What if Liverpool are at the end of a cycle now?

Date published: Tuesday 19th May 2020 9:12

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Back to work, footballers…
I couldn’t agree with Ken, Ireland more and was about to write a similar email.

Footballers are being wrapped in cotton wool.

IF they have obeyed the rules that the government and probably their employers laid out to stay at home and isolate, after 8 weeks there should be no chance of any of them having the virus. So the fact that they are now mixing with other players, who have also been self-isolating becomes irrelevant. Unless you’re in a team where some idiot (EG Kyle Walker) decides to have a party or goes to visit his mum or whatever.

If they refuse to go back to work, they shouldn’t be paid until they do.

My sister and niece work in Liverpool and both work for the NHS, my niece in particular has been working double shifts as a nurse on the front line, putting herself in danger every day. She has a seven-year-old daughter who is now living with her estranged husband who she hasn’t been able to see for eight weeks, now that’s hardship, and for this she gets paid a pittance.

So if the Troy Deeneys of this world are really that worried about infecting members of their household, why not use your ridiculously over paid salary to rent an apartment for the eight weeks or so it will take to complete the league.
Neil, LFC, Malta (fuming!!!)

 

Football now as dangerous as porn
* Looks like football is almost back, in England. Yeah!

* I know I’ve advocated its return and acknowledge there are severe health risks which should definitely not be ignored – my grouse has always been there are too many who seem to be hiding under the ‘most of us are scared’ banner who maybe just have an ulterior motive.

* Football’s return does feel a bit like doing porn in the late 80’s/ Early 90’s with a deadly disease no one could understand ravaging the people in the industry – those who are genuinely afraid will probably retire within the next few years. The biggest danger to the players is unfortunately themselves as it only takes one undisciplined player to wreak havoc for everyone. And as we have seen with each passing week they aren’t are all disciplined.

* I’m interested in seeing what creative ways team come up with to generate crowd noise for the next few years…here are some some suggestions – they can do recordings of the most witty chants from fans and play them during the game, They can have the season ticket holders send in electronic devices like laptops and watch like and interact from their seats, My personal favourite that I’ve heard so far is the Danish one were people show up in their cars and honk and make noise.
Tim Roode

 

How do Liverpool go again?
I agree that it is possible for teams to not make signings and improve. Coaching and improved familiarity can provide a boost in performance levels however I think Matt Stead missed a key point about the invincibles and Liverpool this season. Both teams finished second the year before and were hungry to overcome the champions.

Alex Ferguson suggested that a signing or two was important to keep players on their toes and fearful that if their performance levels dropped then someone was hungry to take their place. He had a point.

Next season Liverpool will have won it all. How do you stay motivated to maintain or improve yourself when you have trophies in the cabinet? That is Liverpool’s challenge next season and I look forward to witnessing it.

On a personal level Arsenal’s 2013-14 FA Cup win felt amazing. Dancing in the streets of north London that night is a memory I will treasure forever. I am grateful for 2014-15 and 2016-17 but they could never mean as much.

Who wins the Premier League in 2020-21? I wouldn’t bet against the transfer market having a big say.
Balham Gooner

 

…Matt Stead makes some interesting points in his article about how Liverpool may win the transfer window by standing still. I have a few counter-points.

2003/04: United did spend a truck load in 2003/04 , going for quantity as much as quantity with an eye for the future we had to replace three of the title winners (Beckham ,Veron and Barthez and ended up with some of our most legendary misses Kleberson,Djemba Djemba (the anti Jay Jay Okocha) and Bellion as well as Howard, Saha and some guy named C Ronaldo. The first three show that contrary to how people sugar coat things we didn’t always get things right when we were better organised and the last two were part of the stepping stones to building the next great team that would dominate the late noughties.

Arsenal got away with  standing still for one year similar to how Liverpool have managed to stay on top this year fueled by the injustice of last season, but what if next season is like Arsenal’s 2004/5 when they tried the same trick again and found themselves second but far behind in the title and have never quite made it back to the glory years that 2003/4 represent.

