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I found it quite amusing to see Simon Mignolet complaining that it was “impossible” for him to get into the Liverpool team, no matter how well he played.
Mate, he gave you several years – you were just shit. Frequently going months where literally every shot on target against LFC was a goal. Klopp gave you waaaaay more faith than you deserved, despite the fact that you never even began to play well for a small stretch of time. Karius cost Liverpool a European Cup and he was still twice the goalkeeper that you were.
If you want to talk about hard done by, think of poor Karius. He fought his way into the team because of how shit you were, actually had a really good half a season (zero mistakes leading to goals, solid save percentage, look it up, he was actually decent) but then mentally imploded after getting a concussion.
He’s a man who deserved better, IMO. I was glad to see that Klopp at least gave him a chance at the start of last pre-season, but it was clear he was mentally shattered. The club should have done more to help him – but they still had to buy Alisson, because no way in hell could they rely on you, Simon, because you were a crap ‘keeper in your time at Liverpool.
Justin (don’t feel too bad Simon, I also couldn’t get a game under Klopp and I’m at least as good as you)
Kosovo & Johnny Nic
Your line under this morning’s mailbox partly reads “It turns out that nobody cares that England battered Kosovo”. Hmm. That’s probably because ‘Lad’s, it’s Kosovo’ and also because they weren’t ‘battered’. Even Sky Sports described the game as an ‘unconvincing display topped by a late flurry of goals’ Which is about right it seems to me. Also, I don’t really care how ‘great’ England are in qualifying if they continually fail when it comes to the competitions proper. Likewise, I’m not going to wet my panties if my beloved City beat a League 2 side 4-0 in the FA cup because that is the result I would expect. Get to the latter stages and pit us against the likes of ‘Pool or Chelsea on the other hand, and THEN I’ll sit up and pay attention. It also helps that City actually win some trophies. Unlike England.
Also, just what is Johnny Nic on? It has occurred for a while now that he is the F365 equivalent of clickbait and his latest article doesn’t do anything to correct that view. What on earth is he on about? If there is another sports journalist who continually mixes football with nationalistic political issues, then I’d love to have their name. “Everything that was considered to be noble, consistent and true about being English, no longer is” Eh? Oh, and his final paragraph:
“That’s why England is an addiction few of us can or want to quit. It tells us something about who we are and where we are. And then there are all those goals as well. Never forget the power of goals”
Well Johnny, there you definitely speak for yourself. Putting 4 past a Kosovo side that were clearly knackered in the last 10 minutes of the match did not tell me who I am and where I am in terms of my ‘Englishness’. Oh, and the ‘power’ of ‘all those goals’ has left me inexplicably unmoved.
Mark (Does this mean I’m not addicted?) MCFC.
So Ben, LFC, Down Under isn’t a dirty POM and thinks Sterling got off lightly does he??
Perhaps Southgate should have followed the strict policy of the convicts then when sportsmen need to be punished?
Lets use a recent example of this shall we?
Say the captain and vice captain of your cricket team are caught on camera cheating in a test match. Should they be banned for life? 5 years? 2 years? No they should only be banned for 12 months and allowed back just in time to compete in the World Cup and Ashes series….that’s how the convicts deal with their bad sportsman…
That will set a good example to the young kids won’t it. Cheat and you will get a light slap on the wrist.
Come back and tell us how to punish our bad boys when you learn how to do it yourselves Ben…..
PS – Stokes was dropped from the Ashes series when under investigation into allegations of bad behaviour. Alex Hales dropped from the world cup for his bad behaviour….perhaps learn a thing or 2 from that Ben…
Sean – London
Thanks to Ben, LFC, Down under, for noticing my email. I just wish he’d understood what I was saying.
Was Sterling booed for a bad performance at Euro 2016? Seeing as all the players were all bobbins at that tournament, then why wasn’t everyone else booed (the entire England team and management were dreadful) because it seemed to me that it was only Sterling who caught it in the neck…
So, why was that then?
All the best
Levenshulme Blue Manchester 19
A change of position?
Yesterday it was brought up in the Mailbox how Wan-Bissaka could potentially change position and improve the Manchester United defence and his own game, so it brings me to ask this, which player at your club could benefit from a change of position and why?
For me with Chelsea, it seems a bit of an easy call to suggest Azpilicueta to Left Back, even though he has already played there but is more known as a Right Back, it would resolve our issues over Alonso as back up and give Emerson time to get back to fitness from injury, this would open up the right side of defence so Reece James can become a starter in the team, after his performance against Crystal Palace he certainly has earnt it.
Bloody England fans
For all the condemnation of Wembley seemingly booing Joe Gomez:
Have you ever noticed at a football ground that there is a big screen? And that on that big screen they often show people? And that on that big screen they can show a picture of Raheem Sterling as Joe Gomez was coming on?
The game I was at was the one where Raheem Sterling appearing on the big screen made everyone boo.
So instead of being outraged by something that never was, now you can be outraged at something that definitely was. The response by everyone though was one of being incensed by England fans for booing the victim. I’m amazed with the myopia here. Bloody England fans wah wah wah.
