Liverpool just proved why the title is Man City’s to lose

Date published: Monday 25th February 2019 9:27 - Matthew Stead

There will be a League Cup final/Kepa-based Mailbox for everyone to froth over later on Monday morning, don’t you worry. For now, just send your thoughts to


F365’s late losers: our eyes
Dan, plastic LFC


A draw that felt like a defeat
That game felt like a defeat for LFC. This feeling, coupled with Monday’s blues…. What a terrible day.

I still couldn’t figure it out. How lucky we are to be at the top. We never clicked. Matches come and go. When are we going to click? Why are our midfielders so slow? Unimaginative. Matip has taken the initiative to dribble past a few players, but not Gini or Mane? What is Mane doing in there? Why are they so timid? Why not play Trent, who is better at crossing the ball? Milner is past his best. Milner’s legs are not up to the task. But, why let Milner played the whole 90 minutes? Why not let Keita play? Inject some creativity.

The enemy played better. Kudos to them. Luckily Allison was there to save the blushes. Luckily, the lino flagged it. Luckily, it was Smalling. And Rashford played with one leg the whole game, but he managed to create chaos.

At current rate, we are not ready to win it, yet again. City will be the favourite.

We are too careful, …seems that we are playing like a Mourinho team in disguise. At least Mou has won it multiple times. Everybody is too rigid and too cautious . Passing the ball around won’t win games. Somebody need to do a Pogba for LFC. “Attack! Attack! Attack!”

LFC need creativity. Need a dead ball specialist who could whip a thunderbastard or two every game. The corner kick is a waste of time. That Salah’s freekick… Such a waste.

Oh… Damn this feeling. Next year will be our year, again. I’ve very nearly ….almost…. thrown in the towel. I hope, Klopp could fix this. Sparkle, now, please.

Football eh…
Khairur (Miserables) Penang


A draw that felt like a win
Everyone on internet is going after Ole. Why play Rashford, why no Alexis etc etc but you got to remember who we’re talking about. Lingard, the big game player, very important to united playing well vs Sanchez, who’s not been playing great. Lingard actually justified being subbed on by nearly scoring, and his injury was not the same as previous, it’s a new one.  Secondly, the person going off was Mata, he was playing the 10 role, Alexis is not a 10, he can play on wings or as striker, Lingard is a 10. Honestly people going hysteric and saying Ole messed up need to take one step back and realize it wasn’t a bad call, but it just didn’t work out.

As for the game itself, I did have doubts about us winning, Liverpool pretty much full strength and we had Martial and Lingard out, then you hear no Matic; which pretty much nullifies Pogba and it’s not looking great. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a good team which beat Chelsea, but then losing Herrera was just the last straw.  Untouchables right now are, DDG, Lindelof, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Rashford and Martial. Losing 4 then having 2 hobbling was squeaky bum time indeed. But we carried on, can’t really judge how bad Rashford was, GNev made it sound like his leg was about to fall off but he seemed to be running fine.  It was 0-0 but what a turnaround form the reverse fixture, arguably we were the better side even with the injuries. It would be discredit to say Ole is novice anymore, his one loss so far comes when he loses 2 of his main attackers, his 2 draws are a bad game salvaged at end and a rampant Liverpool side gunning for the title. Give him the job.

All in all  a strange day where Ole stopped the title winning (supposed) Liverpool team with Scott Mctominay and Andreas Pereira in midfield with a one legged Rashford leading the line.
Just another person who doesn’t want liverpool to win, MUFC


A draw that felt like a draw
Fair play to Steven Chicken on managing to write so many conclusions about what was, injuries aside, a very dull game. However, I don’t fully understand the positivity about United and the negativity about Liverpool. Before the game all the chat was that this would be a huge challenge for Liverpool against such an in form side, but even before the injuries disrupted United it was Liverpool who were forcing the game. United set up, dare I say it, exactly like Mourinho would have set them up: like an inferior team playing away from home. Their plan was to score from a counter attack or free kick. The four injuries, if we include the Rashford one, made this appear like it was their plan B but it was the way they set up from the start.

