Mails: Loving that man Origi and more…

Date published: Friday 8th April 2016 9:48

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That was pure Klopp
I think that was the heaviest Klopp blueprint that we have seen on a Liverpool side since he took over. It wasn’t about the gegenpress, it was more that he brought out the worst in the opposition given the tools at his disposal. Whilst this did include a bit of pressing, it was more about dragging the play wide, Origi splitting the central defenders and then balls in behind to run on to. In many respects it was unlucky we didn’t score twice, despite being the second best team on the night.

It was a shame they scored in such typical Liverpool fashion because it’s hard to see us keeping a clean sheet at Anfield too. That means we definitely have to outscore them in the next round because I don’t think our defenders can pull off an Atletico and shut that lot out for 90 minutes. In some respects this reminded me of watching us in Europe under Benitez; slightly under the cosh, cheeky away goal the backs to the wall whenever defensive work is required.

I don’t want to get laughed out the room, but there’s something really special about Origi. I think he’s going to become a really big player in the next few years.

Lallana was as anonymous as my obligatory fifth paragraph.
Minty, LFC


Big-Ups to Origi, Sakho and Lovren
Great game, great result. The whole team played well but Origi, Sakho and Lovren all merit special mention.

Origi was a demon up front. Held the ball up well, showed strength, pace and skill, and took one of his two decent chances. Essentially gave the performance we were expecting from the anonymous Aubameyang. You can’t ask for (much) more. Embarrassing to the French media that they saw fit to include him in a ‘worst XI’ at the age of 19.

Sakho doesn’t have quiet games. On Thursday night he was in full-on warrior mode, Inspector Gadget legs getting in the way of everything. Can’t decide whether he shades the MOTM from Origi or not. Lovren was not far behind the two of them; he won everything that came near him in probably his best game for the club. No truck with all that passing out from the back sh*t either, when it looked like the rest of the defence was struggling to work around Dortmund’s manic press Lovren would just f**king whack it every time.

Tip of the cap as well to Can, who did not let an early yellow slow him down, and Allen, who looked like he’ll offer more than Henderson has over recent weeks.

Overall a very close game with Dortmund having the better of the play but Weidenfeller tested more than Mignolet. Massive game ahead – I would still put Dortmund as slight favourites to go through (no way they won’t score at least once) but we’ve kept it in the balance. Didn’t think I’d be saying that.
JG LFC (lucky to have Klopp)


…Just a few thoughts on the game last night:

Firstly, the atmosphere in the ground was amazing. The singing of You’ll never walk alone was brilliant, I doubt even Liverpool fans can match that.

I was a bit concerned when I saw the line-ups and Sturridge was dropped. What a masterstroke from Klopp. Origi scored, held the ball up and ran the channels. Brilliant performance.

Other great performances were from Lovren (again!), Sakho and Can.

I thought Liverpool created some great chances and should maybe have sneaked the win. Coutinho had an off night, hopefully he will make up for it next week.

Am I the only Liverpool fan thinking that Henderson being out may work in Liverpool’s favour? I thought Allen did very well in his place. Unfortunate for Henderson though.

I really hope that Klopp fields a weakened team this weekend and has the team fully rested for Thursday. The Europa represents a great chance to get a Champions League place, while all hope in the league is probably gone. Get the priorities right Jurgen!!!

Dortmund seemed to have an off night. That is unlikely to be repeated next week. Any Liverpool fans assuming we are in the semi-final should think twice. It will be a nervy and tense second leg. I have a feeling Liverpool may need two goals to go through.
Shiraz, Johannesburg


…I can’t remember exactly, but I believe it was in the mailbox I read someone suggesting that Sakho be dropped for last night’s match. I opted not to react at the time, for fear of scudding him. But come on. Seriously? He was immense…again! He is easily our best defender and one of few who may genuinely be able to lead our back line when under the cosh.

