Should Liverpool have beaten Manchester City? Should Vincenzo Italiano replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man Utd? Send your thoughts to email@example.com…
Liverpool vs Man City
Should have beaten the soulless ones from Manchester, but at the end of the day, avoiding defeat against City was the number one task. Salah another goal and assist, think it’s now 7 in a row he has scored in all competitions. Him and Mane also looking much more compatible at the moment.
Thought Milner v Foden was a good battle, Foden won it on points. Milner should have been posted, it’s amazing how much leniency the seasoned players get from referees. Especially the English ones. Excellent finish by Foden as well. Didn’t see much of Grealish. Was strange with the substitutes, Jones was struggling but JK kept him on. Pep also only made one change. 4 lovely goals in total. Oh and how good is Bernardo Silva’s dribbling?
From their warm embrace after the game it seems to me that Klopp and Guardiola genuinely relish playing against each other and that there is plenty respect. Thanks for the entertainment.
Shout out too to Andros doing the Ronaldo celebration at Old Trafford.
Wik, Pretoria (imagine you genuinely thought Gary Neville was the best RB you’ve ever seen play for your club), LFC
That Liverpool-City game was an absolute corker. It had pretty much everything – two great teams, led by two supreme coaches, 3 very well worked goals, and that moment of pure magic from Salah. The only thing missing was a stoppage time winner, or a red card, and we could conceivably have had both!
I don’t see how anyone who watched that match could look past these 2 as the favourites to slug it out for the title. At full strength, they are unequivocally the best teams in the league. As a United fan, I’ve heard so much talk about how we’re expected to be in the race, but that’s incredibly unrealistic. The coaching is nowhere near up to scratch (to say the least), and the squad has a gaping hole in midfield which has been repeatedly exploited by the opposition, and that will almost certainly happen many more times between now and May. Stoppage time Ronaldo winners might help us shithouse our way to a cup win at best, but winning the league requires consistency, of which we have none at the moment.
Chelsea are probably the only team who look like they could conceivably throw their hat into the ring. And while they’re top for now, barring injuries, it feels very much like another season of either Liverpool or City pulling away around December, and the other trying to keep pace until the final weeks. Guardiola vs Klopp has been something like the managerial equivalent of the Messi-Ronaldo battle in Spain over the years, and the Premier League will be far poorer when they eventually decide to leave.
DJ, MUFC (Salah is a special, special player) India
Say what you want about the Milner decision but Pep should have seen a straight red for his choice in footwear.
Jason G. Montreal,Canada
Tierney must be embarrassed.
First ref ever to not send a player off who made a foul while already on a booking. Funny how this weekend last year VVD had his season ended by a 2 footed lunge from a thug keeper who wasn’t even booked and Liverpool fans were told “the decision has been made,move on.”
Love Pep blaming Anfield for the decision. Anfield was the reason Southampton didn’t get a penalty and Kyle Walker wasn’t sent off too was it?. And why KDB wasn’t sent off v PSG. And if refs sent every player off for making fouls when they’re already on a yellow Fernandinho would be sent off every game he played.
So, every neutral fan watching thought Milner’s foul whilst on a booking was a yellow. Every pundit watching thought it was a yellow. Every journalist writing and live reporting thought it was a yellow. The ref didn’t.
Why can’t we just call it out explicitly? The ref bottled it. Plain and simple. Liverpool, at home vs City, he bottled it. It’s not really a grey area, it was a straight booking which the ref didn’t want to give. But you can bet your bottom dollar if that was a Brentford player at West Ham yesterday, or Leicester vs Palace, it would have been given.
It’s things like this that frustrate the neutrals. That decision was 100% influenced by the time/place/setting/teams and not on the game itself. And the ref should be dropped for making such an obvious error in a high profile match. It’s got nothing to do with VAR (for a change), it’s the standard of refereeing. Inexplicable.
Anyway, at least Spurs won.
In all the focus on Milner’s lack of a second yellow and general struggles yesterday, it seems a bit odd that F365 didn’t mention the absence of TAA in its 16 conclusions (the obvious conclusion being that Liverpool need some proper cover at right back). Not only would he likely have fared better defensively than a 35 yr old utility man (cue mockery from the blind-to-statistics ‘Trent can’t defend’ camp…), he would have carried an infinitely greater attacking threat, not least from set pieces. Looking at it another way, this would have been a different game if Trent had played but Fernandinho (or even Ake) had had to fill in for Walker or Cancelo (although Fernandinho may be the only player on a par with Milner at avoiding clear yellow cards). It’s no secret that TAA is vital to the way Liverpool play, so I reckon his absence alone makes this a better point for Liverpool than for City – strange that it wasn’t part of the post-game analysis.