Shaw did have a solid game, as did Pogba but to use the word “superb” is overstating it hugely given how passive they were. Liverpool’s front 3 is off colour so against a defence with full backs who didn’t cross the half way line, and protected by a giant screen of Pogba and McTominay, they had no space to work in and we’re always going to struggle.

I’d have taken a point beforehand and I’ll take it now as well. Our run in is fractionally easier than City’s and we’re still top so let’s stay positive.
Josh, LFC


A Shaw that felt like a Shaw
Luke Shaw has been massive at Left Back since Ole took over.
Oluwaseun Adelugba, Nigeria (Herrera for Captain)


That’s why they won’t win the title
With all the recent talk in this forum around the exact definition of ‘bottling’, it’s nice of Liverpool to provide a triple-distilled, cast iron classic of the genre to put the argument to bed.

No guile, no composure, just sterile domination and a bad case of stage fright. An amazing chance for a vital win in one of the hardest games left this season and…. that. By a distance our worst performance of the season. Demonstrating in a nutshell why this team won’t win the title.



I maybe the only fan who’s crushed under a meteor of disappointment in going a point clear at the top of the table. United were hit with the unluckiest whip of THREE freaking injuries, and the substitutions that followed, in THE FIRST HALF.WHY were we scared to attack an opposition disoriented within the first half? The Liverpool team look scared to attack a depleted United side.

Hell we almost conceded a stoppage time goal (Thank you smalling).

Guardiola will be already celebrating before the cup final. One point lead in February over such a monstrous City team means sh*t. I know I will be coming off as an entitled prick but I really feel this was 2 points dropped.  This is city’s to lose now.
MIHIR NAIR. LFC. MUMBAI. (James Milner’s crosses are going to give me nightmares)


That was dire. United obviously suffered from the injuries (though Lingard was self-inflicted) but Liverpool were desperate.

United’s team in the second half was De Gea, Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Pereira, McTominay, Pogba, Lukaku, Rashford and Sanchez. Taking recent form into account (rather than transfer cost, which I’m sure some LFC fans will do!), one can’t help but feel that Liverpool will really look at this as two points dropped – despite Smalling’s late failure to commit (never something he’s failed to do in his own box). Did De Gea have to make a save?

It’s also unclear how many fouls James Milner has to make to get a second yellow but it seems like a lot, he’s like a nicer Ander Herrera but less subtle in the fouling stakes.
Jonny, MUFC


How far we’ve come
As a United fan it shows how far we have come under Ole that a point is a disappointment, the injuries suffered by 4 United players in the first half made it hard to get any rhythm going and after that I was happy with the point. Klopp made a song and dance about injuries disrupting Liverpool’s game, 1 injury to Firmino yet United had to effectively play with 10 men with Rashford walking wounded.

On to the game itself, I think Liverpool were kept at arms length the entire match with De Gea never troubled, 1 shot on target in the entire 90 tells its own story. United on the other hand created a couple of really good chances as well as having a goal ruled out (correctly) for offside. I think Liverpool were lucky to end the game with 11 as Milner and Henderson could of both seen red if the ref was anyone other than Michael Oliver.

My last point has to be the utter despicable Michael Owen and his commentary paraphrased here “If I was Klopp I would be telling my players to kick Rashford on his already injured ankle the first chance I get” this from a player who has suffered his fair share of injuries actually advocating the purposeful injuring of a young player is an absolute disgrace.
Paul Murphy, Manchester


Great performance from every United player today. We’re not a title challenging side yet but we’re not that far off. Shaw hardly put a foot wrong all game and Lindelof proved yet again that he’s maturing into our calmest and most reliable defender. Mention to Pogba who was disciplined and creative at the same time.

