A cracking mailbox. Read it and send more thoughts to email@example.com
Oh when the Saints…
Liverpool have raided Southampton for a number of players since 2014, while Spurs took their manager. I would like to humbly suggest that, based on Sunday’s performance, one strategy was better than the other.
Trent Hergenrader, New York, USA
Imagine not getting your transfer to Barcelona, then looking behind you and seeing Dejan Lovren.
Enough is enough yeah? He’s had two years and our defending is worse than ever. Even *he’s* laughing at it.
He can’t fix it. He doesn’t know how to fix it. It’s been every single game – with the exception of Mourinho parking the bus. We are an absolute joke to everyone.
This. Will. Not. Change.
No one can say he hasn’t been backed and had our support. But we are now worse defensively than under Rodgers, King Kenny – any Liverpool team I can remember for 50 years in all honesty.
Go on. Think of a worse defensive Liverpool manager than this. Hodgson doesn’t count, he was only there a few months.
We’ve even made Spurs look good at *Wembley*. Damning.
James, Liverpool (go manage Bayern already)
Mail from A Klopp Out sympathiser
I’m not personally at ‘Klopp Out’ – I’m doubtful that we can replace him with another manager from his bracket, rather than the Brendan Rodgers bracket. But I totally sympathise with those who have had enough and want him out. As a Liverpool fan after games like this you have to put up with a lot of superfans telling you everything is fine, and didn’t you see how we beat the Champions (of Slovenia) 7-0? For many, to criticise Klopp is heresy.
But he hasn’t actually made us that much better. One of his key tasks, when taking over the team that Dalglish and Rodgers built, should have been to clear out the garbage. But Klopp sees himself as a manager who improves players rather than replaces them. A fine principle if you can do it, but while he’s improved Lallana no end, too many sub par players have been rewarded with his faith and a new contract.
“Give him time,” many will say. “This is a long term project”. But he’s had four transfer windows to make the team his own now, and we still have a central midfield and a defence that is barely any different to the side he inherited, and is clearly not good enough. The mistakes may be Lovren’s, Matip’s, Can’s, Gomez’s… but the failure is Klopp’s.
I was amazed when he took Lovren off after 25 minutes, because it’s so unlike Klopp to lose patience and change something. Hopefully that attitude will carry through to January, otherwise there will be a lot more ‘Klopp Outs’ for me to sympathise with.
Neil, LFC, not from Liverpool
Stop making the same sodding mistakes, Jurgen
If Klopp thinks Joe Gomez is a future centre back then he should be playing him there now. Fans can accept a young player occasionally making mistakes whilst learning and improving but I can’t really accept Lovren just being the same intermittently brain dead defender than he’s been since we signed him. Our system, without a defensive midfielder and with the full backs so high up, naturally exposes the centre backs and Lovren has demonstrated over and over again that he can’t cope in this system. Klopp needs to stop repeating the same stupid idea and hoping for a different outcome. At least Klopp made a change before the game was over today. If Lovren never plays in any meaningful game for Liverpool again then it would make this game easier to digest but I have this awful feeling he’ll have one good game then do another media interview telling us what a great player he is.
The same can be said for Mignolet. He had a good end to last season and it earned him another chance but he’s now reverting to type again, showing he just doesn’t have it in him to be consistently good enough. He didn’t show the leadership to claim the free kick that led to Alli’s goal and I don’t think Son’s shot was impossible to stop but Mignolet so rarely actually makes saves when it counts. I don’t know why Brendan Rodgers ever replaced Reina with him; he isn’t a better shot stopper and he’s worse with the ball at his feet. He is better at penalties but that’s not really helpful.
This wasn’t a bad performance from the rest of the team. I’m not even sure if Spurs played that well in truth. It felt as though our defence lost the game more than Spurs had to win it. I’ll exclude Moreno and Gomez from that who I thought were both pretty decent.
I think if Lovren hadn’t played we might’ve done better because actually the team attacked really well and created good chances against one of the best defences in the league.
…We are as far away from winning the title as at any time since Dalglish resigned the first time. Utterly shambolic in defence with a truly average (at best) goalkeeper who has for years proven himself incapable of organising his defence or commanding his area. The fact that he is ‘a good shot stopper’ is a moot point. All Premier League goalkeepers are. Few look as scared of crosses, corners and few kicks though.
Spurs haven’t had to get out of second gear to brush us aside today.
It’s pathetic and I’m going for a run. Don’t need to watch the rest of this. I’ve seen it all before. Some people might say a manager should have done something about it by now………..
Groundhog Day has nothing on this shambles.
