Reminisce over the days of Ryan Babel, then mails us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Firmino poor; Can good
I read 16 Conclusions this morning, gobsmacked to see Firmino touted as the one positive of Liverpool’s dour Sunday. I can only assume memories of Wednesday night were still a little too fresh, when he was admittedly excellent.
As an Arsenal fan, I watched Sunday’s game filled with frustration as Firmino lost the ball through poor first touches, weak attempts at beating defenders and misplace passes, ruing the fact that we seemingly faced a different player in midweek. I remember one particular point towards the end of the second half, with Liverpool breaking in numbers, Firmino inexplicably drifted out wide with the ball. From there he continued to completely ignored the fact they had United outnumbered, tried to beat his defender instead of playing an easy pass, and lost it. That seemed to sum up his game.
If there was a silver lining from this game for Liverpool, I’d rather think it was Emre Can, who looked good going forward and uncharacteristically managed to keep his head as the game heated up (not as much as one would have hoped for, of course). Him and the promising new striker they managed to snag on loan.
On another note, I wish Jack Butland was either a few years older or a few years younger. With Hart established as England’s number one, it will be hard for Butland to displace him. It would have been fantastic to see the two of them battle for the spot had they emerged at the same time. As it stands, we will end up missing a chunk of Butland’s best years as a goalkeeper, as the start of his prime crosses with the end of Hart’s. Still, lovely to have two excellent players to choose from after the barren post-Seaman years.
Ross AFC London
Liverpool have become Newcastle
Looking at Liverpool’s squad yesterday it struck me only 7 are good enough (or have the potential to be good enough soon) for a team chasing CL football.
Clyne, Moreano, Sakho, Can, Henderson, Coutiniho and Firminho.
After that all we have is Skrtel, Ibe, Milner and Lucas as squad players.
No keeper, no strikers worth mentioning and dead wood like Lallana, Benteke, Allen, Markovic and Balotelli brought in for over £100 million between them.
With the infamous committee, lack of financial power and just how far we’ve found ourselves fall behind since Suarez left I’m calling it already, Klopp will never get CL football with Liverpool through finishing in the top four, he’ll probably win nothing and greatly damage his reputation in the process.
We’ve become Newcastle, an absolute poison chalice of a job that’s impossible to succeed in due, to crazy fan expectations and inept ownership.
Vinnie, Phnom Penh.
Longing for the days of Ryan Babel
So against Exeter, Arsenal and Man Utd we have conceded a goal from their very first shot on target. Although I watched the replay and wondered if Mignolet ducked a bit as the ball came towards him, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say that today’s goal was just bad luck. Yet that still doesn’t exclude the other two. And sadly for us, the 5 points dropped against Man Utd and Arsenal mean that we are now comfortably out of the champions league places hunt. A draw would have also ended our hopes but at least it would’ve dragged the mancs down with us. The benefit of being out of the top 4 race is that we may as well try some stuff out for the remainder of the season. Give Danny Ward a chance next week. Can he really be worse than Bogdan? With any luck he might be an average premier league which would be an improvement on Mignolet.
Before I get off the topic of Mignolet, just how sh*t is his distribution? On those rare occasion that he catches a ball, he then hugs it to his chest as though he knows the camera is on him close up. Suddenly you see him pointing and shouting like he’s a real life goalie but he doesn’t f**king release the ball. Far be it from me to expect a keeper to be able to set up an attack with quick distribution but it just so happens that Reina was pretty good at it, Schmichael showed it’s still possible on Saturday and keepers like Lloris and De Gea frequently can pick out passes quickly once they are in possession. If Klopp is serious about not wanting to replace him as first choice then I will literally weep. At Liverpool we’ve had the luxury of Dudek and Reina so it’s incredibly painful watching this joke between the sticks now. Thanks Rodgers for selling Reina and getting this plum in. At least his shot stopping is good. It’s not like he’d let the first shot on target in three games in a row.
Nathaniel Clyne continues to have absolutely no idea what to do in the final third of the pitch. Attacks frequently die at his feet, either because he picks the wrong pass, picks no pass at all and aimlessly crosses or because he gets tackled. He’s excellent defensively but a total hindrance further forward.
