We have more reaction from Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal. Plus, North London derby, best value signing at Spurs, PGMOL top six bias and more…
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Why are some Liverpool fans ‘disgusted’?
30 years. Long time isn’t it? I was 15 thirty years ago and now I have a 15 year old son. Hell of a lot of water under the bridge. It’s a lifetime of dashed hopes, faded glories, fallen messiahs and most importantly and relevantly here, *zero* league titles.
Along comes an inspirational and transformative German saviour who won us the Champions League and then the extremely elusive league title. All while playing the most extraordinary attractive to watch football I’ve ever seen from us.
He could retire *tomorrow* and be a legend of this club until the end of time. Yet after an admittedly rather frustrating goalless draw in the semi finals of the League Cup, there are people who are disgusted – disgusted I say! – with the state of the club and want to know about succession planning.
Quick question, are you absolutely off your heads? You think there’s better than Jurgen out there? Ask Manchester United if there is! There is one, count them, one manager who is possibly better and that’s Pep. Who’s still got less Champions Leagues than Jurgen in the last decade.
The only way from Jurgen is down, and massively down at that. So keep the kneejerk insane hot takes to yourself and try to notice that this is the best it’s actually been for us in three decades. And it’s bloody good.
I am disgusted at your disgust sir.
James , Liverpool
‘Puzzled’ by TAA positioning
I’ll open with a congratulations to Arsenal for a spirited display last night at Anfield – deserving of a draw I felt and clearly showing that they are playing for their manager.
The fact that Liverpool didn’t try to stretch the game more by trying to get round the back left me scratching my head somewhat and seeing TAA playing effectively as a central midfielder at times in the second half puzzled me – surely you’d want the person with the best delivery in the team to have as much space as possible to provide some quality into the box.
Not having Thiago available didn’t help matters – in part bought to be the midfielder who can unlock deep block defences.
At least it should be a better game next week as Arsenal will be more progressive which will give Liverpool more space to play.
Can someone explain to me why Newcastle have not bid for Nat Phillips yet .. I just don’t get it.
They have a relatively cheap English option who has premier league experience where he was effectively the ‘main man’ of the defence.
Should Newcastle not manage to avoid relegation he strikes me as a player that would likely stay through a one season championship campaign to get back up.
Cheeky bid for Phil Jones too ? … admittedly more ‘short term’ fixes for the barcodes as they plot a path to world domination via an open chequebook, but who are they kidding if they feel they can attract the sort of talent who are likely to expect to be playing in Europe.
Cut your coat according to your cloth.
For Liverpool I would be really surprised if we see anyone arrive in this window, so all eyes point towards the summer.
Fans need to remind themselves that LFC is not the biggest sports entity under the FSG umbrella and that when big brother gets a cold (Red Sox), little brother will feel the effect too.
Until the US baseball market settles back into previous money making mode it is doubtful that serious money will filter its way through to the north west of England.
It tends to be the case that little brother eats only after big brother has had his fill.
Being glass half full for a second, should the monies materialise for a £100m+ summer net spend I sincerely hope Edwards (as a parting gift) is lining up Bellingham and Raphinha .. the 2 players I most wish to see join.
Lots of paper talk about interest in Bowen but I am currently struggling to see that as a great move (but then again I scratched my head at the price for Mane at the time …).
I think we also need to recognise that the home-grown player quota is something that may shape the transfer approach.
…. but I say one thing to the players who Liverpool may be interested in – look at Klopp’s track record in improving players after they have arrived (the polar opposite of Man U over recent years) … be the best versions of yourself .. come to sunny Liverpool.
Will close with a random statement.
Just wanted to highlight what a great job I think Patrick Vieira is doing at Palace.
To lose over a dozen of your inherited squad, bring in fresh faces and get them playing good football with a bit of backbone has been really impressive to see.
It may sound slightly foolish to some but he’s in the discussion for manager of the season for me as things stand for the way he has navigated through the choppy waters when others may have capsized.
I wish him well.
Take care all,
Liverpool to blame for their lack of pace…
One thing that struck me last night that really didn’t help Liverpool was that, due to Arsenal playing *so* deep, the two centre backs were playing on the edge of the final third. They had essentially become “creative” midfielders with none of the “creative”.
Fabinho was on the edge of the box doing nothing defensive and as a result no forward players had any space to operate or find space.
