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Ox is Lallana’s heir
so yeah I think most people will be talking about how good Mo Salah has been for Liverpool so far this season (as an aside Jesus Christ Mo Salah has been excellent) but very quickly I want to talk about Oxlade-Chamberlain. when we signed him I felt like his want to play centrally may make him a challenger for Lallana’s place long term and I feel that despite a shody start he is showing signs of growing into this role, albeit out wide much like Lallana did under Klopp’s first full season.
But slowly but surely there’s levels of understanding of how Klopp likes to play football showing in him. Ox was fine on the pressure and helped pin back Cresswell, he did fine work on and off the ball and was rewarded with a goal on his first start.
Look, the price is very steep but F365 had a great piece on how Dembele and Lallana met their perfect managers late in their respective careers. This could very well turn out in a similar way, constantly in interviews Chamberlain talks about how he is still learning a more intense style of football and nearly everyone who has joined Liverpool have needed that grace period. Give it time and maybe, just maybe Chamberlain could’ve met his perfect manager to use him in his prime years instead of late on, it’d be good for England at least if he does become what Lallana is now with extra pace and power.
Tyla (can’t stick to one name for Chambo) Roxburgh, Liverpool
I’ve seen a few Liverpool fans creaming their pants over the way we set up yesterday. There’s a view that if we overload the right side with Salah, Gomez and AOC then we can overcome the low block that so many teams employ against us and find some joy etc.
I’m not convinced yesterday was the game to make these statements on. West Ham were compact and coping well with our threat. The goal on the counter was great but wasn’t a product of anything other than a huge defensive blunder and the obscene pace of Mane and Salah. The second goal also wasn’t from open play whilst the third seemed to catch West Ham entirely asleep.
It was an excellent victory and a much needed one but it was against one of the worst teams in the league right now. Gomez made a couple of bad decisions but I suspect he’ll learn from them. Mignolet thankfully only started to make really stupid choices once we were 2 goals up which made it funny rather than heart wrenching.
Looking at the attack I thought this was Firmino’s best game in weeks. He was buzzing into spaces all over the place, made great forward runs and was being skilful and tricky when isolated against a single defender. You can’t help but think that when Coutinho and Lallana are back we are going to have an insane attack, maybe the best or second best in the league. I personally would drop Can once Lallana is back; he’s not signing a contract so stop wasting our time on him and focus on the players who are here and committed now. I like Can but I think he is guilty too often of operating too slowly with the ball at his feet. I think it’ll be a shame if he leaves for free because he’s become a much better player under Rodgers and Klopp than the one we signed.
A final nod for Moreno, who was again excellent. Maybe Klopp just can’t coach central defenders?!
1) Seeing the starting line up and how the formation played out, I was mainly happy to see Jurgen try something new. A 4-2-3-1 or more correctly a 4-4-2 with Salah as the second striker was interesting to see. This could possibly be something to use when playing against defensive teams as it allows an interchanging 3 behind a central fulcrum of Firmino.
2) Joe Gomez is without doubt our number 1 right back and will push Clyne for a starting spot. He was rattled when he made a mistake for the Lanzini goal and had a nervous ten minutes losing Lanzini again and giving away a needless free kick, but showed great maturity in recovering. His England call up is deserved,
3) While at left back, the Alberto Moreno comeback is complete. And we have Lopetegui to thank for that. His Spain call up is equally as well deserved as Gomez and it was telling that any chance West Ham had came from the right flank.
4) The loss of Emre Can next summer will prove to be a big blow. His performances have started to attract Bayern and that could only mean one thing. Kieta and hopefully Goretzka(also on a free) should soften the blow.
5) Is Mo Salah the new Dries Mertens? A phenomenal second goal and his numbers this season are far more than any one expected. 25-30 goals should be his target now.
6) Henderson should be worried for his future. Wijanldum is a better ball carrier and link between midfield and attack, Can is a better overall box to box midfielder, Lallana is on another level and Kieta will surely start next season. He does not have any leadership qualities that would make him indispensable also.
7) A week ago, F365 asked who the leaders in the current Liverpool team were. While we dont have any true leaders on the pitch,I think Jurgen is our captain. Both on and off the pitch. He can inspire the team and it explains why momentum is so important for us in getting results.
8) And finally, lets hope that some momentum built now will continue after the international break. The 4-0 against Arsenal was followed by an international break which killed off any momentum we were building. A couple of draws on Sunday would do nicely.
A different kind of praise
Not the team dummy (although it is fun watching a professional team play a 2-2-6, like an under 8 team)!
What I must congratulate is the club announcing that they will pay all their employees above minimum wage.
Admittedly, the alleged extra one million pounds is a drop in the ocean when compared to a player’s salary but, it shows some respect and compassion to the many unsung heroes who help run a football club.
It’s a pity this gesture isn’t being talked about more.
