Read 16 Conclusions. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if this is the last Mailbox before the 25th, have a very Feliz Navidad
Peaks and troughs
Peak Arsenal and Peak Liverpool in the same game. Stroke football for their supporters, come in your pants football for the neutral.
A simple lesson
And that ladies and gentlemen is why neither team will ever compete for the premiership.
Miguel Sanchez, LFC, Eire. (Buy a new keeper in January Klopp. PLEASE)
This is the end for ‘breathtakingly arrogant’ Klopp
In the build up to tonights game, Jurgen Klopp had been asked what he had done to bring about Liverpools improved defensive performances of late, and what had changed in the team to contribute to it. “Nothing” he replied. Most of us thought he was being a little coy, maybe trying not to dwell on it so as not to attract further scrutiny on his defenders or give too much away. But then you watch tonights match and you realise….he was actually telling the truth! He really has done nothing to address Liverpools defensive problems.
Once you realise this, you begin to understand the breathtaking arrogance of the man. This is a manager whos team have conceded 92 goals in the past two seasons. A man whos team have already conceded 23 goals at the half way stage of this season. Yet here he is, telling the fans that he is doing literally “nothing” to address it. And once you understand that, you realise that Liverpools recent decent defensive performances have had absolutely “nothing” to do with him, and have simply been a combination of circumstance and luck.
Its become increasingly apparent that Klopp is an extremely limited manager. Last weeks game against West Brom was a case in point. That Klopp can now be in his third season and yet still not have the nous or tactical acumen to deal with a team who simply sit deep, is damning. Contrast that with Pep Guardiola, whos Man City side break these types of teams down for fun. Its not about the money, its about the way you teach your players to play.
Of course, even a manager as great as Guardiola would be hamstrung with a keeper like Simon Mignolet, but again, Klopp deserves all the criticism here. Even tonight he was still making excuses for him. Now a lot of Liverpool fans say that this is good management, that you dont hang a player out to dry in public etc, and that Klopp will privately have an entirely different point of view. But if that were true then you would see him act upon it when the chance arose, like during a transfer window. The simple fact is that Klopp has had a number of windows to properly address his goalkeeping situation, and he hasn’t. Therefore you have to come to the assumption that Klopp isnt just saying these things, he genuinely does think Mignolet is good enough. Let that sink in.
Speaking of transfer windows, that is where you see exactly where Klopps priorities lie. He has spent almost £150m on Gini Wijnaldum, Sadio Mane, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mo Salah, all attack minded midfielders and/or wingers/forwards. Then contrast this with his spending on his obviously problematic central defence: £4m on Ragnar Klaven, and free transfers Joel Matip and Steven Caulker. He also managed to stretch to a whole £5m on young, untried keeper Loris Karius, thus taking his total spend on the one area of the team he desperately needed to address to £9m. Oh, but he has managed to find another £50m for Naby Keita, yet another attack minded midfielder.
I wrote in a little while back warning that the longer Klopp remains in change, the higher the chance that the good players Liverpool do currently have will want to leave. Its already happened with Coutinho, and more will follow. Did you notice how Sadio Mane went off shaking his head and laughing sarcastically at Klopp as he subbed him off tonight? Last season in this fixture he was running straight to him to celebrate his goal, now he’s openly and publicly questioning him. You cant blame these players if they end up wanting out of the club because, to put it simply, why wouldn’t they? Whats the point on giving your all as an attacker when you have a manager in change who cares so little about defending that your hard work is often undermined by the teams defenders? Klopp didnt make the likes of Mane and Salah good players. They’ll be good anywhere, and it will probably be in teams who can actually defend leads and ultimately win things.
Theres a sense now that the tide is slowly turning against Klopp, and in all honestly he deserves it. Liverpool have now dropped 43 points from winning positions since Klopp took charge, which is the most of any team in Europe. Klopp has moaned about fans leaving early, yet Liverpool have failed to score in the last 10 mins of games all season. He has moaned at the fans and told them they needed to be “believers”, yet now he complains that the expectation at the club is “a little bit more” than anywhere else. And now he moans at the fans and says that we shouldnt question results as he thinks “good draws” are like victories, and that playing well and drawing is better than playing badly and winning.
