Keep your mails on Liverpool or anything else coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Klopp is not a coach for long-term success…
Klopp is a fantastic coach and definitely one of the best in the world, however his style is not ideal for long-term success. This isn’t because people figure it out or anything like that, rather because the toll the constant closing down takes on the players.
A similar thing happened at Dortmund (though Bayern stealing most of their top players didn’t help). And you may see the same thing happen at Pool, this season and the next, basically a rash of injuries as well as a lot of players not playing as well as they once did, as their bodies are exhausted and exhausted bodies pick up injuries easier.
Add in the fact that it is hard to defend your title. Few teams have managed to do it. Players aren’t as motivated as they have already reached the peak. Add in your team has a target on their back as the champions, with most teams giving good to great effort against you.
That all being said, this is a weird season, no team has distinguished itself. The best teams in Pool and City have been average at best and a team with a leaky defense and where the manager was closed to be fired, in United are currently second with a game in hand. It should make for an interesting end of season run.
Klopp is scared but not of Man Utd
Disappointing result for Liverpool against Southampton, although it has to be said after years of poaching their best players this particular chicken (Danny Ings) was bound to come home to roost eventually.
I think it’s pretty clear to see our players are a little bit knackered from the gruelling Christmas schedule – no more so than any other team, but it is having an impact on concentration levels and errors. Mailboxers are right in that Klopp is a little bit scared – but he’s not scared of other teams. He’s scared of injuries, whilst having a particular blind spot to rotation which has always been one of his minor flaws.
You could see after 65/70 minutes of yesterday’s game that it was one way traffic, but we were resorting to pumping crosses in the box for most of the second half. Everyone could see changes were needed and more quickly than they came. I love James Milner as much as the next man, but he is not the option you bring on with 10/15 minutes left chasing a game. Klopp never makes all three subs because he’s petrified of someone getting injured in the last 10 minutes and being left with 10 men on the pitch. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one looking at Jones or Minamino on the bench and begging him to go for it, just this once. He could have even brought on Williams, pushed Henderson or Fabinho into midfield and allowed Thiago a more advanced role. Of course Klopp knows more than me, but this happened at Newcastle as well and this lack of going for broke could have earned us a couple more points.
Now we have the chasing pack sniffing at our heels, time for these ‘mentality monsters’ to really show their grit. We could really do with Jota back too. How mad is that?
Lee (That being said, in Klopp we trust…), LFC
Just enjoy the battle…
Can we all not just enjoy what is sure to be a drama filled rest of the season between England’s two most successful clubs?
21 might not be coming, but i look forward to the drama and banter. And speaking of banter, can we not just get back to bantering instead of the pathetic victim complex whinging from all sets of fans (nobody is innocent in this).
Klopp just pulled a Benitez lads. Enjoy it. The (apparently) first title tace between Pool and United since Benitez finished 2nd to us, and Klopp has replicated Benitez. Klopp didn’t even need to be goaded by Ole into pulling a Benitez. At least Benitez was goaded by Fergie (the master of mind games) before his facts rant.
This is great, just enjoy it.
PS: United getting so many penalties with actual transparency via VAR makes me laugh that people still think refs are on United’s side. If anything, VAR proves we probably deserved more penos before VAR. Rival fans whinged then and they still whinge now. I love it.
The FACTS show (yes i am also going to pull a Benitez) how much United live rent free in rival fans’ minds, because nobody bemoans both Leicester and City having gained more penos than united in the same time frame. I love it.
Just enjoy it.
Kiki, Cork (Manchester United)
Jurgen Klopp = Donald Trump
Trump: Loses election, claims voter fraud
Klopp: Loses match, claims penalty fraud
MAGA activists: BIDEN STOLE THE ELECTION (despite evidence that suggests otherwise). THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED AGAINST US. Boycott the elections!
Liverpool fans: POGBA TRIPPED OVER HIS OWN LEG (despite video evidence that suggests otherwise). THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED AGAINST US. We need two indisputable goals to even draw against United!
They say American politics is pretty much a sport. I used to be surprised that 70 million people voted for Trump, but I guess blind faith in charismatic cult leaders does lead to some fairly blinkered opinions.