Judging Liverpool’s players
That was the worst 90 minutes of the season for Liverpool. At least against City it was close for a while and we had an excuse. Yesterday was a shambles. Here’s a conclusion, for each Liverpool player.
Simon Mignolet: Surely, surely this is it? The moment Klopp realises that he just simply isn’t good enough. Anyone could see we needed a new keeper in the summer, Klopp must understand that now? Honestly, I’d rather play Danny Ward. He at least deserves a run in the side. A confident back four needs to trust their keeper and they just can’t do that right now.
Alberto Moreno: Dropped for a season for a makeshift left back. Comes back into the team, is rubbish, continues playing. Genuinely baffled. He wasn’t the worst yesterday but he’s nowhere near good enough. Surely Robertson deserves a go? Better going forward and couldn’t be any worse defensively.
Dejan Lovren: Oh my. Never thought I’d see a Liverpool defender usurp Djimi Traore in the incompetence stakes, but Lovren did that yesterday. Amazing at Southampton but he is done at Liverpool. No confidence, terrible decision making and just seems lost.
Joel Matip: There’s a good defender in there but can’t be easy playing with Moreno, Mignolet and Lovren. Error for the third goal but certainly will keep his place. Hopefully with better players around him can do the job he needs to.
Joe Gomez: Young and promising. He’s a centre back and deserves to play there. Surely must start at CB now.
James Milner: Back in the team after a good performance but didn’t do much yesterday to stake a claim for a regular midfield place. Completely outpaced for the second goal. Not sure how much confidence I’d have for a top-four push with Milner in midfield. Better left back than Moreno though.
Jordan Henderson: The enigma. As in, no one understands what he does. One moment of brilliance but other than that, what does he offer? Players deep, but can’t protect a defense. Passes sideways more than forwards. Making him captain was a terrible error.
Emre Can: Certainly capable of brilliance but none of it on show yesterday. Should probably be playing deep instead of Henderson. If he’s not going to sign a new contract though, what does the future hold?
Mo Salah: A breath of fresh air this season. Pacey, direct and exciting. Most of the limited good moments yesterday involved him. Baffling to think he cost less than the Ox.
Philippe Coutinho: Sometimes genius, often frustrating. Hard to see a player that is worth 140m but certainly offers creatively few other Liverpool players do. Unsure about having him in midfield behind a front three though as leaves the rest of the midfield exposed.
Roberto Firmino: Certainly has his moments but can Liverpool reach the next level with him as a number 9? Not sure he has the finishing for it but his link up play is good.
There’s potential for a very good team here but it’s time for Klopp to be ruthless. Can he do that? Looks like a battle between Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool for 4th place. At the moment, not sure I’d put any money on us.
Mike, LFC, Dubai
Still backing Klopp though
Felt the need for writing in today of all days. Won’t talk about our performance yesterday as it would be covered in detail by others along with plenty of #KloppOut mails. I would be in minority today but the reason why I decided to write in was that I felt the need to show the support during this dire time. I am still in #KloppIn camp and willing to give him some more time.
The performance against Spurs can’t be justified but sacking Klopp is not the answer in my opinion. He made a mistake during the transfer window by not getting a CB (atleast Lovren needed an upgrade if not Matip) but I don’t think even VVD could change our defensive attitude. The biggest change that he need to make is to get a proper DM in place in front of our CBs. He doesn’t like the idea of playing a DM but you cant go gung-ho in this league without giving protection to your back four. Let that DM be a leader. The whole team is filled with weak mentalities. The moment one brain fart happens, it’s always a catastrophe post that.
Klopp has to show some ruthlessness now. I was amazed at Peter Schmeichel’s post-match comments yesterday wherein he was having a go at Klopp for destroying Lovren’s confidence by not “shaking hands with him or giving him a pat at the back while he was taken off”. I for one liked that. So much for that hugging and cajoling of players. Had he done exactly that, people would have still jumped on his back saying that he is just a player-hugging-cheerleader. Give them a proper shellacking for that. The thing I am very keen to see is the starting line-up for the next match. I hope he takes a stance this time around and make those tough but obvious changes. Migs, Lovren, Can and Firmino needs to be dropped. If Karius is not the answer then give Ward a chance. He can’t be worse than the other two.
The next match can’t come soon enough.
Maninder, LFC (Plenty acting as captain hindsight and questioning Jose for his tactics against LFC now but I firmly think he would have been beaten had he gone with an offensive team) India
Tottenham > Liverpool for some time
Quite disappointing that 16 conclusions following Spurs’ demolition of Liverpool was largely focused on the visitors (including Klopp’s) ineptitude rather than the home team’s domination.
