Reds have got no money…we’re going to win the league

Editor F365
Jordan Henderson LIverpool

It’s the new Liverpool chant and that’s the theme in a mailbox that also takes in Ole and Man United. Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com

 

The Reds have got no money…we’re going to win the league
The underdogs title attributed to this Liverpool team is one that was given by the media and pundits not the Liverpool fans. While most fans acknowledge that Chelsea look the most likely champions this year and that Man City are very good at winning the Premier League there is a confidence amongst supporters that Liverpool will be in the mix come the end of the season and have an excellent chance of winning it.

The Reds have got no money, we’re going to win the league!
Gough, LFC

 

…A somewhat strange article from Dave Tickner about Liverpool and the title. My own sense from reading and listening to Liverpool fans is that we are frustrated that this team is being under-estimated by other fans and the punditocracy. The BBC surveyed their 20 pundits and none thought Liverpool would win the title, only three predicted they would be runners-up, seven had them third, and none had them fourth. One, Jermaine Beckford (formerly of Everton and Leicester) didn’t have Liverpool even in the top four and put Leicester in instead. This is clearly a product of recency bias, both in terms of a) Liverpool’s under-performance last season and b) their lack of activity in the shiny transfer market.

There is a section of Liverpool’s fan base, especially online, who are obsessed with transfers and have thrown their toys out of the pram (the FSG Out brigade) and it may bethat Dave’s article is aimed at them, for which thank you for putting them back in their box. A poor performance against Chelsea (against 11 in the first half and a different kind of poor against 10 in the second) aside, Liverpool have made a great start to the season (albeit it generally against relatively weak opposition) and should absolutely be disappointed if they don’t strongly challenge for the title.

Sensible Liverpool fans are totally on board with that Dave, we know this is a brilliant team with a brilliant manager – we’ve been telling everyone that for years! (We are the Unbearables after all!) Dave is absolutely right that the four teams he mentioned are markedly superior to the rest of the league and the title will probably be decided by a) how well they do against each other and b) how many slip ups against the weaker teams. There is no an obviously strong 5th or 6th-placed team this season – Leicester and West Ham both look weaker this season, Everton better than last but not strong enough to be a challenge, and Spurs and Arsenal are very much in rebuilding jobs. In some senses, therefore, we’re currently in a mid-late 2000s situation, with four teams significantly stronger than the rest and doing very well in European competition (we’ve even got Ronaldo back in the league to underline the point).

One final point, and picking up on a point made by Neil Atkinson and Rory Smith on the Anfield Wrap recently, Liverpool fans, like fans of the other top teams, like to portray themselves as insurgents – as the ‘good guys’ – hence the chant ‘The Reds have got no money but we’re going to win the league’ (a chant that should demonstrate to Dave that Liverpool fans don’t lack confidence despite the tongue being in the cheek). As with anything in football, there’s a bit of truth in it and a bit of BS Either way, we have no. 20 and ‘our perch’ in our sights and should be grateful that this is still probably the best Liverpool team we’re ever going to see, so let’s enjoy them while we can!
Andrew (LFC, Cambridge)

 

…I am writing to complain about your piece headed, ‘Sorry Liverpool, but you are really good and could win the title.’

How very dare you. While the Reds are quite good, actually, with arguably the best keeper, best centre half, best full-backs and best forward, that should not give rise to any claims that we’ll be bothering the fella who etches the names on the trophies. Just because we seem to be stuck winning most games 3-0 does not mean we should entertain any thoughts about the Reds being back, baby, and good again, awoouu (wolf Howl).

Please refrain from publishing such inflammatory, click-bait type headlines and articles composed with such nuance and balance.
Nick Glover (the Reds have got no money, but we’re gonna win the league), Scouser in Brum

 

…Dave Tickner writes a very strange article on Liverpool today and judging by his obsession with fans opinions spends far too much time trawling the comments sections of articles.

In reply.

Yes Dave us Liverpool fans already know that our team and manager are good. That’s what we told you when not a single writer on F365 backed them for the league. You’re entitled to your opinions but we were just highlighting what we saw was an obvious writing off of an extremely good side, the best in my 30+ years supporting this club.

We don’t think we are plucky underdogs, see first point above.

Thanks for realizing what we all know, but please spare us the condescending double speak designed to cover your back.