Also there have been a few articles on a page not too far from here, and also a few mails, where Jordan Henderson has been getting some abuse of late. Last night he was superb (while on the pitch anyway). He was the only one of our midfield three who kept any discipline. If Henderson stepped forward with the ball, you knew that Can and Milner would both be caught out of position. Once he was subbed off, Joe Allen got nowhere near Dortmund without the ball. The hole between midfield and defence was a chasm. How Dortmund didn’t pick that gap off I have no clue! I am not saying he is our solution as a holding midfielder, but Milner and Can most definitely are not.

I am increasingly getting worried that Can will be yet another young prospect who fails to make the grade at Liverpool. I have mentioned in the mailbox before of his undoubted talent. But he is lazy. With his physicality, he should always be able to get goal side, and plug the whole left by the man who is covering for him, because Can has lost the ball again. But he just strolls back, and then looks shocked when he is caught out of position. Too many Hollywood passes to nowhere, too many runners allowed to go straight past him. He can come good (I want to say “can Can”), but he cannot be the number one in our midfield, not yet at least.

Lastly Origi, what a performance. Are you watching Christian Benteke???? Are you?

I think every Liverpool fan would have bitten off your hand, ran 10 miles and hidden it in their suitcase, had you offered us 1-1 before kickoff. Just play the under-21s against Stoke now please Jurgen! As for you’ll never walk alone, just wow. Is it time to replace Gerry and the Pacemakers with Die Toten Hosen at Anfield?
Adam, LFC, Belfast


Just the one conclusion
Mats Hummels is a freak of nature.
Brian (Yup, much rather have Pochettino then Klopp *laughing with tears emoji face) LFC


Loving Klopp…
Well, one of the reasons I prefer Klopp over Rodgers was that he hasn’t put out a weakened team in Europe, even if many consider the Europa League a second rate competition.

Rodgers decision to play a weak team against Real Madrid p*ssed me off. Why bother trying to reach the CL if you aren’t going to compete? Liverpool had turned over teams like that in the past and the team Benitez won the CL was far weaker than Rodgers’ side.

So Klopp has rekindled that spirit. They may not go on to win this round but at least they put it on the line. And that’s really all we can ask as fans.

Given the gap that opened up at the top, Spurs should be kicking themselves. Playing more consistently than ‘Pool, they could have done far better and made Dortmund look much better than they truly are.

Now really looking forward to what we know will be a cracking return leg.
Paul McDevitt


Only two Man United players good enough for Spurs
‘Five Spurs players that would walk into this Utd team’.

And look around and wonder why they didn’t bring Vertonghen, Rose, Dier and Dembele with them. The only Utd players who’d get into the Spurs team are DDG and Martial. Baffling stuff there 365.


Worst No. 9s in the Premier League…ever
I enjoyed Sarah Winterburn’s list of the worst No. 9s in the Prem this season and began looking around for other terrible 9s from the past, from various clubs.

Arsenal: Davor Suker, Francis Jeffers, Jose Antonio Reyes, Julio Baptista, Park Chu-Young (as blatant an attempt to sell shirts as you can get..after Man Utd with Dong Fangzhou)

Aston Villa: Marlon Harewood, Stephen Ireland

Blackburn Rovers: Jonathan Stead, Shefki Kuqi, Shabani Nonda, Jason Roberts, Nikola Kalinic.

Birmingham City: Geoff Horsfield, Walter Pandiani

Bolton Wanderers: Mixu Paatelainen, Henrik Pedersen, Johan Elmander, Tuncay…

Cardiff City: Andreas Cornelius, Kenwyne Jones

Charlton: Zheng Zhi (Yeah, I forgot him too)

Coventry City: Muhamed Konjic (simply because he was a defender, hard as nails though)

Crystal Palace: Yaya Sanogo

Derby County: Emanuel Villa

Everton: James Beattie (Jô was No. 11 sadly)

Fulham: *Deep breath* Orlando Sá, Stefano Okaka, David Healy, Michael Brown, Steve Marlet

Hull City: Jozy Altidore, Danny Graham, Abel Hernandez

Ipswich Town: Pablo, Boncho Genchev

Leicester City: Darren Eadie

Liverpool: Rickie Beetroot, Iago Aspas, Andy Carroll, El Hadji Diouf (For many reasons)

Man City: Valeri Bojinov, Emile Mpenza

Man Utd: Falcao

Middlesbrough: Mido, Massimo Maccarone, Paul Ince

Newcastle Utd: Obafemi Martins!