Why did we wait until the 75th minute to make a change? It was clear United were getting more and more of a foothold in the game and we were tiring. Changes needed to come earlier and were so obvious. Milner was so ineffective in wide areas and yet it seemed to be a clear tactical instruction that he needed to come central when we were off the ball and then drift out wide once in possession. I’m confident Ibe could’ve been just as anonymous off the ball in the centre with the added fun that he might have taken on a man and beaten him on a wing at some stage. When that ball was sent long to Milner and he let it go too wide before then striking wide, was he the only one who didn’t know it had gone too far to be a decent shooting opportunity? A player with any creative bones in his body would have tried to fake a shot, control it and cut in to try and make a better angle. Of course he might’ve been tackled, but he might’ve had a shot on target too. Being tackled in the box would probably be more threatening in attacking terms (could win a penalty/corner/throw) than anything Milner has offered offensively since he scored a penalty at some stage in November.
Players like Can and Henderson must be genuinely offended about some of the dross that surrounds them. It’s such a shame because in the summer if biggers clubs came calling for either of them, you wouldn’t blame them for walking away.
Benteke came on to be the target man. Big Ben to rescue the day. Here’s a broad summary of what he did; If the play was developing on the wing he hung back on the edge of the box looking for a cut back. Often because he is a big obvious target, this allowed a defender to come and stand next to him and his threat was entirely nullified. Clearly he didn’t fancy running into the actual box and maybe even getting around the 6 yard box where any kind of decent header could probably end with a goal. No why do that when you’re a giant with dodgy ball control in tight spaces. In fairness when he did try to hang on the shoulder of the last man he got caught offside. Utterly embarrassing. Did we genuinely pay £32m for him? Someone at Villa must be laughing their balls off. Even if they are going down.
Finally, Adam Lallana. I couldn’t believe it but I found myself watching him and longing for the days of Ryan Babel. In fairness it’s not quite as low as longing for Pennant or Voronin, but it’s pretty low. Southampton must also be laughing their balls off at us. They sold him and bought Mane.
I literally can’t wait for a lot of these players to be sold so that we never have to see them put on the famous red shirt again. We might not be the club we once were but we’re still bigger (richer) than the sh*te that is filling up our starting XI right now.
Lallana and Milner: What’s the point?
Seriously, what use are Lallana and Milner to a team? They are incredibly average, and have no place in a team with top 4 aspirations. It wasn’t a bad performance, but we were haunted by the same old demons – A terrible defence & no striker. Keep Clyne, Can, Lucas, Henderson, Firminho & Coutinho – replace the rest. This season has to be a write off again now, top 4 is beyond us yet again.
PS – Mignolet should have saved Rooney’s goal, but the defending was just calamitous.
Just like last season, top 4 seems within reach despite all the hiccups, an unconvincing Man Utd side show up to Anfield. A win would be a huge boost to LFC’s top 4 chances, while also scuttling a rival’s chances.
But nah, of course not. It’s time for the usual show of wasted good chances, a heroic effort from the opposing goalkeeper (mostly because the majority of the shots were straight at the keeper as per usual) and conceding on the only real chance the opponents get.
I don’t think Mignolet was really at fault for the goal, but I was not at all surprised to see his knees buckle and concede what was Man Utd’s only real shot on target. He’s become a scapegoat recently, for which I feel bad for, but I absolutely can’t stand him anymore. Almost every time the attack gets past the defense, the team concedes. I’ve lost count of how many times he’s cost the team points this season. It especially doesn’t help when Liverpool’s attack are as wasteful as they have been this season. The gulf in quality between De Gea and Mignolet is just astounding in all departments, he’s a huge reason why Man Utd are in the position they are in despite everything. He needs to go, asap. Still have no idea why the club didn’t go for Begovic or Butland at the time. Shot stopping stats my arse.
This United side are absolutely dire, they were there for the taking, and they still beat Liverpool at home. I think that is enough to tell you how poor this current squad is.
