We have your e-mails on Wednesday night’s football. And they are pretty scathing. If you are a Tottenham or Man City fan, feel free to mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Jurgen, it’s time to go…
“Look out there and tell me five that would make us stronger. Five. Then you win a prize. We have four. I don’t think we need more.”
In a way Jurgen, you’re right. It would be hard to give you five names…because there’s at least five hundred to choose from.
Jurgen Klopp has been in charge of Liverpool for just shy of two years. He inherited a team with obvious defensive frailties. In his time at the club, he has signed three centre-backs: Stephen Caulker (loan), Joel Matip (free) and Ragnar Klavan (£4m). For a team with such clear problems in defence, to have made such a pitiful attempt to strengthen it is criminal. Then when you consider that he has also gotten rid of Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure at the same time (limited players sure, but still better options than the likes of Klaven and Lovren), then it is completely unforgiveable. Simon Mignolet has long been seen as a further weak link in Liverpool’s defensive unit, yet Klopp’s answer was to spend a meagre £5m on the young Loris Karius. This means that Klopp’s total outlay across a number of transfer windows on his problematic central defence/goalkeeper triumvirate has been less than £10m in total. Let that sink in.
Obviously it was difficult for Liverpool at City having gone down to 10 men, but no manager takes his side to The Etihad with a defence containing Ragnar Klaven, Alberto Moreno and Simon Mignolet, and has plans to keep it tight defensively. Klopps overriding mindset is to simply hope that he will be able to outscore the opposition. It can be exhilirating to watch, and it will bring some great results at times, but ultimately it is fundemantally flawed and it will not win you trophies. And the longer it goes on, the worse overall the results will become, because teams know exactly how to counter it. Seville walked through the Liverpool defence for both their goals tonight and should have won it at the end.
The mailbox threw up an interesting question the other day regarding Klopp’s Liverpool vs Rodgers’ Liverpool. Now, for all the plaudits that Klopp has had for some of the fantastic attacking displays we’ve seen from Liverpool under him, I actually think the team we all remember from the Rodgers era (2013-14) was better offensively. Now clearly that team was poor defensively, but the thing is; so is Klopp’s. Rodgers’ team conceded 50 goals in 2013/14, Klopp’s conceded 50 in his first season and 42 last season. So, not only are Klopp’s team arguably worse offensively than the Rodgers team, they are also just as poor defensively. So it begs the question: what exactly has Klopp done to improve Liverpool? 131 points from his 72 league games in charge of Liverpool, when Rodgers took 138 from his first 72, suggests not a lot.
Klopp is happy to take the plaudits when Liverpool are being praised. He is happy dancing around the touchline playing up to the crowd when Liverpool put together one of their fast flowing breaks. And that’s fine; he has trained and taught them to play that way so fair enough. But by the same token, he is also responsible for how the team defend. And it is quite simply shambolic, yet you won’t see him take responsibilty for that. Whenever he is pressed on the issue, he is always fairly dismissive to the point of giving the impression that he doesn’t consider defending as important as attacking. That’s why they wont achieve anything truly meaningful with him in charge.
Liverpool’s problem in future will be that the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and, of course, Philippe Coutinho, wont want to stick around playing in a team that can’t defend. Why waste their time playing great attacking football together when it is continually undermined by the defence? Better to score 20 goals a season in a team that wins things than score them for a team that wins nothing but has a manager that gives really good hugs.
The painful truth for Liverpool fans is that with Klopp in charge, Liverpool will remain in that 4th-8th place void, occasionally scraping a CL place but more often than not missing out. I dont see the benefit in the club carrying on down this well-trodden path, repeating the same mistakes, with a manager in charge who clearly doesn’t have the inclination to address the glaring problems in his team. His post-match comments tonight sum him up: “we were really good, apart from the goals of course, but I’m really fine”, and when asked if he was frustrated by the defensive mistakes simply replied “meh, it’s doesn’t make much sense to be frustrated. We played really well but they had two chances”. Yes, and scored two goals Jurgen.
Liverpool will concede plenty of poor goals over the next few weeks and months, and then I can see the fans turning. It happened to Rodgers. It happened to European Cup winner Rafa Benitez. So why wait? Why delay the inevitable? Theres a good attacking unit in place, so get someone in who can build a backline to match it before those attacking players leave. Get someone in who can organise a defence. Hell, just get someone in who knows what a defence actually is. Jurgen, it’s time to go.
Smiddy (expecting the backlash but they’ll all be agreeing with me soon)
Let’s raise some money for a defender!
Here’s a brilliant idea! I’m going to start a kickstarter to call upon all Liverpool fans and any decent human beings to contribute €10 each. I reckon that there is at least one or two million Liverpool fans who would be more than willing to contribute and probably a billion other decent human beings who are just sick of us whining about the state of affairs at Liverpool FC.