Norwich City: Matthias Jonson, Grant Holt, RVW

Portsmouth: Frédéric Piquionne, Milan Baroš

QPR: DJ Campbell

Sheffield United: Rob Hulse

Sheffield Wednesday: Gerald Sibon

Southampton: Mark Draper

Sunderland: Tore André Flo, Danny Graham (again) Djibril Cissé, Anthony Stokes, Jon Stead

Swansea City: Craig Beattie.

Tottenham: Frédéric Kanouté, Grzegorz Rasiak, Roberto Soldado

WBA: Brown Ideye, Roman Bednář.

West Ham Utd: Ilan, Carlton Cole

Wigan: Franco Di Santo, Mauro Boselli, Jason Scotland, Mido (again)

Wolves: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
Ben (This took too long), Cheltenhamshire


Oh when the Saints…
A sold Saints XI, using the one criterion that they still have to be capable of playing at the moment.

GK: Artur Boruc. Not a great deal of choice here admittedly, but Boruc is still playing PL football with Bournemouth so perfectly serviceable for this team.

LB: Luke Shaw. Get well soon Luke. Once back, will hopefully continue to improve for club and country.
CB: Dejan Lovren. Started off a bit shaky at Liverpool, but recently seems to have improved.
CB: Calum Chambers. Seems to have stalled somewhat at Arsenal, but still time to come good. We did well to get £35m+ for the CBs in this team!
RB: Nathaniel Clyne. Currently first choice for England.

LM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Another who seems to have not really pushed on at Arsenal in the way people might have hoped. But still better than any other option for this team
CM: Morgan Schneiderlin. An excellent player, who seemingly everyone except LGV can see is better than Fellaini. Unfortunately for Morgan, LGV is picking the Man United team every week.
RM: Adam Lallana. Sometimes frustrating, but the technique is clearly there.

LW: Gareth Bale. The superstar of the team. World’s most expensive player, CL winner. Just manged to squeeze him in somewhere…
CF: Dani Osvaldo. Fair to describe his time at St. Mary’s as a bit of a flop. Only ever showed fight on the training field. But his list of clubs since (including those whilst on loan from Saints) is pretty impressive: Juve, Inter, Boca Juniors and now at Porto. It was either him or Rickie Lambert, and as beloved as Lambert is by Saints fans, Osvaldo is probably the better player currently.
RW: Theo Walcott. Repeat after me: ‘Seems to have stalled somewhat at Arsenal’. This seems to be a recurring theme in this team!

Overall not bad, albeit slightly Garth Crooks in midfield – Schneiderlin is going to be a busy man! But plenty of attacking talent, including good support from the full-backs. Would certainly do a decent job in the PL. But after the First XI, squad depth may be a problem (although probably this summer we can add the likes of Mane and Wanyama to the squad…)
Michael, Basel


And sold by Chelsea
To keep the theme of best sold XIs going after Horse The Horse mail yesterday, I had a good long think about players Chelsea have sold recently and I feel I may have just created a team that could have won the treble this season.

GK Cech

LB Bertrand
DF Huth
DF David Luiz
RB Filipe Luis

DM Ramires

LM Mata
RM Robben
CAM De Bruyne

FW Lukaku
FW Sturridge

Okay, so maybe Filipe Luis isn’t a makeshift right-back but he did play in that position for us from time to time, that attacking trio of KDB, Lukaku and Sturridge would strike fear into any opposition’s heart, maybe DBLS could have rivalled Barcelona’s MSN and Real’s BBC, comparing this “What Could Have Been” team to the current side makes you realise how wrong mainly Mourinho was to sell them.
Mike Clewer, CFC
And sold by Liverpool
In response to Horse’s best sold Man Utd XI, here’s my Liverpool version:


Glen Johnson
Daniel Agger
Sebastian Coates (struggling at CB) a bit…
John Arne Riise

Javier Mascherano
Xabi Alonso
Steven Gerrard

Raheem Sterling
Luis Suarez
Fernando Torres

Reckon that’d do the Man U lot.

