Jurgen Klopp is unsackable while Arsenal can only really target top four

Date published: Monday 10th October 2022 1:46 - Editor F365

An unhappy looking Jurgen Klopp during Liverpool vs Brighton

We have a second Arsenal v Liverpool Mailbox and there is much talk of Jurgen Klopp and his position, as well as Arsenal and where their ambitions should realistically lie.

The Mailbox is your page. Mail your views to theeditor@football365.com


What should Klopp do next?
Well that was just straight up sad. I don’t recognize my own team anymore and it hurts. My thoughts on Liverpool will precede any other:

The team look like a shell of themselves. Salah cant go past anyone, Van Dijk and Trent don’t do their raking diagonal balls anymore, no one seems confident enough to try an audacious pass or even just put a ball into the box. And why do we insist on shooting ourselves in the foot? We insist on giving every team at least a 1-0 advantage which makes football extremely hard to play. Then to concede in the 50th minute of the first half after having a free kick in the opposition half is nothing short of astonishing. This is followed by what I can only describe as pinball hot potato (imagining the Benny Hill music in the background) which leads to a soft penalty.

There are good moments which makes me think that the team and Klopp will get it right but it’s definitely too late for the title and might even then be too late for a top-four charge. Time will tell. To anyone saying Klopp Out, never! Klopp is my one and only, I don’t want anyone else in charge at the moment.

The standards of refereeing seem to be in a constant decline. How is that not a blatant penalty for handball? Man Utd had a goal ruled out for something a lot less obvious. Gomez gets a yellow for something Arsenal were doing after minute 1? Strange but ok. Tsimikas was lucky to escape punishment for the elbow and overall, the refereeing was very inconsistent. At one point an Arsenal player had his arms wrapped around Alisson to stop him from throwing the ball out quickly….

Not sure where we go from here. Hope Trent and Diaz injuries are minor, and I think if I were Klopp, now is the time to experiment even further. Move Trent into midfield, play Gomez at right back (defending is much better) and pepper the opposition penalty box with crosses. we used to do that without a Nunez leading the line so why not now that we have this giant up front? At least that is what I would do but my experiences are limited to Football Manager where shit like that tends to work out.
Nik (It’s Arsenal’s turn to push City all the way this year), Munich


Klopp will never be fired by Liverpool
I do not write in much anymore, partly because I’m busy and partly because your website no longer contains the writings of Dan Storey.

Nonetheless, could you please stop writing about Klopp getting sacked and comparing him with Tuchel or Poch. (I know the caveat was added for Poch but this is the 2nd reference to his sacking).

Klopp may leave Liverpool, and it well could be at the end of the season after Pep hammers the final nail in the coffin next weekend, but he it will be on his accord. He will never be fired and rightly so.

He is one of the greatest managers to have graced the league and it is not his fault that his best ever Liverpool team competed against Pep, the greatest ever manager to coach this game.
Sid, LFC, London

READ MORE: Five positions Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp must prioritise in the January transfer window after Arsenal defeat


Liverpool are financial dopes
It’s been a while since I felt compelled to write in, but Liverpool’s implosion this season has roused me from the couch and compelled me to offer my two-penneth.

First off, we all need to accept its going to get worse before it gets any better. City next weekend is going to be brutal. We’ve likely lost two more first XI (though Trent’s loss might be more of a boon than bust) before we even start to contemplate how to deal with the Haaland Globe Trotters. I fear Anfield is going to feel like the viewing room for some US state’s capital punishment; 54,000 people peering from behind quivering fingers as City slice through our ageing midfield.

But let’s not get bogged down in the inevitability of an annihilation next week, instead we’re better off understanding how we got ourselves in this predicament to begin with. And the place to start is with our owners.

FSG can rightfully claim to have run the club successfully and skilfully. They took over a sleeping giant without a league title in twenty-odd years and rang the alarm, winning league, European and domestic cup competitions. After dusting off the trophy cabinet, they set about upgrading the club’s facilities; the stadium will hold over 60,000 by the start of next season, and a shiny new training ground has already been moved into. Impressively, all of this was achieved without investing hundreds of millions of the owners precious dollars. Instead, they found a supremely competent manager, allied him with state of the art player recruitment and utilised Anfield’s fan power to propel the team toward glory.

So with all that being said, how could anyone have a gripe with the people at the top? Well, because previous success does not guarantee future success, a point our manager might do well to remember.

FSG had set the perfect platform for Liverpool to continue being in contention for all the major honours. They had dragged themselves out of the mediocrity of the Gillett and Hicks era and returned to an exclusive elite of revered clubs in Europe. With little debt and steadily rising income, there was reason to believe we could compete with any club in the world for available top talent. Yet instead of attacking the transfer market from a position of power, Liverpool have instead opted for an overly cautious approach, positioning themselves as the poor relative of City, PSG or Real.

