Mails: Liverpool could still finish top three

Date published: Monday 15th February 2016 3:31

Liverpool Jurgen Klopp

Today was a good Mails day. Make tomorrow a good Mails day by sending them to theeditor@football365.com

 

Why Van Gaal hasn’t been sacked
Everyone is asking why LVG has not been sacked. It’s obvously the same as the Moyes situation.

Until it is mathematically impossible that they can make the champions league he will remain. Once they are out of Europa and cant make top four he will be relieved by mutually consent with a nominal payoff. I am sure this is built into his contract.
John, Ireland

 

Everybody loves Kolo
For a player that has been at 3 of the big 7 clubs in England, winning the title with 2 of them, it’s amazing how liked he is. Especially in this age of hating and booing anyone who dares leaves your club.

We had a Manyoo fan this morning writing in about how much he enjoyed Kolo’s goal and I felt the same way. There is just something about Kolo that makes him loveable. Maybe it’s his enthusiasm, his smile, his charity work, the fact that he doesn’t court the press, the fact that his is a decent player but not amazing, or a combination of all of those.

I can’t imagine anyone hating Kolo. If there is, there is probably something wrong with them.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC

 

16 Delusions
Having read Greg from North London‘s, well, mail I guess, although really it was a staggering whinge from a fan of the winning team, perhaps F365 can introduce a new column: 16 Delusions.

In it you write the most stupid partisan comments from a game possible, ideally referencing the complete irrelevance of other matches owing to rivalries.
Dr Oyvind, Earth

 

Leicester like Stoke? Don’t be bloody stupid
Someone wrote in this morning comparing Pulis’ Stoke to Leicester, then went on to call Leicester a “nightmare not a fairy tale.” The implication was that Leicester are defensive, and a bit thuggish.

Leicester have currently scored the joint top amount of goals in the league. In 2011-2012, Stoke finished dead last in goals scored. In 2010-2011, Stoke finished 16th in goals scored. So, not like Pulis’ Stoke then.

Of the 42 red cards this year so far, Leicester have received 1. Leicester also currently have the 4th fewest amount of total cards in the league. So not like Pulis’ Stoke then, or his West Brom team (who have had the most cards issued against them).

Someone else wrote in comparing Sanchez to Townsend. Seriously people? Get a grip. Sanchez is miles better, and more accomplished, than Townsend, and I am one of the few people who read this site (it seems) who thinks Townsend should be in the England set up.

Someone else wrote in claiming that Origi is either underrated or Martial is overrated. This makes no sense. The rating of Origi is totally independent of the rating of Martial. For instance, it is quite possible people have underrated both, or have overrated both, or have overrated one, and rated the other just about right, or whatever the correct combination of ratings might be. I mean, does the rating of Martial go down if Origi plays well? Does the rating of Origi go up if Martial plays well? No, it does not. The two are independent.

Making bold statements and comparisons doesn’t necessarily make the mailbox better. If they are nonsense, it just makes the mailbox irritating. And these three statements were clearly nonsense.
Nathan, Newark

 

A Leicester fan responds…
Some nonsense written in this morning’s mailbox regarding Arsenal and Leicester.

I thought Leicester were actually the better team until the red card. Arsenal came out the blocks much better but we seemed to cope with everything that was thrown at us. After the first 20 minutes or so we got on top and created the better chances and looked a bigger threat. After the goal went in I thought we came out the second half the better team as well.

The red card changed the game completely. Just to balance the view that was presented this morning… Leicester weren’t the only team making cynical tackles. When the game was on even terms I actually think Arsenal were just as guilty, there were a couple of times we were breaking free and were taken out. There were also a few bad ones on Kante (imperious, again) that would have got a bit more spotlight had he gone down rather than stay on his feet at all costs. I think it’s also fair to say some Arsenal players weren’t shy of making the most of some tackles. After the red the balance tipped slightly, as one would expect when a team is down to 10 and barely seeing the ball themselves. I barely heard a peep out of Arsenal fans in the stadium other than to moan about the decisions.