Chris Mac (What a midfield that was…) LFC
Mike Clewer, CFC


What if Arsenal had spent the money…
Picking up the baton from Alex, AFC yesterday, as another ‘what if’ season draws to a close for Arsenal, what would have happened if Arsene Knows had seen what almost everyone else saw in August and January – that if they spent some of the reported 200m in the bank they might have won something…?

So, I just simulated the full season again using Football Manager 2016 with these initial transfers in July (I kept bidding until I got the players I wanted, money-be-damned!):

IN: (a spine!)

John Stones – for 42m from Everton after he put in a transfer request.
Paul Pogba – for 78m from Juve.
Romelu Lukaku – for 63m from Everton (sorry Toffeemen it’s not personal, you’ve just got the ideal players)
and Aymeric Laporte – from Athleti for 25m.

Total spend: 208m and wages up to 2.6m per week but within budget.

I was lucky enough to have Arsene ‘move upstairs’ into the Director of Football role and I immediately tasked him with getting best value fees for this little lot…(All done by the in-game AI):


Theo – to Liverpool (apologies to all in the Liverpool area, you’ve not done well in this experiment) for 22m!
Santi Cazorla (Pogba took his place with Ramsey and Wilshere to cover) to Juve for 18.5m.
The Ox – (once potential is gone all you’re left with is an average footballer) to West Ham for 15.25m.
The BFG – (too slow) to Newcastle for 9m.
Jenkinson for 6.5m to Stoke and Debuchy for 5m to Watford
Flamini, Akpom, Rosicky, Arteta, Sanogo – for some trinkets and beans.

Total money in: 79m

So for a ‘net spend’ of 129m what did Arsenal get? Well I went on an in-game holiday until my birthday on 8th of May and left the in-game Steve Bould in charge using the generic tactics (short pass possession and walk the ball into the box) and formation 4-2-3-1 Arsenal try to play. The result? They won the league by four points from Man City with the best defensive record in the league. They lost to Barcelona (realistic, see!) in the semi-finals of the Champions Cup and lost to Chelsea in the final of the FA Cup (with Jose still in charge there was no change there). A poor quarter-final exit to Liverpool in the League Cup was perhaps offset by winning the Charity Shield in August.

So there you have it Arsenal fans. Would you take it? Splurging a fair chunk of money (for Arsenal) for that result? I’m going to play the next season out in full seeing if I can go better than Bouldy but just wondering if ‘buying the league’ like this would have been more satisfying than what we’ve probably done for third…?
Snelly, Nelson, NZ (Sunderland, Bournemouth and Leicester!!! went down since you’re asking.)


What if…oh actually, it’s gone quite well
I wanted to put together some wistful ‘What ifs’ too, but I just couldn’t look past one in particular.

What if we hadn’t been bought out by the Abu Dhabi group, and were still owned by Thaksin Shinawatra?

So yeah. Gonna stop there.

Do other clubs’ fans have any ‘What ifs’ they are really grateful didn’t happen?


Football365 What Ifs
All this ‘what if’ talk has got me thinking: what about the Football365 what ifs?

1. What if Sky had never stopped owning you guys?
2. What if Pete Gill was still writing Winners and Losers, his face still twisted into a ball of surly rage and forthright incandescence?
3. What if the ‘facebook comments’ feature never came into play?
4. What if Stewie Griffin played golf in his spare time rather than getting angry at Arsene Wenger?
5. What if John Nicholson had made it big as a virtuoso lead guitarist, replaced Slash in a reboot of Guns N’ Roses, and was too busy shredding out Sweet Child O’ Mine to write his whiskey-soaked missives about football, rock n’ roll and proper football men?

And what if I, young Jack, had never written into the mailbox, or embarked on a five-year love/hate relationship with Chris ITFC? Mindf**ks.
Jack, 21, London (brackets to the left of me, brackets to the right, here I am stuck in a bracket with you)

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