One Mailbox contributer doubts Liverpool have what it takes to be Man City’s closest rivals again next season. Plus, views on England’s World Cup preparation, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Thomas Tuchel and more…
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It will be an unpopular opinion on this Liverpool loving site, but I don’t believe Liverpool will be the closest challengers to City this year.
To be honest, I’m not sure who will, but I fancy Liverpool will have one of those seasons where they recover from being near but not quite. They will probably still win a cup.
In the mix we have a Spurs side with Conte from the start (although whether he’ll be there by the end is anyone’s guess). We have an Arsenal side who have had some excellent young players get some solid experience. I don’t fancy their chances, but you never know. Chelsea have their off field nonsense and distraction resolved and I fancy will make some solid buys over the summer.
And of course United. Who knows what to expect here. New manager, lots of new additions, lots of chances for young players, lots of problematic players gone. But certainly it will be better than last year. If it clicks, they will certainly be there or abouts.
So please, can you stop with the Liverpool love in? We aren’t all fans of them, they aren’t everyone’s favourite second or third team. Their fans already think the sun shines out their arses, without you massaging their egos. Now, can we talk about their collapse and relative failure with their peak side? God knows you’d be putting the boot in with any other side in their position.
An obviously deluded reply to Barry Fox
In reply to ol’ Barry, while I strangely cannot fault most of the points you make, you’re so wrong in the conclusion you reach when you state that ‘Spurs have all the ingredients to win the league…’.
Spurs in fact have MANY of the ingredients needed to win the league, but one of the most crucial ones is sorely lacking. If the heavyweight boxing-style slogathon seasons of recent years have not shown dear Barry Fox the importance of the one thing Spurs lack – quality squad depth – then probably nothing will. Liverpool have had a first 11 of probably slightly better players than City in the past few years, but despite that City have edged them nearly every time. There could be any number of reasons for this, but one of them, to me is obvious – the level of substitute players Pep is able to count on versus those on Klopp’s roster. There is literally no football comparison between Mahrez and Minamino, for example, aside from the fact that they are both foreign and their surnames start with M. Give Klopp or Conte Pep’s bench, and I would back them for the league anyday. Otherwise, it’s no contest. Spurs indeed have many of the ingredients needed to win the league, but unless they can come up with near enough 8 international quality bench warmers (in a single window) to match City’s, they are no way going to. Still I’m (obviously) only a deluded fool, so who knows…
World Cup preparation
So we’re now three games away from the World Cup, presumably finely honing the system and players after 6 years in charge.
Positives – Reece James surely now has to play; Trippier surely doesn’t; nice to see Tomori start; nice to see England play without 5 defenders; Ramsdale looks good.
Negatives – The double-pivot anchor did its thing again, stopping England’s progression forward; giving Jude Bellingham as much game time as possible would seem sensible rather than a bit-part player like Prowse; Mason Mount is a conundrum – its possible that he isn’t the solution to any particular problem; Grealish looks to be the worst of three Man City left-wingers; it was a classic Southgate performance, poorly set up to start, and no in-game management to speak of, poor substitutions, no positive result. I suspect he would have taken the 0-0 beforehand.
I can’t wait to see three at the back against Iran.
Mo Salah’s Legacy
Just to chip in on the discussion on Salah’s legacy.
When Gerard slipped in 2014 I was sad more so than gutted. Sad because everything about that run seemed one off, a ridiculous front 3 with the best one set to move on, dynamic midfield, shit defence and a ropey goalkeeper. Nothing about it seemed sustainable, if not then when? City were going to keep adding quality Liverpool couldn’t afford, Chelsea were going to keep on winning stuff every other year despite themselves, United were going to strengthen and be a force again (may have been wrong on that one, didn’t see Leicester on the horizon either).
Roll on a few years and not only is Salah’s legacy secure, so is pretty much every member of the squad for the last few seasons, Shak for the cross against Barca, Gini for being Gini, Divock for obvious reasons. Hell even the Ox and Mini have had memorable moments. These boys have cemented their status by bringing Liverpool back as contenders. So if they make their life choices and move along on their own terms, fair play they have earned it.
Mel – Berlin, Dublin, Athlone Town
I still watch Michael Owen clips on you tube with joy (not his commentary) and he did everything possible to piss off Liverpool fans
Geez… didn’t know having an opinion on Salah was blasphemous. Reading the user comments and the mails that followed, I wanted to clarify some things:As mentioned in the first line of my mail, I am indebted to Salah for what he has done for the club. I just wished for a better outcome than what is seemingly playing out. To be clear, Salah staying is the best gift as a Reds fan(plastic I know).
