Liverpool will flounder outside top four without ‘lucky’ Jurgen Klopp…

Editor F365
Jurgen Klopp hugs Darwin Nunez after a Liverpool game.
Jurgen Klopp and Darwin Nunez come under fire in the Mailbox.

The Mailbox reckons Liverpool will plummet once Jurgen Klopp leaves, while one Red is looking forward to waving off the manager. And he should take Darwin Nunez with him…

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Feel the noise
Is it wrong that I found ‘Gakpoo‘ way funnier than I really ought to have done?

Well done United. I was supporting Liverpool but that elation after that late winner may finally ensure that Ten Hag finally gets it.

There are few grounds like Old Trafford when it’s rocking like that – Ten Hag would do well to remember that.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Lucky Liverpool
I feel compelled to write in, as pundit after punditLiv (admittedly most of them ex-Liverpool players) have decreed that “Liverpool only had themselves to blame, & should’ve won the Cup tie”!

I heard that perennial ABU, Simon Jordan on TalkSport, stating that United’s 3rd & 4th goals were down to Liverpool mistakes, while conveniently forgetting that Liverpool scored 2 deflected goals, & the 3rd one was down to a United mistake, where their defenders & Fernandez just gifted the ball to Liverpool to walk it into the net.

I was a neutral, but like most neutrals (IMHO) I was hoping United would beat a Liverpool team, who’ve been riding their luck virtually the whole season.

Liverpool had a single “unlucky” game against my beloved Spurs, where a good goal was erroneously ruled out by VAR, but since then they’ve had every piece of luck, & virtually every decision go their way.

From Konate not being sent off against Everton at 0-0, to winning at Palace when a gaol down, VAR rules out a penalty to Palace, a joke sending off of Ayew, & even then they needed a deflected Salah equaliser.

They get battered at Newcastle, but somehow won 2-1 with their only 2 shots on goal.

A flukey “shoulder” goal from Diaz to give them an undeserved last minute equaliser al Luton, referee gifting them the ball to go on & score an undeserved last minute winner against Forest etc. etc the list is too long for a mere email.

Blue Billion Pound Bottle Jobs, Chelsea, should’ve won by 2-3 goals in 90 minutes, in the League Cup final, but the ball just wouldn’t go in.
I remember watching that game thinking to myself “I wish we had a manager with the quite extraordinary luck of Klopp”.

On Sunday, that luck finally ran out. United battered them for 35 minutes, should’ve been at least 2-0 up, but somehow Liverpool go in at halftime 2-1 up!

Another flukey deflected goal in Extra Time (neither of the deflected shots would’ve beaten Onana but for deflections), but United who’d been battering them since the start of Extra Time, got their just deserts.

Excuses were rolled out almost immediately by Klopp, injuries (other than Trent & Allison, that was their 1st choice team), like United didn’t have Shaw, Martinez, Casemiro, Malacia, Mount, Martial etc. out.

Too much football, we played midweek, they had a full week’s rest. Give me a f**king break, you’d spend more energy during training that playing Slavia Prague at Anfield.

In conclusion, Liverpool are a good team, but take their luck away, & they’re not that special, as United showed yesterday.

Once Klopp & his legendary luck leaves, Liverpool will struggle to qualify for top 4, mark my words.
Fred (Truth hurts), London


Ta-ra, Klopp. And take Nunez with you
Took my time to address THAT liverpool-manutd FA cup classic. First and foremost, all I want to say is that because of matches like this I’m pleased to see Klopp go at the end of the season.

This was a masterclass in defensive fragility, how-to-play suicide football for no reason & how to panic when it was them who had pressure on! He’s probably spent because of games like this as well. You can’t make up so many disasters all into one… We were the better team. Check. (By far) We should have finished it off 15 minutes into the second half. (Check). We squandered chances with stupid choices in the final third. (check) They were there for the taking (Check). We were twice ahead and let the lead blow. (Also check…)

How can you explain any of that from a football standpoint? I was ready to write assuming we’d won with the Harvey Elliot screamer in extra time about how Alexis Mac Allister should be nominated for the Ballon d’Or, about how Marcus Rashford would be the star Everton signing next season -or Leicester- about how surprisingly good technically Joe Gomez can be on the ball and how solid Quansah can seem… but all that was destroyed in 5 minutes!