Couldn’t agree with 16 conclusions more that taking Mahrez off was a poor choice. Vardy looked so tired in the second half and utterly stranded. Mahrez has that bit of composure that could have made a difference and helped us retain a bit of a threat going forward, because honestly we never threatened with 10 men.

In true Wenger fashion, I haven’t seen the replays (couldn’t bring myself to watch them, more like), but from what I have heard the penalty sounded soft. I also thought Simpson’s red was very harsh. Biggest grievance of the afternoon was why Coquelin didn’t get booked for running up to one of our players, raising his hands and twice pushing him. I’d love to know how that isn’t a second yellow. Particularly in light of the soft Simpson decision it makes it harder to stomach. No coincidence that Coquelin was taken off a few minutes later. Tactical masterstroke? Yeah, alright….

For all that, we were so, so close to seeing out what would have been an incredible point in the circumstances. It was a stupid foul from Wasylewski at the end. Surprising we let De Laet and Belanouane go out on loan really when we clearly don’t have cover at right back!

I wrote in last week saying that this game would show whether we have made progress. Looking at it today with a fresh head I think the answer is that it has. We were right in the game until the red card, and almost hung on for a point that would have exemplified how solid we have become at the back. How much it meant to Arsenal players/fans also speaks volumes, in any other season this would have been a home banker, afterall.

We have a week off now when teams go into a run of games in other competitions. We have to regroup and hope this result can galvanise us again that we push on after this in the same way we did after the loss against Arsenal in the first half of the season.

I also wrote in a few weeks ago saying I thought for all the goodwill towards us, people were also praying for the wheels to come off so that they can roll out the ‘I told you so’ narrative. Think I’ve seen a bit of that since the game yesterday. Leicester been found out, lost their heads etc. The comment comparing us to Stoke barely warrants a response but I will bite – yesterday was clearly an anomaly in a season where we have rightly been lauded for playing some of the most exciting football in the league. Were in not for some decisions in your favour I think we had a good chance to beat Arsenal playing that way. Down to 10 we adapted, plan B very nearly got us a point out of the game. It wasn’t pretty, but the irony of an Arsenal fan berating us for having that plan B is quite a thing, given the amount of mail’s I’ve seen on here complaining about your lack thereof.

I hope when it is all said and done people don’t forget the context of our achievements this season for us being swept up in this title race and all the media narrative that comes with it. Even if we drop out and only manage a top half finish that would have been an incredible achievement at the start of the season, a top 4 finish (without the title) unthinkable. If we fall short of the title I hope that it is the achievement of being in the title race at all that is recognised and isn’t lost in a wave of ‘we all knew they would fall off eventually’ and ‘I told you so’.
Ben (Absolutely crushing sitting in the Arsenal end when that goal went in though), LCFC

 

And another…
The past few days have been an odd experience for Leicester fans not used to being in the glare of a Premier League title race.

Firstly there was the feeling of anxiety and stress that took hold that I have only ever experienced during the infrequent play-off and cup semi finals and finals and during England tournament games. That feeling when you know something big is on the line and unlikely to be repeated has only just started to manifest itself for me. Prior to the Man City game it was very much the case that we were here on a bit of a jolly and no one took us too seriously. Now, all of a sudden, everyone, including myself, are starting to believe and with that has come this complete clusterf*ck of a media glare for such an unassuming and below-the-radar provincial club (and I say that with the greatest of affection). The Arsenal game was so nerve-wracking, that I couldnt even eat my lunch. I think the thought of winning the whole thing is just too mind-blowing to contemplate at the moment. I do feel a tad bit of sympathy for those who support ‘big’ clubs and are expected to be up there competing every season – I dont think I could cope with it on a regular basis frankly.