Granted a lot has been written recently about Spurs coming of age but I do fail to understand why the media continue to suck Liverpool’s proverbial. They have been largely average for some years now yet the media continue to fawn over them as if they are perennial defending champions. It shouldn’t be a surprise that they are again average.
Spurs have finished above them for seven out of the last eight seasons yet it continues to be a surprise in some quarters that they are failing and yet Spurs’ rise can equally go unnoticed. And I’m sure some scouse wit will bang on about what Spurs haven’t wine in that time, but focus here should be on their mediocrity, not our measured path to hopeful success.
Andrew, THFC Sydney
As a Liverpool fan, yesterday’s performance was absolutely shocking. My only question after that game was:
How could Mourinho decide to park a bus against that defence ?
…Spurs spanking Liverpool was a far worse result for Mourinho than losing at Huddersfield.
AS Camden (disappointed even more in hindsight)
Love for the boy Sanchez
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to propose a toast to the grafters, the water-carriers and the Mr Reliables. Every team has one, some teams have several. Huddersfield have about 10!
As a Spurs fan, we’ve received a lot of positive press in recent seasons and the spotlight has shone on many of our squad at various points. Kane, Alli, Eriksen (though not enough on Eriksen in truth) and Lloris are all well deserving of their accolades. Even Dier, Dembele, Wanyama and now Winks in their relatively glamour-less roles have been widely praised for their relentlessness and industry. There are still a few Spurs players who I could highlight as under-appreciated, Son and Davies come close but today I’d like to give five moments to the new boy.
Take a bow Davinson Sanchez. This is a defender who loves defending and who does it well (take note Lovren). At just 21 he carries the tag of Spurs’ record signing, in a new league, a new country and with new team mates (and associated language barriers no-doubt). Such has been the success of Spurs further up the field that, even with the MEP tag, his contribution has gone almost unnoticed. Somehow he seems to have made our strong defence stronger still, relishing the physical battles and keeping it simple in possession.
Keep on doing what you’re doing son…you too Son.
Who is your team’s unsung player?
Thom, Bristol-based Spur
How long can Spurs hold on to their players?
They have an amazing set of young players but all of them are getting paid about 50% of their counterparts at Chelsea, City and united.
Surely once the players realize their weekly worth and I guess most already do they will bolt from the Spurs locker room .. just like Walker did and like Rose is going to. Alderwiereld is also on final year of contract plus Dier is already has his head turned by ManU.
While I love the way Spurs are playing currently, they are one Kane injury away from depths of mount doom.
I think this is the final year we are going to see Spurs in current form – they are going to be broken up this summer and if they don’t win anything for Spurs this year. Tottenham are not going to have another equivalent team for at least 10 years which can challenge for titles.( Due to new stadium)
Enjoy them while u can playing some amazing footy without winning anything, as realistically Man City is going to win league easily this year.
B CfC (City, United, Chelsea, Spurs – Top Four order)
PS: Maybe they should prioritize FA Cup and would be deserving winners.
Harry has almost arrived
My mate and I have a theory that when a good player in the Premier League becomes “unstoppable”, that’s when they’ve transition into to a “phenom” as we all it (a force of nature). When they are now a different class.
It happened with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez. In a way it happened with Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba. It’s when you know that they are about to score or change a game, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.
Harry Kane is nearly at that point. That cut in and traverse he did a couple of weeks ago, the run back from offside today and the cross for the second goal. The chance he made from nothing today bursting forward and twisting inside (sadly put his body over the strike and dragged it but had he opened his body could have curled it lofted to our near post).
He is very special indeed.
Stu (from an intellectual perspective I prefer watching Spurs to my own team), London
Man United have a poor record v promoted teams
What do Ipswich, Nottingham Forest, Sunderland, Derby, Middlesbrough, Bolton, Man City, Wolves, Portsmouth, Norwich, Burnley, Leicester, Bournemouth, Norwich (again) and Huddersfield have in common? They’re all promoted teams who have beaten Man Utd in the Premier League era.
Not to take anything away from them as it was a great performance by Huddersfield (especially in the first half) and equally an abject performance by United but before the more vocal ABUs and pessimistic United fans start writing off this season it’s worth bearing in mind that United have a relatively poor record against promoted teams, or at least worse than you’d expect. In fact since ‘football began’ in 92/93 there have only been four seasons where United haven’t dropped any points against a promoted side and the last of those was 11/12 – when we failed to win the league.
