E-VAR-ton 2-2 Liverpool – the fuming Mailbox…

Ian Watson
Adrian Pickford

Watch City v Arsenal and Man Utd at Newcastle, then send your mails to theeditor@football365.com…


What’s the point?

Even as an Everton fan, while glad about the result, I’m absolutely furious. VAR has jumped the shark to the moon and back, to mix clichés. The point of it, which seems to have been completely forgotten, was to stop clear and obvious mistakes like Henry’s handball, not to nitpick to the nth degree as to what might possibly have been the case in a given situation.

But when it can’t even get those decisions correct, with the benefit of numerous clear playbacks, it renders itself a compete joke, and like an irritating parent who insists on interfering in their children’s squabbles to protect them, but actually makes things infinitely worse.

There is absolutely no point for a system to exist which can’t even decide on a red card for Pickford with a knee high tackle. There is no point for a system to exist which tells a referee a player is offside when he is clearly perfectly in line with a defender. There is no point for a system to exist which is still as subjective as anything which went before. There is no point for a system to exist that is not eliminating clear and obvious errors.
Michael Collins, Farnborough




If Liverpool lose this because Pickford gets away with assassinating van Dijk I’m going to be so pissed off. That was so hideous and dangerous a challenge that it should have been a red regardless of the offside.
Dan, Plastic LFC


…This is the rule according to the FA.

An offence is committed against a player in an offside position who is already playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the offside offence is penalised as it has occurred before the foul challenge

We are actually at a point in football where Pickford can come out of his goal and decapitate a player and he would be arrested, but not actually sent off because the offside happens first..

If a defender is convinced a player is offside, and we’ve seen some clear ones, he’s allowed to do what ever he wants…

2020… What a year.


Dirty derby

Before everyone buys into the “Great game of football” we saw at Goodison, I’d just like to point out:

– We saw a goalkeeper directly injure another player with a completely reckless challenge, without even the vaguest suggestion of punishment
– Another absolutely horrendous challenge that could have easily ended in a leg break. This one, of course, was punished, but the general idea with ‘refereeing’ a game is to set a precedent for what is unacceptable so it doesn’t continue to happen
– Yet another VAR call that has left thousands of viewers scratching their heads.

But it was a derby right, so it’s all in good fun? If this is what we’re all after in terms of entertainment, reckless endangerment and all that, that’s all well and good. Hopefully, we see a few more injuries before the weekend is up and more points removed due to arbitrary offside calls.

That nasty business aside, I’m pretty happy with how everyone on our side performed. Even Adrian wasn’t a complete shambles. It was an excellent display (against a team which I had labelled enjoyable to watch until they decided to go all WWE on us today) given the absolute mauling at Villa against last time.

Thiago was absolutely magnificent and deserved to be on the winning side. While Gomez and Matip were largely solid at the back in VVD’s absence. Lots of positives and confidence to take away.

One final note on the Pickford challenge once more. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who is lazily suggesting that the whistle had gone is advocating for a completely lawless pocket of time between the whistle going and the match restarting, in which there are literally no holds barred and no punishments in play. It was as if Pickford was playing the old FIFA games with the bookings turned off.

Whoever is in charge of making the rules for this sort of thing, please – no more of that.
Ryan C, LFC

Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool – 16 conclusions on a classic


More conclusions

-Get the obvious stuff out of the way. No way is that offside. I can’t see it, and the pictures shared on BT looked like the line identifying Mané wasn’t drawn perpendicular to the pitch. Hopefully now with the global Liverpool fandom complaining about VAR, as it no longer benefits them, something practical will be done with it. I think a tennis/NFL/cricket style review needs to be called for.

-Terrible, dangerous and stupid tackle from Richarlison. No place for that and he needs to reflect on that, shithouse.

-Losing van Dijk was massive for Liverpool. I don’t think Pickford’s challenge was as bad as Richarlisons. More like the Mané-Digne incident with two players going for a ball, but Pickford doing it in his typical clumsy manner. Even if it’s offside (which again was dodgy) Pickford should have been carded, just because the ball is dead doesn’t prevent a card. Red or yellow I think it looks worse because of the consequence: the fact that van Dijk got injured (as opposed to Digne). I appreciate that’s probably a very blue eyed view.

-So Everton were lucky. But not lucky in the way we were backs to the wall and underserved of a point, more that some key decisions and events went our way. And given the recent history of this fixture, I guess this how Liverpool fans felt after some of those wins or draws. The best thing to do is accept the luck, not try and sugarcoat the negative aspects, and be magnanimous.

