Keep your wonderful mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few weeks ago I wrote in the mailbox about how the current injury problems might be Klopp’s greatest challenge and possibly his greatest triumph and I was mocked by 2 mailers. Well, the Liverpool injury situation has only worsened in the period after my mail.
Before I go into my mail today, I need to point out 2 themes that have emerged.
1. Liverpool have become more and more resilient and less open. Gone are the days when Liverpool played expansively. Now, they are less easy to watch and more likely to gain a positive result due to the cautiousness being eliminated (from their post lockdown play) as a result of VVD’s injury.
2. Klopp has become more and more street smart. A lot is being made of the ability of Mourinho to navigate a tumultuous season such as this, but I think that Klopp is also improving on his ability to become a guerilla war general. Gradually, he is taking the pressure off his players. He is engaging in psychological warfare and it is all clear to anyone who has studied the antics of SAF.
Now to my main mail. I have a theory that there is some sort of sorcery behind the Wenger-Arsenal-esque-injury-list liverpool is having.
First, it cannot be the amount of games played. I never played professionally but on the streets of Africa, we played football a lot. We would spend hours playing football a day and we would have days playing football without proper medical treatment, good conditioning and good pay. I think that professional footballers have it quite easy.
And as Gnev pointed out in his post match reactions over the weekend, this year has been a year of rest for the players. From March to June, they were required to just rest. Besides, in the case of Liverpool, the club spent February to July playing at 50% because the league was worn in January. The effort exerted by these guys cannot be more now than before.
Ok guys, accumulated fatigue can cause it and I admit it is a possibility. But why only Liverpool? And why so many defensive injuries? Mane, Salah, Firmino spend the whole game running and they are injury free while Alison who spends 80% of games just thinking about his fine beard is getting injured? It doesn’t just add up as fatigue, especially when you remember that the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, united and City had more important games post lockdown than Liverpool.
What of the medical team you ask? Well, by reputation alone, Liverpool seems to have assembled one of the best backroom staff in the business.
So that leaves me with only one option. Sorcery. Just maybe, maybe Merlin has taken Liverpool’s players to the witchcraft court or maybe Harry Porter or maybe Ragnar sacrificed Liverpool’s players before he entered Valhalla. I mean, it must be. Because how else are they the only team in England who seem to be having these avalanche of injuries?
Any wise old man to answer my question?
A worried Liverpool fan
“Quey-veen” has global renown
Love to ask Minty LFC why he thought last season Kelleher “looked rubbish” & “looked incapable of saving anything.”
He played 4 games last season
Kept 2 clean sheets.
Bear in mind he has yet to play behind a defence with TAA,VVD,Gomez and Robertson ALL starting.
Now has 3 clean sheets in 5 starts,has a CL medal in his back pocket,is known globally after last nights performance and is only 22.
Am sure Minty is the type who thought Salah was a silly signing as he was a “Chelsea reject” in 2017 or Mane was “only at Southampton” yet cost the same as Mikitaryan cost Utd.
Alisson conceded 7 in 2 games for Roma when playing against Liverpool.
Have no doubt you were also questioning us buying him too.
PS.Caoimhin is pronounced “Quey-veen”.
“MH” in an Irish name is pronounced as a V.
PPS.It’s Irish(not Gaelic)for Kevin.
I’ll apologise in advance as I suspect that this (or another almost identical iteration of this) has already been touted, but here is how I see VAR can very quickly and easily be improved. Two key constituents of VAR that are sucking the life and soul out of football are a: the time it takes to make what are often unnecessary and/or incorrect decisions, and b: the absolute lack of emphasis on ‘clear and obvious errors’ for which the whole purpose of VAR’s intervention is supposedly based on.