We are going to use that money and get Stefan De Vrij in January next year and then we will donate him to Liverpool FC. I think we would collect enough to buy him from Lazio and pay for at least three years of wages. I’m ballparking the amount needed here but I have faith in mankind that we’ll pull this through.
We shall call the kickstart, “Save Liverpool FC ’cause no one knows what they’re doing over there.”
There you go.
Veni, Singapore (I AM not overreacting!)
Liverpool. Defence. Again.
This is going to be a weekly bloody email at this rate. Not going to stop though (sorry Ed).
Liverpool, wonderful in attack, should have scored more goals, give you heart palpitations every time we defend.
So what is the essence of the problem? Klopp says that if it’s as simple as buying one player and fixing everything he’d have done it. He says it is not a general defending problem, just a lack of focus and not making the most of our domination.
This is, in fact, total balls. It *is* a general defending problem. I was very happy when we signed Lovren, now he looks like a clown. Who’s to say now that the same wouldn’t have happened to Van Dijk? Moreno looked cracking going forward but He.Is.A.Defender. Who still can’t defend.
So we’re not buying better players and coaching the ones we have to make them worse. We are so wonderful to watch but we will the square route of sod all like this.
And yet Klopp managed Dortmund to the Bundesliga and the final of the Champions League. You can’t do that without being able to set up a defence surely? Or was that just a happy one-off?
Huge progress has been made in attack and it feels like we’re so so close but yet somehow never going to get there. And all because of the defence.
At what point do we wonder if he actually doesn’t *know* how to sort it?
I really want this guy to succeed but there’s a more than sneaking suspicion that he might not.
James, Liverpool (what would a mailbox be without a Liverpool supporter complaining?)
…I have tried voodoo dolls, curses, black magic, but Lovren is still here.
We keep giving easy goals to opposition in crucial stages of the game. I admire Klopp’s belief that only a specific player fits his ethos. But how hard is it to aim for two defenders? If it’s Van Dijk + 1 OTHER, at least we don’t have to play Lovren. He has been a calamity since we bought him. Maybe he trains hard, maybe he understands what the managers say, maybe he knows his position. But boy, he keeps fecking up like a goddamn Bambi on meth. I hate the way he runs, those small tiny steps like a geisha girl, I hate his weak headers, those looping clearances that barely gets out of the box, I hate his lack of skills where the ball he is ‘controlling is at least two strides away. Absolutely zero redeeming qualities. Every Liverpool fan sees this. Why not the successive managers? What do these superior footballing minds see in him?
…So this was the reaction to the 5-0 capitulation and revenge for the Europa League that Klopp and the players were talking about? Because if so I dread to think what they’d play like when they weren’t motivated.
Lovren again doing his best to show what it would be like if an average bloke managed to fool everyone that he was actually a professional footballer. He was ball watching for both goals, infuriating, especially for someone who plays defense for his sh**ty rec team.
Lovren was sh*t and deserves the criticism he will get, but it will distract from the fact that this Liverpool team just doesn’t seem to know how to defend. They were also extremely wasteful, it should have been 3 or 4-1 at half time.
I will never, for the life of me, understand why no CB was bought during the summer transfer window. I understand that Klopp REALLY REALLY wanted VVD, but dear God, how many more times do we have to watch Lovren tumble and struggle to do basic defensive techniques before something is done?
And frankly, even if VVD does end up at Liverpool, I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned to sh*t as well. Liverpool have not been able to defend properly for years now, same with the Rodgers era. Something has to change and fast with the defensive coaching and system, or this will be a long season of under-performance.
A point against a pretty decent Sevilla side isn’t the apocalypse, but Liverpool should have won that game easily. It doesn’t bode well for the future. Klopp, if you read this mailbox, please break the bank and get a top class defensive coach. I want to stop losing years of my life every time I watch Liverpool try and defend.
CB, Washington DC
Is Storey Marty McFly?
I think a fair few years ago Daniel Storey said this:
‘there’s no point running hot water into the bath if you haven’t put the plug in first’
Little did we know he would be predicting Klopp’s Liverpool of 2017/18…
Also Liverpool had the same CBs at the start of the 16/17 and Sakho…and they sold him…seriously, how did they not fix that…
*watching Lovren makes me still believe I can make a career for myself in professional football
Why does Klopp leave it so late?
Lovren, Moreno and that missed penalty will be covered elsewhere as will Gomez’s red card and Klopp’s odd reluctance to upgrade on Matip’s partner. I want to ask why Klopp makes changes so so late in every game? The first substitution, bringing on Coutinho, didn’t leave a lot of time to grow into the game and have an impact. Always leaves it so so late.
