F*** Barca, f*** ‘average’ Klopp and f*** me, Lionel Messi

Date published: Thursday 2nd May 2019 8:32

Send your slightly less sweary thoughts to theeditor@football365.com

 

Messi business
I’ve never seen anyone do it better, I struggle to believe I will see anyone do it better.

That free kick made me feel things no girl could.

GOAT
Dave, London 

 

Ronaldo is a machine. Messi is an artist.

Stop this GOAT nonsense/constant need for comparison and categorisation; please let’s just enjoy two of the most incredible players of this beautiful game.
Stu, Southampton

 

Does anyone else ever get the feeling that you are not appreciating Messi enough? And that when he’s gone you’ll just be left with a huge void in your life filled only with regret that you didn’t watch him every weekend for 15 years straight?

Just me?
Simon P, Dublin

 

Well that turned Messi quickly.
Chris Hardy

 

Wow.
Steve, (shortest email ever), Los Angeles

 

Mes que une f*** off
Dear F365,

Barcelona are cheats. They are a disgraceful collection of slimey, diving, whining footballers for whom normal rules don’t seem to apply. Messi is allowed to swipe and cynically foul defenders with no repercussions. Barcelona’s midfielders are permitted to pull people back without conceding a foul. Jordi Alba is a remarkable human being – he appears to be so terribly injured at every tackle yet remarkably is up on his feet and running a few moments later. I have never, ever despised a team so consistently over so many seasons as I have Barcelona. I hate that nobody can break them and I hate their arrogance, sheer arrogance when something goes right – like they score a goal. My blood boils to see those cheating b*stards celebrating.

If Liverpool’s attackers had some composure – any fracking composure – at key moments, Barcelona could have been taken.

F*ck Barcelona. And f*ck Messi. If you are *that* good, don’t be such a whiny b*tch.

With love from a usually quite composed but right now wildly angry…
Jonno McSchmonno

 

Foresight
I feel like there’ll be a lot of Liverpool fans emailing in complaining about Barcelona and the way they play.

“I used to respect them but after tonight…” etc

As a fan of a team whose never played Barcelona in the Messi era, can I say that I’m tired of fans doing it after they’ve lost to Barcelona. We got it a lot from Arsenal fans c.2010 and we would get the United and Chelsea fans complaining after a loss to Barcelona.

They’ve always been a team with their fair share of sh*thouses, from Dani Alves and Pedro c. 2009, to the modern day Vidal and Suarez. So do most good teams. It doesn’t change how good Messi is. Yes, the fans whistle when he’s touched. Yes, he complains when he feels he is fouled. But he’s Lionel Messi, he’s like LeBron James, of course he has this privilege. That’s what you get. He also gets kicked a fair bit and teams will look to do that to extraordinary players, that’s why Milner ‘let him know he was there’. Swings and roundabouts.

However, there is some irony that the lead sh*thouse for Barcelona was Suarez. It’s almost as if defending a player for numerous biting incidents and wearing t-shirts in support of him after he’s been charged with using racially offensive language makes someone think they can act like a d*ck.

I’m sure the beer can sellers of Barcelona will be pouring one out tonight for him.

Cheers
Matt, EFC, London

 

The silver lining
After this evening’s game, it’s overwhelmingly likely that Liverpool will end this season without any silverware.

Since City overtook us in the table, I’ve been resigned to the fact that the PL was theirs for the taking – and not unduly upset about coming second to (arguably) the greatest team in the League’s history. At no point this season did I expect us to win the CL – and Barcelona and Lionel Messi have almost certainly ensured that my expectations will be met.

I don’t think it’s in dispute that this Liverpool team is one of the ten greatest teams in PL history, and certainly worth discussing when drawing up a list of the top five. It’s also fantastically easy to point out the flaws in the team: TAA is raw, especially in defence; the CDs, VVD aside, are injury prone; the midfield is stodgy, workmanlike and lacking in magic; and (perhaps most controversially), Firmino is beginning to look like a limiting factor when it comes to the overall contribution of the front three.

I don’t think that it’s in dispute that this City team is one of the top three greatest teams in PL history. But they have flaws, too, namely an uncertain backline and no cover for Fernandinho.

I write all of this to demonstrate that (hopefully) I don’t look at Liverpool through rose-tinted spectacles, despite having supported them since I understood what a football team was. I write all of this to acknowledge the quality of the two teams that will most likely deny us titles this season. I write all of this to rationalise my sorrow at the fact that the greatest Liverpool team that I’ve seen in my 20 years of supporting the club will probably go down in history as an asterisk against the achievements of one of the greatest clubs and greatest players we’ve had the pleasure to see.