The German Market packed up and left Liverpool this week. Heres hoping Jurgen gives the fans an early Christmas present and does the same.
Smiddy (they’ll finish 6th this season if he stays)
Short-termism might be his undoing
Yes it was a mental game and it was tense and exciting to watch. But from a Liverpool perspective the simple truth is that the 5 defensive players in that team won’t win you games, but they will cost you points throughout the season. Tonight it was Mignolet’s turn to cost us points (again), but once we were 2-0 up the entire defence looked more nervous than ever such that Arsenal scored three in 5 minutes having not really had a proper chance for an hour.
Klopp suggested that recent performances will mean he doesn’t buy in January. Sadly I think Klopp’s short-termism (not buying a decent keeper in the summer because Mignolet played well for six weeks, only having one centre back target in the summer) will ultimately prove to be his undoing. If we get to the start of next season and Lovren and Mignolet are still playing regularly then it’ll prove Klopp doesn’t have what it takes to actually take Liverpool beyond being the 4th, 5th or 6th best team in the league. You can’t seriously suggest that there’s no better option in world football. There are at least 8 better keepers in the premier league alone.
The art of non-defending
This has to be the worst Liverpool defence I have seen and its driving me mad. Only Liverpool could concede 3 goals in under 5 minutes to a top 4 rival, its criminal. This season we have conceded 5 away to City, 4 away to Spurs and now 3 away to Arsenal plus we still have to go to Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford. I’m a big fan of Klopp as he does so many things right – he has assembled a fantastic strike force and has so many options going forward however if he keeps on the same path then that defence will be his undoing. Out of our current back line (including goalkeepers) the only players that I would keep are Clyne and Robertson with Matip a good back up squad player. Gomez and TAA deserve a chance as they both look to have lots of potential however it’s unfair to expect of them to consistently perform at such a young age. There are a number of obvious areas that clearly need addressing:
Quality – There is currently a serious lack of quality in Liverpool’s back line. Lovren, Klavin, Mignolet and Moreno always have a mistake in them and the chances are when you have that many average players in your back line someone will screw up and especially against the top sides. It was notable that Liverpool’s recent run of clean sheets occurred when no individual errors were made – then along comes Sevilla and Moreno goes on mad one. How many of Liverpool’s goals have been conceded through simple mistakes – Lovren versus Spurs, Sevilla and Everton, Moreno against Watford and Sevilla, Klavin against Burnley, and as for Mignolet, well where do you start – up to the Spurs game at Wembley Mignolet had made 13 errors leading to goals in the PL since making his Liverpool debut; three more than any other goalkeeper (OptaJoe et al) and you can include the Arsenal game in those stats now. I just can’t understand what Klopp sees in these players that everyone else misses.
Priority on defence – Klopp has assembled an excellent array of attacking and midfield players as well as improving existing players however his track record on strengthening the defence is abysmal. Since becoming Liverpool manager he has spent the grand total of 9 million on goalkeepers and defenders. That’s made up of 4.2 million on Klavin (in his 30s) and 4.7 million on Karius. Alex Manniger and Joel Matip were brought in on free transfers. On top of that he has got rid of Skrtel, Sakho, Toure and Lucas (granted a stopgap defender). It’s worth pointing out that the obvious problem in this Liverpool team when Klopp took over was the defence, to have spent 9 million on correcting this, over 4 transfer windows, is just pure negligence. I still can’t believe we paid 35 million for Oxlade Chamberlain and brought in no defenders over the Summer.
Leadership – There are no leaders in this Liverpool back line and there hasn’t been since Carragher left. The back line is screaming out for someone who can organise and manage a defence. Someone who will bark out orders and rally the defence when needed. You always feel when Liverpool concede that there is another one coming, their capitulation in a number of games, not just Arsenal and Sevilla, has been awful to watch. A strong leader in the back 4 would go a long way to building confidence and keeping heads up when we concede. I’d give my left nut to have a Hyypia/Henchoz partnership again.
I don’t like being negative about the team but unfortunately it is what it is. I do agree with Klopp that Liverpool are relatively well organised at the back however these players will keep making individual mistakes and are just not good enough for a top 4 side. I don’t believe any of them would get into Liverpool’s rivals teams. I do believe however that 2 or 3 top defensive buys will make a huge difference to this team and they have the potential to be one of the best teams in the league. Unfortunately until the defence is fixed it will be same old story and if Klopp doesn’t address the obvious individual shortcomings then he’s not doing his job….. C’mon Jurgen, get it sorted.