Courtesy in no small measure of Darwin Nuñez & that criminal, yes criminal, completely unnecessary pass to McAllister which left our defense on the backfoot and gifted Rashford one of the easiest goals of his career. That crushing blow demoralized our team right there. I don’t know, maybe we should terminate Darwin’s contract for all I care. Credit to United, for looking disjointed and being under pressure for large parts, but staying in the game ’till the bitter end…

But back to Klopp…. The last 10 minutes of extra-time, one goal up, we decided not to play anymore and just hoof the ball long for Utd to restart play. Oh, how smart, except of course you can’t withstand a 10 minute siege at the highest level. It’s insufferable and rarely works. Our transition game is a disaster, with one clinical pass they can carve us right through. You got this sense every time they made a good run that unless Kelleher made a miracle save or they missed a complete sitter (Rashford in the final play of regulation) we had to hold our collective breaths & pray. Nothing exposes our absurd defensive irresponsibility more than the insanity that at 3-3 and going to penalty kicks inexorably, having 9 men in the opposite box allowing a 2 on 1 with Garnacho’s run & Diallo’s horrendously painful strike hitting the post included which had me gasping “God no!” killing me softly in the most excruciatingly desperate way in my native Spanish…

That really hurt. Why did this happen??? How could this happen??? And at the same time, it was only an FA Cup quarterfinal. And besides, let’s not forget we beat them 5-0 at Old Trafford in 2021 and 7-0 at Anfield just last season. At some point, the football Gods had to smile again over the Auld Enemy at our expense. At least this unforgettable game with a traumatic ending will make beating United something to look forward to again. That was something we had long been missing. Make it happen on April 7 and let’s win the title!!
Raúl H. García (Winning the title will make this largely forgotten, 😉) LFC 1892-YNWA

Read more: Man Utd up to mid-table but top three still top three in the Barclays Mood Rankings

More This Means More​
It is always amusing to see Liverpool fans like James Outram twisting themselves in knots trying to compare the fuzzy corporate sloganeering of ‘This Means More’ to Bobby Charlton dubbing Old Trafford ‘The Theatre Of Dreams’ in an interview.

One was a phrase that organically grew to become a central part of the club and its surrounding myths. The other was literally the product of a corporate sitdown in 2017, as described by CEO Peter Moore:

“Even today, when we talk about business, we ask ourselves: ‘What would Shankly do?’ What would Bill say in this situation? He was a true socialist who believed that football consisted of working together. In the marketing department, we met and said: ‘Let’s put this into words.’

“The conclusion was that Liverpool’s essential idea is that this means more. More than winning or losing. More than going to football, more than a get together in the pub and then going home.”

Only a man who has spent his whole life submerged in such vague marketing psychobabble could think there’s a clear linear thread between Bill Shankly’s dearly held socialist beliefs and this cringeworthy slo-mo sports ad nonsense.
Pablo, MUFC, Dublin


Salah’s substitution
Your 16 conclusions points out:

If there was a game for Salah to play 90 minutes, it was today, not Thursday while Liverpool were putting Sparta Prague to the sword. Luis Diaz looked spent long before he was finally replaced, while Elliott and Gakpo’s introduction did nothing to bring order where Liverpool needed it.

Surely the reason that Salah was able to and wanted to play 90 minutes on Thursday, in a game that kicked off 2 hours after sunset during Ramadan, compared to only being able to play 72 minutes in an afternoon game that started 9 hours after he was last able to eat or drink water is self-evident?

No amount of planning by Jurgen Klopp can alter Mohammed Salah being an observant Muslim. It’s a thing he can plan FOR and AROUND, not one he can change.
Dara O’Reilly, London


Home nations bias
On holiday at the moment so didn’t watch the BBC/ITV coverage (coincidentally the stream I got had the Sky lot stepping in). Is it safe to assume that like Trent, Bradley escaped any criticism from the commentators or pundits?

Gakpo was rightly mentioned in a previous mailbox, but Bradley was absolutely abysmal after coming on, being constantly beaten by Garnacho and costing Liverpool the winning goal and penalties at the least.

It seems players from the home nations still get an easy ride. Or maybe it’s just Liverpool’s right backs.


Races run
With pretty much all of Europe’s leagues already sewed up..

🇪🇸 Real Madrid 8pts lead over Barca w/ only 1 loss so far – 9 games left.
🇮🇹 Inter Milan 14pts lead over AC w/ only 1 loss – also 9 games
🇩🇪 Leverkusen 10pts – Bayern Munich – undefeated – 8 games
🇳🇱 PSV 10pts – Feyenoord – undefeated – 8 games
🇫🇷 PSG 12pts – Brest – 1 loss – 8 games

That’s 136 games by 5 teams – and only 3 (!) loses between them.
Which is the average number of loses by the top three in the Premier League, but with 108 games less.

