Liverpool might need to live without Salah and Mane, even though they have been part of making this Liverpool side great.
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Time for change at Liverpool?
Football can be a ruthless sport sometimes.
Players who have been celebrated and idolised by clubs and their fans threaten to score own goals if they can’t leave the club. Clubs who you have given everything for will discard you at a moment’s notice if it suits them.
Fans who a few weeks ago had changed your name suddenly boo and hiss and chant cruel songs about how poor you are.
There’s not a lot of room for sentimentality in football, not it you want to win. With that in mind I think Liverpool should give both Mane and Salah their wish this summer. I think our time together has come to an end.
Anyone who disagrees should consider that Salah barely scored since Feb and missed tons of easy chances.
Mane has been decent this year when playing for a transfer but the two years before has been very poor.
And both of them failed to score in three cup finals.
Perhaps the reason is that both are ready for a new challenge. Salah contract talks and the rumblings last summer of his agent trying to seal a move to Madrid suggest maybe that’s the case. And Mane only picking up form when it’s time to get a new club suggest the same for him.
It’s no hard feelings they have both given us some of the best memories of my time as a Liverpool fan and if their hearts are elsewhere now nobody should feel animosity towards them. Let them both go, get some decent money and rebuild. It might mean we have to be content with top four for two years while new signings are identified and bedded in but it will benefit the club long term. And it’s good for them too they get those big contracts they’ve both been asking for and a new challenge in a new place.
Where does this Liverpool side stand in history?
There has been a lot of talk about this current Liverpool team during the season, some claiming it is the best ever while deride this opinion. With the season over I think it there is time to put the achievements of this team in perspective and see where it might be placed in football history as it stands.
To do this I have looked back at teams during my lifetime but ignored the one season wonders (Leicester, Blackburn, 60s City) and looked at those that have had success over a number of seasons.
I would put Klopp’s Liverpool ahead of the Derby 70s (2 leagues), Villa 80s (league followed by European cup) and double winning 71 Arsenal (a double was a rare achievement in those days), the success was short lived but more notable than a single trophy.
In terms of success, I think they are in the just behind the group of late 60s Matthews United, Shankly’s Liverpool, Revie’s Leeds and Graham’s Arsenal. Multiple different trophies across different seasons but unlike the rest in this group, they only have one league title, maybe they can add that to join them and all of these managers have legendary status at their respective clubs.
A group that they would have more in common with however, is Kendall’s Everton and Clough’s Forest. The reason being that while they still had major success winning trophies, they would certainly have won more if they weren’t playing in the shadows of truly great side.
For Clough and Kendal it was Paisley’s and Dalglish’s Liverpool that were the dominant force at the time, for Klopp its Guardiola’s City.
Liverpool a cup team? Do me a favour…
My thoughts on a few of the themes thrown at LFC in recent days –
If, over the last four years, you’ve recorded 97 point, 99 point, and 92 point finishes, you are not a cup team. Unless you are re-defining what a cup team is. If you are, fine. Go on your way, but then don’t expect everyone to have a shared understanding of the term you’ve devalued.
I’m not sure I follow the reasoning that Liverpool were lucky to beat Spurs in ’19, if we’re also saying the result against Real Madrid was right. Either having the bulk of possession, and shots, and their keeper getting MOTM, can be used to say you played well or it can’t. My view is in both finals the right team won.
And you’ll have to explain please how the cup wins could or should be devalued because of a perceived ease of the route to the final, when in 15 games against the top 6 in England LFC lost zero times. So if their path was different why is it a given they’d have gone out? You could hypothetically say if LFC faced Real en route to the final they could have lost, but you could say LFC were so much better they could have battered them at Anfield. You could say Bayern would have bested LFC; you could say LFC comfortably beat a side that were better than Bayern. The route LFC had to the finals was their route to the finals. All else is hypothetical, and to say one route is hard and one route is easy kinda implies you think all cup competitions should be like a league table and you have to play the best side(s)? So not cup football then?
If you look back at every cup success, ever, there will be scope to say ‘what if’. That’s the point; that’s why we like the game. That’s also why it’s cruel. Especially cruel. LFC played Man United, Dortmund, and Seville in the Europa League under Klopp, and were 45 mins from winning it. A year later Man United stumbled through against Rostov, Anderlect, were very lucky to progress past the mighty Celta Vigo, and then faced in the final an Ajax team who had lost every single away knock game in the competition; they’d only ever won at home, and took the lead through a shanked Pogba shot that endangered the corner the flag till it was deflected. You didn’t see fans say they weren’t worthy winners of the trophy; You just had fans, like me, incredibly bitter and jealous to this day that the fates conspired against us and so blessed our enemies. That’s football. That’s rivalry. Lamenting the worthiness of winners is just against what the whole endeavour should be about. I’m old enough to remember Real Madrid playing Bayern four times, losing three of them, but still reaching the final at the german’s expense. That didn’t devalue their ultimate win.