I am so bored with refereeing inquests dominating recent City vs Liverpool matches.
For the avoidance of any doubt, James Milner was an extremely lucky boy yesterday. In 2019, Vincent Kompany got the benefit of not a huge amount of doubt and then rubbed salt in the wounds by playing like a God for the 60 minutes another referee might not have allowed him to play.
But if you think Kompany got lucky, then you are forced to admit that in April 2014 with both clubs going for the title, Luis Suarez should have been walked for two yellows at Anfield. He wasn’t.
A famous 2018 Champions League quarter final in 2018 might have looked very different had VAR been operational (Liverpool’s first goal wouldn’t have made it through, but the Gabriel Jesus disallowed goal in the second half looked offside to the naked eye but not to the camera)
The November 2019 match featured a series of calls in the Liverpool penalty area that had they been at the other end would have been viewed very differently by some of the contributors on here.
Rather ironically, Raheem Sterling was pretty obviously onside when his goal for Liverpool against City in 2013 was chalked off (this is a rare example in the wild of a fan thinking their own team caught a break – admitting this does improve the credibility of an argument)
But in the end, did any of this matter?
A draw yesterday was not a miscarriage of justice and both sides will not be unhappy. In the Kompany game, City probably just deserved to a win an exceptional, very tight match. A night match and an extremely noisy stadium may have given them an edge – a concept Liverpool fans may be familiar with. In 2014, Liverpool were maybe slightly lucky but City’s defending that day was the bigger reason why they lost and maybe the luck they had with the disallowed Sterling goal earlier in the season evened itself out. In the UCL quarter final, the better side won, even if the margin of victory was a little generous. Much the same could be said of November 2019, although the non-award of a penalty when the ball incontestably hit the defender’s hand away from his body which led directly to a kind bounce to launch a counter attack that led to a goal at the other end was a pivotal moment (a bit like the Kompany call).
Time to move on. Let’s celebrate the fact that for long periods of that match, City gave Liverpool a lesson, but equally Salah scored one of the best goals I have ever seen against my club. I can be a real Bert at times, but when that goal went in, I could recognise that I had seen something special and I am not really interested in inquesting our defending. I was disappointed but not angry and could acknowledge the magnificence of what I had just seen. It was just a brilliant goal scored in a match between two brilliant sides.
Talking Solskjaer replacements…
I say it again, I don’t think Ole needs to be sacked or should be sacked and I don’t want him sacked. I know it pains him more than anyone to see man utd falling behind and I hope he can do more about it than you and I imagine.
Anyway, it’s a fun game so how about talking replacement options, some very interesting suggestions and for the most part, good suggestions but let’s see,
– Antonio Conte: The man who would be front runner for the job should the worst happen, he brings a functional system, character and a strong will, an uncanny ability to get something close to the best out of players, a clear identity and a guarantee of a title challenge.
• He may decide he doesn’t want anyone below the age of 28.
• He may play wingers as wing backs which is not so cool.
• If exciting, attacking, pacy, and preferably possession football is what you want, stay away from this guy.
• If bringing up youth, having an eye for the future and thinking long term is what you want, stay away from this guy.
• If the champions league is what you seek, stay away from this guy.
I don’t think the last point matters though, it’s just a historical reference.
– Zinedine Zidane: Zidane probably means “to win” in some language, not in the Mourinho sense of it. An excellent man manager and a generally quite attacking style. If United fans seek to go far in the big competitions, Zidane is your man. Frankly, I think this will be a better appointment than Conte but
• If you seek to challenge for the lesser cups if you can call them that, stay away.
• If you seek a pattern of play, a system or suburb structure and automatisms, stay away from this friend.
• If you seek a long term plan and your owners are you know…. stay away.
– Ernesto Valverde: I also see no problem with this appointment but I find it hard to call him a top tier coach, I never thought Valverde did bad at barcelona and even though he blew leads he shouldn’t have, barcelona still had confidence in those days. But in hindsight, he might have done a brilliant job, he made the la liga the norm and they felt they were more than that, serves them right. He might just be an inspired appointment. But…
• One can’t help but ask about the avoidable champions league failures, they didn’t deserve to lose 4-0 to liverpool but they didn’t deserve to win 3-0 either, is he really at a level high enough to compete with Klopp and Pep?
• Has he even the slightest clue of what man-management is?
– Graham Potter: If by any chance, man utd appoint this man, then, they would have far exceeded my expectations, Potter is a good coach, I have no complaints, even with Brighton, he goes toe to toe with almost any club, Spurs should have given this man the job but for United, he ticks every box.
– Erik Ten Hag: Last, and my favourite candidate, Erik Ten Hag, I said I have no complaints with Potter, but I think any big club will have this man at the top of their wishlist, a sensible but with United, impossible scenario will just be to let Solskjaer go, appoint a caretaker, and at the same time declare that Ten Hag will be taking over from the beginning of next season. But this is United we are talking about.
