There is an awful lot of #rodgersout going on here…as well as mails on Diego Costa not being any kind of master and some Manchester United thoughts…
You know what to do – send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s The Problem? The Man With The Teeth…
I think Minty, LFC does a good job of articulating the thoughts of the more erudite and less rabid Pool fan, and I’d like to expand on a couple of his points if I may. The question is posed whether ‘it is Rodgers, the club or the players’ – for me there are flaws in all three areas, and it remains to be seen if the baby steps forward taken in the Norwich game can become the giant leap of beating the (other) historical basket case Aston Villa next time out.
Rodgers – such a weird bloke. Geniuses are weird, but so too, I imagine, are tooth whitener salesmen masquerading as supply teachers in overly tight suits. He deserves credit for getting Liverpool playing the most exciting (but not best – no defence) football I’ve seen in the Premiership, let alone at Liverpool, but also it has to be recognised that he simply cannot coach a back line or give them the confidence to not drop a complete bollock at least once a game. Also his fabled flexibility is in fact the opposite – a slavish dedication to a failed (post-Suarez) philosophy (spit) and spouting pure steaming manure every time he opens his mouth. How does someone with his foot permanently in his mouth make so much noise?
The club – supposedly ruthless enough to guarantee genuine progress, but then appointed King (for so He ever shall be) Kenny for apparently purely sentimental reasons, and then gave Rodgers another season despite bringing Liverpool to the lowest ever point of losing 6-1 to Stoke. Hopefully Klopp is already on a pre-nup and Rodgers is just minding the shop like the Hovis boy in return for sweeties and pats on the head along with constant praise to keep his positivity levels up. Have unquestionably backed Bodge in the transfer market and are expanding Anfield to bring in more long-term revenue, however could perhaps have made Liverpool wealthier in terms of international marketing. Then again it’s not their fault Liverpool don’t win enough to stand out next to United etc.
The players – a double-edged sword, or perhaps more accurately child’s playdoh plastic butter knife. I actually think our squad’s pretty good, but hasn’t had the chance to reach full potential due to selling the best player every year for too long (Torres, Suarez, Sterling, Gerrard, Aspas – hehe). Too many new players every transfer window while selling proven talent is never going to inspire enough confidence in the squad to see genuine, consistent improvement. However, it’s easy to claim that they haven’t been given the best platform to shine – being played out of position, being asked to invite pressure at the back by passing it around (despite having the coordination of a milk-drunk infant), being dropped after good performances etc. Hard not to feel that somebody else could get more from this bunch of players.
In conclusion, the club and players are not the problem.
Teams that are doing well this season are keeping things simple – not in the Tactics Tim aversion to structure kind of way, but Leicester, Crystal Palace, Swansea to name but three have very simple game plans involving simple jobs which simple players can understand and thrive in. United have a much-vaunted philosophy, but in actual fact it’s dead simple – keep the ball, if that fails, lump it to Fellaini. Also United have the spending power to bring in much better players. City do too, and their simple approach is direct pace – run at people and fill the space this creates with massively expensive, massively talented goal machines. Liverpool on the other hand look confused, if they have a game plan they can’t understand it or have forgotten it in awe of the round bouncy thing that has just sailed over them and into their own net.
Norwich at home is as much a banker for Liverpool as any other fixture; Rodgers has failed his easiest test. I like him, but barring a ten-game winning run, surely it’s time for him and his philosophy to be shown the door so that somebody can clear the air and make it easier for players to fulfil their potential.
Morgan (the crowd at Anfield seems to agree) Goford
…How Rodgers still have a job is beyond Liverpool fans.
This guy has spent all our money garnered from our two luckiest bets ever(Suarez and Sterling) and blows it all for a who-cares’th place finish and no cups.
This guy has no credentials nor track record. He interviewed for the job with a Powerpoint for God’s sake! He is a very good salesman.
You know what else with a good salesman? They sell you lemons.
And here we are, with a jalopy of a football club, after paying the whole farm. You had us there Rodgers, but time to GTFO.
Klopp ‘Klopp Klopp Klopp’ Klopp.