The realisation at the end of tonight’s game that we would almost certainly end the season empty-handed was more painful than I expected – the pain of pulling the sticking plaster off a relationship that you knew was doomed to fail, or that of an unrealistic dream, finally, definitely thwarted.

I write all of this because this has been a wonderful season to be a supporter of Liverpool Football Club – regardless of whether we win any trophies.
Sam, LFC, London

 

Ah, balls
Tonight we went toe to toe with a magnificent team, and for long periods matched them. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. One rebound off the post falls to the greatest player of all time, another goes harmlessly away.

At least now we can throw absolutely f*cking everything at them at Anfield, and we’ll find out exactly how good this Barcelona team is.

Klopp watched the game with a big grin on his face, and despite the results it’s difficult to begrudge him that. It was a great game, that on another night could have gone our way.

If we end the season empty handed, we’ll still be a bloody good football team, and that’s alright with me.
Pierre, LFC in Bristol

 

I’m a little worried that I have been reading Sarah Winterburn for too long as I agreed with everything in that summary. A shrug of the shoulders is all you can do after that decent performance but poor result. Mane, Milner and Salah all could/should have scored but somehow Suarez was able to use his knee to pass to Messi off the crossbar.

But Klopp really can be too ponderous in these games sometimes. I understand that TAA has not been looking very solid defensively recently but after 60 minutes that game was crying out for him to come on and add more cutting edge down the right.

Throw on Firmino too and even a win would have been possible.
Josh, LFC (We only really cared about the league anyway)

 

The unfortunate thing is we had 2 gilt edged chances and they fell to the people we had hoped they would. We missed both. Milner also had a massive opportunity which perhaps deserved better.

I can’t really criticise any of the goals we conceded. The first was amazing, the third was unstoppable and the second was a bit weird but I don’t think VVD had the time to react. It’s easy to see it in slow motion and argue he didn’t move to cover Messi.

Our team selection didn’t work. I can understand the desire to pick Gomez ahead of Trent but in practice what we lost going forward outweighed what we gained defensively (and we did concede 3 for the first time all season so maybe we gained nothing defensively!). Wijnaldum had an unenviable task of pretending to be Firmino. He wasn’t good at it. I don’t think I strictly understood playing a midfielder who famously rarely scores away from home in a false 9 role away from home. I thought it was a shame that perhaps Shaq or Origi didn’t get a chance to impress in the front 3. Origi actually looked decent coming in from the left when he got the chance. Retrospectively I think Sturridge started on the weekend with Klopp knowing Firmino wouldn’t play 90 minutes today. I think Studge didn’t show enough to win his place so Klopp then went in a different direction altogether.

The weird thing is that in 3 years, Messi, Suarez and Busquets will all be quite old and possibly retired and then Barca will lose its core of proper shit housers. I wonder who will step up to pick up the mantle? Watching Suárez do what he did for us for years to us was not very fun.
Minty, LFC

 

For all the anti-Liverpool fan’s glee, just imagine if it was your team and how deflated you would feel about your team experiencing such a harsh unflattering result. And the likliehood of a trophyless season. Oh, ok, you couldn’t give a toss, and are very happy. Fair enough, I understand.

Klopp suggested before the game that we might suffer, and Messi duly obliged. Obviously had them worried at times and we had a few chances which could have gone in on another day.They were clinical and we were not, well done to them, c’est la vie. Hopefully, we will learn for the future. Though we do keep saying that. Just want Jurgen’s seemingly ongoing trophy curse to end some time.

The second leg still could be an interesting affair, and you never know, be 2-0 up at half-time and we might somehow pull off another inspired, and the best ever, european anfield night. Or we might concede early and just have to applaud Luis and co off. Whatever happens though, this season has still been an astonishingly good effort. Semi-finals and an extraordinary challenge for the title, most teams can only dreeam of it. As Arsene suggested, though of course many will disagree, destiny seems to be currently against us/Jurgen, but hopefully respite is somewhere ahead.

On we go.
Mike Woolrich, ‘shrugging shoulders’ LFC (hope there are not too many Van Dijk criticisms after just one bad match).