Maybe try writing some serious football journalism and leave the tittle tattle to the comment sections.
Dave

 

But Liverpool are underdogs
I can see the point Dave Tickner is making in his article – namely that there are four teams who can win the title and Liverpool are one of them but his pointing the finger at fans to say ‘Sorry guys, but you have a really good football team and an excellent manager. I’m afraid it’s entirely possible that you will win the league and it won’t be a big surprise if you do.’ is misplaced. Or at least it is if it is only fans (no not that one) feel that way.

You only have to look at F365’s own predictions this year to see that none of your esteemed colleagues including yourself predicted that Liverpool would win the league – indeed none felt Liverpool would even finish second. Of the 20 pundits asked by the BBC to name their top 4 only three suggested Liverpool would finish in the top 2 – and two of those were ex-Liverpool players!

I’m pretty sure a trawl through each media organisation’s own predictions would find the same predictions being made and the same points as to why Liverpool were not being predicted to win the league.

1. the club had not strengthened sufficiently while other teams had improved

2. that the first XI was great but there was no squad depth whereas Chelsea, City and Utd had 10 players for every position

3. they are over reliant on VVD staying fit ( as if we weren’t top of the league last year 2 months after he got injured).

Those things are all true to some extent and this may be exactly how the season plays out of course but I don’t think any Liverpool fan I’ve seen is suggesting that Liverpool are not a good team and one of the top four in the country and therefore in with a chance of winning the league. As with last year when Liverpool were 8th last year with 9 games to go, no senior centre backs, and on a terrible run of form before finishing 3rd, the collective view (if such a thing exists – and yes from many Liverpool fans too) being expressed was that Liverpool were out of contention for the top four.

I’m not sure how else you are supposed to interpret almost every pre-season prediction suggesting that Liverpool were not expected to finish in the top 3 as anything other than an underdog situation when compared to their peers in the top 4 – if you aren’t favourites for something aren’t you automatically the underdog? The loser or predicted loser in a contest?

Unless Dave’s only point was to highlight that no-one outside the top 4 could win the title – which with all respect is pretty obvious this season and most others.
Lindsay, Dublin

 

Liverpool have depth
Interesting to see an article pushing Liverpool’s chances of winning the title (from Dave Tickner, who predicted Konate would be the biggest transfer flop and Harry Kane would win the golden boot, so pinch of salt and all that), after a run of four games in 9 or 10 days across four competitions for all the big guns. Liverpool, apparently lacking in depth compared to top 4 rivals, used 20 players in 3 PL/CL games and a further 5 against PL opposition in the League cup. Played 4, won 4, scored 12 conceded 2, 25 different players used.

There are lots of reasons why City or Chelsea might beat Liverpool to major trophies, but so far a lack of depth is not standing out as an issue. It’s also a pleasant surprise to discover the Liverpool’s only PL fixtures during the Africa Cup of Nations are Brentford (H) and Palace (A) (plus FA Cup games). That’s a pretty kind ‘draw’ and a very good chance of 6 points even without Mane and Salah (let’s say assuming Jota and Firmino are fit). In terms of impact on the title race, I’d be looking at Chelsea having to face Man City and Spurs that month with Kepa between the sticks, while Mendy is away with Senegal….
Shappo

 

Where are Ole expectations now?
Interesting piece about teams playing down their strength to reduce pressure and expectation, citing Liverpool (one EPL title in 32 years and 1 in 5 full seasons – I’m being generous – so they’re golden now, Klopp is a genius etc etc ).

Since, as the article pointed out, City, Chelsea and Liverpool all have title-challenging sides (even if they want to pretend they don’t), and only one team can actually win it, does this mean the pressure from the media and fans on Ole is being rebalanced to expectations of a solid challenge?

I know some of the scousers (and indeed some United fans) in the comments spit bile at the notion that it’s ok for Ole to be permitted not to win every match without public flogging and assert that anything less than an epic points margin at the top will be a failure for Ole who has had the audacity to buy some players (Klopp would never buy an entirely new first team and subs bench *checks notes* except that time that he did).

United fans should expect a title challenge and a run in the CL. But no club has a god given right to a title. Not since Sir Alex retired anyway.