Sorry I missed the morning mails, and to keep to banging on about it, but here you go:
Watching Liverpool turn in another dross performance, I found myself over and over again wishing that Norwich just had a bit more quality in the final third to punish us. 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, all would have been ideal scorelines because I believe until we bin off Brendan we can’t improve. And we apparently can’t bin him off until we’re bottom of the table, so let’s hurry up and get there. The players have clearly lost confidence in something, and at this point wether it’s the man, the plan, or themselves is irrelevant – something has to change, and the easiest thing to change is the manager. Especially as we’ve already tried changing the players and the plan. I never thought we’d get top four, but now I can’t see us finishing in the top ten, and that really should be unacceptable. I think we’re coming up against the American mentality of our owners now – they have been raised on American sports, where the fundamentally different player recruitment system means any and all teams can go from dross to title challengers to dross and then back again within a few years. They don’t understand football doesn’t work like that, for better or for worse. They don’t seem to grasp that when we went from seventh to second we actually did something pretty close to impossible (Pulis and Palace’s 10th be damned) which cannot be repeated without Luis Suarez. Until they do grasp it, we’re going to get steadily worse as Rodgers flounders about for results but refuses the obvious improvements (e.g. Sakho, 4-4-2 diamond, or even loads of crosses into the box to make the most of Benteke’s head and hold-up play).
A key problem is that Rodgers wants to be Mourinho, but has nowhere near enough self-confidence (or ability) to do it – Mourinho, in Rodgers’ position, would bounce crosses off Benteke’s head all day long, and then when asked about it would deny changing his play style, then admit he has changed it the next day, then the next say something like ‘my style is to win’. Rodgers has become so afraid of criticism he keeps repeating the same passy-pressy game that worked with Suarez in the hopes that one of our players will magically become him – he has so little confidence in himself that he cannot bear to try something actually new, because that would mean admitting he has been wrong, and only deeply insecure people cannot face that.
It feels like sacrilege, but I’m honestly hoping we get battered in the next three or four games, just done over good and proper, so Rodgers has to be fired. I’m not expecting or even hoping for Jurgen Klopp to join us at all either, I just want anybody who can either give a start to Danny Ings next to Sturridge or tell our wingers to cross the ball to Benteke rather than playing inside. The replacement could be a no-mark from Azerbaijan who’s never seen a football before, in all honesty, or the first ever female gaffer in the league, or fecking Gunnersaurus. I genuinely don’t care – the key thing is that s/he/it wouldn’t be Rodgers.
Matt (I’m not overreacting, it was Norwich at home. NORWICH AT HOME!) LFC
Rodgers Out So I Can Love Football Again…
I’m not normally one for shouting for a manager to go (except Hodgson) but I am now fervently hoping that FSG decide to pot Rodgers.
I’ve come to this point due to seeing players run around with their heads up their arses, seemingly not really knowing what the gameplan is and for countless other reasons.
Mainly though, it’s because Rodgers has driven me to the point of not actually caring about the results or taking any interest in the team I have supported constantly since the 1970s.
I never thought I would actually lose interest in my team, so please FSG (or Rodgers) do the decent thing, put this dog of a reign to sleep and just let me enjoy football again.
Mike Swords, LFC? meh!, Warrington
Don’t Let Brendan Spend In January…
I feel very much like the dad in ‘A Christmas Story’ when his beloved major award shatters in his hands and the only word he can muster is “Not a finger!”
Watching Mignolet come for the ball yesterday, flap, and hand Norwich the draw I felt like throwing my beer through the television. Brendan Rodgers may not be able to control miss chances or on the pitch defensive mistakes but he was the man who could have averted these mistakes in the summer.
Goalkeeper, left-back, and a replacement for Gerrard should have been top priorities this summer. What we got was Adam Bogdan (free), 18-year-old Joe Gomez (right-footed CB) (3.5 mil) and James Milner (free). Instead of using his resources to reinforce key areas, Rodgers spent 29 million on Roberto Firmino.
That is not saying Firmino will not come good, but money could have and should have been spent elsewhere.
There really is no point to replacing Rodgers right now unless his presence stops fans from attending football matches (a la Hodgson). However, Brendan should be nowhere near Liverpool when the transfer market opens up again in January. (It should be noted that Liverpool have not spent in the January market in the past two seasons).
Strap yourselves in Liverpool fans, this may feel like a longer season than last year. If that’s possible.
Brian (Liverpool has the worst midfield of the top five by a country mile) LFC
Liverpool v Norwich: A Different Perspective
Yesterday I got to take my son to his first ever match at Anfield and he loved the experience. He got to see the trophies, met Mighty Red and saw some players arrive (although he wasn’t impressed with Jose Enrique – “He can’t be any good Daddy, he’s forgot his kit”).
He even managed to pay attention for the whole match which I was impressed with, especially as I nearly gave up as Milner tried to recreate the unforgettable Iago Aspas moment for the fifth time. However he did come up with a few gems when the match was on which made it much more entertaining:
“What happens if they kick the ball out of the stadium?”