The game really was there for the taking. Liverpool fans should be happy with the performance of the front line and completely unsurprised by the complete lack of defensive ability. Would some fresh legs earlier in the game have helped? We cant be sure but logic dictates it would.
Martin (raging) Jackson
…Having not got published earlier in the week, this is the perfect opportunity to reiterate my point about Klopp’s poor game management. You could clearly see after 55 minutes Liverpool were struggling to continue from that first half but Klopp waited until the last 15 minutes to make changes.
He is such a reactive not proactive manager. It really is a big weakness. As was not signing a CB, yeah, I know ,I am sick of hearing it too. Everyone knew the one thing we NEEDED to do this summer was sign a CB, Lovren should be nowhere near the CL and and he took how long to illustrate that?
Coutinho was thrown on after the second goal, naturally rusty, Studge given nine mins and Ox, pointlessly given three minutes. It is so frustrating to watch.
I love Klopp, I love watching his side tear sides a new one, but he also needs to do more before he ‘has’ to do more. And Moreno on a yellow… get him off, Robertson sitting on the bench. Moreno is a liability running himself a bath, let alone in the final 15 on a yellow against a savvy Sevilla.
Be smarter Jurgen, the only English side not to win this first round.
I could have predicted that also.
Paul ‘gonna be a very long season having to score four to win a game’ London
Tottenham were great though…
Wanted to write it about how impressed I was with Pocchetino’s tactics against Dortmund. We played a proper top-quality side, and adjusted our tactics considerably. Playing at home, but doing the counter-attacking thing against such an explosive team was unexpected. We also showed that we can play pretty well without Alli just behind Kane.
First of all, Kane. That was an incredible performance, two goals and an assist, and could have had a couple more. He caused Dortmund problems all day long and I am just chuffed to bits to see how he’s improving as a player with every season. His touch, finishing, and physicality are second to none in the PL, and he’s slowly starting to estabilish himself in Europe as well. I would say it was one of those 10 out of 10 performances.
Erikssen was sublime with his passing again. He had way less of the ball than most games, but did he ever do some damage when he got his touches. His vision and quick thinking are simply brilliant. Wouldn’t trade him for any attaching mid at this point.
Son was back to his best, given a few chances, but showing the killer instinct that you need to hopefully rack up another 20 goals this season.
Aurier was really excellent, playing against a very tricky Pulisic. It was nice to see that he can really cross the ball with both feet, and this combined with his pace and physicality should be an improvement on Walker.
Dortmund were pretty damn wonderful with the ball, I was actually surprised that they took the initiative for most of the game, and made us work very very hard to get the ball off them. That’s why I’m particularly happy with how we picked them apart little by little by exposing their weaknesses at the back. Last season or the season before we would have gone chest out attacking style and would have promptly shipped at least a couple against a team like this (e.g. Monaco, Leverkusen, Dortmund). It shows me that Pocchetino is learning from experience, improving the team every single day.
All in all, it was a pretty sweet match, an advertisement for football in all aspects except refereeing. The number of wrong offside calls and questionable fouls called on both sides was pretty annoying, and it wasn’t even close to a red for Vertonghen.
Patrick (THFC), if Pulisic is related to Pulis, and he’s the future of football, should we be worried?
Spurs squad ladder
1. Harry Kane
That is all.
Rashford IS ridiculous
To those who don’t seem to that that Rashford’s statistics are ridiculous I have only one response:
Think about what you were doing before with you life before you turned 20. Now compare that to Marcus Rashford.
Mbappe is under pressure
I can’t agree with your choice of new PSG flyer Kylian Mbappe as European player of the week.
I watched the entire game v Metz and sure, he was dangerous throughout and has scored as you say. However to say he looks entirely comfortable and then some is the part I disagree with. Despite the smiles and grins, when you look more closely he looks under a lot of pressure to me.
This was best shown by the incredibly theatrical dive that saw Metz left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto dismissed. The way Mbappe rolled and rolled and rolled (and rolled and rolled) and then hid his face in the turf (to hide the grin and c-grade acting) shows a young man under immense pressure to perform.
At the time and from his reaction you’d have been forgiven for thinking he would require some radical new surgery to have any hope of keeping his leg (I can’t tell you which one and neither could the player as he also didn’t know which one was supposedly injured).
The game was 1-1 early in the second half at the time. Mbappe scored an absolute belter five minutes later. The game ended up 5-1 as 10 man Metz were completely swamped.
Don’t be fooled by the outward demeanour, a facade can hide a lot. Watch how he handles specific moments. The theatrical dives closely followed by hyped celebrations shows a young man under serious pressure.
Dr Oyvind, Earth
This is the moment
As a supporter of two lowly teams, today is a glorious day. Watford are fourth in the Premier Keague, and Vancouver are top of the Western Conference.
This is the pinnacle for me, I won’t forget.