The only silver lining is that I think Klopp has what it takes to make this a good side again, we’ve seen glimpses of it this season. He’s also had an unenviable injury list. Ignoring the always injured Sturridge, how much better would this squad be with a healthy Ings and Origi.
I think the league is a lost cause, time to focus on the cups.
End rant. CB, Washington DC
Bring back Rafael
Valencia, Darmian, Young, McNair, Jones, Varela. Is any of them better than the departed Rafael? For all of his deficiencies, he’s one of the reasons United could play an expansive game of attacking football. Fast, with dribbling and crossing abilities, chipping in with a goal or two when he was up for it. And he wore his United heart on his sleeves. Watching the game yesterday was a painful reminder of his absence. United couldn’t get going, the middle of the park was heavily congested and pressurised. And yet the wings, for so long United’s playground, wasn’t properly supported by the fullbacks. Young was terrified and lacked the composure, and so was Darmian. It called for a creative fullback with dribbling ability, and United had none. It was just too workman-like.
Sir Alex persevered with him for a reason, despite his weaknesses. Because he enabled United to play like United.
The Rooney thing
So looking forward to seeing how you sell this latest result, and another broken record.
Guessing you’ll continue to reserve judgement on both player and manager (until something less favourable happens and you’ll be all over it like a rash).
I know, you’ve got a site to sell, it’s all good.
Anyway there are still improvement needed, particularly in defence but Martial looks properly skillful and it’s great to see Rooney in one of his famed patches. Long may it continue. Maybe this one won’t stop.
Put Rooney in a position where he has no time to think and instinctively he still has the ability to do make the right decision.
Give him time on the ball and he becomes absolute pants. Even if he is stifling Martial’s progress if he has to be (he shouldn’t be but if he has to be) it has to be where he is, in the number 9 position.
With the success teams have achieved with 4 4 2 this season, its worth a shot for Van Gaal to consider it, it will allow both Rooney and Martial to play in the middle.
More Liverpool 0-1 United conclusions
Of course we would dominate the game.
Of course we wouldn’t convert the pressure and chances.
Of course we would concede from a corner.
Of course the fat wonder incapable of scoring would be the one to win it.
Brandon, LFC (Colour me depressed), JHB
Im sure you will be bombarded with mails about lucky Utd were and how good de Gea was. But de Gea really only made 1 save that I wouldnt expect any semi competent keeper to make. Utd didnt lose because Liverpool have some really poor players.
The take away points from the game are:
* Klopp has liverpool playing decent football but they have too many poor/average players. Toure, Milner, Henderson, Lallana, Moreno, Benteke. Whether Klopp can attract a higher calibre of player will dictate whether he is successful.
* Utd were poor again, standard enough. But Martial looked a threat. Despite the summer investment Utd still look like they need another Central Midfielder.
* Both sides looked like mid table teams.
* If Arsenal dont win Utd are only 7 points off the lead. Crazy league.
Dan, Ireland MUFC
If ever a captain epitomised the current standard of the team he plays for, it’s Jordan Henderson at Liverpool.
Playing badly and still finding a way to win. The sign of champions? Doubtful. Or at least top 4? Hopeful.
Haha, that was so sweet.
If only because the previous 80 minutes had such a banal and boring taste!
Manc in SA (Well done Wayne, another milestone ticked off, please keep this form up lad, you really should for a while.)
It wasn’t too long ago that a Liverpool fan fully believed Top 4 over Utd was a sure thing under Klopp.
Now, this mail isn’t for one second suggesting that Utd are guaranteed Top 4. The next 2 home games against Southampton and Stoke will offer better insight into that.
But after watching some Liverpool games with interest following Klopps arrival, a safer bet would be that they just about hold onto a Top 10 place.
GaryB (Surprised with the result, not with the overall performance of both teams)
The only printable word I can think of to describe both Liverpool and Man Utd is dire. As a United fan I was relieved by the result, but that’s as far as it goes.
Both clubs should be ashamed and embarrassed by what they served up. Liverpool fans will rightly point out that they were slightly less dire, and they’d be right, but it was still 1980’s division 3 football from both. It’s shocking/comical how bad they are – and both Utd and Pool teams of seasons gone would absolutely pummel these impostors in the ground.
