Next year will be a year
It feels like April has been a real coming of age for Klopp’s Liverpool.
The never-say-die win against Dortmund is obviously the centrepiece, but every game has demonstrated a different aspect of our progression. A superbly disciplined, back to the wall defensive performance in Germany; the archetypal professional away performance against Bournemouth; putting four past mid-table teams at home without needing third gear; the ability to rotate the squad without any drop off in performance.
It’s been a long time since Liverpool showed any of these qualities, let alone all of them. That the most disappointing result of the lot is a draw at home to the league’s best team is illuminating.
Not going to make any outlandish claims for next season but it’s difficult to argue Liverpool are rapidly improving. Interesting times
JG LFC (Didn’t look like “the best Everton team in a generation” last night)
Liverpool have really started to hit form at the right time. Top 4 is probably gone (although our last 5 games are against teams 10th or lower, so I suppose there is the tiniest of chances) but recent results may end have having significance even if we don’t quite get there. I’m thinking about signings for next season. Of course, winning the Europa league would help but that’s certainly not going to be easy, with 2 very good teams left to play. Even if we don’t win it and play next season in the Europa league or out of Europe altogether, no one can deny the feel good factor is currently back at Anfield. This will surely have an impact when it comes to summer recruitment.
No one can deny the Premier League landscape has changed and it will be completely bulldozed and reseeded next season when the new money arrives like a charitable, over-enthusiastic gardener. Teams like Stoke, West Ham, Everton, Newcastle (if they are still there) will be able to compete for signings in a way they never have before. So the feeling inside the club will have a massive effect on where players choose to go. If we were languishing in 9th totally rudderless I’d feel very pessimistic about the players we could attract. Anfield means a lot less to players than it does to fans. But a club hitting form, with players playing for one of the best coaches in the world, having just recorded an amazing win on the European stage? Well that might just be a club that players are interested in playing for.
Mike, LFC, Dubai
Are we properly good again or were Everton just that bad?
I’m gonna go with us being properly good again. 3 wins in 7 days, that include Dortmund and The Ev, with a couple of injuries and a fair bit of rotation thrown in.
I know I’ve been banging on about this but everything feels so positive right now that I just have to share it.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
You’ll probably be getting a lot of mails this morning about how good Liverpool were last night, and rightly so, I’ve always thought Klopp has had an easy ride this season, basically when they won he got the plaudits, and when they lost, its not his team. Last night though it showed what a good manager them lot have got themselves, and what a mighty fine mess Everton are in under Roberto Martinez.
There’s just too many issues go to into here, the main one being that the players have totally given up on playing for him, and I cant blame them (their commitment to the club needs to be seriously questioned after that though), he sends them out there with zero tactics, last night they had some sort of shape for a whole 10 minutes before it went to pot, this is a common theme this season.
It’s common knowledge after leon Osman’s book release that he doesn’t plan defending for set pieces in training, I know premiership players should know basic defending, but seriously, those two first goals yesterday were horrific, I’m seriously starting to think that Titus bramble was just mis-managed this whole time, poor guy.
To the Everton board, please please do the decent thing and sack him before Saturday, put Duncan Ferguson in charge, it sounds mental to go into a FA cup Semi Final without a permanent manger, but it’s now getting to the point where its counter productive to have him in charge.
Imagine next seasons Merseyside Derby is Klopp vs Bielsa. I mean it’s not going to happen, but let’s just imagine it for a second.
Is Martinez actually underperforming?
Recently we’ve seen Everton fans with banners calling for Martinez’ head, and tonight they’ve been victims to a 4-0 drubbing from us. I expect those calls for the chop will only intensify, but should they?
Is Martinez actually underachieving at Everton?
Lukaku aside, Everton have a weaker squad than any of those above them in the table, and a stronger one than all of those below them (some might point to Barkley but he is a very, very rough diamond). I’d argue Martinez is just keeping the status quo so far.
People are shouting “Niasse!” as a symbol of his transfer dealings but Funes Mori, Deulofeu, Besic, Lennon, Cleverly and McCarthy have all been decent signings.
You can certainly question the defensive abilities of a Martinez side, but these frailties were something that we were all well aware of when Everton signed him – the man signed Titus Bramble for Wigan for God’s sake.