The team’s best players may be between 21 and 28, but they will be a year older next year and part of the glue (Milner ) keeping them together will be even closer to retirement. Standing still might work for about two years, but after a while it starts to look like the end of a cycle…ask Spurs.
Timi, MUFC

 

Dreaming of Donnarumma
Surely Chelsea could get a deal done with Milan for Donnarumma. Even in this ‘climate’ a 40-50M deal could easily be set up structured like Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe deal. Kepa is also only two years into a seven-year deal, so the obvious thing if he would agree to it is send him to Milan on a two-year loan with an option to buy for 50-60M worst-case scenario he comes back with three years left on his contract and is sold off at a loss that should be easier to take a couple of years after covid 19 rather than right now.

It seems like a win-win situation for everyone. Chelsea hopefully get the world-class keeper needed to compete at the very top level, Milan get to pay off some of their debts while still having their goalkeeping situation sorted for the next couple of years, and Kepa is not a bad keeper he might thrive in Milan, as Di Maria’s missus made clear England isn’t for everyone. It makes too much sense though so it probably won’t happen.
Aaron, CFC, Ireland

 

Corners: Put them in the mixer
The statistics that support an argument that corners are over-rated are reasonably well-known but that doesn’t stop the roar of the fans as the big centre-half ambles up or the groan as a team take the corner short. If there was ever a case in football that some things are still in the realm of ‘we just don’t do that’, corners are it.

Short corners, with a tighter angle and less space, will be a disadvantage compared to ‘normal’ corners – unless there’s rules about how many defenders can stand where. Think of those rare events when there’s an indirect free-kick in the area. Even with ten yards distancing, there’s not really many options on (for a related argument, look at the added advantage Stoke’s long throws had when they were around five to ten metres back from the penalty area rather than alongside).

The ‘solution’, much as there can be one, is to think of corners as more than a chance to ‘put it in the mixer’. Think about the problem rather than try to make new ones.
Rob, Brum

 

I think we’re a loan now
This whining about loan reform is getting tedious with people failing to understand the actual scenario.

Firstly, Chelsea have cut their loan players by about half and are significantly better than many Italian teams, so when commenting on amount of loan players, focus there first.

Secondly, loan limits will do absolutely sod all to change Chelsea’s transfer strategy as the majority of their players are U23 and will just end up supplementing the u23 squad if they’re unable to go on loan.

Look at the make up of Chelsea’s current u23 side and you’ll see the majority are u18s that have been promoted as the others are getting quality experience away from the club in a lower division. Something that I feel is an extremely important part of a player’s development. Speak to any Chelsea loan player (Chelsea have a feature) and they tell you the support they get is exemplary.

Then you have to take into account the established player loans – many with options to buy. Players like Bakayoko coming off terrible form, Drinkwater, personal problems, Zouma (last year) coming off a horrendous injury. Loan moves are excellent chances for them to get more football under their belt in a less pressurised environment, with the potential for a move. Imagine cutting Drinkwater at the end of last season (you think that would help with his mental health?), Zouma/Moses etc have returned (and left) and become key players.

This whole ‘stockpiling shiny young players’ is nonsense too. Chelsea had plenty of returning loan players last year, the majority being in the academy from U8s. It seems massively harsh for punishing clubs on the quality of the players they produce from their academy. Yes the stick to beat Chelsea will be Kalas/Piazon (people forget the horrendous leg break) but they could easily have been bought by another club if they wanted – Bristol stumped up the cash and got a good player as a result.

The one rule that I actually think will help and will improve the movement of players from stagnant loans is to limit the number of consecutive loans a player may be sent on (potentially three) – where someone like Mount would have his loans to develop and then either be integrated into the first-team squad or put on the market. This will stop the Kalas’/Piazon situations and improve player development further.

We’re looking at a scenario that at least 20% (roughly?) of the England-eligible players from U17-first team are Chelsea academy prospects who have been with the club for years. That’s not fluke and hoarding youngsters (see Rice and Brewster) but a sign that the club have a great system in place.
Adam, Midlands

 

Welcome back football
This weekend I watched four Bundesliga matches. I’ve decided:

1) Watching televised football matches with fans in the stadium is superior to matches without fans.
2) Watching televised live football matches with no fans in the stadium is far superior to no football.

I can’t wait for next weekend, and then the eventual return of the Premier League and Serie A.
Stephen, Minnesota USA

 

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