And to Calvino’s point, about legacies being based on what you’ve won. It’s *an* opinion. I’ll go that far. One that seems more common amongst younger fans, if that’s not too impolite to suggest. But it’s also an argument that utterly falls down given the most mildest of pressure. Unless you are saying Anderson’s club career is better than Zidane’s, or the original Ronaldo’s? Roberto Di Matteo is a better manager than Poch. Woy’s trip to a Europa League final is of little regard. Or, you could view the world, and people’s legacy upon the context of their career and the impact it’s had. If so, then Klopp has written his name into the lore of Dortmund and Liverpool; rather than be a custodian he’s likely permanently embedded a part of his own personality on them.
I assume Calvino judges Klopp on the 11mm of ball that John Stones’ emergency shank prevented from crossing the line, which stopped Jurgen being only the third unbeaten manager in the entirety of English football, a 98 point season and European Cup win. Fine if that’s his logic. But you must see that Jurgen had zero control over that particular event, and yet you are making a binary judgement on the outcome of it. Well, LFC probably have different criteria. LFC fans are so enamoured with this manager, and this team, because they have performed at a 92+ point-season for 3 of four years, alongside reaching two champions league finals, and a further two domestic cups.
Turning 38 has made me think – what do I still find strange about modern football (an old man yells at cloud vibes)?
Real Madrid having a relatively normal squad, sensible manager and not playing Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale just ‘cos. I remember Real buying galacticos, selling Makelele to make way for Beckham at the expense of any team balance and not keeping del bosque despite his success (and employing managers who weren’t up to the task)
Barca shopping in poundland and (Leeds for Raphinha) rather than buying megastars. Admittedly self-enforced but still strange and they will no doubt need a few years of stability before climbing back up the ladder.
Legends such as Messi and Ronaldo nearly retired/semi-retired (you’d expect). Add in Lewandowski getting on and wanting a change of scene and the likes of suarez probably winding down. Some great names coming up to replace them (Mbappe, Haaland, Kane and Salah etc.).
Man Utd still not having a plan. Massive plc supergiant treating football like 90s championship manager (play a formation, buy players, hope it work).
The North East/Yorkshire not being prominent. Leeds, Newcastle, Middlesbrough all had decent spells 15 years ago plus. Add in Sunderland being top flight regulars. Would love to see Leeds or Newcastle move back up the table soon (admittedly Newcastle are better placed but we dared to dream under Bielsa).
Why no one has bought a rival to Bayern or PSG to challenge them in their respective leagues? I know the cost of rivalling PSG and the 50+1 rule may be a factor but being the club that at least challenges their dominance must interest someone surely?
Tom, Leeds fan in Wallsend
Get rid of paper tickets, UEFA
I think it’s time UEFA took a leaf out of Iron Maiden’s book.
I went to see Maiden back in 2017 at the O2. It was a completely ticketless affair where you had to arrive with your email confirmation and the card you bought the tickets with and were subsequently given a wristband which acted as your ticket.
Of course the O2 is a very different arena to a Champions League final stadium so it may be difficult to process all fans in this way but it could at least be a way of processing all the non club fans (dignitaries etc) attending the event.
As for the fans, I’m not sure how everyone else does it but at Emirates Stadium most fans bring along their membership card which acts like a smart card and provides entry to the stadium so there’s no paper ticket. Why not add the Champions League final to these cards so fans can enter the stadium using this process?
It’s 2022 – Arsenal have been using this process for 16 years. Iron Maiden have also been using their process for years.
Isn’t it time UEFA got with the times and ended paper tickets for such big occasions?
Graham Simons, Gooner who was supporting Liverpool on Saturday night, Norf London
There were definitely fans without tickets
My two cents on the crowd issue’s for the CL final. I find all the complaints from the Liverpool/English people/fans/media to be hilariously hypocritical. The outrage and associated anger articles and reports are funny.
My first cent. I know of at least 4 Liverpool supporters, like I spoke to them, who were travelling to game with the intent to rush the stadium and get in. I spoke with another 2 supporters who had fake tickets and were going to chance that. I live in Dublin and without trying I know of 6 people who were going to Paris with the intent of crashing the party. I didn’t know of 1 person who actually had a ticket. At the FA final, a few weeks ago, it was the same.
My second cent. Have you all forgotten the Euro final in London? The scenes there were so much worse than Paris. In London, last summer, thousands of people rushed the stadium and got in. There were running riots inside the stadium. Supporters were being attacked and beaten indiscriminately by other fans and police. It was a complete shambles.