Secondly, for some, we now need to be taken seriously and are being attacked and undermined for our style of play by our ‘title rivals’. One example is Johnno’s email in this morning’s mailbox. What a load of bumpf that was. He even acknowledges that we normally play a different style in the matches he has seen. A couple of points need to be made 1) We were away, to a team with much more technically gifted players who were bound to be pressing for a win they needed to keep in touch with the title race, what were you expecting us to do, 2) we adapted our style to ruffle a few feathers and it almost worked, needing the last kick of the game to stop us going home with a vital point in the bag 3) As we have seen with WBA this season, ‘Pulis-ball’ is limited to stealing a win somewhere, Leicester are so much more dynamic than that.

Finally, I know I have mentioned it on these pages before but N’golo Kante really is one of the pivotal reasons for our success this year and it is pleasing he is getting that recognition now, including the MOTM on Sunday. For all of Vardy’s brilliance and Mahrez’s skill, they simply wouldn’t be in the position to showcase their abilities if it wasnt for the platform laid by the Kante Twins. He is not the most technically gifted, but his sheer determination and astonishing awareness make him the stand out player of the season in my view.
Rob (still enjoying the ride) Leicester

 

What next for Chelsea?
Was reading an interview from Eden Hazard stating the difficulty of turning an offer from PSG as they’re supposedly (and to a large extent) big team. But wait, Chelsea are (were?) big too. Regular semi finalists in UCL till recently, heck we even won the damn trophy once (without losing to Barca and Bayern).

Yet, Hazard’s remarks and the way the season has gone (and Chelsea in general after 2010) weave a story. What is Chelsea’s identity? Till 2010, we were defined by physically bullying players, strong defensively, technically adept in midfield and efficient in attack (I dont buy the boring Chelsea jab). Someone in the club (likely Abramovich) decided that we had to go another way and started buying small but technically gifted players. Emenalo was hired to oversee the transition (note this point, I’ll come back later). Managers were hired with a view to match the new identity of Chelsea. Naturally results were inconsistent (2011-12, 12-13) and we went back to a trusted boss who claimed to be a happy yet changed man. Two and a half years hence and we’re at the same juncture we were in the summer of 2010 (incidentally after winning the double). What is our identity?

Who is the individual behind the decisions to buy/sell players? (I must appreciate the dude selling players, ramires for 20m was genius, so was David Luiz for 40m plus). Does the individual have adequate football (and transfer market) knowledge to understand that whatever type of team to be build requires a deft balance between attack and defence? I think this is the aspect where Chelsea have failed misreably over the good part of this decade. We dont know the brains behind the buying and selling, nor is the manager trusted when it comes to personnel (I dont buy the Carlo wanted Torres joke). The only manager who resembled someone with a footballing nous inevitably went back to his Machiavellian self and hit the self-destruct button leaving us in a sh*t hole.

However, this is a good time for introspection and opportunity. It is high time Abramovich reduced the powers of Emenalo (or whoever the fuck is in charge of creating the identity) and hire a manager (coach) capable of creating an ‘identity’ (at least a good management team if not a manager alone). We have arguably the best youth system and crop of young players with us and it is high time the owner stopped hiring the wrong manager for the wrong task (Jose mourinho to integrate youth and play pro-active football was a bad idea). Hire a guy who is capable of seeding a winning mentality yet tact enough to integrate potential kids into big players. Forget titles in the short term and I am quite sure we’ll be successful in the long haul.

Abramovich is getting many of the support systems sorted out – a bigger stadium on the cards, the right guy in charge of commercial operations (Purslow) bringing in good money. Now, it is time he got the most important thing in football – the technical side of the game right. For that we need someone who understands what an identity is, how a squad must be built and importantly groom them to become stars.
Aravind, Chelsea fan

 

One extra minute per time waste?
Regarding Greg’s point about the scourge of time-wasting in football, I have a simple idea.

Instead of booking players, which has two disadvantages (players are often happy to take the yellow card as they are for a professional foul, and referees would have to have stones to give two yellows to a goalkeeper or a fullback for time-wasting), why don’t we introduce a law where referee’s demonstrably add a minute on to play every time they suspect time-wasting?