However my main point is the disgraceful tactics employed by Klopp to physically take out Rashford by any means possible.  Guardiola gets pelters for tactical fouling but that’s zonal. This was personal. Henderson,  Milner and Shaqiri all deliberately went out to hurt him. Credit to Rash for keeping cool but also for playing the full 90 clearly in pain. Proud of them all.
Steve (ex-Flixton Red ), Guelph,  ON


So United played without Martial and Matic, lost Herrera after 21 minutes, got a contribution of 43 minutes from Mata and Lingard combined, and had Rashford severely compromised for almost the entire game due to an ankle injury.  That’s almost half the first team.  If ever there was a situation in which a championship chasing Liverpool should have been looking to beat United at Old Trafford it was this game.  But Liverpool had just 1 shot on target throughout the whole game, and United were the only team that looked likely to score.

So the Ole/Mike Phelan team passes another test of tactics with flying colors.  What I particularly liked was Ole’s air of positivity throughout.  He was keen to emphasize that he has good players throughout the squad, and the players responded to that message.  If prima donna sulky boots had still been in charge he would have had his excuses all lined up in advance, managed the game in damage limitation mode, transmitted that lack of confidence in his players, and lost ignominiously.

Ole is just so right for United.
Martin (Ed, sort out the DoF job description NOW) Levi, Ramat Gan


New Year, sh*te Liverpool
Thought our keeper was outstanding (the one time he needed to be), central defence was excellent and the midfield had a lot of bite to it but little creativity. Think we really missed Keita today although I can understand why Klopp went for Wijnaldum and Henderson in front of Fabinho.

Milner and Salah were both awful. Milner made lots of exciting movement but with the ball in the final third was so wasteful and poor. I know Trent is just back from injury and wasn’t much better against Bayern but the majority of our attacks broke down on that side and both Milner and Salah were guilty of wasting everything that came their way.

It was a real shame to lose Firmino but Klopp was silly to bring on Sturridge. Since November he pretty much hasn’t played so clearly Klopp doesn’t fancy him which is fine. But if that’s the case then don’t bring him on at OT with an hour to play, back yourself and bring on the players who have minutes in their legs like Origi or Shaq.

Losing would’ve been quite awful so in many respects a draw is a decent result; it leaves us top of the league by a point and Man City have to go to OT and play Spurs still. The more worrying thing is that we have been total poo in 2019. I will put some of it down to having no proper right back for ages but our attack looks increasingly blunt. We desperately need to find an answer to start playing more creative football.
Minty, LFC


Turds, horse sh$t, disgusting excuse of a performance. But;

‘We are top of the league, we are top of the league…’
Barry, LFC


Half a Rashford > a full Sturridge
The glass half full contingent will argue that top of the league and a draw at Old Trafford isn’t a bad result. The glass half empty side will counter with the argument that it isn’t even a glass but a toilet bowl and Liverpool’s title dreams are circling the drain along with Daniel Sturridge’s career.

I mean honestly, what did Jurgen Klopp expect when he opted to replace Roberto Firmino with a striker whose claim to fame would be for making a whole lot of money from one really good loan spell at Bolton a hundred years ago, and one superb season trailing along in Luis Suarez’s whirling dervish slipstream a half a decade ago? Admittedly Divock Origi is no Ian Rush, but at least he has pace and power and offers half an aerial threat in the box. I think Joel Matip spent more time in United’s box than Sturridge. Now that Solanke’s been given up on and cast away perhaps that’s an option for the future. Matip’s canoe shoes pose as much of a threat offensively as Sturridge and far less of a threat to The Red’s in their own area.

The one sure takeaway from this game has to be that Marcus Rashford hobbling about on one foot is twice the player Daniel Sturridge is swanning around on his two healthy ones. It feels almost sacrilegious to say this, but the second takeaway from Sunday has to be that if so many of us already suspected that, how could Klopp not know it for certain?


What is a Scott McTominay?
What is the point of McTominay exactly please? Liverpool’s first counter attack of the match and I could see him sauntering back to the edge of the area, nary a man in sight to mark and no urgency at all in wanting to get back. When I pointed this out to a friend, he tried to defend him by saying that even Fletcher took a couple of years to step up. But as the game progressed, even he had to admit – there was nothing at all that Scott McTominay did which provided a clue to his role in the starting eleven.