“Why doesn’t our goalie like passing it to our players?”
“Why don’t they ever pass it forwards like we’re taught to?”
and best of all…
“Daddy, what is a w*nker?”
I’m now dreading what he’s going to say in school today.
Mike, LFC, Cardiff
Because, and this might be hard for some of you to take with the narrative you’ve carefully constructed, Costa isn’t a master or genius at all. On Saturday he simply benefited from appalling officiating. There is no subtlety to what he does, no nuance. It’s all in plain sight. He preys on incompetent, weak referees, empowered by a manager with such a hold over the media he effectively commissioned his own TV show/moan-athon when a few decisions didn’t go his team’s way last season. His performances this season have been awful, and while he may have won Chelsea the game on Saturday with his nonsense he’s been one of the biggest causes of Chelsea’s poor start this season.
I guess ‘ref sees one incident but doesn’t see five others’ isn’t quite as exciting though.
…I know you won’t want to carry on the Diego Costa stuff too long, but the praise he received in some quarters this weekend gave me the hump. Not because I’m mortally offended by his antics – as much as he’s clearly a c**t, I’m angrier with the officials for being such gullible, spineless a***holes, and frustrated that Gabriel allowed himself to be played so easily – but because his performance has been talked up as man-of-the-match-worthy, when in fact, in a footballing sense, he wasn’t very good.
Let’s be clear, Costa’s contribution to his team’s cause is as an off-the-ball agitator, rather than as an actual footballer. He’s been talked up as a throwback to the bruising centre-forwards of the past but it’s total bollocks: remove the product of his gob****tery – and a decent refereeing performance would go a long way towards that – and you’re hardly left with a player who’s terrorising his markers when the ball’s anywhere near him.
If you want to see a Chelsea striker who combined the dark arts with a physicality that would have defenders quaking, you don’t have to go too far. In fact, he was playing for them as late as last season. The gap in quality between the Costa we’re currently seeing and Didier Drogba is massive. And if you’re going to base all your praise in him for the cheating, you really might as well give Mike Dean the man of the match award for being the only one who bought it. The only hope is that his carte blanche has now been rescinded, and the cartes rouges soon replace it.
Will (seriously, Drogba is to Souness as Costa is to Savage) O’Doherty
…From the W&L column today, Costa is both a ‘glorious b*stard’ and'”someone you’d love to have in your team’. Given that several Chelsea fans have written in condemning Costa’s actions, seems a bit of a questionable assumption. Costa has also smartly taken a page out of Mourinho’s book and used the controversy to conveniently cover up the fact that he has one goal in six PL apps this year and has generally looked a bit sh*t (including Saturday, even against 10). The general glorification of Costa’s actions by ‘hipster’ writers sticks in the craw. Nobody pays to watch football to see a grown man roll around the floor and ruin what had been until then a quite entertaining game.
A word for Wenger, regardless of what you think of the man’s tactics, generally handles himself with aplomb. Criticised his own player for being suckered while correctly pointing out that Costa always manages to get away with this sort of thing. Can only imagine Mourinho’s reaction in a similar situation.
What Will Diego’s Legacy Be?
I think the biggest issue that may arise from Diego Costa’s poo-housery last weekend isn’t so much what he does off the ball (despite being a huge Gooner who’s extremely annoyed at what went on – I’m equally as annoyed at Gabriel’s naivity) but the fact the refereeing team clearly had no idea what he was doing off the ball. I genuinely do think that ‘what Diego did’ may just result in TV camera footage being used in-game to help referees officiate.
Mike Dean isn’t the best ref in the world, however he’s been left in a position that can only severely undermine him. He is officiating the game and millions are watching around the world, and the man officiating the game on behalf of FIFA, UEFA and the Premier League is the only person in the world who didn’t know that Diego Costa was playing whack-a-mole with Koscielny’s face shortly before it all kicked off.
Whilst I admit I wouldn’t want to see the game stopped for video evidence every two minutes, on this occasion there was no match being played anyway – it was all squabbling and scuffling. I fail to see how Mike Dean cannot quietly ask a video referee for clarification on what’s happened, rather than trying to officiate blind, with a raging Diego Costa goading him and Gabriel in to action.
