Liverpool should play or p*ss off, Man Utd embarrassment and…

Date published: Wednesday 5th January 2022 8:39 - Editor F365

Simon Jordan criticises Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool’s request for League Cup postponement is the ‘ultimate piss-take’. Keep your mails coming to theeditor@football365.com.

 

Liverpool’s League Cup piss-take
Just seen the report that Liverpool have requested postponement of the EFL Cup game against Arsenal due to reportedly three (yes three!) players being unavailable to COVID.

This appears to be the ultimate piss-take gamesmanship from the a club I generally hold in high regard.  I struggle to believe and accept that one of the wealthiest clubs in the land can’t cope with missing three players; regardless of AFCON commitments and whatever injuries they may have.

The irony is that this fixture is being played nearly a year after Liverpool chose to play (and beat) Shrewsbury Town in an FA Cup 4th round reply with their u23s. Demonstrating they could field a team if required. Also, one of the players unavailable through COVID (Alisson) has not even appeared in the competition thus far!

I hope that the EFL take a robust attitude to such frivolous requests bordering on the ludicrous. Otherwise, kicking a can load of fixtures down the road will just create worse problems later in the season.

Yours
Ollie ‘I need my Thursday Arsenal dose’ P

 

Liverpool exaggeration
So Liverpool are trying to get the League Cup semi postponed because of more Covid cases.  I’m all for protecting everyone if players are testing positive but there doesn’t appear to be much transparency and a cynic would suggest teams could be exaggerating their plight in order to get a game called off when they might be missing some big name players.  There also seems to be cases of different teams being made to play and some getting games called off.

My understanding is teams need 14 fit players which includes a GK in order to play.  I think there is something about any young players being used having the ‘right experience’.  Well in Liverpool’s last round game against Leicester the following players made their matchday squad: Bradley, Koumetio, Morton, Williams, Gordon, Beck, Quansah, Woltman, Filho – that is 9 players, I’m assuming youngsters who were deemed ready to play a League Cup Quarter Final. If we discount Salah/Mané/Keita as they’re away at the ACN there were a further 13 players who played the game vs Chelsea. So that is 22 players, 23 if we count Robertson back from suspension as he made neither squad for the 2 games noted.
So that would mean Liverpool would need a further 10 covid cases on top of what they already have to not fulfil the fixture – and it could be argued if they were able to put out 9 U23 players in the last round they should be able to dip in to that group of healthy players again.
Salah and Mane haven’t played a minute (or even made the bench) of any League Cup game so far this season so their absence is a moot point for this competition.
I get that having to play games without some of your best players because they have caught covid isn’t ideal or even that fair but why should the semi final first leg v Arsenal be called off if there are plenty of U23 players that can be called upon.  Other teams have had to play on and dropped points or get knocked out of cup competitions (or even ‘forced’ to forfiet a game!) because of covid.  It is becoming a bit farcical how teams are declaring they don’t even have 14 fit professionals to play a game when they’re quite happy to throw U23 players in to games when it suits them.
Rich, AFC


READ MORE: Football365’s top ten predictions for 2022


 

Play or get knocked out
Just noted that Liverpool are trying to postpone league cup semi final on Thursday.

Should play or be automatically knocked out. I seem to remember Liverpool playing villa in league cup with a team of under 23s. When it suited them as the main squad (25 players) were playing in club world championship.

So, in short Jurgen play the under 23s. Or have they all got Covid as well ?

I don’t blame them, Newcastle set the precedent by clearly exaggerating their concerns meaning they will have two extra games with a whole new squad of players but I expect more from my team.

Disappointed to be a Liverpool fan tonight.
Ade (7 is coming ) Guildford 

 

Has the Premier League ever been stronger?
Many things are now increasingly clear. Manchester City are going to win the league – because they’re an exceptionally good, wonderfully well-coached side that have a lot of practice at winning the league. Alas, it’s not an awful lot more complicated than that. If Pep can turn the overthinking part of his brain off before the business end of the Champions League, he can win that as well. Or maybe he could isolate with Covid and his annual mind spasms can be kept away from the team. But he’s a fantastic coach with a club that’s designed around his needs and backs him completely. That won’t change next year either.

Liverpool will come 2nd. This is not an indictment on anyone involved, there have been many other Premier League years this Liverpool side would have won handily. Our devotion to full-on attacking is wonderful to watch and much more often than not very successful. But there are gaps left as a consequence and if we don’t quite fire, they can be exploited. That said, we’ve had precisely 1 shite performance in the league this year – against Leicester – and that’s it. Hard to argue with that. But we seem to need City to have an off year for us to win the league and that doesn’t happen nearly often enough. Focusing on the cups will be our ticket to a successful season.