(I’ll still laugh my arse off if Hendo slips and let’s Moses through to score! )
The next big thing…to go down?
As an Evertonian and season ticket holder I was expecting, pretty much like everyone else, to be nearer top 4 than 7th this season and in fairness we might achieve that if we’re looking at top 4 of the Championship. Koeman spent heavily in the summer albeit haphazardly and put all his striking options in a Giroud shaped basket it seems but didn’t we always need more than one striker? Even if Rom stayed we had no back up – the Niasse resurgence was a suitable end for the detached ego of Ronald but in no way was ‘like a new signing’. I do think our Wayne is getting unfairly barracked, of all the summer signings (off pitch shenanigans aside) he hasn’t been a failure but he’s never going to be the Rooney of 10 years ago and nor should we expect that. It does amaze me that nobody has managed to coach him out of getting frustrated then chasing the ball all over the pitch like an excited Labrador running after a packet of crisps in windy car park though…
Pickford has been a success, despite looking like a fat version of the kid from This is England, Keane looks like our new first choice centre back (alongside Holgate preferably as Williams now has an error in him every game and both he and Jags are permanently running in treacle). Vlasic looks like a lucky buy off the strength of a good performance against us albeit he at least gives creativity but the failings of Koeman’s management and team selection are detracting from the point of this email: Moshiri is getting away scott free.
Moshiri aggressively pursued Ron when he was flavour of the month and threw money until he came. Koeman never bought in to Everton, never knew about Everton, never cared about Everton and never pretended to want to be here longer than his contract rain or shine. Moshiri has appointed Walsh and allowed him to publically go off to Italy…and bring nothing but duty free back. Moshiri has made a couple of PR disasters by, allegedly, being mates with Skys very own Jim White and being very amateur hour with his dislcosures. Now if Moshiri goes for the current flavour of the month, Sean Dyche, then this could go very Aston Villa/Leeds very quickly. Dyche may be a good manager but it doesn’t strike me with any confidence he knows what he’s doing. Of course, with Ancellotti well out of our league realistically we’re left with current flavour of the months (Dyche, Silva and to an extent Howe), the managers graveyard of Fat Sam, Moyes Mk2, Pardew (amazed ‘Arry hasn’t been linked) or the untested waddling glorified PE teacher to quote Joey Barton (Unsworth who I actually backed until I’ve seen his team selections when given the chance).
The next appointment is critical and as I’m sending this before the Panorama program about Moshiris purchase goes out, it’s not unrealistic that we end up with no money, no new ground, owner done a bunk and preparing for Barnsley away under the reigns of Steve Bruce having coaxed Lee Trundle out of retirement to lead the line because, you know, he’s a blue…..
I don’t understand why a bigger deal isn’t being made about Santi Cazorla’s injury. Does it not say something about Aresnal’s medical team that they permitted him to be operated on again and again to the point where he was diagnosed with GANGRENE and had to consider chopping his leg off??
I understand that he was their best player and they wanted him back, but the medical team’s priority was clearly the club and not the player. Surgery after surgery resulting in an infection, which was then apparently allowed some time to take hold so that it was a fair 50:50 fight between the surgeon and the infection- just the way Arsenal like it.
I live in India and despite our standard of medial care being far lower, if someone operated on my foot and let it get infected the way Cazorla’s was, I’d be in court suing them right now. And yet Santi Cazorla has put his head down, gotten back to training, and is giving his all to make sure he can be back in the team in time to save him. This shambles of a club doesn’t deserve a player like him. I honestly think Wilshere’s injury record is less his fault now. Here’s wishing both of them no further interactions with Arsenal’s medical team for as long as they stay.
A lovely cause
Today I collected 18 tickets for the FAI cup final taking place in Dublin tomorrow. Cork city vs Dundalk. First vs second. Without doubt the two best sides in Irish football.
I didn’t have to pay for those 18 tickets, none of the people who get the tickets will pay a cent. Why? These tickets were bought by my friend, Foods. He bought 19 tickets a month ago to ensure all of his pals could be together at the biggest game of the year.
Foods died tragically 2 weeks ago. An online campaign has been running this week to try and raise awareness as we have arranged for a minutes applause for the 29th minute, as he was only 29 when he died. It has been shared far & wide. James McClean, Paul McGrath, Seamus from WWE – it’s surreal.
I urge anyone attending the game, anyone watching at home, in the pub, come the 29th minute stand and applaud an incredible person.
Ryan. Dundalk FC
An Iceland World Cup ladder (we bloody love you lot)
Greetings Football 365!
While I find your concept of a World Cup ladder a lovely idea, I don‘t know why you persist in only making it for some minor national team like England. What you really need is a World Cup ladder of a true powerhouse – like Iceland!