One can only hope for an exciting end of season in the Greatest League in World™️.
With the top three both having dropped 20 points* so far – with 10 games left.

I hope for the sake of the league Arsenal get a result at the Etihad, because if you look at the remaining fixtures for City they do seem a bit lighter then those of Liverpool and Arsenal.

So when April comes around all of Europe might be done – and we have to cast our attention to the Battle of Prague.
Where Sparta and Slavia are within 1 point of each other and have only 5 games left.
Stijn, now in Spain, but usually in Amsterdam


Points deductions
You couldn’t make this up.

Well, yes, actually you can, as you go along.
TX Bill, EFC

Villa and VAR​
So Villa got a 1-1 draw against London’s most despicable team who sing nursery rhymes before every match (weird) in their taxpayer funded stadium. We’ve had a great season so far but injuries/suspensions and tiredness are starting to have an effect on performances and results and our run in is pretty tough too. Fingers crossed we can stumble over the line in some kind of Champions League place!

I honestly cannot believe the pundits, fans and even managers (David Moyes) that are furious about the two hand ball goals disallowed. Ten seconds of googling brings you to the FA website that says:

It is an offence if a player:

scores in the opponents’ goal:
directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper
immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental

You might not like the rule. That’s fine. But to go after refereeing/VAR and remonstrate the world is against you is simply not true. Both times it hit a hand/arm and went in. It’s bad luck, nothing more.

I will preface the next part by saying I’d rather VAR went in the bin. Permanently.

What do you people want???? VAR gets 2 big calls right and it’s not fair/not working. You got what you want, the decisions correct no matter what and still the talking point of the whole match is about 2 decisions given CORRECTLY.

If you want to talk about incorrect decisions try this rule:

It is an offence if a player:

touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger. A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation. By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and being penalised

In the first half a West Ham player had his arm out pointing to where his mate needs to stand and the ball hit it. Is that a consequence of a players natural body movement? I’d argue not but VAR seemed to think it was fine. In my version of the rules I wouldn’t have given the penalty either but the actual laws say it should have been.

I hate VAR, I don’t even care if those goals were given or not in a way, it was our own shoddy defending from set pieces that led to both situations so couldn’t really moan if they were given. Perhaps David Moyes could instead explain why, after dominating most of the first half with progressive football he then parked the bus second half and let us take over?

Lastly, AGAIN, I’ve heard fans and ex-players on the radio claim they don’t know what the handball laws are anymore. For fans this is a failure of FA/FIFA/PGMOL to educate and inform them of exactly what the laws are (perhaps through a worry that referee mistakes will be more obvious if everyone knows the laws properly). For pundits this is absolutely inexcusable. You are paid to know this!
Funstar Andy

Jared Gillett rules out a West Ham goal v Aston Villa

Weekend musings
– Ten Hag shouldn’t have been judged on the game before or during it, and thus he shouldn’t be judged on that game after it. Short term thinking is what has got Man Utd to where they currently are. Judge him on his 2 years, not a handful of games.

– How can you not score when 5 on 2?!?

– It shouldn’t have taken 5+ minutes for the VAR check but it was handball. Soucek actually moves his arm towards the ball. It’s intentional handball. That makes it subjective, and is why the ref went to the monitor.

– Moyes saying they’ve had 4 handball decisions ‘go against’ them this week isn’t helpful. Qualify it. Maybe there were all correct? In which case it’s a pointless thing to say.

– Seen some Villa fans saying we should have had a penalty for the Emerson handball in the first half. Nonsense. If anything, it looks like Bailey intentionally flicks it up on to his arm. I’m not having that.

– Can we stop the kneejerk reactions on the back of one result for the race to 4th/5th please? Until there’s 2/3 games to go it doesn’t really matter. This isn’t City & Liverpool/Arsenal teams that seldom drop points chasing for the title. This is the 4th, 5th, and 6th best teams in the country, who have all shown their flaws at various points in the season, continuing to show those flaws. They will all drop 6-10 points more this season I’d wager – especially as they have to play the top 3 in Villa and Spurs’ case and Arsenal and Liverpool in Utd’s.

– On that note… Is it in Spurs’ hands still now? Or Villa’s? Or both?
Gary AVFC, Oxford