I think if there is a problem then it is that he is showing little sign of progressing the team above their current standing, and arguably players like Stones and Barkley are stagnating.
But underperforming? Definitely not. They’re right where they should be.
The tin opener has upgraded
In defense of our utensil
I have seen James Milner being described as tin opener and various other utensils, useful, but hardly essential. I originally agreed and had a little giggle about the resemblance. Recently however, Milner has changed, he’s becoming a bonafide assist machine. Following the 4-3 win over Dortmund, his assist tally was 12. I write this during halftime in the merseyside derby and already, our favourite packable rain jacket has provided crosses for two headed goals. Never play him down the middle, his best position is clearly down the wing.
Writing this at half time. I agree with the idea – which I think it’s reasonable to say that F365 has fairly propounded – that James Milner is a Jack of all trades, master of none type player. In an ideal world he’d be the 12th name on the teamsheet. But football is a squad game now, and for no money he’s been worth a lot of assists and a few important goals for Liverpool this year. At his age he was never going to be the revelatory signing of a generation, but he’s still been very solid business. He’s not the sexiest player in the world, and there are times he looks average, but he does a lot that goes unpraised and I just feel like pointing out that we’re markedly better off with him than without him. I’m glad we signed him.
Eamonn (Portait of an Icon is gold) Istanbul
Is the whole ‘James Milner has been a failure at Liverpool’ narrative still a thing around here or are people now seeing he is doing almost exactly – no more, no less – what was expected of him? 7 goals and 12 assists across all competitions with the majority coming in the league is value for money from a free transfer on a big wage, and he’s proved useful as a utility man when not providing end product. He’s not flashy but he’s bloody efficient and that’s a valuable commmodity.
Kenny (named after you know who), LFC
My car is called James. Its a 98 ford fiesta, and although its sh*t at cornering, its a reliable and steady runner.
Its top speed is about 85, but it just got me from Scotland to Coventry, on less than £35.
I imagine that’s the kind of thing the real James gets excited about.
Be a gent and don’t forget to mention Jimmy Milner’s assist stats tomorrow morning.
If his name was pronounced Hamez…
A month ago you harshly demoted Milner to a 6.5 player. His recent performances surely have bumped him up to his rightful place as 7.5 at least?
More derby conclusions
Few thoughts on the Derby:
*Bar a spell of 10 minutes in the first half, Everton were poor in attack. Too often Lukaku was isolated up top. If he’s still there at the start of next season, call me Brendan Rodgers!
*On to Liverpool. Excellent throughout. Passing and the tempo picked up a fair amount as we hit the half-hour mark. You sensed it was only a matter of time before the breakthrough.
*Origi had no business scoring that header, great leap but what were Everton at?
*I love Sakho! How can you not? At times looks like Bambi on ice but defies logic as he plays. Bullet header!
*Fuenes Mori can have no excuses upon being sent off. Awful tackle. What was the grabbing of the shirt to the fans about? You’ve just made it more difficult for your team. Clown.
*Hopefully the ankle injury is not too bad as Origi looks the real deal here. Be heartbreaking if he couldn’t continue the form this season.
*What a great option Sturridge is. Makes everything look effortless. Can’t take that from Coutinho though!
*Milner for his repertoire of a 7/10 man has a filthy amount of assists. Corners were slightly better today. Slightly.
*Lallana was unlucky not to get a shout to get MOTM. Thought he was excellent, bar his finishing.
*Confidence breeds results. Allen looks transformed as does the likes of Lovren.
* I couldn’t help but laugh at Klopp’s reaction to Lucas’ shot! How can you not?
*Martinez looks like a dead man walking. As said already Lukaku will go. Stones, Barkley, Coleman and possibly McCarthy could go. At one point McCarthy looked around in disgust at the lack of options. As I said confidence breeds results. In this case you’re seeing what a lack of confidence brings.
*Finally, 37-3 attempts. Need I say more?
Miguel Sanchez, LFC, Ireland. (Mixed feelings on Rafa returning on Saturday)
Well it’s hard not to be pleased with that result. People usually say form goes out the window for games like these and normally there’s a bit of truth to that but after the first goal it seemed like Everton just remembered how they were playing and got totally deflated. You’ve got to think they’re going to be turned over by Man Utd on the weekend too.