The biggest decisions (goal or not) use technology, the second biggest decisions (offside or not), whilst perhaps overly complex, are generally called correctly. You probably don’t need, and wouldn’t want, technology for things like throw-ins and corners and things like that – besides I personally enjoy the outrage from a tight/wrong decision. However the last of the big decisions are those which potentially stop play anyway, be that bad challenges, or scuffles breaking out or penalty decisions. These have to be right, and with the likes of Diego Costa goading and scratching and diving all over the place, video refereeing is the only thing to combat him.
It’s embarrassing for football that me, watching at home, can see what Diego Costa’s just done, but the referee can’t.
Dale May, Swindon Gooner
The incident between Costa and Gabriel has been analysed by all and sundry in the last couple of days. The general consensus is that a) Costa is a bullying cheat who should have already been sent before ultimately achieving his goal in getting Gabriel sent off and b) that Gabriel was silly to rise to this and gave the referee a chance to send him off.
I for one back Gabriel 100% in this instance. For far too long have media outlets scolded Arsenal’s lack of leadership, of lacking fighters in the ilk of Tony Adams or Martin Keown and Patrick Vieira. Get into Arsenal and they will crumble has been the cliche rolled out by pundits for the last 8/9 years. Now we have someone who finally stood up for his mate, who wasn’t willing to stand and watch as his teammate got slapped in the face and Sarah Winterburn goes onto say that ‘Peak Arsenal’ have returned.
I can just imagine if nobody had stood up to Costa this would be the first website questioning our lack of leaders and soft underbelly. Any human being with any sense should know that Gabriel should not have been sent off for his actions. I for one thoroughly enjoyed him getting stuck into to Costa and despite what many people seem to think, I believe we will be a lot closer to the title than many predict. With Gabriel in at centre-half with his attitude I know we stand a much better chance.
Peter (Would love to know what insults the players throw at each other), AFC
I’m not going to try to get 16 but I would like to add a couple of observations about United yesterday.
1. At what point will Van Gaal actually consider dropping Rooney? How bad does he have to get before he makes the call? It’s not that he did anything particularly terrible or costly, it’s just that he didn’t seem to do much at all; at times it felt like we were playing with ten men. It’s not unreasonable to imagine that we’d be a lot more threatening in attack if we had a player who was contributing in that role. It just makes me wonder what van Gaal sees Rooney bringing to the team, other than the captaincy, to warrant his continued inclusion.
2. The first 30 and last 15 were as bad as we’ve played this season. The defence was disorganised and panicky and Southampton hit us in exactly the right way. Which makes you wonder why, after taking the lead, they seemingly changed their tactic and let us back into the game. Conversely, the 45 minutes between that was some of the best football we’ve played under van Gaal. The way we controlled the game while 3-1 up was brilliant and the attitude we showed to get back into the game at 1-0 down was great. If we can start to play like we did at the half-hour mark from the first whistle, and maintain that until closer to the end, then we’ll really be a hard team to beat. ‘If’.
3. Mata was definitely offside for the first goal, the officials really should have spotted it. Instances like that would have been solved by having a linesman on both sides, rather than just one; having eyes on both sides of the pitch makes a hell of a lot more sense than using those good-for-nothings who stand behind on goal line in international/continental competitions.
4. Some of the saves De Gea makes are just incredible. Performances like that must make Real Madrid wish they’d paid the exorbitant fee we were asking for and been done with it. He has to be incredibly close to being the best in the world, if he isn’t outright.
5. I’m not convinced by Carrick and Schneiderlin together; there just isn’t enough pace/urgency in carrying the ball forward. I think Herrera would be better suited alongside of of those two or Schweinsteiger, but I doubt we’ll see that too often because van Gaal seems unconvinced by Herrera’s defensive side (which is way better than he gets credit for, I’d say).
6. I’d still go for Rojo at CB with Blind on the left. Blind just hasn’t got the physical presence to deal with players like Pelle, whereas Rojo has a bit more strength about him (and he’s a dirty git who gets away with it too). Shaw can’t come back soon enough.
I’m happy with the result and the majority of the football we played but we need to start making better use of the possession dominance we’re showing or we’ll come a cropper against the more clinical teams. Still, plenty to be optimistic about.
What The Actual F***?
Checking my Sun Dreamteam this morning I noticed something ridiculous.
Wayne Rooney is the third-highest scoring player in the league behind Gomis and Mahrez.
The third highest!!!!!
Al, Liverpool wrote in this mornings mailbox:
‘Man Utd are poor and second because they take chances (Martial can’t control or pass or dribble (his first 10 touches maybe were all to give the ball away) but he can finish and that’s what matters most.’