Maybe it’s because, without meaning to sound horribly arrogant, for a lot of clubs Man Utd coming to town is a huge occasion and they raise their game or maybe there’s a worrying complacent culture that runs among United players and has done for a long time. Maybe it’s the knock-on effect of the international fixtures and Champions League or a combination of all of the above. But while it’s worrying that as a team who look for all the world flat-track bullies we were so poor in what should have been a winnable game, we probably shouldn’t hand (the admittedly very, very impressive) City the title just yet and start planning for next year’s Europa League.
It might have become a cliche (and something of a misnomer given the games in hand at the time) but Newcastle were 12 points clear in 95/96…but then again, United didn’t drop any points against promoted teams that season…
Should Ozil be given a free ride? Hell no…
So Matt Stead thinks that former Arsenal players were wrong to call out his poor performances? Our second highest earner, our record transfer fee (until this summer), captain of Germany should get a free ride from criticism now that he’s helped beat a p***-poor Everton side?
A better story would be how Wilshere came on and was immediately more direct in passing and the forwards applauded every ball he attempted because it’s what they desire, immediate passing and less fannying around (That’s Arsenal players as a whole not just Ozil). It’s Cazorla and Wilshere trying immediate through balls, rather than Ozil that’s been missed from this current set up.
Ozil played sh*t for months, got called out, he’ll get called out next week too if he plays sh*t. Deservedly so. This website will be the first to have a cynical headline should Arsenal tie him in for another four years at record wages.
I think it’s time for us Gooners to admit that Granit Xhaka is a flop and a waste of money.
We won yesterday despite of him. In fact I don’t even knew what’s his role on the pitch.
He can’t tackle, poor on the ball, cant defend, slow, and only be doing good passes when he is under NO pressure.
I mean even Rooney can do that. So what’s the point of him again?
Feel free to defend him if you want. But please bear in mind that the man himself can’t properly defend.
Syfq Amr, a bias Gooner
Ed’s weekend thoughts
The comedown’s always a b!tch.
* Well done to Newcastle United for their win.
* There was always likely to be an element of disappointment after last week’s shock win over Chelsea, not least because we’re Crystal Palace, so football is overwhelmingly disappointing most of the time. This was a game of little quality either way – United’s xG was actually 0.27 compared to 0.57 for the Eagles, reflecting that the visitors did create a few half-chances but that was it.
* United really came into the game towards the end, when Palace began to tire. This has been a problem for a while, as there is absolutely f##k all squad depth, and also, there is still a hangover from the Alan Pardew era where the players didn’t do a lot of fitness work.
* Yohan Cabaye could, on another day, have been sent off, and perhaps should have been. Still, by remaining on the field, he was perfectly placed when United did score, for Jonjo Shelvey to celebrate in his face.
* While last week saw the Eagles spring what seemed like a tactical surprise against Chelsea (if you forget them doing something similar in the past), this week United were wise to it. They forced Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend to stay wide, from where they were forced to attempt to cross the ball; this in turn exposed Palace’s lack of central striker. Although they didn’t even make the bench, surely for the sake of the team’s shape there has to be a case for using Freddie Ladapo or Levi Lumeka. Alternatively, only playing one of Jeffrey Schlupp and Patrick van Aanholt would enable a 4-3-3, with a front three of Townsend, Zaha and Loftus-Cheek interchanging.
* Liverpool have conceded more goals in away games this season than Palace. It’s nice to know someone shares our pain.
* I was in Manchester this weekend, as my wife won dinner, bed and breakfast in a fancy hotel. It was good fun, although having dinner in the hotel meant we couldn’t go to Wing’s, so I didn’t get to have any cylinders of joy. Also, I was disappointed that staff in the coffee shop Moose didn’t refer to every customer as their friend.
West Ham vs Brighton
As a man who has given up the Friday night lights for a less hectic night, the Friday games are a welcome addition to the Premier League, and what a game and performance from Brighton. I quite like Izquierdo, he has that Suarez/Tevez robustness coupled with looking a bit Brazilian, lovely. West Ham were torn apart, totally outplayed, and lost 3-0 to a promoted side, that is a sackable offense. It’s all been downhill since Payet left. Bilic’s apparently has two games left to salvage his career and they are not easy ones. His job is dangling perilously close to the chopping board.
Chelsea vs Watford
That was a proper game to begin Saturday football, unlike the shambles at anfield last week. Marco Silva’s reputation keeps growing each week. Give him the Mourinho job and let’s see what he can do with better players. Chelsea’s resilience came through and the recovered to get the W. Chelsea looked very shaky from minute 35 to 60 and should have conceded four goals within that period was it not for the profligacy of Richarlison. Remarkable work by the subs, William showed what he can do and Conte showed us what the thinking was when William replaced the injured Morata in the loss to city.