My quite simple suggestion is that those pesky fun wreckers at Stockley Park should simply have a mere 30 second time limit to review a decision/incident, and then only if ultimately required make the call to intervene. No ridiculous line studies, no super slow motion replays viewed 100 times over from every possible angle etc. Only a 30 second time limit using freezeframes and/or the most relevant camera angle for whatever the incident being reviewed may be; offside, penalty etc. The 30 second time limit would start from the exact second that the specific incident occurred, and VAR then has to decide whether to intervene within that 30 second timeframe. After the 30 seconds has passed VAR would no longer have the authority to intervene.
This would not only significantly reduce the VAR decision and intervention times, but it would also put a real emphasis on a decision being determined on whether or not a ‘clear and obvious error’ has occurred. I also think that it would drastically reduce the number of times that VAR intervenes during a match. For example if a potential offside cannot be determined within 30 seconds using a freeze frame image, then there is certainly no clear and obvious error made by the on-field officials. In this instance VAR should not (in theory) be able to intervene and overturn a decision. The margins are so fine for decisions such as these that there really isn’t any clear advantage gained by either attacker or defender; which I’d go as far as to say is the whole purpose to the offside rule as a whole? Of course we can expect an odd stupid decision here and there where VAR do miss something or incorrectly intervene, but surely it has to be better than the current scenario which clearly isn’t working?
The only instance where I think VAR should be allowed additional time to look at incident is in the case of red cards and serious foul play where there has been clear danger of severely injuring an opponent. Generally stoppages are commonplace in these scenarios anyway as I’m sure that we’ve all noticed how most footballers don’t seem have the tendency to just jump straight back up and get on with things after being on the receiving end of thunderf**k studs up challenge.
So that’s my two pennies worth. If this was introduced there would admittedly be an outcry from some factions, managers, pundits etc who would look to scrutinise marginal decisions etc which were not clear and obvious errors by the officials, and then harp on and on about how VAR should be absolutely 100% accurate, blah blah blah. This is inevitable. My response to them would however be that they can take their tedious f**king views, and shove them up/down their own orifice of choice!
With VAR, any chance of a goal is continued to the end of the play. You end up reviewing a lot of ‘ball in net’ situations that pre-VAR would’ve never have reached ‘ball in net’ status. The linesman would’ve flagged offside, or with penalties, they or the official would have decided no penalty on the spot.
Hearing all this talk of being “+3”, etc, in VAR goals is a bit silly given that. Many of the disallowed goals in a VAR set-up never even hit the net pre-VAR.
Hence, if a player is offsides in the last minute of the game, we have no clue if VAR robbed either team of anything, because we don’t know what the linesman would’ve actually called in the absence of VAR, or if the play would even have reached the point where the ball went into the net.
As for fixing VAR, review systems work in sports like American football because ref decisions on a scoring play are final (a flag thrown against the scoring team during the play means no touchdown or field goal) and further punishment, such as loss of additional yards/plays). The review system only comes into play then if a score occurs AND there is no flag (foul called) by one of the referees. The review system then covers things like if the player stepped out of bounds, the ball hit the ground before being caught, or if a fumble wasn’t caused by the ground, etc) which usually the ref would spot anyway. Thus, unless the ref has called a foul on that play, you can celebrate the score because it is very probable you have actually scored. I know because I am an American living in the UK who watches the NFL a ton and always has.
With VAR though, you get situations where potential goals are being allowed to develop into goals because fouls, offsides, etc, are ignored until the review. Just let the officials do their job, and let VAR intervene if there is actually a goal. If an offside is called, it stands, and it is called when it happens.
A lot fewer goals would then be disallowed, because they wouldn’t develop into goals. The downside is sometimes an onside player would be called offside, blocking the play, but it would be better than an endless sea of disallowed goals that kill the excitement.
I think most people would agree that VAR could work but the laws need a few changes in order for it to work. My humble view:
Handball – The action must be considered intentional by the referee and he/she must explain the decision (if contentious) to the cameras after the game. End of story.