Notable mentions go to Hansi Flick (the perfect fit for United if you ask me), Luis Enrique (the perfect fit for the big names they have), Roberto Mancini (would be interesting), Laurent Blanc (an out of work interesting former player) and the caretaker who will take over (he might just become their Hansi Flick). (Recent appointments like Nagelsmann were omitted from the options except in the case of international managers as they mostly become poachable after the world cup, managers of rivals were also omitted).
Still, I will say again, Solskjaer remaining is fine by me, he is not above being sacked, he has to solve the problems because they exist, how he goes about doing that is his job, as long as they are solved. I never said he has to win anything. Just make sure United look like a team that can compete on equal terms against the best 80% of the time, top coaches can do that and if Solskjaer is not already a top coach, I think he can become one.
Here’s a left field candidate for the United job if Ole is indeed to be Out, Vicenzo Italiano. Who’s he?, I hear you say. He’s the current manager of Fiorentina. 43 years old, in his 4th year of senior management. Took Trapani from Serie C to B in his first year, then took Spezia from Serie B to A in his second year, and subsequently kept them in Serie A in his 3rd year. Moved from Spezia to Fiorentina this season and, so far, has got a decent start from a very average Viola team. Has a Pep-like approach with a knack of getting his teams to gel. Also plied his trade as a midfielder so knows the importance of a solid midfield (hello, Ole).
A quick second point: Donny Van De Beek is mobile, technical, and a very tidy passer. United should try him in the holding midfield role, rather than use him as a Bruno alternative. Would he be any worse than one of McFred?
The Ole Countdown
I love Manchester United. I have mostly hated watching Manchester United this season. Other than the games against Leeds & Newcastle which felt like a dream, United were easily the second best team in all the other games, in all the competitions we played in. Frankly, we were getting easily dominated and smashed across the park in all matches.
Pogba is one of the worst players to ever play for United, hear me out. Not based on talent (He is plenty talented), but based on team chemistry. He usually shows up thrice a year to add gloss to a game already won, and then disappeares into Cleverly level of mediocrity throughout the season, he is the reason we lose most of our possession and i dont think United can win even the Audi cup as long as Paul is in the teamsheet. Pogba and United are not meant to be, lets set him free and let him win at PSG while we can create a better team without trying to have and forcefit him. Trying to force fit him in our midfield has set our team back years and years since we bought him.
AVB needs to be given an absolute stormer of a punishment for just the absolute trash quality of balls he can play, i can play better crosses and he is a fuckin premier league player, it is beyond me how someone can be so bad at making simple crosses. The second he touches the ball, is the second our attack is over.
Fred is Fred. He is playing the best he can, and I feel bad for him, but he needs to have a few matches out and Ole needs to grow a pair and give VDB +McT or whatever other combination a try. I do believe he has a place in the United squad but is being absolutely battered by Ole playing him day in day out no matter what the public perception is towards him. It must not be easy taking the pitch knowing millions across the world are treating you as a banter player, including your own fans. He needs a breather out of the spotlight.
Inspite of being horrifically bad and starting the season like shit, United find themselves JUST TWO points off the top. Admittedly with a tough fixture list to come, but if Ole can still within 5 points off the leaders come November end, he can keep the job. If he is 5-10 points, its on shaky grounds. And if he is 10+ points behind the leaders come November end, he needs to pack and leave or take up a DOF position. This team deserves more, and not to sound entitled but the fans sure as fuck deserve more.
The biggest criticism of Ole I have (and I love him) is that he seems a little spineless, and lets situations make decisions for him rather than use his own brains or try innovating. He is a nice guy but this United team needs someone who has the guts to remove a player (eg: Fred vs Wolves) on 30 mins as he is getting massacred, or change tact and stop giving AVB the ball in the attacking third and many such other changes.
This is the make or break of Ole’s career. He needs to get some fire in his belly, have the guts to bin Pogba & Fred, improve AVB or bin him too and pick a XI based on form & performance rather than a hope and a prayer.
Honestly, it is beyond me how these basic basic things escape Ole’s attention. I would like to know how many people in the mailbox think that THEY can do a better job than Ole, because absolutely no disrespect to Ole, I KNOW I can do a better job than him in terms of team selection, tactics and gameplay. The man cannot get the basics right of his team. Am i being stupid or is that what most of y’all feel?
But I can’t help but hope. So i hope to see United go on a good run & wishing Ole the best, in my mind he has till Nov end to prove himself. LETS GOOOOOO UNITED!!!
Aman (Gotta stay hopeful)
Oscillated better than undulated?