So essentially, inspired by the success of the anti social/criminal behaviour of fans at the Euro and FA finals, the same thing happened in Paris. The police and authorities acted in the most heavy handed way to try and avoid the same results.
I feel for the fans with real tickets who missed the game. That is a cruel blow. But take some responsibility and be honest. The trouble was as much the supporters fault as the authorities.
Oh and seriously, you think the French police and are going to be nice to English supporters? Come on, you two nations hate each other and take any and every opportunity to piss each other off. Of course there was going to be trouble.
I wish it wasn’t like this and I dread to think about how unprepared the Irish will be when we’re hosting future finals.
Alan (expecting a backlash on this one), Dublin
Maybe stop victim-blaming?
We all love a good dose of victim blaming and sure as night follows day we get Shz. The yobbish culture is prevalent in society and football is a reflection of that, but that doesn’t mean if you go down town on Saturday night you should be tear gassed. In Shz case may be they think it should.
A regular 50k go to Anfield and 70k to Old Trafford some even have a few beers before hand and guess what no pepper spray or tear gas, and they even have the audacity to turn up less than 2 hours before kickoff. How prey tell can the local police stop ticketless fans getting in without such heavy handed tactics.
Little insight I don’t think UEFA force the final on anyone you have to request so the financial constraints you so eloquently pointed out are pointless, especially as the chance of an English team being there was high.
I think we should not all pile in on Shz. After all victim blaming comes from a deep seated need to believe the world is a good and just place, sadly Shz it just isn’t.
Gary in Wiltshire
What was Collina doing on his last day?
Thanks Ian King for taking up the quite serious errors by the ref in the playoff final, and especially for mentioning that Moss’ last day at work makes him a slightly sub-par candidate for the job. Curiously, Ian asks what Collina is doing these days as a rhetorical question. How ironic!
Collina was famous for his strict personality, his image as a top ref and competent in extremely high-profile games. However, he also suffered the ignominy, as us Everton fans remember, of making his last game in charge, another one with lots of money riding on it, into another bitter farce that some still carry a grudge for.
Ferguson’s disallowed goal was supposedly for a foul by Marcus Bent, who at best was rather being fouled himself. Sure, Evertonians might be dismissed, just as Huddersfield fans will be, for their bias here, but don’t we have a point? The ref’s mistakes from the playoff final this year will stand as a monument to Huddersfield fans for ages, but it sohuld be a monument for football at large as to how unfair the game can be. How weird it must look to all of us that despite our best efforts with VAR, Eagle Eye and goal line refs that the problem of bad officiating just doesn’t go away?
Now, like Ian King grudgingly admits and rightfully cannot do anything else about other than “just ask questions”, the fact we are asking questions like this with legitimacy, years afterwards, is a problem with the sport which should be taken seriously.
Most people in positions of power need to be scrutinised and checked, and in cases like this where one’s career is over anyway, the window for a ref to get away with something sketchy suddenly widens. We need to trust our refs, but regulations which open with putting them in a state of distrust (as any other such regulation, f.ex. we won’t trust you with your license to drive a car when you reach a certain age) are in fact the first step to building a functional society.
Adam, EFC, Oslo
Am I the only one who thought John Moss got both penalty decisions right? Also, a penalty is indeed a far too harsh a punishment for certain offences, but if you’re through on goal, 1 on 1 v the keeper, and you get hacked down OUTside the penalty area, a free kick is far too lenient. A penalty and red card should be the punishment. As the VAR has removed all common sense from the rule makers, don’t expect any sensible changes to be made.
Excellent email from Sparky, by the way. Ignore the ignorant, Sparky.
G Thomas, Breda
Change the rules!
Really liked Ian King’s piece on the Championship play-off final, especially the idea of re-writing the rules and utilising indirect free-kicks instead of penalties when the foul doesn’t clearly prevent a goal.
In particular, I think this could finally resolve most of the ridiculousness around handballs. There will always be grey areas, but at least the difference between getting it right or wrong wouldn’t be as harsh as it is now.
Penalties are far from the only point in the laws of the game where the punishment can be extremely disproportionate to the foul, though. Think red cards, for example. Get sent off in the first minute, and your team plays at a disadvantage for 90 minutes, almost game over right there and then. See red in 2nd half injury time and your team will barely be affected at all, except in the next match when the player is banned, but that’s hardly a consolation for the team fouled.
Or cynical fouls to prevent counter-attacks. That opportunity could have had a 30% chance of resulting in a goal, but all you get is a free-kick from your own half and a probably quite inconsequential yellow to the culprit.
Borrow from other sports – rugby, basketball, ice-hockey. No sport is free from controversy, but football seems to be among the worst, if not the very worst, while it has the most money flying around. I’m not too hopeful that the governing bodies will get off their expensively clothed bottoms to do anything about it, but there are solutions.