-Onto the rest of the game; I was going to write in on Thursday or Friday with a derby preview, but actual work got in the way, my first point was going to be that my biggest fear was Andy Robertson. James ‘0 Sprints’ Rodríguez was not going to be tracking him back, and so it proved within 2 minutes. Rodríguez to be fair did track back a few times, but the damage was done.

-One of the biggest differences this season, but probably the least talked about, is how resilient we are. It’s not great that you have to go behind to start playing but the fact that we came back from behind against Liverpool twice would be unheard of previously.

-Liverpool fans will bemoan van Dijk’s loss but our two headed goals were because of excellent headers and crosses. With Richarlison’s header hitting the post I do think it was an area we underplayed.

-The missus won’t be happy but Gomes was terrible today, and got a lot of vitriol directed at him. Our midfield (Doucouré aside) were not at the races today and allowed Liverpool to dictate too much, especially in the first half. Ancelotti is loath to change too much, and with enforced changes for Coleman and Richarlison for Southampton next Gomes will likely continue, but he will need to improve.

-Speaking of Seamus, him coming off enabled Godfrey to have a very promising debut. One dodgy header, but a fine run and some good blocks looked good. Given I didn’t really notice him with Norwich last season it was a good first look. Don’t believe he is a natural right back so Kenny could start next week, but good to see the debutant not look out of place in the derby.

-Some of the stuff Rodríguez does wearing an Everton shirt still make me think someone has cheated with the Football Manager editor and put him in our club – he’s exceptional.

-As is Dominic. Didn’t seem to have picked up any negativity from England, and his first touch was outstanding all game. We didn’t get the ball to him enough, in part due to the poor showing from the midfield.

-Pickford made some good saves, which had me thinking he’d reflected on his good fortune to not concede a penalty in the first 5 mins and use it to focus. Then his weak arms came back for the Henderson ‘goal’.

-The BT commentary was appalling. I’m not having a go at Steve McManamans bias. That’s fair enough, he’s played hundreds of games for Liverpool so of course he’s going to call it with red tinted glasses. More that Everton were ‘represented’ by Martin Keown. I don’t think he’s a terrible pundit, but he’s not good on live games – he starts talking and then contradicting himself in the same sentence as the pictures tell a different story to how he thought it was initially. It’s really grating.

-Obviously, disappointed not to win – and the drought of derby wins goes on. We had a spell in the second half when DCL just missed the ball and Richarlison hit the post when I felt we were on top and had thoughts of a win. They were extinguished when Salah scored (he was quiet apart from the goal, Firmino too, Mané was excellent as always, though) but as I said, to comeback a second time needs to be considered as a result. Ultimately, though we got away with one, but given we’ve been on the receiving end of bad luck in the past I won’t dwell on it too much. I guess this is how being top feels?

-I think this will also temper the whole Everton in the Top 4/Champions/Spirit of the Blues #1 narrative. Given it’s the first real test we’ve had this season (Mourinho was in self sabotage mode to get new signings in the season opener, it seems) we will need to reflect on the negative aspects of it – the dodginess of the defence at times, the fact the midfield went back to last seasons invisible act, the lack of service because of that to our in form players – and put in actions to improve on that for Southampton. However, we also need to positively reflect that we weren’t completely outplayed and overrun – against a very good team – and given we are punching down to smaller teams we absolutely should target breaking into the Top 6 this season.

Matt, EFC, London


Moral victory

I can’t be bothered naming names and examining details, but suffice to say that despite flying high, being at home, against a team coming off the back of a humbling, having incompetent on and off field refereeing in your favour, employing thuggish challenges to put players out of the game, constantly whining to the officials…….you were / are still the poorer side and it’s a decade plus and counting.
Cheers, Rob.


Sexual Thiago

I’ll let the other contributors talk about how LiVARpool get all the breaks.

I really enjoyed that match, mostly. First half Liverpool were dynamic, sharp, aggressive (without injuring or…nope, stop) and fully deserved to be in front. Unfortunately, for us, we didn’t make our dominance pay and Everton got back into the game. This is a quality Everton team and I’m genuinely pleased that they’re in the ascendancy. I’d much rather a quality Everton team than a Manchester (either hue) one. That that’s not generally (if at all) reciprocated is a shame.

The second half was evenly placed but Liverpool still had the edge over the quality of play and chances created, although Everton continued to show why they’re leading the table.

Was a draw the fair result? In my opinion no, but I’m not as gutted as I might’ve been in different circumstances considering how well both teams played.