Somebody think of the children!!!!
After the 427th stamp of Fellaini’s career, when is the FA going to start investigating? His flailing elbows, stamping and general sh*thousery is getting boring.
Paul M, LFC
Cech = good
… John Terry once said that Cech “worth around extra 15 points” for Arsenal.
I think we can safely conclude that this 1 point away at Stoke is amongst those 15.
Such a brilliant goalkeeping with minimal fuss, if De Gea were doing something similar,
(he is tbh) the #DaveSaves hashtag would go on trending until the end of time.
Syfq Amr, a bias Gooner.
Walcott’s time is up
It really says something when the manager takes you off with 20 minutes to go in a high pressure game for a 19-year old making his fifth appearance in the league. As I watched Theo Walcott walk off the field with flared nostrils and that annoying ‘me?’ glare on his face, I started wondering about how the man seems to evade the sort of vitriol that is so readily directed at Olivier Giroud. For me, his time at Arsenal is up. With the recent influx of attacking talent Walcott, who was never the most technical player anyway, now looks positively pedestrian. A quicker, smaller and less boring (only just) James Milner, if you like.
His frequent and long injury absences have helped his reputation remain intact over the years. With Giroud, familiarity has bred contempt and with Walcott, absence has made the heart grow fonder. However, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, ‘Arry is right. Walcott has made barely any progress as a footballer since he joined Arsenal apart from bulking up and improving his finishing. His off the ball movement is still frustrating and on the ball I get the impression his feet are moving faster than he’s able to think. Alongside Sanchez and Ozil one feels embarrassed for him as it becomes abundantly clear that he just can’t keep up. So in a game when neither of them were playing I was optimistic. It was the perfect opportunity for him to play at his own pace and in his own style. However, none of that came to pass and he remained as anonymous as ever.
There’s no doubt that on form Walcott provides a danger very few others can provide but if catching a few glimpses of quality requires endurance of lengthy spells of sub-par performances then I think I’ll pass. For long Walcott has cashed in on his ‘speed merchant’ USP but in all honesty is there a single good reason for Wenger to stick with Walcott instead of making a big move for Aubameyang in the summer? The latter provides speed as well as killer instinct in front of goal while the former provides frustration and unfulfilled promise. I will always be grateful to him for making my first and, till date, only game at the Emirates special with that hat-trick against West Brom last season, though.
The Stoke v Ramsey weirdness
Is anyone else just bored with Stoke fans having a pop at Rambo?
It was almost six years ago – get over it! particularly as he was the injured party!
Maybe Wenger shouldn’t dignify questions from the media trying to stoke the fires between the two clubs but it doesn’t excuse grown adults from acting like idiots!
I’m sure Stoke fans will say this mad bantz and we should take a chill pill but isn’t it time to draw a line under the events of February 2010?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Big Stoke and his young son, Little Stoke, are at The Britannia watching the Stoke Arsenal match on Sunday when the ever quizzical Little Stoke turns to his beloved father with a question.
Little Stoke: Dad, why are they singing that song about Aaron Ramsey having a limp? He doesn’t look like he has a limp.
Big Stoke: Because he’s a f**king w**ker, son.
LS: Why is he a f**king w**ker, Dad?
BS: Oi! Watch yer language!
LS: Sorry, Dad…
BS: Anyway… He’s a w**ker because he can’t accept an apology like a real man, son. Real men accept apologies from other real men, That’s how the world works. You shake hands and get on with it.
LS; So, does that mean that you have a limp, Dad?
BS: What do you mean do I have a limp!?
LS: Well, on our way to our seats earlier that man bumped off of you and you got some of the ketchup off of your hot-dog on your coat. He said he was really sorry but you told him to get f**ked and said he was a four eyed t**t. So, do you have a limp like Aaron Ramsey now, Dad? It’s OK if you do! I like Aaron Ramsey! He’s good!
Big Stoke is a little caught out by this. He glances at the ketchup stain on the sleeve of his coat and at the wide, admiring, inquisitive eyes of his son and back at the ketchup stain and then back to his son…
BS: Just eat your crisps and watch the f**king game.