Long time reader, first time mailer. In 16 conclusions Liverpool vs City (which was an excellent read – thank you as always), on point 14, ‘and the game undulated as they both tried to push forward in search of a winning goal,’ don’t you think oscillated (move or swing back and forth in a regular rhythm.) would have been better than undulated (move or go with a smooth up-and-down motion) as football is played horizontally rather than vertically (except in the 80s! Ha!)?
I’ve never had anything useful to contribute from a general fan’s perspective but thought a vocabulary discussion (if you agree there is one to be had) was something I could add my tuppence to.
Thanks again for the excellent content over the years.
Rob, THFC (and vocabulary) fan, Devon.
No complaints about a 2-2 draw with City
As everyone else seems to be obsessed with crowbarring references to No Time To Die into footballing discourse, here’s mine. I think Cillian Murphy should be the next James Bond. The period headwear he sported as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders make him the perfect candidate for something as old hat as 007.
A few banters before we start. Shout out to Nathan Spafford, whose infinite wisdom led to him tweeting praise for Crystal Palace’s defence right before the game got underway; thanks to everyone who has been clamouring for Leicester City to play two strikers, of course it was going to work and trust this to be the match to prove it; finally, well done to F365’s man in Japan, who went to bed at half time.
*Palace v City is a curious rivalry – well, that’s perhaps a bit strong but go with it. For teams that have had such contrasting overall fortunes, the head to head record between them is surprisingly close: 29 wins for the Foxes, 27 for the Eagles and 20 draws. Since both teams were promoted to the Premier League, they had met 14 times: six wins apiece and two draws before yesterday’s encounter. More recently, Palace won four in a row when City had Harry Maguire in their central defence; his move to Old Trafford coincided with the Eagles ending a long hex that Manchester United held over them, but they haven’t managed to beat the Foxes since.
*Patrick Vieira kept faith with the same lineup that had succumbed to a late draw against Brighton & Hove Albion. There was a logic to this: generally speaking, Plan A has worked well this season, in that Palace have dominated possession and proactively created chances. This was the same here. One thing perhaps Vieira would change were he given a second chance would be to not use such a high defensive line, as Jamie Vardy in particular thrives in such conditions, but this would have meant changing the structure of the midfield and risked isolating the attackers.
*While Palace fans are used to a manager sticking with a tried and trusted starting XI, Vieira deserves praise for the way his substitutions changed the game. First, the introduction of Michael Olise (for Jordan Ayew) brought new energy and trickery to the right wing, where he would come up against Ryan Bertrand, who had been yellow-carded in the first half, and eventually Harvey Barnes was also cautioned for a foul on the youngster. Olise’s goal was well-taken, having the added bonus of getting under the radar sh!thouse Kasper Schmeichel really annoyed about something.
*Ayew is a frustrating player. His effort and commitment cannot be questioned, but as the first team has been upgraded in several positions since the summer, he stands out as his finishing and passing put him far below the standard of a lot of his teammates. When everybody is fit, it is unlikely he will start, so he is really a placeholder until Eberechi Eze is able to return to the side. However, after the match Vieira hinted that Olise would have his playing minutes and development carefully managed, at least in the short term, so it’s likely Ayew will still be in the team for the next match.
*Vieira’s second change was an incredibly bold call. Conor Gallagher has been the most important player for making the system work so far this season, so his withdrawal in favour of Jeffrey Schlupp with 20 minutes to go was a surprise. However, it was definitely a success. With Odsonne Edouard making a nuisance of himself in the City six-yard box, Schlupp found a pocket of space in which he could head home a rebound and level the scores. This tactical boldness will not pay off every time, but for now, fans are happy to back it as a change from the determined lack of willingness to roll the dice that hallmarked the previous regime.
*As disappointing as that was for City, at least it isn’t the biggest deficit Palace have clawed back to claim a point. I forget who was Liverpool manager at the time of that infamous game.
*So far this season the Eagles have seven points from seven games: one win, four draws, two losses. While Ian King and others might think this is a sign of a frustrating start to the season, it’s worth remembering that midtable teams attempting possession football tend to draw a lot of games. The visiting manager from this game is a good example: Brendan Rodgers’s tactics at Swansea City were described as “death by football”, such was their devotion to dominating the game through passing exchanges. Taking up the mantle, Michael Laudrup took the Swans to a successful season: ninth in the league and lifting the League Cup, but they drew more league games (13) than they won (11). It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Palace’s league record could look similar, if not as good, by the end of the season. In the meantime, there are still signs of progress being made, and as long as that continues, fans will be patient with the club.
*Next up for the Eagles, after the international break, is a trip to the Emirates to take on the Arsenal in a battle of two teams recently frustrated by Brighton & Hove.