Chelsea will come 3rd – though they are not worse than Liverpool. But the annual player v coach rumbles have begun and these never help anyone or end well. Clearly the right thing to do is to back Tuchel over Lukaku, but this does not mean it will happen. As Manchester United will tell you, locating a world class coach is not easy – so you hold on to one when you have them. But Roman is going to Roman and winning the Champion’s League is no guarantee of job security.

4th will be…..interesting! It will not be Manchester United. There was a reason Ralf never had a substantial job before – even at the German big boys. It’s because he isn’t good enough and at 63 years of age he will not be getting better. The end, full stop, see you later. West Ham and David Moyes will not have the legs to make it, though it would be terrific if they did. But they are competing against four world class coaches at big clubs at the same time – hardly fair really is it?

The fourth of these world class coaches is Conte at Spurs and the job he’s doing there is nothing short of bloody impressive. Tottenham will never be *Spursy* with Antonio in charge. And I believe what he’s doing will be enough for that 4th place, though it will be close. It’s extremely amusing to watch Arteta in 4th currently, considering the start he had and how close he came to the sack.  Arsenal trusted the process thoyugh and look how that worked. Clearly the boy Arteta has amazing potential and really can be someone going forward with some experience under his belt. Good for him.

But Conte is that someone now . And when the pressure hits, that will be what counts. Can he win the league with Tottenham next year? Give him a pre-season and some decent investment and he can compete. Before he loses his head and falls out spectacularly with Levy.

It’s been a bloody good season so far and the Premier League has rarely seemed stronger compared to their European counterparts.

With the obvious exception of United  – who have never needed to get their next appointment right more than the one which is coming up this summer.
James, Liverpool

 

Maguire leads Man United embarrassments
So, after witnessing a pretty one sided first half in which Wolves played around with United and probably should have scored once or twice, I wasn’t entirely surprised by the result or performance against Wolves. Defensively I think United have improved and the sooner Lindelof comes back and starts at the back with Varane, the better. Out of the two defenders, they are the best CB’s out of the lot in terms of technique and composure. Maguire right now looks like someone who is attempting to run while having a rope attached to his hips being pulled back by someone else while trying to kick a football around, it actually scares me whenever he is near the ball. Bailly is a wild card, has his moments but overall, just too rash and lacks concentration. And it got so bad for United and the rest of the team yesterday that Phil Jones was our best player. A player who hadn’t played a football match for 2 years. Fair play to the guy for dealing with the pressure, playing 90 mins in the middle of the season, and playing that well. But I think it paints the picture all over for United when he is your best player in a 1-0 home defeat where we couldn’t string together more than 3 successful passes in a row.

I know a bit of a rant, but the reason I am on about this is because its painfully embarrassing for United as a club now. Even still mocked until Ole despite finishing 2nd & 3rd, United are becoming even worse once again. Defensively fragile, lack of attacking threat (Not too sure what has happened to Rashford/Fernandes, but not performing) and no confidence in the team. But hey, majority of the players are there purely at the club for money and so long as there is Champions League football to play in, our best players will probably stay. Ragnick is only in as Interim until the end of the season, so are the players really going to take him seriously? They know average results will most likely result in a replacement in the summer, so the players won’t be fussed unless something changes attitude wise in the dressing room and until the end of the season. The club needs to find stability and results, and fast otherwise the season will be over by the end of February.

As for Manchester City, got to say they are running away with the league with the great football they have been playing and will probably win it by the end of the season. Despite being 2nd best against Arsenal, something you don’t say about City at all really with Pep doing his bits, but does go to show the potential Arsenal have and the young team that they have. But as for City, they can win 5-0 home or away playing with such immense flair and energy moving off the ball or win a scrappy 1-0 or 2-1 win as shown against Brentford & Arsenal, respectively. Basically, Pep has mastered the Premier League now and essentially can choose two different starting XI’s to win it with, mind you with some pretty good players at his disposal too. However, he has brought in players he wanted to bring in and knew would blossom in a team managed by him.  An identity shown by Manchester City, something United completely lack right now and will do for a while with the way things are going. I personally like Klopp & Liverpool more as a team and just think what he has done at Liverpool was harder with what he started with. I think the way Klopp has built that team with the resources given to him has been outstanding and very good from a selective point of view and made sure that those players would develop into the reliable and quality players (E.g. Fabinho, Van Dijk, TAA, Robertson etc) in being able to challenge for the top prizes. I think Liverpool have missed the chance to stay in the title race this year though and look to be lacking the consistency City are showing and perhaps an overreliance on players like Salah so they need a good summer in bringing a few players in. But you never know what happens with 20 games to go. City are clear favorites now and have the momentum, so they would need to fuck up spectacularly for someone else to win it!
Rami, Manchester

 

Rangnick time
It’s always nice when you see people gloating over United losing a game. The nonsense about Rangnick being a fraud is funny though.

