Are Liverpool stars saving themselves for Qatar? And Man Utd could finally have their answer to KDB…

Date published: Tuesday 11th October 2022 6:22 - Editor F365

Liverpool players looks dejected

The ‘age profile’ of the Liverpool squad means they are saving themselves for the World Cup. Plus, Man Utd could finally have their answer to Kevin de Bruyne if they sign Jude Bellingham. And lots more…

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Jude Bellingham is United’s answer to KDB
Manchester must make every effort to sign Jude Bellingham and Cody Gakpo if they want to return to the highly successful golden old days. Jude Bellingham should be United’s answer to Kevin De Bruyne while Gakpo would be the closest we can get to Erling Haaland. Gakpo is capable of playing anywhere in the frontline and scoring goals is his key attribute, while Bellingham has skills which can only be matched by De Bruyne and a a few other Midfielders if st all. United should stop wasting money on 2nd and/or 3rd tier players and focus on these world class players. The traditional practice of buying mid grade players should cease completely. The other big clubs go for the very best and United  must do the same to succeed. More importantly, United must act very quickly and make pre-arrangements before the transfer window opens.
Professor (Dr) David Achanfuo Yeboah


Are Liverpool players saving themselves for the World Cup?
I’ve said it to anyone that will listen, and I’ll repeat it here for anyone that can read, I think Liverpool’s players are minding themselves for the World Cup.

We’ve seen it before towards end of seasons with other players and teams that when there is an international competition on the horizon, they down tools for their clubs so that they can be ready for said competition.

The only problem now is that this year the stupid Qatari World Cup is in the middle of the season and players can’t help but have one eye on it. In particular, Liverpool players that know this might be the last international competition they get a chance to play in due to their age profile.

I’ll hold my hands up if I’m wrong, but I also cannot wait to say “I told you so”.
Culk the Younger


A note to Arsenal fans…
You were the better side
and deserved the win but your optimism should be restrained for a few reasons.

1. We are not a good side right now. For whatever reasons we are playing badly and getting bad results and you managed to get a narrow win via two questionable refereeing decisions after also taking out two of our players before half time (though Trent leaving actually improved us) so perhaps don’t think of this as a big scalp or a measure of how far you’ve come but rather how far we have fallen.

2. You aren’t winning a title while peps city are around. Nobody knows this better than we do and we were competing before they brought in a sophisticated goal scoring robot sent back through time to terminate the premier League. You’ll win games. You may even run them close but you won’t win a trophy that City are actively competing for until pep leaves. They are just that good and you’ll save yourself a lot of anguish just accepting that now rather than when you’re beaten on the last day of the season by a point despite having the greatest league campaign of your clubs history.

You can do another invincible season and you will still see man city in first place at the end of the season. Accept it now and avoid the disappointment 2nd place really is a good achievement in this league.

I want to finally add that it’s nice to see your club on the up, especially with how meme worthy the arsenal all or nothing was. Good luck and I’ll be there to offer a beer when you finish second.


Cautious optimism
So, just three points dropped after nine games and two “Big Six” scalps under our belt – it hasn’t felt this good to be a Gooner since watching the team of 07/08, maybe even the Invincibles.

It’s important to remind ourselves that this squad has achieved nothing yet, of course. Chinks remain. And let’s not forget that the objective this season is a return to the Champions League table. Feet are firmly planted on the ground; false dawns have teased us before.

But this does feel different. There’s a plan that has been in motion for 2-3 years and it’s now beginning to reap rewards. Recruitment’s been good. Deadwood and troublesome personalities have been jettisoned. Young, hungry talents intermingling with experienced heads in a fluid system that plays to everyone’s strengths have got fans dreaming of better days ahead.

These are early days. But compare this to the latter years of Wenger or the Emery/early Arteta nadirs, and it really is a breathe of fresh air.

For now, we’ll revel in rival fanbases and pundits continuing to move the goalposts on what constitutes genuine progress for this exciting side.

Stu, Surrey

Arsenal v Liverpool as Gabriel Jesus and TRent Alexander-Arnold battle for the ball

The handball rule…
I don’t want to get into whether or north he handball rule is “correct” or how it may be adjudicated inconsistently.  I do want to point out something that is being ignored by many folks.  Prior to the 2021-22 season, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) noted that:1) Players cannot be expected to move with their arms by their side, and 2) that referees can note the proximity of the player when making their decisions. While we can argue a subjective view of the Gabriel handball, I think the non-decision falls within the current rules.

I found Dave’s mailbox contribution to be intriguing.  it made me wonder why there isn’t more use of an indirect free kick option to be made available in the rule book for certain offenses, especially in the box. Clearly, one of the problems affecting the perception of the Gabriel decision is that it changes a possibly dangerous cross into an extremely dangerous penalty kick (if called. I would propose as an addendum to Dave’s suggestions that a crossed ball (i.e. not on goal) that is blocked by an arm or hand, regardless of time, is deemed an indirect free kick, unless it is clearly intentional. The truth is there will always be some subjectivity involved in a lot of these calls. In my opinion, however, this takes out some of the extreme consequences of the objectivity.

David, California


This happens once a year usually. And I’ll admit the handball rule is bollocks of the highest order. But. Penalties being given if a ball strikes a hand no matter the context is a terrible idea. irregardless of Dave’s caveat about there being another body part behind the hand ( which itself is gonna be a subjective call ), the real reason why this rule can never be introduced is because footballers and football coaches are clever. And the day after that rule is introduced the game will descend into the attacking team dribbling near the box and trying to lump the ball hard into the defending teams hand. Because that will be the easiest and most direct route to scoring. And if you don’t believe me, watch a game of hockey. Where they do exactly that. And that only results in a penalty corner which is no where near as likely to result in a goal as a penalty in football.
Robert G


At the risk of sounding like an old man shouting at clouds I was actually glad the handball shout against Gabriel in the Arsenal Liverpool game wasn’t given.