Offside – Let’s just say your feet/foot must be on or beyond the imaginary line in to be adjudged offside. Now I appreciate you can score goals with other body parts but it would be far easier this way – and substantially quicker. The game is also called football if it helps.
Do away with the little screens – the referee is the referee. If the var chap wants to whisper some info into the refs ear then that’s fine, he can bear it in mind, but the decision is his. Running to the screen doesn’t appear to improve decision making (we will always have differences of opinion) but the delays are ridiculous and entirely avoidable.
The game is moving too far away from the norm. No one likes it and the game needs to take a step back. I think the above would help.
Dave, Berkshire spur.
Grealish the embarrassment
Have to echo the thoughts from Mike in the earlier mailbox.
Picture the (admittedly unlikely) scenario – Grealish dives to earn a free kick and England score from it and go on to win the Euros.
As cheaty as Maradona, yep – likely to be called ‘clever’, etc by the biased punters – yep. The two seconds late dive against West Ham the other night was just laughable – he then went and posted something about VAR making the game embarrassing….
Hopefully, like Ronaldo, he will learn to cut this out as there’s no doubting the talent he possesses, but it took a manager as strong as Ferguson to get Ronaldo to change.
Steve Leeds since 1970
Concussion common sense
I am a youth coach in the US and believe me we have a lot of talk swirling around about concussions, mostly thanks to American Football and the high profile suicides from ex NFL players. So it is largely talked about here and people are quite sensitive to it. In football (soccer) we actually have had rules in place at times where if a player uses their head under the age of 13, it’s called as a foul. This is a bad idea. We have to teach kids to use their heads and how to correctly go into head-in challenges. If an incident happens at the youth level, you just take the utmost caution.As for what we saw this weekend with Jimenez and Luiz, I think we can all agree that a player who gets knocked out cold should not be allowed to play on. Raul Jimenez has just gone through a nightmare of pain. It was hard to see. David Luiz going back onto the pitch felt weird. Sometimes you get your bell rung and it would be classified as a mild concussion, which maybe players can be cleared to play on (as we saw when Gabriel took Ruben Neves’s shot to the side of the head). But the fact that a guy who spent more than 3 minutes laying dead still on the field was allowed to come back on just doesn’t feel right. Imagine if David Luiz had gotten another head clash a few minutes later. That could have been really dangerous.
Troy Deeney (from his interviews on TalkSport) seems to think the head injury protocol is perfectly fine but wants Edinson Cavani to attend classes on what he is allowed to say in the UK. Substantive conversation and constructive problem solving is needed here. You can’t get rid of heading the ball because it is such a beautiful part of the game. We just need to teach it and handle incidents with more intelligence.
Sebastian – Denver, CO – The game’s not gone
Money grabbing assh****
The trend for tv companies used to be, go bid higher for something people love to watch, stick it behind a subscription and show it. Nbcsn were pretty successful promoting the epl while fox had Bundesliga. Now because Bein isn’t a mainstream sports network, so laliga and Serie A have largely suffered in terms of popularity. Now, the major sports stations acquire the broadcasting rights, and stick every good game behind a paywall type scheme. Its greediness of the highest level. This is drug dealer sort of behavior. Champions league is now not even on cable tv. CBS went and acquired it during the pandemic, and don’t show a single game live unless you pay the $whatever they charge. Like, why hijack an entire championship.
I don’t know who the enablers of this sort of exclusion are, but all you enable is streaming. That supersport stream isn’t too shabby.
Dave(these tv networks are just money grabbing assh****),Somewhere
A Liverpool limerick
First time mailer responding to Michael, LFC’s “Get Zen, Jurgen” in Dec 1 mailbox.
There was a quick rant by one Keegan,
Like Rafa’s burst, they lost the league then.
So when Klopp’s in a tizzy,
Remember, when is he
Short of a league that he needs Zen?
Bryce, LFC. Culpeper, VA
Life begins at 30. So did this lot’s time in the Premier League. Have we missed any golden oldies?