 

It wasn’t as if we played badly. In fact, over 90 minutes it’s hard to find much wrong with the way Liverpool went about that game. We had good chances, plenty of decent possession and really could and probably should have scored ourselves but oh my word if Messi isn’t just from a different planet. After he scored his first a mate of mine suggested someone had decided to switch Messi to “play” made. When he stroked that outrageous free kick in I replied that it looked more like someone was playing him in “cheat” mode.

Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up  don’t you?

The man is simply the most marvellous footballer I’ve ever seen. He has been blessed with genius and I’m not sure you can do much about that other than just say “well at least I got to watch him play”.
Jon Cardy

 

There are times in football when you just have to say, “Fair enough. Not much you can do about that.” Last night was one of those occasions. There were no slips or goalkeeping calamities that left you with a feeling of “what if?” just an absolutely sensational footballer doing what he does best.

Liverpool played very well. I would bet there are not many teams to have gone to the Nou Camp and come away matching Barcelona for possession and shots. On another night, it could have been a 2-2 and would have been hailed as a heroic performance. Some Messi magic and missed opportunities for Liverpool ensured that wasn’t the case.

I won’t be that disappointed if we don’t win the league. How can you be when the team will potentially finish with 97 points? You just have to say, you lost it to a better side. I’ve a similar feeling about last night. There’s no crushing disappointment, just the acknowledgement that when you come up against one of the greatest players of all time, there’s very little you can do.

The beauty of football is that you still cling onto the smallest of hopes, even in the grimmest of situations, so I’ll still be watching on Tuesday willing for the impossible. Assuming we go out though, it will be hard to know who to root for in the final. Ajax or Spurs would both be a great underdog story and I always tend to go for the underdog. In some way though it feels like it should be Messi’s; that he deserves to match Ronaldo’s 5 Champions League titles.
Mike, LFC, London

 

A decent performance but a disastrous result. For long stretches at the start of each half, Liverpool looked superior to Barca, comfortably dictating the game. Barca’s first two goals came against the run of play, and the second owed a tremendous amount to luck (taking nothing away from the exceptional work ethic Messi showed to follow Suarez’s shot). The third was the sort of near miraculous effort that makes Messi the best player on the planet. It was perhaps foolish of Klopp to push so hard for the away goal in the final 10 minutes; important as away goals are, it surely would have been worse to concede again. But for a loose touch from Messi and Dembele’s profligacy, they could have lost by five or six.

It’s harsh on Pool that they didn’t pull at least one goal back, but for all their possession in the attacking third they rarely looked threatening. Ter Stegen made a couple of good saves, but most of their most dangerous moments – Mane’s 1-on-1, Gini’s dummy for Milner, and Salah’s chance from a yard out – were marred by lousy finishing, and other opportunities simply petered out due to a lack of invention. Ironically, given his anonymous performance for Barca, this was exactly the sort of game where Coutinho’s presence as a playmaker and ability to unlock stubborn defenses are missed at Liverpool.

Firmino can sometimes provide a similar spark, and the absence of his industry was keenly felt, but his place on the bench was understandable given lack of fitness. Klopp’s big mistake was playing Gomez rather than Alexander-Arnold. The reasoning made sense – provide a bit more defensive stability, particularly with the defense drawing narrow to close out Messi – but it both failed to limit the danger and, more damagingly, neutered the crossing threat from the right flank that typically adds dimension to their attacks and allows Salah more freedom to float inside.

History and recent form show that it would be a mistake to write this team off, but the need to press in search of goals next week will create considerable opportunities for Messi and co to put the tie beyond reach. Another Anfield miracle looks like the only hope for Liverpool to walk away from this season with any reward other than pride.
Andrew English (LFC in LA)

 

The good news is that it’s half time in the tie. The other good news is that we’ve got history of coming back 3-0 down after half time and winning.

But that was odd. At 1-0 down I turned to my mate and asked, ‘can the best team lose 2-0?’ I thought we played really well. Messi did something lovely and so did Suarez (after more than a year of not scoring in the Champions League, obvs). It didn’t feel like a 2-0 game, let alone 3-0. But it was and quite frankly, it was hugely disappointing. But there’s still hope.