Initially this didn’t seem like a game for Origi to start in; I think he’s better against higher lines or against tired legs. Sturridge is excellent moving across the defensive line and dragging people out or receiving the ball in wide positions to then either hold up play or beat his man on either the inside or outside. Origi was pretty anonymous until he scored but then that’s all a striker really needs to do!
Klopp definitely has some love for Lallana but he’s the last one I’ve just not been sold on. That 1 on 1 miss after six minutes was pretty dreadful. Chances like that don’t usually come in huge games and the big game players punish teams. I appreciate we went on to have another 40 shots but it could’ve been the chance we were all left thinking about.
Watching Klopp laugh his balls off after Lucas took a really tame shot was enormously amusing.
A strange Merseyside derby for sure. Firstly, Moyes actually said that his Everton team played the same way Klopp tries to play. Seriously, the guy doesn’t do himself any favours. A really obvious (and failed) attempt at trying to portray himself as a fashionable manager. It is pretty clear that Moyes’ tactics throughout his tenure at Everton were more parking the bus as opposed to driving a bus through a wall.
Secondly, it feels as though Martinez has lost the players. This Everton team are capable of better performances than they put on display tonight. Even if the player count remained at 22, Liverpool could have still won 4 -0. They definitely feel as though a managerial change is on the horizon and are just going through the motions until bobby gets pushed. Ironically, although I lambasted Moyes, I feel as though he is the right man for the job and can take Everton forward.
Thirdly, Origi’s injury really took the shine off the night. Funes Mori needs to take a good look at himself in the mirror. It actually had shades of the Eduardo challenge. It was an ankle breaker (i know his ankle is not broken) and he deserves more than a three game ban. It was a blatant attempt to inujure the player and to have the audacity to act the way he did after the challenge was disgusting.
Finally, the last 20 minutes were akin to a training session for Liverpool. Yes Everton were awful but Klopp is improving this team with every game. I just hope now we can let Newcastle win so we don’t end up in the Europa League.
Gutted for Divock
Just a mail in to say how gutted I am for Divock Origi. Poor fella has been in smashing form lately and he really is a joy to watch. Does all the jobs a centre forward should do and was really developing nicely. Looks like he’ll be out for a while now.
It’s hard to know what Funes Mori’s intentions were. He looked as if he had eyes on he ball but he seemed to leave his foot on Origi’s ankle for a bit longer than would be natural. Maybe that’s just what I picked up in slow motion and I could be wrong.
I’m writing this just after Origi has been stretchered off and I have a feeling that Klopp is gonna batshit mental after the game about that ‘challenge’.
Patrick (Milner is playing great lately) Mufc Ireland
If anyone told me back in October that I’d be anxiously waiting on an injury update on Divok Origi I’m pretty sure I’d have laughed.
Mike, LFC, Dubai
Ross Barkley is Wayne Rooney
Having started off brightly Everton have really fallen away and fallen off the pace fast.
Lukaku is the one bright spark for the season and sadly for Everton someone with some good sense and a lot of money is going to come in and get him and build a team around the beast from Belgium.
Ross Barkley although talented is one to avoid. He is big, pacey, powerful and two footed. His directness and physical presence are his greatest assets and therein lies the problem. He stinks of Wayne Rooney. Now Rooney has had stellar career, scored a ton of goals and won many a title. That was then, right now (3-4 seasons) he is overweight, slow, can’t dribble and has forgotten that he has a left foot.
My point is that Barkley is a big lad and the pace of the league will take its toll and I see wear and tear hitting him sooner rather than later, especially compared to more slightly built midfielders (don’t want to mention any names and jinx them). Once he loses the dynamism he will be a shell of himself.
Buy him at your peril. Of course the damage to the club won’t be half as bad as what Rooney is causing if you steer clear of offering him a ridiculous 300,000 quid a week and forcing the management to shoehorn him into the team to the detriment of performance and entertainment.
Basically I think similar to Rooney his performances will regress fast at a relatively young age due to physical limitations. A good player to have but not one to build your team around.
Hakim, Sri Lanka
The only United mail(!)
Good performance by Man Utd against a frankly poor Crystal Palace team who could have had only Zaha and Speroni as their only players with the remaining nine strategically placed statues.
