next to a large table of slightly older men from the previous generation. You hear them loud and proud talking about foreigners in the Premier League and how teams fill their teams with them and how it’s their fault England are crap.
You see it’s shocking that English teams fill their teams full of em. It’s obscene how they spend tens of millions of quid on em instead playing English players (not taking actual ability into account). You listen to them go on about how the English league is actually a foreign league now, played in England.
Then they go on to the managers. Bloody foreign owners buying our clubs and bringing in bloody foreign managers who fill their teams full of bloody foreign players. They come over here and steal our English lads jobs.
What started out as slightly humorous listening to old folk moan, actually turns offensive with the continuous nature of the conversation.
Then you realise the table is taken up by the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Ray Wilkins, Sam Allardyce, Andy Gray, Tony Gale, Tony Cottee, Paul Merson, Phil Thompson and many many other ex-pros. You are now in a state of extreme discomfort and shock that these people are offering their controversial views in this manner with obvious agendas.
You decide to sit at a different table as the sadness you feel that these once heroes could be so backward, dumb and borderline racist, but definitely prejudice, isn’t something you really want listen to.
Now, this scenario is in the Pub. A place where people can come together and discuss and talk about things within their own means of privacy to a certain extent. As what people talk about isn’t really your business. If it offends you, best to just move on.
Yet the above scenario, in reality, is not in the Pub. These views are being forced onto us ON THE TELLY! Across the board from Sky, BT, BBC (to a certain extent) and if you’re really unlucky BeIN sports. It’s on the radio but I choose not to listen to TalkSport and I suggest you do the same.
I find it utterly disgraceful that these cliches are seemingly 100% accepted by directors/producers or whoever runs sports channels. Disgraceful. Not only are they accepted but no one challenges them. Ever! They are allowed to slide every time someone says it. Why? Has Brexit really destroyed our society this much?!
Let me give you another scenario. Let’s say Sky went and did an interview with a player from the 1966 England squad or perhaps good old outspoken Jimmy Greaves. If old Jimmy started going on about bloody foreigners, the interview would not be broadcast. It would be clearly seen as prejudice to the manner of Til Death Us Do Part. Daft old sod going on about foreigners.
Seriously think about it and imagine it.
How has it come to be that we live in a society that anyone under the age of 70 is allowed, unchallenged, to be blatantly prejudiced against foreign nationals in this country whenever they feel like it week in, week out on our TV screens? How?!
Typically, which is the case with most prejudice, these dinosaurs would have spent the previous 5 minutes talking about how wonderful Sergio Aguero is at foreign-owned best team in the country Manchester City with foreigner best coach in the world Pep Guardiola.
You see being prejudice is about idiotic generalisations. It can afford to miss out specifics when it feels like it. You may be a full blown racist, but think that Pele was bloody brilliant. Shame we never saw him in England…
Small point on under 24s in CL
While your point on English youngsters in the CL in winners and losers isn’t wrong, I think it is over egged a little.
The reality is England has the most teams in the competition this year. 5 teams for an average of just over two a team. That compares poorly to Portugal at 4.3 and France at 8. Obviously, not all the French players are at PSG and Monaco but it’s true that the English players aren’t known to play for foreigns.
This isn’t to say that you can’t be excited by England’s youth but just that this year is an outlier. And England may be further behind other nations then the numbers you cite suggest.
Dave (nerd nonsense) P MUFC Dublin
Fans too expectant at Anfield
Excellent article by Daniel Storey about Liverpool’s defense. Really hit the nail on the head.
Just one more thing I wanted to say was I wonder if the fans’ tension is passed along to the players. I just think some fans are too expectant and possess a sense of entitlement that is just irritating. There were people complaining after a regulation 3-0 win in europe after playing the entire game in first gear! It’s like instead of enjoying a good win we are searching for the first sign of something going wrong so we can proclaim doomsday. So please once again stay with the team and in the stadium make sure that at least during the game you are constantly encouraging the team on so that they don’t feel nervous and are always confident while playing
A Reasonable LFC Fan