As a neutral at the time I thought it should have been given as a penalty. However, one of my biggest annoyances in modern football (one for football cliches) is defenders trying to defend by putting their hands behind their backs. Ridiculous and to be honest as a supporter of a lower league team where I don’t see it happening maybe it’s the impact of VAR?

I can understand in the Premier League as a lot of handballs get given for soft reasons so hopefully yesterday brings about a change in the thinking.


Liverpool fans throwing their toys out the pram over the arsenal penalty. Was it soft?? Absolutely, however I’m struggling to think of a team in the last 3 or 4 seasons who have won more “soft” penalty’s. Players throwing themselves to the floor under minimal (sometimes no) contact…….

Practice what you preach guy, if you don’t like it. Stop doing it yourselves.
Paul, Manchester


Tyneside musings
So, being a Newcastle fan hasn’t exactly been the most rewarding experience, given that I was 4 when we last won a trophy (1969 Fairs Cup).

But every 20 years or so, we get a glimpse of what it might be like to have a team that wins something. Last time it Was Special K and the Entertainers (that will be the name of my cover band, if I ever start one), who made the 90s so much fun but didn’t manage to translate all that fun and goals into silverware. Our strategy of trying to win every game 4-3 didn’t turn out as well as we hoped.

This time it’s Eddie Howe and a team Sky haven’t yet nicknamed; the herd of independent thinkers in Fleet Street haven’t yet noticed us – the 35 pieces a day written about the ups, downs, and side-to-sides of ManYoo do tend to crowd out coverage of other teams.

But if and when they finally tire of ruminating about Ronaldo’s next destination, converting ten words from Antonio Conte into multiple thinkpieces about Tottenham’s latest formation (2-1-2-3-1-1 is it?), or waxing lyrical about Chelsea and Arsenal, Newcastle this season are well worth a look.

They’re not quite as cavalier as Keegan’s Newcastle, with Howe seemingly noticing that successful teams don’t hand out a 3 goal start to everyone they play. But they ALL press like few Newcastle teams ever have, and our work rate when we don’t have the ball is excellent. When we get the ball back, we attack quickly and in numbers.

Cautious optimism abounds after a couple of decades of treading water, and logic tells you that the new owners have not yet finished. I’m not getting carried away, but I’d definitely rather be us than you today!!
Martin Hague, Saint Louis, USA


Forest vs Villa
Just a reminder to anyone who doesn’t know – watch the Aston Villa defending for the Forest goal last night, and remember – Villa employ a set-piece coach. An actual set-piece coach. I would love to hear about the hard work that went in on the training ground last week that led to an opposition striker having a free header from a bog standard free kick.
David Horgan, Dublin


Responses to Man City opinions…
Greetings, ‘Paul, people need to give their heads a wobble, Manchester’ and Richard. My contrary soul feels somewhat honoured to be called out twice by name in one mailbox!

First off Paul,  I really do like your argument that basically equates to ‘You can’t dislike any morally compromised things if you yourself have ever been morally compromised in any way by a world which is morally compromised everywhere you look and only getting worse’.

As you’ve noticed I do have a bit of a personal buy-in to this whole thing. Which means I have actually looked beyond the headlines to see what went on in the 2020 case, despite your strawman argument to the contrary. The really relevant pages are 57 -64 of the 93 page report. UEFA’s contention is that the emails show an expressed intention to cook the books, and without any evidence to the contrary, that the emails are proof of same. My original mail made sarcastic references to people less cynical than I who would believe the opposite, and it turns out CAS are in this group.

Now, here’s the kicker : Based on a report by The Guardian, we know that one out of the 3 man CAS panel ‘was a partner in the international law firm White and Case, and was chair of his firm’s operations council for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, from 2016-2018, which includes an office in Abu Dhabi. That office lists Etisalat as a client, and the Abu Dhabi airline Etihad, whose sponsorships were also central to the case, as well as several Abu Dhabi state enterprises.The Cas rules state that “arbitrators must be independent, [having] no particular connection with any of the parties”. City’s position is understood to be that McDougall himself has not acted for those Abu Dhabi companies although his firm has’. So the chair of international operations of this firm, who City nominated for the role, did not have a ‘particular connection’ with any of the parties, despite what you’ve just read. This is the alternate reality City are living in.

I hope that gave your head a wobble Paul. If it didn’t, you are, again, a less cynical man than I. If you really think this sham of a process proves City’s innocence then ditto. I’d also like to hear where you got that stuff about the cut and pasted email made out of six emails to make one big bad damaging email – never heard that one before. Happy to be corrected all the same. References please!

And Richard – It doesn’t matter how many emails there were, six or six hundred. You’re still cheating. And I agree with you that it is a funny old world, where people on one side of the city are criticised for spending their own money ( on cheating) and others are criticised for not spending their own money on the other side (on not cheating). What the relevance of any of this is to the blatant cheating that went on by City is anybody’s guess, but a nice little Alanis Morrissette-esque turn of phrase all the same.

Contrary to your mail, as far as i’m aware, the emails are genuine but City got off on this ‘time-barred’ technicality. Again, happy to be corrected. But unless you’re coming with the references for this, i’ll point you back to pages 57-64. Have a good look through and then write in telling me you’ve read those emails but you don’t think there was an intention to cheat or that cheating eventually happened. If you can, i let’s say it one more time with feeling, you’re a less cynical man than I!
Pablo, MUFC, Dublin

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