What game were you watching Al? I assume you were watching that shower of sh*te team of yours struggle against Norwich and you occasionally flicked to the United game for the sense of excitement you don’t get with Liverpool games anymore. Martial’s first goal occurred due to his fantastic control and deft flick to con the defender and create space so I’m absolutely bemused that you can claim he cant control the ball. Secondly, he won two free-kicks in dangerous positions in the second half after going on superb runs using his dribbling ability and pace.
If you didn’t watch the game Al, that’s fin,e but don’t make ridiculous comments that portray you as a grade A chump. You wish you had Martial mate.
Enjoy finishing outside of the top four this season you WUM.
Some Spurs Positivity
After all of the overblown negativity of our transfer window, maybe it’s the case that we will be okay after all. Eric Dier has been excellent since his move to midfield – exactly what we needed; Dele Alli has exuberance in spades, and technique to match; Alderweireld has added leadership and no little composure; Son’s pace and directness has given our attack a new dimension. We also have decent depth and options on the bench.
Still not the complete squad, but far from as bad as most made out. We’re slowly starting to find our feet, and without any kind of pressure of expectation (thanks, in part, due to the aforementioned negativity), we can quietly go about our business. Roll on Wednesday.
Alex G, THFC
…Just wanted to express how impressed I was with Tottenham’s centre midfield yesterday against Crystal Palace (and so far this season).
During pre-season I was a worried that 21-year-old centre-back Eric Dier was being played as a defensive midfielder. Surely we couldn’t go into the season with him there. His lack of pace and his inexperience would be seriously exposed. But here we are, six games into the league and he has been superb. He reads the game so well, making numerous interceptions before any real danger can occur, loads of brilliantly timed sliding tackles and growing up in a Portuguese youth system had done him wonders as he always looks comfortable on the ball. I’m so pleased to have been proven wrong.
Dele Alli is even younger than Dier, just stepped up from League One football and doesn’t look out of place one bit. He is a monster of a lad, powerful and skilfull and looks like has been playing in the top flight for years. He also has that bit of swagger about him that separates the top, top players from the rest.
Still early days for both I know, but the future looks bright for Spurs and England.
Worried About Lawro
I’m writing to express concern about the state of Mark Lawrenson.
His face and neck appear to have collapsed into his trademark stripped shirt. It is disturbing to look at, especially in HD, and I’m concerned it may be painful.
I’m also worried that praising Son Heung-min by stating “he must be wondering what he’s doing at Tottenham” may not be sufficiently witty and insightful commentary in the new world of TV punditry post-Gary Neville.
For a guide to amusing punditry in this new era, Lawrenson only need consider Martin Keown, for example his observation that Deli Alli reminded him of Jermaine Jenas. Hilarious, and keep it up Martin!
Charlie, THFC, Somerset
On Your Bike, Timothy
The criticism of Tim Sherwood in Winners and Losers after him describing the next two matches ‘the biggest football matches this club is ever going to have’ and subsequently losing the first of those matches was spot on. The man can be a great motivational talker, but you can only go so far with that.
In comparison, here in Finland, the relegation-threatened HIFK coach, absolutely needing points from an away trip to upper mid-table Lahti, promised his players he’ll cycle his way home if they win. Some 50 miles. They won 5-0.
Own a bicycle, Tim?
Samuli, THFC, Helsinki
Praising Alex Neil
To take a break from the weekly Brendanizing, it’s worth mentioning that Alex Neil made a truly ballsy move in his team selection against Liverpool. He left Wes Hoolahan, the team’s best player so far this year, and the absolute heartbeat of the Norwich City attack, on the bench. His quote after the game: “I just felt we needed more legs in those middle areas. I wanted players who could eat up the ground and shut off angles and Wes’ creativity might have become important for us later on in the game, if we were needing to get a goal.”
It worked, but let’s face it, just barely. John Ruddy had a strong game, Liverpool could easily have scored a few more goals, and Norwich created only one decent chance from open play. But Neil is the sort of guy who knows exactly what he wants, picks his team, and goes for it. He’s easy to get behind. Unlike Bren…oops.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Not that I would ever be arrogant enough to think that I could influence Daniel Storey, but having emailed last week about his annoying habit of referring to himself in articles he does it nine times in Winners and Losers? That is a real two-finger salute. As I wrote in last week’s email, you are not the story Storey. I enjoy your well-written analytical articles and love your puns, but the self-referencing is tedious.
Well Done, Babe
Can I be the first to congratulate you on the sheer genius of today’s non-football story in Mediawatch?
Simple, effective and a joy to watch – like a one touch, defence-splitting pass.