Regardless of how those clubs might have accrued their wealth, Liverpool made clear they were unable to compete with them. When Kylian and Erling were touted around Europe, Liverpool were understandably mentioned. They were one of the best 5 clubs in Europe, had a great manager, and were regularly competing for the top trophies. However, as probable heirs to Ronaldo/Messi’s throne, those elite players made clear they expected to be paid a king’s ransom.

Apparently, that was something far in excess of what Liverpool were willing to offer. Klopp even came out publicly to distance Liverpool from the big money transfers of Mbappe and Haaland. The point was made repeatedly enough for Liverpool websites and forums to come around to the idea that we were not the club for the already world class. Instead, we brought in those with potential and then built them into world class players. The logic apparently being that huge transfers are only possible for the financially doping Citys of the world, and to get involved in those would undermine the club’s ethos and possibly put our future sustainability at risk.

The problem with that logic is that it is nonsense. If City did dope, they certainly don’t now. Their squad is trim and although they often splash significant cash, they frequently sell well too. They might utilise their Middle East connections to maximise revenue, but they have largely turned over a similar amount of money to Liverpool the last few seasons. The difference is they position themselves as the possible home of the best talent on the planet, and are obviously willing to take a financial risk to attain it.

Liverpool’s previous approach of bringing in those players who are not quite world class but might reach it made perfect sense when they were a team trying to get into the English top 4, trying to build a team capable of competing for European honours, but which had neither the financial nor sporting credit to bring in the top dogs. But once they had done the hard part and got to the top table, continuing that philosophy doesn’t make sense.

Ultimately, it is harder and has a lower probability of being successful than bringing in the already elite and world class players available to the best teams in the world. Certainly this is the case when those elite players happen to be in their early twenties and have a few seasons of proven performance. When Messi and Ronaldo were 23/24 it was already clear they were going to be generational talents. Those subsequent seasons they largely shared out European silverware between them.

Liverpool didn’t need to go and spend £200m on Neymar, but they should have made sure that when a player came through that was a phenom, that they didn’t allow finances to put them out of the picture. City will have to manage the excessive cost of Haaland, and there was, and still is, a certain amount of risk with his prohibitive cost. However, what is already becoming crystal clear, is he is worth every penny. They needed a number 9, and he is the best one in the world. Subsequently they pushed the boat out.

And to be clear, having looked at Liverpool’s finances and taken into account FFP, Liverpool were even better placed to shoulder that financial burden than City. Arguably no team in world football has as much wiggle room as Liverpool with FFP, largely thanks to our incredible financial pragmatism these past few seasons. Unfortunately, that great financial platform can soon be whittled away, not by a slew of expensive but mediocre signings, but instead by the teams performance deteriorating and the club missing out on Champions League qualification for a couple of seasons. Each one of those is likely to cost about £100m, or 1 Jack Grealish.

Liverpool have other problems, some I plan on elucidating on later, but no single issue is more concerning than where Liverpool have positioned themselves in the transfer market, and how they have failed to recruit. FSG made a number of excellent decisions that led Liverpool to the top of the mountain, but only a couple of bad decisions can lead us all the way back down. Let’s hope the winter/summer windows shows a change in philosophy…
Ed Ern


Can we celebrate yet?
Just wanted to see if I was able to celebrate an Arsenal win now?

The first five games were only *insert non top 6 team* and you shouldn’t celebrate. Then when we beat S**rs we were told its only Sp**rs (fair enough I suppose). Now we have beaten Liverpool just checking its ok?

Ps – hey Stewie, how you doing?
Tom (AFC, London)


What can Arsenal achieve?
Feeling exhilarated after Arsenal’s win over Liverpool. Arsenal’s target for the season is a return to the Champions League (remember that)and we are looking good for that.

What else can we achieve? I think that 2nd place and winning the Europa League is the best this season can realistically be. However that seems possible and is not to be sniffed at!

The challenge now is to try to stay close to City and see if we can win our remaining pre World Cup fixtures? Fingers crossed and keep our feet on the ground fellow Gunners.
Croydon Gooner


…Did that feel weird? It certainly felt weird to me.

After the Firmino goal, I genuinely thought Liverpool would add two more and take the points with a comfortable 4-2 win. Stewie would written in telling us all that Arteta is crap and we can’t beat a top six team and I would have reminded him of the Spurs win only last week.

But it didn’t happen. We’re not going to win the league, but I think that win, way more than Spurs – it’s the derby and anything can happen – will cause both clubs to reassess where they are and what they can achieve this season. Maybe top 3 becomes top two?

Liverpool are in the midst of a reset and it will take time for the new players to bed in. They will come again, as will Trent, but they have to continue to show faith in Klopp.

I have found myself feeling really sorry for Trent recently. Players aren’t idiots. They know when they’re not on their game – having thousands of people calling you on it can’t be easy.

Some players are just crap (Mustafi) but some are good players who are going through a bad spell – I firmly believe Trent falls into the latter camp.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

Gabriel Martinelli celebrates his goal


…I can see why Liverpool fans are upset about the penalty foul. It’s really soft and he does go down too easy. But the crucial part is Thiago doesn’t touch the ball.