I think.
Barry, LFC

 

Devastated. The best team in my lifetime and we’ll come away with nothing. At least last season we had swashbuckling memories. This season it’s just stats and heartbreak. Absolutely devastated. Watch us drop points at Newcastle now, because I can only imagine how low the team is.
Alex, LFC

 

Barca were alright
Watching Barca last night, I noticed – and as I don’t watch them often I’ve no idea if this was a one off – but they played substantially differently to the Pep teams I remember. Notably, it felt like they played with two 5-a-side teams, one that sat and one that attacked. There seemed to perpetually be half their team in defensive positions, and they were then reliant on the brilliance of Messi, Raktic, Suarez et al to take on and keep the ball against greater Liverpool numbers; Regrettably, they could. But it meant Liverpool never faced depleted numbers when they attacked. They are a more balanced side than I thought they’d be, compared to the Dani Alvez days where everyone but Campo bombed on.

I don’t think Liverpool will be able to keep them out at home, so the tie is regrettably dead. Oh for Milner’s strike to have been to either side, for the ball to have not bounced in front of Mane, the Salah shot to have been millimetres to the left. etc etc etc. Just the one consolation would have been the difference, especially with an early goal at Anfield. Still Roma did it; we blitzed City in half an hour; we had to beat Bayern away; We blitzed PSG in the group (albeit before crapping ourselves in the second half)… It’s the hope that kills you.

I was looking forward to seeing the much heralded Arthur, but it was good to see Vidal; he and Milner are lovable shits. Glad we have one; wish we had both. 8 successive titles in three leagues is no bad effort for him. No surprise Pogba flourished playing alongside him and Pirlo and has been poor (pathetic) without them.

Oh, and to drag things back to Souness slightly, and counter John Matrix AFC’s comment – I think he’s doing him a dis-service. I don’t believe he was making the point that tactics and formational analysis are bunkum and pointless. More that he was making the point that first comes effort, then talent, then the more nuanced elements that are the small margins that give the eventual gain. He wasn’t saying Spurs’ set up was immaterial; More that if they are constantly second to every ball then there’s not much that can be said for the latter two. I wouldn’t hold his managerial acumen to account for this, but would infer it’s a midfielders view of the game where winning the ball is paramout. That may be different to a defender’s priorities, or forwards. Having not seen the game, just his video punditry, I’ve no idea if he was right about Spurs and their having a lack of effort, but just watching his commentary in isolation I’m not sure he’s making the point you say he is.

Anyway, what a competition the Champions League is. It’s still good that Liverpool have guaranteed three successive years in it, after the post H&G lull. Attention back to the league now. Newcastle next. Come on Leicester.
Tom G

 

Klopp along
It’s very rare that I direct my criticism at my absolute hero, Jurgen Klopp. But on this occasion, I have to point the finger at him for that crushing defeat.

Why oh why, did we play for nearly 80 minutes in the Nou Camp with Gini Wijnaldum up front? For at least 30 minutes we were camped in their half, and the game was crying out for Firmino. Even if Bobby wasn’t fit, it was surely time for TAA, Shaqiri or even Origi to come on and cause them more problems.

Seeing Gini with his back to goal, often with Henderson as the only one breaking beyond him was a complete waste of the stranglehold we had on the game. It feels like a defeat that was easily avoidable. Don’t get me wrong, we obviously had a game plan and it worked in terms of performance. But Barcelona were absolutely there for the taking.

Regardless, it isn’t over yet by any means. Despite the scoreline, I didn’t see Barca offer anything that we weren’t capable of ourselves or could improve upon when we’re at our best. There’s no reason we can’t keep a clean sheet against them and we’ve put plenty of goals past similar defenses. So we’ll have to make sure to set the team out right and give as good as we got next week.
Ryan C, LFC

 

So that concludes another trophy-less season for Liverpool. The question now is when will the fans wake up and realise the wool that has been pulled over their eyes? Jurgen Norbert Klopp.

This is a man who has been a manager for two decades. His managerial career is defined by one very simple thing; he doesn’t win trophies. Of course, as with any manager, there may be a small period of success (for Klopp it was the crazy 24 month period when almost every team in Germany went to sh*t and Dortmund won two titles), but this is the exception that proves the rule. Its Wimbledon winning the FA Cup. Its Leicester winning the Premier League. Its the obvious anomaly on Klopps otherwise average CV.

Last night’s display, regardless of what you may read (and definitely in spite of what Klopp says) was pitiful. Teams do not lose 3-0 in games that the deserve to win or draw. They lose 3-0 in games where they are dominated, and that’s exactly what happened last night. Lets be clear here: being allowed to have lots of possession in your own half, running around lots, and therefore having good team stats is not the same as being equal to the opposition. Barcelona barely got out of 2nd gear. Whenever they bothered to attack, they looked like they would score. Klopp should be thankful that Barca chose to use the game as a glorified training session else it could have been 6 or 7.