Is Salah right in expecting a parity with the best? No doubts about it. Can we afford that? Doesn’t look like it. I want the man to have the pay he wants. I wondered if it would have been better if we could get a decent quid on our star player (a la Hazard from Chelsea to Madrid). Whether it’s this year or next, if Mo leaves, we have a huge gap to fill and any player coming in won’t be cheap. Following the team for more than 15 years now and I am painfully aware we have to sell before we buy. Being aware of that fact and fearing for what comes next is what was the point of my mail.
Looking at how Sadio has gone about his situation does leave a sense of regret. Salah transformed our attack to the most fearsome in PL but for me, Mane was the one who kickstarted it all. The guy is a dream of a player.
Finally, my thoughts may have been a bit over the top but hopefully, I managed to get the point across.
Vikas, LFC, India (Love how Mailbag can make you feel like a wizard one day and a complete fool the next 😅)
If ‘this means more’ than money for Mo,if Liverpool are looking to maintain a salary cap and if they want to build a legacy, is there a golden boot room solution?
If Liverpool are not willing to pay 500,000 a week for 3 years, might they pay 250,000 over 6 years? For Mo and Liverpool to consider a longer term role with the club?
Kildare County DC (LFC)
I place my trust in Tommy Tactics…
Being nearly 50 and a Chelsea fan I have seen almost all there is to see from my football club over the years.
From electric fences and being relegated by playoff to being the nouveau riche no history two-time Champions of Europe and genuine Premier League big club®.
What I haven’t really seem is a manager given control over how the team is composed and how they play. From the tightened purse strings in the 80’s to Abramovic buying his best mate Andriy Chelsea transfer activity has often been scatter gun and bizarre.
So if the latest rumours are to be believed and the new regime are giving the manager complete control over transfers then I for one will trust Tuchel with how he spends the money and will try and be better than a huge amount of fans and actually support the team.
Who knows they might end up in the overflowing Stamford Bridge Strikers graveyard. We all know that better men than Sterling and Jesus are buried there. But maybe just maybe trusting the guy who took a team who were floundering under super Frank to champions of Europe might be worth a go.
All the transfer trolls on twatter should probably shut up and react in hindsight rather than their flawed foresight.
Liverpool have a rebuild job as big as Man Utd’s?
I’m not usually one for football chat on a micro level, but Simon of Whitegate’s mail was all very weird and wrong but also, handily, chopped up into little bite size pieces, so I thought I should have a go.
‘The constant drip of briefings and rumours about Salah and Mane, makes me think that Liverpool have as big a rebuild job as ManU.,
Bollocks. Maybe the constant drip is in your basement as you’ve been underground for 6 months and not noticed all the other things that have been happening. I’m only joking. Basements can lovely.
‘Once elite players openly court favour from other teams, it is an unfortunate fact of modern life that you are better to let them go.’
Yep. That’s why we’re selling Manè to Bayern. Because he wants to go. They just have to pay the price and its not a big one. Easy.
‘Salah thinks he is worth 400 k a week – and he may well find someone willing to pay that.
The choice for Liverpool is – pay and then have a stream of other players asking for rises or let him go and chance their arm in the transfer market.’
Yes. And Liverpool have made that choice not to pay him insane money. For the reasons stated by you and more. Mo has said he’s staying so we can’t ‘let him go’ when there are no offers. He’s gonna go somewhere next year at 31 and get a massive deal. Liverpool will have had the best of both Mo and Manè so you take it on the chin.
And the last time Liverpool “chanced their arm” in the transfer market was about 6 years ago.
‘I think it’s is better to sell now and go on the hunt for the next crop of young talent. This shouldn’t worry Liverpool’
Way ahead of you Simon. We’re not worried. Manè is being sold and between January and June we will have brought in Diaz, Carvalho and Darwin Nunez. All young attacking players.
‘In order to fight battles on many fronts, you need at least 5 to 8 options for most positions across the team.’
A squad of 50 players would be insane but 80?!! I’m done. When has that ever happened?
Firmino is on the wane and Milner is ancient yes. Firmino will leave next season having probably played his fewest league minutes so the impact of that will be minimal. Milner is a rotation option at best. Back-up/standards setter more like. Perfect age and a wonderful example to every new player of what’s expected. No negatives there.
Then you make mention of the ages of VvD and Henderson. At 30 VvD has 3 years at least and Henderson will remain club captain and essential to the mix. No rush to get rid.