James is a wonderful footballer. Is he a luxury player as we used to enjoy back in the day? Maybe. I wouldn’t have him in Liverpool’s team due to the system we play but almost any other team in the League would benefit from his presence.


I felt a Homersque revelation of satisfaction every time Thiago played another aesthetically sexual ball. What a player.

Wasn’t the camera angle from the empty stands an interesting touch? Obviously the stands being full of fans is BY FAR the preferred option. I just thought that it’s a pleasurable nuance to see alternative angles.

Thankfully we’ve broken the back of the terrible Goodison Park Derbys, looking forward to the Anfield return.

James Outram, Wirral


There but for the grace of God

There are not many greater things in life than whinging scousers. They whinge better than any other group on the planet. But they were robbed. Two horrendous decisions. It may be hilarious today, but tomorrow could happen to a real football club like Arsenal. VAR – sort yourself out. Or get out until you can


Big Dunc

51 mins into the the derby and I’m left with one perplexing thought. I wonder if I look as old as Duncan Ferguson.
Jason G (Drinking like a chimney since “91) Montreal, Canada



Ole, Ole, Ole

Ahhh. I see more and more people are starting to realize that Ole may not be the most qualified man for his job and that the richest club in England could do better. That doesn’t mean a sacking is coming though. It’s easy to forget they started last season dreadfully too, a fluke opening-day 4-0 win aside. At some point last October/November, someone in the mailbox was seriously suggesting United could be relegated (talk of knee-jerk reactions). Well we all know how the rest panned out. A quick upturn in results might, again, solidify his position and keep fans wondering if they’re getting the best their team could offer.

But that’s not the point of this mail. No. It’s f365’s insistence on the “fact” that no club in the premier league would swap their manager for him. It’s becoming more common among the writers and it’s cheap, lazy and a tad juvenile.

And it may even be true but it has nothing to with his competence to take over those clubs but simply because of his current circumstances. When Moyes was fumbling his way to 7th, dragging the Champions of England out of Europe entirely, there were not many clubs chomping at the chance to put him out him misery. Not even the relegation battlers would have swapped their manager for him, given the chance. When Jose “The Miserable One” Mourinho was making an enemy of any and everyone including his own shadow and failing badly to win any love or points, I doubt there were many executives thinking “I’ve got to get me some of that”. But when the dust settled on their woes, their future employers could assess their career path and experience more factually and, apparently, concluded they’ve still got a lot to give their club. Which explains why both Moyes and Mourinho have since got PL gigs (3 times in Moyes’ case).

Pochettino has been out of job for a while and there’s literally no team willing to swap their manager for him, until one finally does.

Solskjær isn’t SAF, that much is clear by now. But I would like to think he’s more than qualified to manage Fulham, especially when their current manager is Scott Parker. He turned a 6th place finish to 3rd for United. That, of course, isn’t much of an achievement for a club of United’s resources but Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho had access to the same resources only to finish 7th, 5th and 6th respectively and all with a team that finished higher the previous season. He made more progress in the UCL than the more experienced LVG and Jose, both former winners.

Even before the United job, which has only boosted his CV no matter how much you want to say otherwise, Ole was deemed good enough to land a PL job in 2014. I don’t see how a 3rd place finish in the English top flight and European quarterfinal and semifinal places could have made him any less attractive to West Brom or Aston Villa. He may or may not be top six quality, but he could make a decent fist of handling the clubs below that level. Well at least until he does and shows he couldn’t.

So, yeah I guess the PE teacher narrative is fun and all but you’re meant to be professional writers not Twitter tw*ts. You should be capable of analysing United’s struggles without stooping to cheap and ultimately meaningless digs.


Lampard out

I’m sitting here watching the Chelsea game and I’m absolutely seething.

We have just gone 3-2 up and I genuinely couldn’t care less. We are an absolute shambles at the back and I’m sick of seeing Kepa in goal. I know he wasn’t helped out by Zouma there but what the actual f**k was that attempted clearance?

Lampard needs to be sacked immediately for his clear lack of ability to either coach a defence or pick the right players. We may be purring at the front but we are an absolute joke at the back.

I love Frank Lampard. He is a legend of our club and always will be, but he is way out of his depth here.

There has been no visible improvement in our ability to defend and we continue to select the worst goalkeeper in Premier league history.

This needs to end now!



LOL, Chelsea

Kenny Cunningham after Southampton’s second goal against Chelsea: “I’m not sure I can actually watch this replay Des, it’s an absolute horror show.” It made me lol anyway (that reminds me, that means laugh out loud Mum, not lots of love which is how you ended your WhatsApp message to Auntie Flo’s kids when she passed).

Lots of love,