As was clear to all, his appointment wasn’t just going to be about changing our tactics but fixing the squad deficiencies.

In terms of the changed tactics, particularly the high press, this is something that doesn’t happen overnight, and often requires new personnel if the current set can’t / won’t do it. The window has only just opened, let’s see what transfers are made before we call that, I think. Are we going to rewrite history and pretend that Klopp came in and instantly won the league in a few weeks? He bought about 30 players to build the squad that finally won. And it has been widely understood that the training took a while to bed in.

This last game was frustrating, there is no doubt. There have been some good bits, but one thing remains fundamentally clear – United need a CDM who can last an entire game. And putting Rashford or Greenwood as wingers/wing-forwards doesn’t make the best of them.

Matic was a revelation in the previous game, where there was a lot more space, but even then he ran out of steam (and so did the rest of the team as a result) by about 50 minutes. However, it showed the importance of that role (as if we didn’t already know). Cavani is a great guy, chases beyond his years but his touch and threat has diminished (as was expected, hence the 1 year extension). Ronaldo continues to do what he does, but currently without the finishing.

The whole side needs some work and is unbalanced, with square pegs in round holes. Call him a fraud if you wish, but it takes time to change things. And signings that meet the actual needs of the side
Badwolf (still just need a CDM and maybe a high energy pressing CAM).

 

Accept and embrace Man United limitations
As a Man United supporter, it’s fellow “fans” like John, Dublin, that really sully my love for the game. Always demanding instant success. Never sated by Olė getting second, or van Gaal winning only the FA Cup, or SAF not signing the world class midfielder that they constantly bleated for.

Support the team. Accept and embrace the limitations. And rejoice in the fact that we got to see the wonderful Phil Jones back on the pitch.
David, Atlanta (my brother holds similar muck views)

 

England excitement
A number of dilemmas seem to be emerging/sorting themselves out for Gareth in the second half of the Premier League season.

  • If Conte turns Dier into a proper centre back, will he return?
  • We will always have that Ramos tackle, but if Eric learns to defend, adding some feral to the collection of mummies boys currently in place has to be appealing?
  • Pep’s England wingers – Pep has 3 England left-wingers including his £100m vanity project. How he fits them into a functioning team will pretty much shape England’s selection. Also, if Grealish doesn’t make it happen for Pep, why would Gareth bother?
  • Wingbacks. Trippier’s return won’t make selection easier, although the MC brainfart/recovery pace unicycle act should at some point retire. TAA and James stepping up a gear can’t be ignored either. This one’s going to be tough.
  • At this rate, Saka vs Sancho for the right-wing spot could be over before it starts.
  • Similarly, Ramsdale vs Pickford is heading in that direction.
  • At some point, like a young Gerrard, Bellingham will just drop into the starting No.8 role. At that point, the cards will have to fall as they may.
  • The addition of Bowen to the mix won’t help either. Tough management decisions and tactical clarity will be needed by a guy who tends to freeze like a rabbit in the headlights.

Exciting times,
Matthew (ITFC)

 

Pro-vaxxer donuts
Heres a simple question I’d like to ask all you pro-vaxxers(John Nic) & Mr Klopp and his squad of vaxxed players!,
How is it possible that they’re now testing “positive” and feeling unwell and requesting games be postponed because of they’re “covid” ravaged squad, please enlighten me? seeing as you all believe you have to be tested to know if you carry something with symptoms that resemble the flu. Never endorse something that needs Govt coercion and millions in advertising to convince you take something, you dont need.
Its hysterical walking around shops & seeing obese people wearing a diaper because you know, their health. I have not worn one once since this whole thing started, nor have i been unwell, only time i was unwell was because of being hungover. Eat your mcdonalds,kfc, and all that rubbish while wearing a mask, because breathing in your own bodily fluid is healthy, bunch of donuts.
Leo Kerrison

 

Kicking the ball away
There have been a couple of interesting mails recently about various gripes with the way matches are officiated. Another one that massively annoys me is when players are almost never penalised for deliberately knocking the ball away after a foul is awarded against them, thereby buying time for the defending team to reorganise.

I was watching my sister play hockey the other week and her team conceded from a move that started with a quickly taken free hit, following a foul she committed around the half way line. After the game, I asked her why she didn’t knock the ball away after she made the foul. Answer – because you would be immediately sin binned. Whether sin bins should be introduced in football is a debate for another day but surely yellow cards should be issued far more frequently for this blatant and cynical form of cheating?
Tony (New Forest)

 

Nailing Everton
All I’ve got to say about Ian King’s article about Everton?

Nail.  Meet hammer.
TX Bill EFC

 

Dan Storey, the ‘highfalutin opportunist’
Surely Aaron cfc Ireland in yesterday’s mailbox is mistaking Will Ford for that highfalutin opportunist who used to hang around these parts called Daniel Storey.
Finlay x

 

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