Kevin Walsh, Luimneach
Insult to injury time
Have been reading many comments about the time Terry scored and people asking why an extra 1min++ wasn’t played after his goal..
My understanding is that a ref starts the game with (at least) 2 watches. 1 that runs continuously and another that he stops for e.g. Injuries , subs and goals. When the 1st (continuously running watch) reaches 90mins, the ref checks the 2nd watch (which is being stopped) and can determine how much extra time needs to be played, in order for the game ‘playing time’ to reach 90mins.
On Saturday, because of injuries and 4 goals, his watches seemingly read: 90mins and 83 mins, so he and his assistant agreed that a minimum of 7 mins needed to be played to bring the ‘played time’ up to 90mins.
Funes Mori then scored in the 90min, so again the 2nd watch is stopped. Straight away that minimum of 7 mins is going to be extended. Terry then scored after 97min 54secs, which is seconds, rather than mins away from being the end of the game. The game is re-started and the Ref then blows seconds later as his 2nd watch has now reached 90min. The Ref cannot play an extra 1min + just because Chelsea celebrated, as there was only seconds left to play. So, he played these ‘seconds’ before blowing for full time.
Rugby does exactly the same, except for 1 big visual difference. In rugby they stop the ‘TV clock’ (much like a football refs stops his 2nd watch) , so viewers can easily see when 80mins is up. In football the TV clock continues, so viewers are not 100% sure what ‘playing time’ is left.
in this day and age of high end technology, maybe there’s a way to show the refs watches. So can see when he stops and re-starts it. This would go a long way in helping gain supporters trust in such issues ?
*Well done to Manchester City. There aren’t many teams who can match up to them when David Silva and Sergio Aguero are firing on all cylinders, and it soon became an exercise in damage limitation.
*Despite the scoreline, this feels less demoralising than the defeat to Aston Villa. It’s now five games without a goal, but as popular wisdom goes, it’s not the goals drying up that is a problem, but the chances. We did create some decent opportunities against Manchester City, despite being under the cosh.
*Wayne Hennessey has provoked a difficult selection problem for Alan Pardew, as that’s two games in a row he’s let a soft goal in. Admittedly that would have made it 3-0, but still. I think Pardew was right to stand by him after the Villa game, because he had been excellent at times this season, but now it’s time to consider a different option.
Reports emerged this weekend that Alex McCarthy had turned down a chance to go back to QPR on loan, a move that would have seen Rob Green move to Palace. Firstly, thank Christ. Secondly, I can’t help wondering if McCarthy now feels he has a decent chance of playing for the Glaziers, even if many fans would like to see Julian Speroni recalled.
*Some Newcastle United fans on Twitter were informing my fellow Palace fans that we had been “Pardewed”, and it’s hard to disagree with them. Pardew’s time at United was littered with hot streaks and cold streaks, without much consistency, and he has carried on in the same vein this season at Crystal Palace. This is why he is a mid-table manager, and will remain so until he can address this patchiness, as no club higher up the table will take a punt on someone who shows little aptitude for turning a run of bad form around other than waiting for things to come good. That said, for all the talk of Europe, there is still novelty in supporting an established, mid-table team.
*Pardew’s comments about the team’s transfer activities are a little unconventional too. He mentioned wanting someone who offered a different option to the lone target man. Yet Dwight Gayle, Palace’s most dynamic striker, has not had much of a look-in when fit, and neither did Patrick Bamford. Also, the best performances this season have come with Connor Wickham up top. It’s been plainly obvious that neither Fraizer Campbell nor Marouane Chamakh are good enough, all of which leads back to Glenn Murray.
Murray left for Bournemouth in the summer, in search of first-team football, and £5m for a 31 year old seemed like a good deal for all involved. However, the Cherries have just spent £16m on two strikers, and Callum Wilson will be back at some point, meaning Murray is looking at being fourth choice again. It’s a bit rose-tinted, but the best nickname in football going back to Crystal Palace is starting to make a bit of sense as a low-risk move, that doesn’t involve Emmanuel Adebayor.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven
P*ss off, Sunderland
Has a 4 – 1 victory ever been as unenjoyable as Saturday’s game at White Hart Lane? Seriously, what is the point of Sunderland and their ridiculous dinosaur of a manager? They make absolutely no contribution to a game, keep nine men behind the ball at all times, and Allardyce’s technical acumen stretches to packing the penalty area and just outside, trying to get in the way then aimlessly punting the ball up the pitch.