No, we were booing Sterling, who appeared on the big screen as Joe Gomez was coming on.
Here to help
Whilst I’m enjoying reading all of these balanced and impartial takes on the Sterling Gomez nonsense from Liverpool fans such as Ben (I’m lying), can we please draw a line under it now. I’m not saying it’s been as utterly tedious and pathetic as expected (I’m lying, again), but I actively avoided the site for a week in the hope I’d miss the worst of it and I miss you guys
John Collins, WWFC, London
I just want to say that I heard the booing the other night when Gomez came on and it was Rebekka Vardy.
Jason G, Montreal, Canada
Some Ireland musings
Given how light the mailbox was this morning (boo international breaks), thought I’d send a mail for our British friends to read on Ireland’s prospects later this evening.
The last time we had a do-or-die tie against Denmark was all of two years ago, almost to the very day. We had held the Danes away from home and optimism was high back in Lansdowne Road. Having not been to a World Cup since the heady days of 2002, this was a big one. There was talk of Russian visas and hooligans everywhere. Anyway, we got absolutely battered 5-1 by a pretty average Danish team. It turns out that taking off your entire central midfield for the second half to leave Denmark’s only world class player (Eriksen, obvs) the freedom of Dublin was not a good plan.
This time around the teams are largely similar with one or two small changes. For the first time in about ten years it feels like Ireland has a good chunk of players playing regular Premier League football. The Danes are relying on pretty much the same players as 2017, with a lot of them having moved around since. Do Ireland have better players? Probably not. Do Ireland play football in a manner that will scare the Danes? Again, probably not. Will Mick pick the team the fans think will give us the best chance of winning? Definitely not.
Yet… I think the lack of optimism this time will help us. MO’N truly lost the plot last time, thinking we could outplay Denmark by bringing on the ageing Hoolahan and wildly unpredictable (not in a good way) McGeady at half time. Mick will keep us solid and we very occasionally start playing actual football under him, much to his dismay. There are good players in this team. Our entire back four are Premier League starters, which largely vindicates Mick’s overall strategy. We struggle massively for goals, but with our system we should only need one. The crowd will be up for it. We have a very exciting young core of attacking players ready to step up, and I think the senior players know this is their last chance before Stephen Kenny rings in the changes next year. The fallback of knowing we have a playoff even if we lose should help. There is some hope. A scrappy 1-0 and we’re there… wherever there shall be next summer.
Finland qualified torille!
Very late to the (Pukki) party but as no one wrote in thought I’d get in here.
I’m a Finn that’s been living in England most my life, but always followed our generally terrible national team. Our “Golden Generation” of Litmanen, Hyypiä, Forsell, Tainio, Kuqi, Niemi, Jääskeläinen etc, were never able to qualify for a major tournament, so we are all over the moon that the current crop have finally ended infinity years of hurt.
While everyone will know Pukki, and Glen Kamara by all accounts is doing rather well under Gerrard in Scotland, it’s a team of very few stars and very few egos that is well organised and pretty decent going forward. Our new coach Kanerva an ex-teacher unknown outside Finland, but the players know him well and seem to be very fond of him, he managed the under 21’s a decade ago who were then captained by our current captain Tim Sparv.
Massively looking forward to the tournament and hope we get England in the group stages, and maybe Sweden in the Final….
Jimmy (Release the hounds) Sham
WSL Winners and Losers 17th November
Women’s Football in England
Again taking advantage of the international break in the men’s game, the FA made the most of a larger audience by scheduling some big games between rivals at larger stadia than usual (the Merseyside derby at Anfield, the inaugural North London derby at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, and the much-hyped Ellie Brazil derby between Brighton and Birmingham at the Amex) and were rewarded with a record breaking total attendance of 74,247 including a new record for a Women’s Super League game at Tottenham with 38,262 people watching the match.
They just keep steamrolling through their opposition. Now that they’ve been knocked out of the Champions League, the WSL will be their main focus. It didn’t take them long to get off the mark in Sunday’s lunchtime kickoff against West Ham, Ellen White stabbing home in the six yard box after just ten minutes, and Stanway added two more just after the half hour mark. Two minutes later Hemp had enough time and space to sign the ball, take a selfie with it and write a well regarded thesis before scoring City’s fourth. Wullaert added a fifth after the break to lay down a marker for Chelsea and Arsenal, who both played later.
The cliché about the mark of champions being the ability to win without playing well will be something that Chelsea fans ponder this week, as they never clicked into gear against a Manchester United side who constantly caused them trouble. In the end a highly contested penalty, converted by Maren Mjelde, was enough to get them back on top of the league after Manchester City had leapt over them by virtue of kicking off earlier, but any misgivings new signing Sam Kerr might have about forcing her way into the side will be dispelled by this lacklustre display.