His decision to play Wijnaldum as a number 9 was disastrous. The problem now is if people criticise him too much about it over the next 48 hours, he will do it again at Newcastle. Because that’s what he’s like. He cannot take criticism and winning an argument is more important to him than winning games. People have been saying for months that he isnt decisive enough with his subs, so now he takes even longer with them to prove a point (see Firmino last night). Look at his persistence with the Milner/Henderson/Wijnaldum midfield three in a number of games that have effectively cost Liverpool the title (and almost got them knocked out the CL much earlier). Remember a few weeks back when Henderson played brilliantly in a few games in a more advanced position? And then we found out from Henderson himself that it was he, and not Klopp, who suggested it? And how since then Henderson hasn’t started a game in that position? Ask yourself why that is (clue: its to do with Klopp and his enormous ego). It also says a lot about Klopps tactical prowess that the players are needing to pick their own positions.

The fans need to wake up. Klopp said recently that there was no need to panic in the league because this was Liverpools “first chance” to win the PL under him and not the last. But he’s in his 4th season. So this is actually the 4th chance to win it under him. He is very clever with his phrasing but if you have anything about you then you should be able to see through it, just like you can see through his claim that last night’s performance was Liverpools “best away performance in two years”. Yes, Liverpool are doing ok in the league, but then, Klopp has spent hundreds of millions of pounds. He broken numerous transfer world records. Doing ok is the least we should expect. And lets not forget, this is a weak league. Man City aren’t even doing as well as they did last year and Klopp still couldn’t take advantage despite outspending them.

Klopp clearly has certain strengths, and he undoubtedly has energy and charisma, and it’s for these reasons that I genuinely believe he would make a fantastic club mascot. Dress him up, let him do all his gesticulating on the sidelines, let him do that cringeworthy fist pump routine to the Kop etc, and at the same time get a manager in who can actually win something.

Liverpool fans rightly take pride in the clubs history and proudly proclaim that they have won numerous trophies, how they have “conquered all of Europe” etc. Yet Klopp is now overseeing the longest barren run for the club in the modern era. I mean, even Souness and Evans won a trophy each. So it boils down to this: what exactly do the fans want? Do they want to have a team that wins trophies, or do they want to have a team that has Jurgen Klopp as manager? Because the simple fact is that you cannot have both.
Smiddy

 

Liverpool have lost literally just as badly as United, who are literally the worst, at the Nou Camp!

That must make them a crisis club, in need of a massive rebuilding job, they’ll be in the wilderness for another 26 years, such is the rebuilding job ahead of them…

Someone should push Klopp into a fountain.
Andy (MUFC)

 

The final piece of the puzzle
Watching yesterdays game against Barcelona, I finally realised what the last piece of the puzzle is for Liverpool to start winning trophies: Sh*thousing.

Literally, the difference to Barcelona (except, uhm, Messi), Real Madrid and Manchester City are being bastards: badger the referee, wind up opponents, make tactical fouls to break up opposition play. City, Barca & Real all do it, and they win things.

Liverpool don’t. That’s the difference. On quality, Liverpool are at least close enough to the other best teams in Europe, this season they have gotten the killer instinct, now all that’s missing is becoming unlikeable b*stards and the trophies will start rolling in.

Regards
Wille Faler

 

Mo Salah, mo’ problems
I think you’d have to say that’s fairly embarrassing for the Premier League’s second greatest ever team. One could even say they bottled it…
James Jones, STFC

 

Oh, Virgil
I’m 2/2 on published mails lately so going for the hat trick.

The second Barca goal is a defending mistake that happens frequently in a lot of team sports but rarely gets notice. VVD assumed Suarez was going to score so he stopped running and frankly completely stopped playing. Messi, on the other hand, assumed nothing and made a smart positional run. The defender has to maintain awareness and pick up this runner in all situations, but this loss of concentration happens often. Messi didn’t do anything magical in putting that ball in the net. It was a poached goal made simpler by a mistake of a normally world class defender. You can see the instant on replay when VVD realizes he stopped playing too early and blew it.

Anyway, this is a specific mistake that I stress to youths. Hopefully, others see this and can point it out to youths as well. It’s simple and seems obvious, but it’s one of those small things that can make a big difference once it’s realized.
JD, NC

 

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