And in that sense, it’s almost exactly the same as Odegaard’s foul on Eriksen against Utd, which lead to our disallowed opener. At the time I felt very hard done by on that call – it was extremely soft but all my mates told me that it was a foul because the ball was just nicked before he got there. So yesterday was perhaps an evening up of that decision – maybe they do level out during a season afterall?

On the handball incident. His hands are away from his body but I think 16 conclusions summed it up best – it’s far more natural to be running with your hands a bit exposed than stupidly down behind your back like you sometimes see.

Anyway, agree with the ‘we’re not title contenders’ thing. Top four always was the aim and shall continue to be. If we’re still within 3 points of City come April, we’ll talk.

But April is silly amounts of time away. Just keep winning.
Joe, AFC, East Sussex


Button it, Spurs fans
This is one for all the Spurs fans phoning up TalkSport complaining about the way the team are playing – lads, please please find something better to do with your time. Take up yoga, have more sex, take the dog for a walk…anything but that. You owe it to yourselves.

Let me tell you what ‘The Tottenham way’ gets you. It’s Hoddle losing 3 – 1 to Fulham at the lane and Barry Hayles scoring twice. No disrespect to Barry but come on. It’s shipping 5 goals to an admittedly brilliant Utd in the second half having been 3 – 0 up. Or 4 goals to a challenged Man City who were down to 10 men. It’s rubbish.

Yes, it’s a tough watch at the moment. (There is an easy answer by the way, it’s called James Maddison). But it’s three points from a team who’ve put 4 and 3 past Utd and Liverpool recently. With the ginger Swede and Moura back it’ll be a bit sparkier and once we sign Madders it’ll be awesome. Plus we’ve scored a lot more goals than you realise this calendar year.

Actually you should be phoning TalkSport. You should be phoning them up to thank a bunch of people for navigating the club through a tricky week. People who were either in tears or on the verge of tears because one of their colleagues had passed away. Show a bit of respect and compassion people.
Andrew, Clapham


VAR from perfect
Yes the ball hit Marcus Rashford upper arm as he went through the challenge. If that had happened in his own area it wouldn’t be given as hand ball. So suppose he ran the length of the pitch afterwards and scored, the rules say it should be hand ball. Penalty? Bollocks laws?
Tony Clarke


…I sent my message during the Everton v Utd game. Then watched Match of the Day and West Ham scored two goals after touching the arm/hand. It really is bollocks.
Tony Clarke


…The absurdity of the hand ball rule is if Rashford had squared the ball to Fernandes and Fernandes tapped it in, the goal would have stood. Even though it was the same handball.

Just a stupid rule.
Bradley Kirrage


…Fulham vs West Ham.

What new horrors of horseshit was that refereeing and VAR display?

Pereira gets elbowed in the throat so obviously that’s a West Ham penalty

Scamacca controls with his hand so obviously that he doesn’t bother celebrating as it’s not a goal oh wait seriously? hahaha it was.

Antonio literally plucks a ball that’s bouncing away from a tackle out of the air with his arm, so obviously that’s not a handball and the deliberate handball for some reason doesn’t count anyway because his first shot resulting from it was saved


F**k VAR.

In the ear.

Wearing a sandpaper condom.
Tim Sutton (Mitro 6 – 2 Nunez)


Handball simplified
This is very much with the Gabriel incident yesterday in mind as it was understandably not given but, quite clearly stopped a cross in an extremely dangerous situation for Liverpool. I for many, many years have believed that the handball rule is overly complicated and as it gets amended again and again, often becomes more so. So simply, a 2 process law should apply (with the obvious assumption beforehand that the ball has actually struck the part of the body it’s forbidden to):

1) does the player (and therefore team) hand balling gain an advantage from the action? Yes? Instant penalty/free kick, regardless of intent or circumstance, aside from the sole mitigation of
2) if the ball had NOT struck the hand and continued, would it have hit another part of the player in question’s body (e.g. face, chest, thigh, etc). If yes, this then acts as a reason to not give the handball as no advantage was gained and potential ‘silhouette’ definition is applied, if no then return to point 1.

Interestingly, when the occasional situation arises that a team does not gain an advantage from a handball outside of the mitigation of rule 2 then in most circumstances that it occurs, the play can happily carry on with presumably possession naturally ceded or the ‘offending’ team in a worse position than they were.

The reason I believe the handball rule causes so much more annoyance than others is that ‘intent’ is never considered when awarding a foul or offside, only in the severity of the punishment for a foul. Why it is applied differently to handball I don’t know; imagine the scenes if a player was cleaned out entirely in the box but there was no intent given as the reason to play on as the player was doing his best to actually get the ball and, you know, has got to put his studs somewhere?
Dave, Stroud (genuinely been about 15 years since I last wrote to this mailbox)


READ MORE: ‘Lads, it’s Liverpool’, Trent as Charlie Adam and Arsenal fans distance themselves from title race

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