All our plans are being incremented slowly with no doubt a young midfielder next on the list. As shown by the bids for Tchouemani and constant Bellingham talk.
It’s all in hand my friend. United’s rebuild? For some reason I can hear Kevin McCloud saying ‘6 YEARS and 700 million pounds later, the old stately home is still here, the builders are still here, but Erik is long gone’ as a JCB drives past and dumps Frenkie De Jong into a skip.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
Brian Morrissey. (I’m going to look very silly if Manè stays and United snatch Nunez) Waterford
Spare a thought for Mane
Spare a thought for Mane. Story emerges that he wants to leave and then whoosh kapow and Nunez almost done for 85 million. Mane must be thinking Liverpool couldnt wait to get rid of him lol
If illegal streaming is a problem then it’s a symptom of two things –
Poverty and greed.
People who can afford to pay for legal streams do mostly. People who can’t get them illegally. If you want them to do it legally then one of two things needs to happen, either they earn more money or the premier League makes it cheaper.
Secondly the whole idea of being forced to pay for matches that I won’t watch to support other teams is bizarre. To demonstrate this lets apply the same thing elsewhere.
You’re at the cinema wanting to watch the new top gun movie but the only ticket in existence forces you to also buy tickets for 4 other movies that you won’t watch. You know…to support smaller movie makers.
You go to watch your favourite band at their latest show but that ticket forces you to pay for four other shows that you won’t attend…to support smaller festivals.
Imagine you rock up to the turnstile for city Vs Liverpool but in order to buy a ticket you must also pay for Leeds Vs villa, spurs Vs palace and wolves Vs Leicester, all of which you won’t be watching.
That’s what happens with current TV packages. This is a big part of why people are turning to piracy. Because it’s either pay for a bunch of games you didn’t ask for or care about OR pay for a match day ticket which is not far off the price of the month ticket.
The TV deals are killimg their own business. Just allow people a reasonable season ticket for their own teams games. If your immediate thought is – but that’s unfair to smaller teams – then why are you not also suggesting that turnstile tickets at the stadium are packaged together with 4 other matches on the same day like TV packages are? And ultimately isn’t it a clubs job to improve its own profile and acquire more fans?
Lastly this 3pm thing is nonsense. It doesn’t make people attend matches it just stops them from watching the game entirely. In most cases it changes nothing because big club stadiums are full anyway so if you want to apply it then at least only apply it to teams who dont fill their stadiums then it actually helps them, but I’d wager the vast majority of people who can’t watch on TV just don’t watch, and surely the goal should never be to stop fans from watching matches?
In response to Siddharth, you’ve said you’re more interested in the money aspect and go on to give examples of three players who are available for less than Nunez, quoting values from Transfermark. But if you visited Transfermarkt then you’re well aware Nunez is valued there at £49.5m and is clearly not available to buy for that amount so the idea the other players are cheaper when two are listed as more expensive is a bit nonsensical.
I came across an article about panenkas recently and my first thought was how much I love them. My second thought was about how successful they are. Are they more successful than a normal penalty? I am far too lazy to research this so am hoping someone from the esteemed mailbox can crunch some figures.
Also richarlison signing for spurs feels like a perfect singing as an arsenal fan. Can’t stand the man. Completely irrational hated but it is there and I would love to hate him that little bit more because he plays for spurs.
If Jesus and Tielemans sign for us are they slightly underwhelming? Jesus has never quite proved himself and Tielemans want great last year. Or is it that they are familiar and lack the excitement of being unknown? As long as we don’t sign morata I will be happy tbf.
Dave (don’t think we will make a many signings as we need) arsenal
The “England 2022 beats England 2021 and not just because Phil Neville has gone” headline startled me. I thought old Phil had finally fell off the England squad ladder. Long live number 50 Phil.
Edward Canhands (Brackets for the sake of brackets)
I bet I’m not the only one who finds themselves watching a sport other than footy and what transpires provokes a mail to the mailbox you desperately need to send. And then you remember F365 doesn’t exist for all the other sports. There is a cricket365 i belive but don’t think it’s as established as F365, not sure if it has a mailbox either. I mean, F365, not even Football365 anymore – no-one can top that
I think I’m going to start mailing these into F365 anyway just in casea, some of them have been absolute pearlers.
Jon, Cape Town (hope it’s not just me. NZ 84-1 as I type, I think Stokes and co are going to find NZ a tough proposition for the rest of the tour)