Hey, they might even be ok to expect the occasional penalty too, although that seems a faint hope currently.
Badwolf

 

Why didn’t Ole go for it?
The Carabao Cup is such a weird competition. It’s a pain in the backside in September that turns into a pretty damn good trophy to win by Spring. Also success breeds success and winning can become habit forming. Jose’s first Chelsea vintage kicked off with a League Cup win. Ditto Fergie’s rebuilt Rooney-Ronaldo team. Both clubs used it as a springboard to winning more.

Equally, even though owners value a top 4 place and the Champions League money more, it’s trophies you remember. Harry Kane, for example, won’t sit down at the end of his career and count how many times he finished in the Champions League qualifying places. He’ll count his medals. Or not, as the case may be.

Clubs with recent winning form don’t have to prioritise the League Cup. Thomas Tuchel doesn’t particularly have to stress about it. Ditto Jurgen. Pep, bizarrely, will – but his second XI would be top 6 contenders anyway, so why not?

Ole, however, desperately needs a trophy. *Any* trophy. He’s been defeated in semis, finals, come 2nd in the league – he personifies the nearly man. A ‘specialist in failure’, if I may borrow the term from the Special One.

So why not have a decent go at it? Man United aren’t exactly short on squad depth. Rumour has it, they even used to win games without Ronaldo. Ole could have easily put a team out that would have been enough for a much-changed West Ham side. But he did not. What has he seen early in the season that makes him believe he’ll win the League or the Champions League? The epic Young Boys defeat? Scraping past West Ham in the League in the last minute? United’s team *should* be playing much better than they are. But they aren’t, so why not give the Carabao a decent go?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Jadon Sancho

Ole is a decent chap, that much is clear. Equally clear is that his decision making across the board is basically total bobbins. Team selections, substitutes, what competition to prioritise – he’s getting a lot wrong. The ‘ Ole out ‘ shouts are not exactly quiet at the moment. But a day out at Wembley and a nice, shiny trophy would have quietened them considerably. That’s gone now though.

Success at Manchester United this season had to constitute either winning the League, coming Top 4 and winning the Champions League, or, at a push, Top 2 and winning the FA Cup or League Cup. All of these constitute definable improvement on last season. But that’s one chance gone, without even trying. Which is just bizarre.

Life is going to be hard enough for Ole this season without making it even harder for himself.
James, Liverpool

 

Is Ole actually arrogant?
I will start this off by saying, I love Ole. He is a bone fide Utd legend and that will never change.

But.

He is starting to grind my gears now as Utd manager.

Now I am not saying the Carabao Cup is going to make him Sir Ole.

But he needs to win something. This season.

And the way he is speaking after games, he has the air of a man who has won 15 trophies and getting knocked out at home to West Ham is no biggie, because he has bigger fish to fry. Rather than a man who should be taking this a little more seriously to get a trophy under his belt, and who has lost seven of his 11 bigger fish games, and has been miles away from winning the league since he started.

He also has developed a Jose-like quality of alienating players and actually making them worse.

I never thought I would say this, but he comes across as an arrogant manager, rather then the humble persona we were told he is.
DC, BAC

 

Next?
Seems to be whatever team West Ham put out, they are well-drilled, committed and inventive. Must be down to the manager. We will do well to hold onto him when Ole finally gets fired…..oh hang on.
Phil The Hammer

 

Copy Dortmund system not buy their players
This morning’s article that traced Barcelona’s woes back to wasting 120 million on Ousmane Dembele got me thinking about Borussia Dortmund’s reputation as a hothouse for the best young talent in football. They have an extraordinary knack for putting players in the shop window and making them look irresistible to the richest clubs in Europe, but have any of those transfers ever benefitted anyone other than Dortmund in the long term?

Christian Pulisic is a 57 million quid Chelsea sub. Arsenal probably wish they hadn’t spent the same on P-E Aubameyang. Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels went to Bayern but didn’t stay to the end of their contracts. Man Utd got zero value out of Shinji Kagawa or Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Jadon Sancho looks even worse than those two so far. Ilkay Gundogan is a rare post-Dortmund success. (Ciro Immobile doesn’t count because he was a couple of transfers and loan deals removed from Dortmund before he turned good.)

In short, any clubs thinking of breaking the bank to sign Erling Haaland or Jude Bellingham – save your money and invest in a better scouting system. Borussia Dortmund is like a used car dealer who polishes up his stock real nice, but then as soon as the damned thing is out of warranty, the wheels fall off.
Martin, BRFC