This could even be signalled with a pointed finger, like a dismissal in cricket. It would eliminate time-wasting in a stroke, because suddenly it would be completely counter-productive.
Lev Everage

 

Some Newcastle thoughts
– Why was Aarons playing at left back against the Premier Leagues top bas*ard? Colback was on the bench. I bet he has never attempted a blind pass in his entire life.

– If McLaren knew what Chelsea were going to do, why did he not put a plan in place to try and stop it rather than commenting afterwards that he was right in the first place?

– We have 6 home games left (the only points we may get) and need 18 points to get to 42 which might see us stay up. And that is a rough calculation not including the others around us we are still to play. One of those is against Sunderland, who we have kept in the league for the last 3 seasons (6 point donation every year). We are screwed.

– Our centre backs are the same 2 that we were relegated with 6 years ago…I’m sure someone at Football365 keeps mentioning a defence keeping you up…

– Mitrovic is an angry Emile Heskey without the required support. Putting him up against Terry plays right to his strengths and to none of ours.

– We needed defenders and a striker in January. We got 3 midfielders and a striker from Russia who was taken of at half time in a reserve match.

– I did enjoy our time in the Championship last time.
Paul, Newcastle

 

Think this person is seriously backing Liverpool for a top-three finish
Am I the only one that read today’s mails on Liverpool’s brilliant result and wondered why no-one was positing the idea about how far we can really go in the league this season?

There’s been lots of talk about who has been ‘flying under the radar’ this season but this has been reserved for talk of the mighty Spurs (who couldn’t score against us in October) & Champions Elect Leicester (who we beat on Boxing Day) but still no talk of Liverpool setting a cat among the pigeons.

I am not suggesting that it would be easy for us to overturn the 13-point gap with Spurs (who we can take three points off in April) but a top 3 finish is hardly an impossible task. We also play City in a couple of week’s time and they are currently sinking without a trace.

I know it’s very fashionable to proclaim Klopp’s eventual ascendance to the Premier League throne as a false dawn filled with hype and so I look forward to laughing at our detractors come 15th of May.
Khurram, YNWA, Loughborough
(MC – Suspect that the pigeons are safe for now)

 

Pardew isn’t great, but he’s good
After reading John Nicholson’s column, I’d venture that few people other than Alan Pardew or his immediate family and close friends would consider him a great manager. I don’t speak for all Crystal Palace fans (not for lack of trying), but the general consensus is that people think he’s a good manager.

His record supports this – several seasons in the Premier League with decent league finishes, but also some poor finishes. It’s this that ultimately keeps him in the broad category of “good” rather than “great” or “rubbish”. Most of us knew we were in for the sort of ride he’s taken us on, but it’s about perspective. He took over from Neil Warnock, for god’s sake, how could he not be seen as a massive upgrade and a good move for the club?

It’s also likely he’s more highly thought of by the less cerebral PFMs now he’s at Palace because his demeanour has changed. His relationship with Newcastle fans was, shall we say, strained, and he was permanently chippy and on the defensive.

Back in South London, he has seemed rather more reserved – there’s still an element of being his own biggest fan, but he does come across a bit more normally. That’s why the PFMs were touting him for the England job when he was on a good run, helped by having a few English players thriving in his team.

At the risk of inviting accusations of being a hipster, it’s probably better that F365 is the only site that dares to point out the truth about the PFM Emperor’s new blazer and slacks. If everyone in the mainstream media started doing it, it wouldn’t be fun anymore.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven

 

Storey: Hates Manchester City
In response to 16 conclusions from City v Spurs, I note Storey mentioned a couple of challenges made by Yaya (both bookable by the way), but conveniently left out the incorrect (never even looked like it in real time) offside given against Aguero, which led directly to Spurs’ second goal.
Nelson, Manchester
(MC – Is there a more annoying euphemism than the word ‘conveniently’, used to suggest inherent bias?)

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