Huddersfield vs Man Utd
Huddersfield just Mourinho’d Mourinho. What a performance. Cede possession, and capitalise on mistakes, and they made United pay.They executed the approach most teams have against the top 6 to a tee, brilliant, brilliant from. My main criticism of Mourinho is that he is a party-pooper, he shackles his team unnecessarily. Think Fergie 2011, when Man U were thrashing teams willy-nilly, i.e 8-2 vs Arsenal. Fergie waited until the 6-0 thrashing by City to change the system to be more defensive and admitted as much. He ended up loosing by goals difference and that’s testament on his management skills. Mourinho’s however, just approaches football like it’s a game of chess. Every piece has a role and they are not allowed to break the rules. He shackled his team against liverpool and it has come back to bite him. I think United players expected to be given a chance to play against Liverpool, but Mourinho took that away with his tactics. By not trusting his players last week, the players have lost their confidence and their aura of invincibility. They are still playing like their are shackled, even though the chains are off. All this is Mourinho’s fault for putting the chains on to begin with. I wonder what’s worse, be made to feel inferior to a good team or loosing to a clearly inferior team?
Newcastle vs Crystal Palace
On the whole, palace deserved at least a point from this game. A very exciting game that was decided by a single goal from a corner kick. Palace had several chances to take the lead and looked up for it, but never managed to stick the ball in the back of the net. Roy Hodgson will be disappointed with the result but should be encouraged by the performance. Benitez keeps showing his worth by getting points and putting out a stable side. He may not ever win manager of the month but if he keeps it up, he should be in the conversation for manager of the year.
Swansea vs Leicester
The Awans were poor on the day and increasingly look like a team just going through the motions. They never got a foothold in the game, loosing the 50/50 battles and lacking the possession and passing that characterised Swansea teams of old. Leicester however looked sharper and more composed. Every while, a team wins without having a bonafide manager directing things, which brings into question the importance of some managers. Leicester outplayed Swansea for most of the match and got a two-goal buffer. However, they are slowly becoming a junior Abramovich team. The manager merry go round seems almost cyclic. The fact that they do not have the clout that Chelsea/Madrid have is a risky strategy firing managers at will. They will soon run out of suitors.
Man City vs Burnley
If Jose is playing chess with each price having specific instructions, Pep is playing chess with 10 queens. Instead of shackling his team, he is letting them express themselves in this system. As alluded to before the game, he knows they will drop at some point, but while the going is good, why stop the party? City are the best team in the land overall, but they do have a weakness. That defence is not very good and the attack is bailing them out on a weekly basis. However, the only team able to exploit this is Spurs and City only play them twice. The penalty was right but a tad harsh in terms of the ref using small margins to decide the match, especially considering he ignored similar small margins to award Burnley an equalizing penalty after a handball in city’s box. The scorelines however reflected the total dominance City enjoyed in the match. The quality came through to ensure a comfortable victory.
Southampton vs WBA
Boufal’s goal made the tedious 90 minutes worth watching. The run to goal had me going, go, go go, now shoot, shoot, and boy did he follow my instructions. That was the highlight of what was a tedious game though, the worst of what was a highlights sprinkled weekend. I’d offer free advice to the FA, please schedule the late Saturday games to be Man City games.
Stoke vs Bournemouth
A much needed win for Eddie Howe in what looks to be a season to forget from them. Sitting low in 18th, Bournemouth need to get a couple of wins to jump start their season. The bottom of the Premier League is no place to be. Stoke continuous to surprise and disappoint in equal measure. Beat Arsenal, draw United, but cannot muster enough quality to beat Bournemouth. They are like a ocean buoys that just keep position despite the waves. Perennial mid table minions.
Everton vs Arsenal
Wonder strike from Rooney, the old lion still has some roar left in him. He is only 32 mind. Apart from that, it’s time for Koeman to pack his bags. Everytime I see Everton live, they are either loosing or drawing, it has stopped being funny anymore and Koeman clearly doesn’t have the answers. Dutch football and its disciples are in crisis at the moment. Arsenal played incredibly well after Rooney’s goal, and the goal from Monreal was long overdue. The second from Ozil was a reminder of the good times when Ozil and Sanchez combined to devastating effect. It stopped being a contest after Gana’s red, which was another mistake by Koeman. Arsenal went through Everton’s defense like a hot knife through but for the third. Bilic’s and Koeman are surely the leading candidates for departure in the league.