What exactly do Klopp and Wenger do?
If the very definition of a top drawer attacker is that – given time and space – they can pretty much do whatever they want
And If Arsenal and Liverpool are rich enough to have such talent. And said talent does exactly that against each other;
When one watches a game like that (which was fun for the neutral) but may as well have had jumpers for posts it was so off-the-park, with each attack going at it- one has to ask;
What exactly do Wenger and Klopp do? If neither team had a manager- just coached themselves – would that game have been discernibly different?
Poor or entertaining?
I am not sure if the game poor or entertaining but all i know it was an embarrassment to say the list from both sides.
Professional players failing on basics of playing football/soccer.
As for Arsenal and Arsene keeping Sanchez was the worst decision, he did nothing, like i do not care about the goal he scored, he lost position on purpose and he did not care, i will make a party the day he lives my club.
Liverpool, should have finish off the game first half but they decided to play like they r in practise and arsenal should have taken advantage of that and go on to win the game.
For what is worth, Ozil and Xhaka were just better than the rest of Arsenal players.
Lwazi Cape Town
More Arsenal thoughts
It was a cracking match and I think over 90 minutes Liverpool were the better team but at 3-2 it’s disappointing (but not surprising) that we didn’t hold on.
What is quite annoying as an Arsenal fan is that we have players that have consistently put in bad performances (Sanchez, Xhaka, Kos, Mustafi, Bellerin) and reserves that have been putting in good ones in the minor cups (Chambers, Holding, Willock, Giroud, Nelson) so why not give them a go? Wilshere is only playing because of injuries but he has been our best player for the last few games.
Finally, the Arsenal “fans”. Booing your own team at half time? Seriously, what is wrong with you? This is the kind of thing that is making me fall out of love with football mich more than Arsenal being predictably Arsenalesque. Your team is one down with a chance to get a team-talk and change things around and you think the best way to improve their performance is booing them? Jesus.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
More Liverpool thoughts
Absolute insanity. Amongst many other thoughts:
Should have been 5 up, our attacking play was breathtaking. Mo is a God and I really think we can screw Barcelona out of very serious money for Coutinho. Wonderful player, but it’s coming – just like Suarez.
Credit to Arsenal for not downing tools. I thought it was going to be embarrassing for them at one point. Bit daft that, call it optimistic Scouse syndrome. But I think they showed enough spirit that it’s harsh to call it a backwards step in the end.
It is a genuine shame to see Cech looking a shadow of his former self though. Really always rather appreciated that fella. However….
*Now* can we get a new keeper please? How many times does Mignolet have to **** up? He’s simply Not. Good. At. Keeping. Small detail, hate to belabour it, but somewhat relevant to the winning of games. And why we frequently don’t. When we should.
You’re absolutely right that it’s no fun at all as a supporter watching that level of incompetence. Watching your manager completely fail to address and fix very obvious problems is seriously unamusing.
Especially when you know you are *that* close to being properly , really good.
Welcome to the last 10 years of being an Arsenal fan I guess…
James, Liverpool ( Pep, on the other hand, must have been having a rare old time )
Joe’s running commentary
You leave two of your best back 4 out of the starting lineup, playing Liverpool at home. Could anything be anymore peak Wenger/Arsenal? Losing 1-0 now of course 30minutes In. Sanchez looks like he wanted to leave last summer, it’s actually embarrassing and I’m a Spurs fan!!
60 minutes… Wenger in. Liverpool need a new goalkeeper.
Dear Roberto Martinez
For the England vs Belgium match I would kindly ask that you start the one armed bandit Simon Mignolet.
Jason Gallagher, Montreal, Canada
Merry bloody Christmas indeed
To everyone who writes for F365, whether articles or mailboxes, and everyone who reads it, Merry Christmas.
Best wishes to F365 and all contributors for the holiday season.
This excellent site has been a constant yet again in a turbulent year. Who needs mindfulness when you have two daily mailbox sessions.
Peace, love and all the football.
Doug (Jose does. Jose needs mindfulness) Glasgow