I don’t know how to coach a team, but surely if your central defenders are going to play that far up the pitch, of course your creativity and movement will suffer. The way Liverpool play with pace and dynamism of the front 3, if you compress play like that you’re snubbing out your own space. Added to that, if Arsenal break with speed there’s two thirds of the pitch that they have to cover, it just seemed counter intuitive and showed lack of discipline.
It was comfortable for Arsenal, but it feels like it was as much down to Liverpool reducing the size of the pitch as anything else.
Fair play to Arsenal though, they did exactly what they had to do and did it perfectly.
Give Salah whatever he wants…
So after last nights game, have we agreed to just give Mo whatever he has asked for?
I cant believe we havent already, I would love to know what he has asked for and what they (FGS) think they have to gain by not giving him exactly what he asks for will bells on and a cherry!
Mo wants to sign da ting… FFS whats the matter with you!
Give ‘im da ting… init!
Al LFC (Maybe if he has asked for Haaland or Mbappe to join him its not quite so straightforward)
I’d just like to get one gripe off my shoulders if I may and it was triggered by Paul, Chester. You see it quite a lot on here when an individual thinks they can speak for a whole fan base. “We LFC fans don’t care about the Milk Cup” That’s your opinion of you don’t care for the League Cup but don’t have the arrogance that your opinion is matched by an entire fan base. I for one love the league cup. I was 6 years old in April 95 when I first went to Wembley for the 2-0 win over Bolton and the memories I cherish of that day will forever hold a special place in my heart, not just because of the win but the fact it’s one of the last happy memories I have with my grandad before he was cruelly taken away less than 2 years later.
The league cup win v Birmingham was the start of winning 3 trophies in 01. Beating United in 03 was unreal. Losing to City in 16 was shit. I want us to go to Wembley, I want us to win trophies, every trophy we have available. So when arrogant fans like you Paul say things like that it gets on my tits a bit. If you don’t care about the league cup that is your prerogative, but ask yourself it’s looking likely at the moment we are going to finish 2nd or 3rd this season, would you not take a trophy and a day out at Wembley to go with that and maybe some memories to last a life time. I know I would.
Best value signing
Following on from record transfer progression, and seeing how few could be deemed a success, especially at the daft end of the list, I was curious what teams best value transfers have been.
Gareth Bale – an obvious one to kick off. Bought for £5m – two seasons of frankly stupid football – and a hefty profit off the back.
Luka Modric – £16m isn’t cheap but what he brought to Spurs was something few had seen before, and fewer have seen since. A class player, and a hefty profit.
Dele: Tricky one this but for three seasons he was sensational. Cost £5m which will, if sold, still be upgraded on. Still gutted his plummet has been so dramatic.
Kyle Walker: Being sold for £50m alone would make him top five but, again, for two season and despite obvious flaws, he was integral to a swashbuckling Spurs team.
Toby and Jan for a combined £22.5m remains an exceptional piece of business. The two were the best combination Spurs have had in my forty years supporting the club. When they started to wane it was no coincidence that Spurs form became compromised beyond repair.
Not a bad handful of players. Pity we’re so abysmal at making ‘big money’ signings.
Unintended consequences of five subs…
Although Arsenal didn’t take advantage of this (possibly because their bench was pretty weak), Xhaka’s early sending off highlighted a good argument for not permanently increasing the number of subs allowed to five. Given the tactical discipline these days, in many games (especially between evenly matched teams) the advantage of an extra man doesn’t really become apparent until the end of the game, when the 10-man team are fatigued, so the ability to replace more than half the outfield players would be quite impactful. Like the overall argument about 5 subs, it would also tend to favour the big teams with stronger benches (although maybe they are less likely to have players sent off).
Personally I lean towards allowing five subs to reduce injuries etc, but it seems a bit unjust to give an advantage to a team that’s had a player sent off, not to mention the fact it probably leads to more dull games like last night’s second half. Maybe the solution would be reducing the subs allowed if you get sent off for denying a goalscoring opportunity or violent conduct.
North London derby…
So with the NLD coming up on Sunday, one question on my mind is… will it happen?
Arsenal seem to have a lot of absences and injuries, and wouldn’t surprise me to see them put a request to the FA to cancel. That being said, Xhaka getting sent off, and loaning out two players in Janaury before reinforcements, it’s effectively self-inflicted.
However, the FA have now set a precedent that even without Covid they’ll move games to accomodate which is a bit farcical really. Interesting to see how it plays out.