In the post-game interview he tried to claim they did well until the last 20 minutes. What! I think we had about 30 attempts to 4 while not playing well and I noted Sunderland’s first piece of serious time wasting at a throw in on 4 minutes. It’s meant to be a sporting contest Sam, and an entertainment FFS.
I’m glad we won so I can’t be accused of sour grapes. Can the rest of the league ensure they also stuff this appalling side and send them into the obscurity they deserve.
Diamond (writing before Sunday’s games but already dreading a manc / scouse mailbox on Monday – when was the last time a match between 10th and 7th got 16 conclusions (probably) ) Lights
Harry Kane is a skinny Mark Viduka
I have just come to the realisation that Harry Kane is just a skinny Mark Viduka.
12 league goals, only 1 earned Spurs a point – check
Scores the fourth goal against relegation fodder at home from the penalty spot – check
Joe (tongue firmly in cheek)
First of all, this is coming from a Newcastle fan, but I’d just like to highlight Palace’s recent slump and why it’s due to Pards.
At Newcastle, he was a very good motivator, getting the best out if individuals, but without creating a team unit or style. Fringe players were frozen out and the style of football was woeful. Fullbacks never got forwards, we played a lot of long balls and relied on brilliance. We came 5th due to Cabaye, Cisse, Ba and Ben Arfa being brilliant, not due to great team play. Look at how many wonder goals we scored..
Now, the problem comes when players leave. We lost Cabaye, and the player to spring attacks early, creating space for the front 3 to do their magic, but then these 3 also fell out of form or left (Ba). The whole thing collapsed and we spent 3 years fighting relegation. That’s why we wanted rid.
To Palace. Having watched them turn us over at Selhurst this season, it struck me how reliant they were on getting it to bolasie and zaha early. One on one vs the full back they were great and really dangerous. Now Bolasie is injured, they only have zaha, defences can shift across and palace look pretty blunt. No goals in 5 PL games says it all.
I like Palace as a club, but hopefully the recent drop shows how much of a fraud Pardew is, and hopefully stops people genuinely talking him up for the England job! Interested to see if any palace fans agree…
James (Shelvey improves us so much, NUFC)
A painful death for QPR
I remember it as clear as day. A late, cheap, and ruthless goal from Bobby Zamora – sending an unworthy Queens Park Rangers side into the Barclays Premier League. It was a cringe worthy moment that stopped a youthful and talented Derby side from getting a second chance at the Premier League. It is this – the true harsh nature of Football.
2 years later, after the apocalyptic turmoil that is Harry Redknapp, and a sad and sorry managerial rein of the ‘nice man’ Christopher “I love Karl Henry” Ramsey – we find ourselves closer to doors of League 1, then that of Premier League Promotion.
And the sad thing is – it is fully warranted. We deserve to be lying, dreadfully close to the bottom of the Championship. We are yet another ‘large investment’ gone bad. With overage, uninterested footballers moping around the field – there is no passion, no desire, no loyalty, no real energy.
The solution? I have no clue. I only wish to see the club become stable. Maybe we need to start again. Put out the current dreary “old flames” that burn so very dimly. Rise from the ashes, and begin anew. Get rid of the players that take up so much of the wage bill, stop hiring old buffoons who have no goal – except to pick up a paycheck every week. Give a chance to the youth players – who so desperately need a run. Because at the moment – we are sinking – without a trace.
If only. We will probably get Neil Warnock again, sign twenty 36 years olds, and make it back to the Premier League by sheer luck. Only for us to struggle again due to having incompetence in every position. Get relegated. Cycle continues. Over and Over.
Muhammed Dalle Valle, QPR
P.S Good Luck to Austin. Thoroughly deserves his move and I wish him every success at the South of Hampton.
Cheers Degsy……. from West Ham fans everywhere.