So here goes, the Icelandic World Cup ladder:
1. Gylfi Þór Sigurðsson. Even if he gets relegated with Everton all the way to the National League he‘ll always be number one for us!
2. Jóhann Birnir Guðmundsson. When he was relegated with Charlton and moved to Burnley I feared he might struggle to get a game for a team that was surely about to finish dead last. How both him and his teammates have proved me wrong. Should score more with Iceland though, we all remember THAT hat-trick against Switzerland.
3. Ragnar Sigurðsson. Iceland‘s defensive rock was terribly misunderstood at Fulham, but is now back in the land of vodka and Putin where they know defensive brilliance when they see it.
4. Aron Einar Gunnarsson. The captain had his struggles at Cardiff and some of us even wondered if Bjarnason (who excelled in the role against Turkey) should replace him as defensive midfielder. But after Neil Warnock made him a key player we hang our heads in shame and accept the majority was right on this one; he should remain Captain Untouchable.
5. Birkir Bjarnason. Often one of Iceland‘s best player can‘t get a game at Villa. No wonder that Bruce fella never got close to that Old Trafford job.
6. Hannes Þór Halldórsson. His Danish team, Randers, seem relegation certainties but we still love him and there is no way he‘ll stop being our number one goalkeeper. Well, that would be the case – unless another Icelandic goalkeeper would rise to the top of the Danish league with a string of great performances. Still untouchable as number one – right?
7. Birkir Már Sævarsson. Often considered the weak link in the squad, he has surprised many with his consistency. But he continues to lack proper competition in a problem position.
8. Hörður Björgvin Magnússon. After a few shaky games he has grown into the left-back role, even if he doesn‘t play there for his club. Will probably move to a more central positions once Sigurðsson and Árnason retire – if Iceland finally produces a good specialist left-back in the meantime.
9. Kári Árnason. A great servant but his age might be catching up with him. And by age, I mean the eleven years younger Ingason, who has already replaced him for one key game.
10. Jón Daði Böðvarsson. Iceland‘s oddest enigma? The fact that a striker that rarely scores has somehow become our number one striker.
11. Emil Hallfreðsson. A lot of people in Iceland don‘t trust him – but Hallgrímsson does. Well, as long as we play 4-5-1 or if somebody is injurred. But if he switches back to 4-4-2 he‘s back on the bench.
12. Alfreð Finnbogason. Iceland‘s best striker should be starting – but neither Lagerback nor Hallgrímsson seem to have total faith in him.
13. Sverrir Ingi Ingason. He‘s much younger than Árnason and playing in a much stronger league (sorry, Scotland), plus he once replaced him already during the qualifiers. It‘s only a matter of time now before he becomes an undisputed starter.
14. Kolbeinn Sigþórsson. Hasn‘t played a game of football since the Euros but is finally back in training. If he regains full fitness he‘ll be back in the squad right away – and probably the starting line-up, since he seems to be the ony goal-scoring striker Hallgrímsson fully trusts. But that fitness is a huge if, considering people even wondered if his career might be over not that long ago.
15. Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson. He‘s a starter for a team near the top in Denmark and has put in some excellent performances lately. On form alone he should easily be our number one. But it will take even more to replace Halldórsson, whom we all love and adore. But after he does that he‘ll probably be our undisputed first-choice keeper for a decade or more.
16. Ari Freyr Skúlason. Iceland’s starting eleven have been almost written in stone in recent years – but Skúlason is a rare example of a player who has lost his place in the starting line-up, despite not really playing badly. His competitor is much younger, so he’ll probably remain a back-up.
17. Björn Bergmann Sigurðsson. Back after years in the wilderness. Was for many the pick of the litter in that great Under 21 team that featured Gylfi, Aron, Birkir and Kolbeinn – but faded badly and didn‘t really take football too seriously for a while. If he had he‘d be playing somewhere else then Molde by now.
18. Ögmundur Krisinsson. You are the best keeper of your generation, patiently waiting for the number one goalkeeper to retire. Then the best keeper of the generation behind you comes along before that happens and might just turn out to be Iceland‘s best ever goalkeeper. Sorry mate, it just wasn‘t meant to be. But you‘ll always make the squad.
19. Hjörtur Hermannsson. Is a starter for the Danish league leaders of Bröndby, but still can‘t get a game for the national team. A future starter, but hardly until after the World Cup.
20. Jón Guðni Fjóluson. The eternal squad player, never good enough to start but usually good enough to make the team.
21. Theódór Elmar Bjarnason. Has played some great games for the team – but seems to have inexplicably lost Hallgrímsson‘s trust.
22. Ólafur Ingi Skúlason. An experienced player, but it somehow feels like the end is close, both for his career as a professional and for the national team.
23. Rúnar Már Sigurjónsson. Has been a reliable squad player but Grashopper‘s new manager doesn‘t seem to rate him.
24. Rúrik Gíslason. He came on in the loss in Finland, collected two red cards and came off. That pretty much sums up why we don‘t trust him – yet somehow he keeps getting selected.