Yong Yao, Singapore
One rule for them one rule for the rest of us
As usual I found your “Prick of the week” article amusing but it posed a question regarding why do they think there is “one rule for professional footballers and one rule for everyone else”.
There literally is one rule for professional elite sports people and one for the rest of us. Elite sports people are asked to go to work and be transported around the country clearly while being generously compensated and they are of course not the only profession that is continuing to work in this climate (I tip my hat to the key workers etc.).
However, how stupid must it be to a professional sports person for the rules to be that they are told to go to the training ground on the 22nd, 24th and 26th of December to mix with your team mates and have physical contact in training then go to games on the 23rd and 27th of December and have contact with players form different clubs at different parts of the county but on the 25th you must stay at home alone if you are single. This is all while having tested negative on a daily basis.
I am not saying it is right and clearly mixing with partners and friends introduces extra risk and is the really stupid part along with being photographed while breaking the rules but the way this has been reported is as if the players have organised a rave with thousands of people while knowing they are carrying the virus. Also, I ask how many of your readers broke rules over Christmas? Is this correct no, we should follow the rules to get us through this testing phase but equally I can see why Pep and Roy don’t want to castigate their players.
Paul K, London
The penalty rule isn’t fit for purpose…
Let’s start with a simple premise. The penalty rule is one of the stupidest rules in football. It’s been touched upon before but with the recent debate about Manchester United’s penalty count this season, it’s worth exploring in more detail.
In my view, it all comes down to an intrinsic and often unconscious view of fairness that all of us have to some extent. If you look at most penalties awarded, the punishment does not fit the crime. Penalties are scored just over 75% of the time whereas the foul leading to the penalty often has a tiny percentage chance of leading to a goal.
This is why we get so upset about penalties. They do not speak to our sense of fairness.
My team (Tottenham) have been involved in a few pens this season but few of the ones we have been involved in were a fair punishment that fitted the crime.
Leeds – a half chance at best for Bergwijn but nowhere near 75% levels
Leicester – utter stupidity from Aurier but absolutely no goalscoring chance at all for Leicester
Brighton – Kane is never scoring from that
Man U – United arguably have a decent chance from theirs so I take less issue. The Tottenham pen isn’t really a good chance though.
Newcastle – utter joke of a handball decision against Dier. Clearly Newcastle were extremely unlikely to score from it.
Every club will have a similar story. Liverpool suffered from this against Brighton and Man City. I genuinely don’t know the answer but how many of Man U’s penalties were actually related to decent scoring chances? I would be very surprised if many. That’s not their fault of course but it doesn’t feel fair to most of us.
You may say that footballers know the rules. And sure, the punishment needs to deter players from making fouls. But the uplift from (mostly) less than 10% chance of scoring to 75% is ridiculous especially given many offences are not deliberate.
And this directly relates to some of the other things we find so frustrating in football. No-one cares much about diving or handball when outside the area. Who remembers that for the Newcastle penalty v Spurs, a Newcastle player dived to win the free kick that Carroll then got the pen from? Hardly anyone I bet. Because Newcastle still had a lot to do to score from the free kick. Unfortunately, the penalty award then transformed this into an almost a free goal with no effort required.
And in a sport where scoring a goal is so difficult, it makes the award of regular penalties feel even more unjust. Other sports with relatively low scoring opportunities have balanced this much better. Rugby awards penalty tries only where it was very likely to be a try anyway. Ice hockey awards a penalty shot only where it is a clear goalscoring opportunity. Field hockey is similar.
My proposal would be for fouls in the box to be direct free kicks unless it was a clear goalscoring opportunity in which case penalty. The refs already have to decide what is a clear goalscoring opportunity for red card decisions so this wouldn’t be new. Yes, it adds a slight layer of subjectivity but no more than in any of those other sports and they seem to manage.
To be clear, I take no issue with a team that defends the entire game and scores their one chance. Being outplayed but snatching a goal doesn’t make it unfair. But if you’ve not had to work for that goal in any meaningful way because of a rule that isn’t fit for purpose, then that does feel unfair.