PGMOL top six bias
The article you posted showing none of the top Refs are supporters of the big 6 clubs misses the point somewhat, Just because they have declared they don’t support certain clubs doesn’t make it true, it’s about as robust as a Boris Johnson speech, but in any case, who they support is not really the issue. It’s about whether they are subject to kind of influence regarding certain clubs.
Influence may be the result of internal concerns, perhaps sub-conscious, perhaps not, about being held accountable by high profile players, managers and pundits for any controversial decisions that may affect important trophy pursuits. While possibly understandable to an extent, it still smacks of weakness, and makes them unfit to referee.
Or, if we’re being cynical (or realistic?), could it be the result external pressure from vested interests to help ensure the big boys remain relevant as often as possible come trophy time?
If that sounds far fetched, consider the context. First, lets look at the home page of F365. The bulk of the links are big 6 focussed, especially Manchester United -14th Jan for example, 7 out of 30 links for United or 23.3%, and 4 of those specifically on Ronaldo (13.3%) – and that’s quite a slack day for Utd links. Why is this? Well obviously you depend on advertising revenue which depends on views and clicks, and that means appealing to the widest available reader base. Which really means making it meaningful to plastic supporters in the far flung corners of the world who invariably attach themselves to Manchester United or another one of the big 6. You have legitimate commercial reasons for doing this and there are no legal or other restrictions on you taking this approach.
But don’t the Football authorities have similar commercial “motivations”, when the PL, the Champions League, even the FA Cup are all products worth billions in TV money, sponsorship and Advertising revenue? The organisers obviously want to maximise the appeal to maximise the revenue. Maximising appeal for the PL and the FA means keeping the big 6 relevant.
Up to recently it has largely been self-regulating due to the difference in wealth between those with regular Champions League income and/or mega-rich owners. With the increase in PL TV money per club, the gap has narrowed and the traditional top end clubs are now under threat from the likes of West Ham, Leicester and soon potentially Newcastle. Even the FFP trick intended to prevent newly-minted clubs catching up with those already financially doped is starting to unravel.
The big 6 still hand out regular drubbings but there are more games where they are struggling to get the edge they need. Games are decided on small margins, and too often refereeing decisions that require some “interpretation” of the laws appear to be going in favour of certain clubs when they need it most. Classic example, armpit = handball against Wolves, meaning Manchester City get the win. On the same day that Liverpool are awarded a dubious penalty to defeat Villa 1-0 while Villa are denied an arguably more obvious shout. And on the same day Man Utd. are being outplayed by Norwich but a hand on Ronaldo’s should is deemed sufficient for him to be felled like a tree and gain a decisive penalty.
Of course this could all just be coincidence. But isn’t it happening just a little too often for that to be the case? With so much at stake would it really be beyond the powers that be to apply a little “pressure” here and there to PGMOL to ask their members to turn a blind eye to certain things, or to be more lenient in their “interpretation” of the rules? It’s not as if there is no evidence of Refs applying the rules “idiosyncratically” – For example some refs have admitted they were “advised” to avoid issuing red cards in the first few minutes in order not to “ruin the show”.
Or are we to believe that Football is a rare beacon of virtue in an otherwise dark World where corruption and undue influence is the business norm? Personally I can’t think of any other multi-billion dollar business where underhand shenanigans and jiggery-pokery don’t exert a significant influence. We only have to look at various betting scandals, bribed referees, and Sepp Blatter to see that football in general is already far from an exception.
I write this as a Villa fan who has lost count of decisions against us that defy belief even in the pre VAR days, but who is now both resigned to not having a level playing field when up against certain clubs but incredulous at how blatant the bias appears sometimes. VAR is only exaggerating it, rather than resolving it, as I had hoped it would. Against Man Utd. three minutes and thirty-six seconds to spot a supposedly “clear and obvious” infringement. If you look hard enough you will probably always find something on any goal, but why the forensic examination on this occasion only? How hard did they look at United’s goal? Not a glance. The acid test is “can you imagine that being given at the other end?” Not a chance in hell. There are many other examples, including that incredible non-offside decision at Manchester City last season, and I feel sure fans of other non-big 6 clubs could point to just as many.
In conclusion, this week has been something of a tipping point for me after 55 years as a supporter. I can’t get excited about Villa signing Coutinho and Digne, and whoever else we might bring in because I am now convinced that we will never be allowed to get too close to the established elite, always only allowed to make up the numbers, that we will be put in our place if we get too uppity. I’m sure some people will pooh-pooh this viewpoint but, you know, if it walks like a duck etc. The whole thing stinks.
Kevin (still raging at both the Ings decisions)