Hardly a tackle put in. No real presence in closing down opponents. Not a single key pass that I could recollect. Nearly gave away a penalty while defending at corners.

It’s easy being harsh on a youngster being asked to perform at DM against your bitter rivals and I don’t blame him for having come up the ranks at a time when United have been so rudderless but it does look like Jose’s words were his comfort blanket and the lad himself is confused as to what sort of a player he’s meant to be.

Surely if you’re being asked to play DM you need to get a tackle in here and there. Ole just compared to him Fletcher in the post match interview but I feel he’s still got a lot of development to do before he can truly be compared to someone like that.

Bringing Lingard on was a daft decision – another learning experience for Ole. It will be interesting to see how he approaches the second leg at PSG without Matic and Pogba.

Which brings me to the sight of Pogba putting a tackle in on Milner and then berating Sanchez for not tracking back. Six months ago I would have put money on the reverse happening – says a lot about both players’ current mindset and form.

All in all a truly weird game – Liverpool strangely deciding to respect United despite the first half injuries and United were brilliant in reorganising after the injuries.


Magic Gini
Wijnaldum is going to Barca isn’t he. He’s that good.
Sam, LFC


Milner is Emre Can in disguise
My wife has no interest in football so you’re getting a few mails from me this afternoon.

Turns out thumbing a keypad on an iPhone is easier when you’re got no nails left on your thumbs.

Let’s please be clear. I love James. Great servant of Liverpool, great servant of all his clubs and indeed football itself.

But his last few games…he’s just Emre Can indisgguise. Poor touches, slow, misreading flights or bounces of balls, holding crosses when he needs to hit them first time.

So what if he’s the fittest and has the best banter on Instagram. We need more.
Sam, LFC


Six conclusions
1) Well, that was boring. Contests between Liverpool and United tend to be tense affairs and this one was no different. Both teams were too scared to lose and despite United’s injury problems, Klopp clearly wanted to play it safe i.e. avoid any potential injury to Trent, Hendo marking Pogba and Robbo staying back barring the last 15 minutes.

2) That said and I was going to say this regardless of the outcome, I hope these two clubs lead the title charge next season. I say this because of the anticipation that this game usually brings about. It remains the only game my wife will allow me to shout like a maniac and the only game she can sense is coming up a few days in advance.

3) A lot of things have gone against Jose since his sacking, but had United won this 1-0, it would have been the absolute peak. Injury problems, missing 3-4 starters, backs to the wall defending, Pogba playing a phenomenal disciplined game and leading the charge on the counter…. it was everything Jose represents and it is a shame he could not get this out of this United squad.

4) As for Liverpool, I would hardly agree that we are petering out despite our 3 draws in the last four games. Barring the Leicester one at home, the other two represents good value and something expected over the course of a long season. What Klopp has managed to do is to ensure that his squad has the stamina till May. And that is why he constantly stresses on forming a base on which they can build. Yes, Liverpool have been excellent only in parts ( and contrary to popular belief, we were only excellent in parts as well last season), but they have otherwise been so solid and so difficult to beat.

5) Like Carra said, the next two games could be vital. Get 6 points there, hope Spurs fall away a bit more and hope City’s injuries and long schedule catches up with them. The last nine games can then be approached like a sprint.

6) One area of worry (other than our lack of midfield nous since Coutinho left) is the form of our front 3. I said earlier in the season that Salah will still score 25 goals but is not a player of the level of Hazard let alone Messi. Getting to 44 goals was always going to be impossible.

The problem is with Firmino. When he is unable to form the link between midfield and attack and play on the half turn like F365 said, we do not look as potent and those lightning quick exchanges of last season seem to be missing.

It is an area Klopp will look to work on in the off season. Till then, all we can do is hope and pray. And of course, enjoy this magnificent ride.
Sid, LFC, India ( Kepa is an absolute disgrace)


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