25. Viðar Örn Kjartansson. A fine striker Hallgrímsson just doesn‘t seem to rate too highly. Really should be on the plane but probably won‘t.
26. Arnór Smárason. Once a highly promising player, now he‘s settled into a regular for a mid-table team in Allsvenskan.If there are injuries, he might be in the squad.
27. Arnór Ingvi Traustason. Iceland‘s most pleasant surprise during the Euros – and the biggest disapointment after it, where his club career has nosedived after a move to first Rapid Vienna and then a loan to AEK Athens. If he just gets the right move in January and starts performing again he‘ll recapture his role as our designated super-sub.
28. Kjartan Henry Finnbogason. If enough strikers are injured he might go.
29. Albert Guðmundsson. There‘s tremendous buzz about this young player in Iceland after goals galore for Jong PSV last winter. He‘s starting to get the occasional minutes for the senior team and if he manages a proper breakthrough he‘ll be on the plane to Russia.
30. Ingvar Jónsson. The best player in the Icelandic league three years ago and now a regular in the top flight in Norway. Five years ago that would have made him the undisputed starting keeper. Now it makes him the undisputed number four, only going to Russia if one of the other keepers get injured.
31. Haukur Heiðar Hauksson. Seemed destined to be Sævarsson‘s successor a few years back, but injuries have taken their toll. If he remains fit and regains his best form he might challenge again for a starting spot.
32. Samúel Kári Friðjónsson. He has started to show some real promise during the latter stages of the Norwegian season. If he continues to improve he might just make it.
33. Victor Pálsson. Has found some stability at last, but might never fulfil the promise of his younger days. But might make the squad if injuries strike in midfield.
34. Orri Sigurður Ómarsson. He was possibly the most promising player in the domestic league this year. If he moves to a foreign club in January and starts well he might have a chance.
35. Aron Sigurðarson. Started brilliantly with Tromsö but has faded badly. If he recaptures that form next spring he might have a chance.
36. Kristján Flóki Finnbogason. Moved to Start in the Norwegian second tier in July. They were on their way to promotion and a goal-laden start in the top flight might push him into consideration.
37. Óttar Magnús Karlsson. There was a lot of buzz when he moved to Molde a year ago, but the first year was disappointing. But many Icelandic players only come into their own abroad in the second season, so if he starts with a bang next spring …
38. Guðmundur Þórarinsson. A solid player with numerous top Scandinavian clubs (Rosenborg and now Norrköpping) but oddly hardly ever gets a chance for the national team.
39. Viðar Ari Jónsson. If he earns a starting place at Brann he might get into the squad.
40. Höskuldur Gunnlaugsson. He was struggling to recapture his early promise back in the local league when he finally got his move abroad in mid-summer – and immediately his form vastly improved. Arrived too late to save Halmstad from relegation though.
41. Daníel Leó Grétarsson. A defender who is quietly improving at Aalesund.
42. Aron Elís Þrándarson. Iceland‘s most promising player a few years back, his career seems to be stalling or even regressing at Aalesund.
43. Axel Andrésson. He’s starting to get into the Reading squad occasionally. Have a look at the top spot again if you need reminding of who the last Icelandic player who made the breakthrough at Reading was.
44. Kristinn Freyr Sigurðsson. He was the best player in Iceland last year, now struggling in the Swedish league.
45. Elías Már Ómarsson. Started with a bang while on loan at Göteborg last year, but has been horrendous this year. May still have a chance if he recaptures last year‘s form.
46. Adam Arnarsson. His career has stalled a little at Aalesund, but he’s still a young player likely improve.
47. Hólmar Örn Eyjólfsson. The son of a local legend and a capable central defender. But moving from Norway to Israel and then to Bulgaria seem to suggest he’s determined to make the national team coach forget that he exists.
48. Sölvi Geir Ottesen. Any optimist who predicted Iceland to make it to the 2018 World Cup would surely have expected Ottesen to start there. Back then he and international team-mate Ragnar Sigurðsson formed a strong central defensive pairing for FC Copenhagen, Scandinavia‘s strongest team. But a badly timed red-card allowed Árnason to stake his claim around the time Ottesen lost his place in the Copenhagen line-up. When he had recovered Árnason had cemented his place alongside Sigurðsson and Ottesen eventually moved to China where he‘s been slowly forgotten.
49. Hilmar Árni Halldórsson. Perhaps the most creative player in the domestic league in recent seasons. A move abroad seems imminent – but it has to be now.
50. Ásgeir Sigurgeirsson. A very gifted youngster who might have a chance if he goes abroad in January and has a blinding start. Yet he might be better served in the long run if he sticks around in the Icelandic league for one more year – and I‘m not just saying that because he plays for my team!