First goal was furtuitious and the well taken second could have been the only scored goal in the entire match. With the chances created, more goals should have been scored and against better opponents, such profligacy will surely be punished. A good performance though and 3 points to keep our hopes up.
Osama (LvG’s substitutions is worrying. More kids should have played instead of Fellaini and Herera) Nigeria
Why you should hate City, by a City fan
In reply to Jimmy Spain (“Should we call them Magnolia City?”)
Long standing City fan here, thought it worth replying here to point out that, apart from the over exaggerated #Emptihad top banter, there’s actually loads to take the piss out of our fans about. You just have to dig a little deeper.
How about the large sections of our fanbase which genuinely believe there is a wide-ranging media/FA/UEFA agenda designed to put City down? There is nothing which cannot be used as proof that the whole world is against City.
How about the fact that we have a major supporters group who refused to lead proper fan action on the club’s piss take of a ticket pricing policy but will, without hesitation, mobilise their people to try and keep a specific radio commentator on specific City games? That is pure, pure City.
Or how about the happy clappers who seem to think they’re an arm of the club’s PR department, those who act with pathetic, needy desperation towards the club but are happy to turn on any fans who dare to say that maybe City aren’t the best at everything in the whole wide world? Have you expressed some dissatisfaction about a player on twitter? Well you are clearly not a proper City fan – get behind the players!! The club needs us!!! #TOGETHER!!!!!
Those are just the merest hint, the smallest whisper, of the array of things you could take the piss out of City fans about.
Conclusion? Most of our fans are shite and dislikeable. The divisions and the neuroses in the fanbase run deeper than you’d think. The beauty of it all? If this is published I’ll be denounced as a United fan anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
Anonymous, please. Manchester.
Really can’t overstate how much I’d like to stay anonymous here…
Why you shouldn’t hate City, by a City fan
Oh dear, In response to Jimmy from Spain. If you aren’t trying to troll City fans, why mention the myth of the half empty stadium? That’s trolling sunshine. Yeah there are some empty seats at times, but half empty, come on old bean, that would mean we get approx. 30,000 per game.
It’s lovely you think City are like magnolia and I see your point, because after reading your mailbox entry, I came to the conclusion that pretty much every other team for me is like magnolia, bar maybe 1 or 2 teams not in the premier league.
Guess that is why we all have a team we support and don’t support others. Leicester have been lots of fun to watch this year, but I don’t identify or relate to them in any way. The same with Stoke when they first came up, their fans were really noisy and they bullied some teams, but I didn’t relate to them.
Is there anything behind the players we can relate to? I don’t know as I don’t know any of them. Again I’m sure most other teams players are pretty much the same. Can I relate to say Mahrez or Courtois or Bojan or Cattermole? I don’t know as I don’t know them. The players are there to play not make me feel like I could be their friend.
Although maybe you mean the likes of Silva and Aguero aren’t in the papers enough for shagging about or inhaling gas.
There are one particular set of fans who care when City lose, the set who spent many years calling us bitter when we laughed at them anytime they lost. The same set who have become more bitter than we ever were in just 3 years.
Finally as I’ve stated on here before, City fans may seem like they don’t kick up a fuss, simply because we don’t feel the need to write in to F365 everyday to cry like Arsenal/Liverpool/United (delete as applicable) fans seem to do on an almost daily basis. We have had way worse stuff to cry about over the last 20 odd years.
DANNY B – MCFC (Magnolia nah, I prefer Eggshell Lustre)
Ron Burgundy: A synposis
I have been thinking about that cinematic classic Anchorman lately. Just to recap it is the story of aging, myopic, yet slightly more than moderately successful news anchor, Ron Burgandy, and the up-and coming, younger, prettier, and ambitious reporter/anchor Veronica Corningstone. Early on Veronica is ambitious but unable to break through, until Ron’s own bravado and attachment to something, a dog, in this case, allows Veronica to essentially become his equal. However, Ron really stuffs it when he swears on a newscast and essentially Veronica takes over as sole anchor. Ron is fired and finds himself dishelved, unshaven, and drunk in some dirty bar in the middle of the day.He has the following conversation with the bartender
Now, what the hell is wrong with you?
l got no heart! Because a she-devil stole it! You know what the worst part about it is? She’s better than me! She’s better than me
Anyway, my point is this, Ron Burgandy is Arsenal and Veronica is Tottenham. Of course you need to ignore the part where Ron and Victoria sleep together and Ron earns redemption at the end.