A win, in front of a record breaking crowd to boot, but they’ll be disappointed with the performance. Arsenal never got going in the first half, ending the period pinned back in their own half with normally excellent defensive midfielder Lia Wälti particularly struggling. The second half picked up for everyone in a red shirt, with captain Kim Little belting home from the edge of the area, before the lurking Miedema took advantage of some tired legs and pounced on a weak backpass from the otherwise excellent Filbey to round Spencer and nonchalantly slot home. With Manchester City and Chelsea both winning, Arsenal needed to keep up, but their Champions League run might sap their notably small squad during the title run in.
They lost the inaugural North London derby, but drew 35,000 fans to their ground, and created an excellent atmosphere for the game. The team so very nearly repaid the support as well, growing into the game during the first half and causing Arsenal some very real problems at the back. Kit Graham had two chances to give her side the lead and become the first woman to score at the new Lane, and the newly promoted side didn’t retreat after going a goal down, with a shot from Furness almost nestling in the bottom corner to bring them level. Based on the way they played, their average attendance at The Hive of 1,150 will probably increase for their next home game!
The last time Brighton played at the Amex things didn’t go well, as they lost 4-0 to an Arsenal side who were friend champions after the win. This game, against relegation rivals Birmingham, went much better. After pacey striker Ellie Brazil was brought down by one of her old teammates, Kayleigh Green belted home the resultant penalty. French midfielder Lea Le Garrec smashed home the second for the mouettes de la mer just before half-time, before bulleting home a header from a corner. Brighton have given themselves some breathing room at the bottom now that they’re on five points, with both Birmingham and Bristol City on three points and Liverpool still just with one.
The west country side showed real grit in fighting back from being two goals down – twice – to draw 3-3 at the Madejski stadium. This would have been more impressive had their defence not being playing somewhere around Didcot in the first twenty minutes – twice they were caught out by long balls over the top for Reading’s strikers to run on to – but some pinpoint finishing and a great counter attack from Salmon late on salvaged a point and slightly increased the gap to Liverpool. City are still yet to win this season – but with three draws in six games, they’re tough to beat as well.
Two weeks ago Daniel Storey wrote in his W&L column “West Ham have long been the least favourite team of any weekend review column writer. The entire point is to react to the weekend’s events, but weave them in with long-term strands. But West Ham blow hot and cold like the wind. Just as you deem it appropriate to draw any conclusion, they make you look utterly stupid”.
In good news for fans of club synergy, the women’s side is exactly the same. They tore Brighton to shreds and pushed the WSL champions to the limit on the opening day, but also contrived to be utter tosh at “home” to Spurs, and played like they’d never met each other against Chelsea and Man City. They’re in danger of being caught up by the teams below them, but now I’ve said that they’ll probably score five against Reading next Sunday!
Ruined her chance of a hat trick by getting sent off for two yellow cards. In doing so, Maisie Williams’ stunt double became only the fifth player sent off in the WSL. Ever, since the league began in 2011.
Playing at Anfield seemed to have spurred Liverpool on, and they had the better of the first 45 minutes – pressing, harrying and generally acting like they were the side in fifth place, not bottom. Unfortunately goalkeeper Preuss’s howler just before half-time gifted Everton the lead and Liverpool were unable to add to their single goal scored in the league this season.
Perhaps overawed by the big occasion, Everton never really clicked into gear and were fortunate to come away with a win. Like Arsenal further south they were daunted in the first half and were lucky with Graham’s winner. Willie Kirk still has some work to do to break into the top three, and with last year’s two promoted teams making the most of their momentum, may never have a better chance than this year to do it.
Birmingham’s plan for escaping relegation seems to be “cross all our fingers and toes, and hope Liverpool keep losing” because on Sunday’s evidence they have little else in the bag. Failing to have a single shot on target against fellow strugglers Brighton, despite having more of the possession, really wasn’t making the most of an opportunity to put some daylight between themselves and Liverpool. They do still have a game against Reading in hand though.
And which Reading side will turn up that day is anybody’s guess. The only thing about Reading’s consistency is how inconsistent they are. Sunday’s draw against strugglers Bristol City broke up a visually pleasing WLWL run, with the Berkshire side generously allowing City back in the game seemingly every chance they got. With the sides below them doing so poorly Reading aren’t in any real danger of relegation this season, but that sort of complacent lethargy could easily see them slip into problems next season.
Unfortunate to lose to Chelsea after conceding a debatable penalty, and only denied an equaliser after Katrin Berger managed to get enough on Ella Toone’s late volley and tip it onto the goal frame. United have now played all of the Big Three, and only lost 1-0 to each. Solid results for a newly promoted team, but this side clearly have higher aspirations after the signing of Dutch international Jackie Groenen this summer, and next year could see them forcing their way into the Big Three.
Sam, Kerr’s Ladies
I understand that the Chelsea WFC social media team were excited about their new signing, the best Australian export since Kylie, but to change your pages to “follow Chelsea Women to keep up to date with all things Sam Kerr!” does a lot of disservice to the rest of the squad who had got the side to the top of the table at time of Kerr signing.
James Vortkamp-Tong, Brighton