Spare a thought for Fulham
I know that everyone is talking about Everton being awful at defending (and pretty much everything else), but I would just like to point out a team doing this to an even worse extent: my club Fulham.
We are currently in 20th place in the Championship, yet are the joint second highest scorers, behind only Burnley (and only by 3 goals).
Only 2 teams have conceded more goals than us (the bottom two).
We have a player nominated for Player of the Season (Ross McCormack) and a player nominated for Young Player of the Season (Moussa Dembele).
Relegation as top scorers in the championship is a distinct possibility. At least that’s a positive to take unlike Villa…
Love for the real Ronaldo
I had to stop reading Mediawatch after the Ronaldo bit to see people’s comments. Don’t understand how that sun journalist has a job as he doesn’t understand football at all.
Ronaldo was a footballing god, as proved by his recovery from cruciate ligament injury to own the 2002 world cup. He was the best player in the world for years before that and more or less returned to being the best player in the world for a number of years after that world cup, although admittedly he was a very different player after those potentially career ending years of injury.
He was a one of a kind striker. Prior to his sad problems he was had the ability to unsettle whole defences by dribbling straight at them not unlike Messi/Maradona; but he also had explosive acceleration and strength, not unlike Cristiano. He was absolutely blessed with a natural instinct for scoring. His record at the world cup of 15 goals in 19 games sets him apart from most supposed great players who bottle massively under the pressure to lead their nation. His 62 goals in 98 games for Brazil shows he wasn’t just saving his best for the big occasion either. In short, he was possibly the most sublime footballer in history to watch and definitely one of the most complete players ever.
He played for both Milan giants, both sets of highly partizan fans still love him. He played for both Barca & Real, both sets of fans, who hold the other club in sheer contempt, still idolise Ronaldo. He is a Brazil legend. The global goodwill felt for Ronaldo is in fact the opposite of people’s feelings for the two greatest of modern times. People find Messi boring, he certainly doesn’t have the character to drive Argentina towards a World Cup the way Maradona did. And Cristiano, as a person is pure and simple seen as a tangerine Euro-disco nightmare who will barely be missed even by his own fans when he is gone.
Would love to have a young, fit Ronaldo burst onto the scene now, and not at one of those w*nker classico clubs either.
The Sun might not like you Ronnie but I do
And love for Francesco
Francesco Totti. Il Capitano. Club legend.
Totti has been pretty peripheral for Roma this year, especially since Spaletti’s return, but what a week he has had!
On Sunday he comes on with Roma losing 3-2 away at Atalanta and scores a late equaliser. Tonight he comes on with them 2-1 down to Torino and scores in the 86th minute to make it 2-2. Not happy with that, he goes and buries an 89th minute to give Roma 3 points!
There has been plenty of controversy around his absence from the team this year and he has not always been graceful about it in the media. But if you can’t love a man so synonymous with a club, probably in his last season, coming in from the cold to score such dramatic goals in the space of 4 days then you’re a miserable git.
Or the club legend in question is John Terry.
Francesco Totti’s Wednesday evening consisted of 8 minutes of playing time, 9 touches of the ball and 2 goals to help his hometown team complete a 3-2 comeback.
I, on the other hand, ate two takeaways and half an Easter egg. I’m not sure my portrait of an icon will ever come.
Harry, Yorkshire, overweight.
My short ref career
When I was 15 I took a refereeing course at my local football club. Took me several evenings and a few weekends with homework and proper training. It was good, the teachers were old refs and I really liked it. I was even promised a decent amount of money per game, reffing kids.
My first game with some 9-10 year olds, I still remember vividly one of the parents screaming that I was a f***ing disgrace after a throw in decision he apparently didn’t agree with, and another saying I should never have been born after ruling out a goal after an impossible situation with no linesmen and no goal line technology. There were plenty of c***, f***ing this and f***ing that thrown in too, after every decision, just changing from one set of parents to the other. Also the 9-10 year olds playing were loving the “banter”. In games like that I guess I could send the parents to go sit in their cars. Instead I opted to blow the whistle 10 minutes before time and just left, never coming back. Wouldn’t take that job for ten times the money and I admire anyone who are willing to.