In any event, this is probably too big a change for football to ever make. So the frustrations and arguments over how many penalties one side gets will continue evermore.
Jon L (Spurs)
Here’s a question I would like anyone who believes there is a conspiracy against their team by the Premier League/Referees/Media/Pundits. How does it work? Go beyond the broad accusations of referees don’t give us penalties because x, or the Premier League fix it so that y can win the League and go into the structures and mechanics they believe must be put in place to enact this conspiracy on a season by season basis? How many people do they think are involved? How do they communicate with each other to ensure proper running of the conspiracy? Is there a review process? How do the people that actually put the conspiracy into action know what they should do and when? How do they stop this conspiracy from being exposed?
I asked the same question of an idiot down the pub spouting his Covid-19 conspiracy spiel. He wouldn’t answer because he couldn’t answer because like every piece of conspiracy theory bollocks it doesn’t stand up to even light scrutiny.
Please stop your frothing, maybe do some real research if you’re that concerned and for the peace of the world around you, please, oh please stop believing the guff you made up.
Happy New Year everyone!
Rob Y, Stockholm
Setting a short time limit would be a simple and effective way to improve VAR. If, after 30 seconds, or maybe even 20, the match referee has not at least been called to the pitchside screen then the match officials’ decision should stand because there cannot have been an OBVIOUS error. Last night VAR failed for what seems like the thousandth time in its declared aim of correcting obvious errors. Extremely marginal offsides are not obvious. Taking two full minutes or more to get the decision technically correct causes only frustration. It certainly does not improve the game.
EAGLE IN EXILE NEAR ATHENS IN GREECE
Football clothing tropes
There are many cliches and tropes in football, many of them humorous and ridiculous and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. There is one that is really pissing me off, however, and it may seem trivial at first. It’s the gloves trope that dictates that any footballer wearing gloves is weak or lazy, that perhaps if they ran about more their hands would warm up. It is unbelievable how often this comes up in football commentary and analysis.
This came to the fore recently when I read the fawning coverage of Kieren Tierney warming up in snow wearing shorts and t-shirt. Do British football fans and the press really think that being cold is great, or is it like I expect that most people don’t care and are quite happy for players to decide for themselves what to wear?
Most of the time players that wear gloves are from much warmer climates, in the case of African or South American players we can be talking about places where the average temperature is 15-25 degrees warmer than here. These people should be heralded for their ability to withstand our freezing winters at all! Personally I think this is a prejudiced, lazy trope and encourage people to dismiss it.
Vijay, London (NUFC – Ameobi wore gloves from time to time)
Lampard v Gerrard
Another fantastic character assassination piece from Notts Forest supporter Matt Stead regarding Frank Lampard in today’s edition .
It seems you can take the boy out of Derby ………
Hilariously , Stead accused Lampard of going for the limelight at Chelsea whilst humble Gerrard sought out a life outside the spotlight at Glasgow Rangers , that’s Glasgow Rangers one of the biggest clubs in Scottish football , I know they all wear skirts and have Ginger hair and eat Haggis , but it is actually a real country with their own passionate football audience with Rangers very much in the spotlight.
Yet again we hear that Lampard has spent upwards of £200 million to become mediocre without any insight of what has actually been happening at Chelsea over the last two years .
Firstly, the season before this Lampard went into the management arena at Chelsea without the services of Eden Hazard the man who single handedly made the job uber coach Sarri had done look respectable by scoring or assisting over 50% of the goals Chelsea scored in stumbling to third place after the seasonal collapse of Spurs that year.
Last season he was tasked with getting into the top four with a squad of past their sell by date journeymen and a bunch of kids which he successfully achieved despite most pundits pitching Chelsea for a place in and around eighth position .
We have since jettisoned Willian to Arsenal who have already grown to love him and Pedro to Roma , both with a wealth of football experience that we are now missing . Including Hazard that’s basically all our goals gone as our midfield has about two between them over two seasons .
This season he has breezed through his Champions’ league group in first place and won plenty of games that were deemed difficult after losing against the opposition the season previously namely Sheff Utd (ok not such an achievement this year maybe) and Newcastle .
Whilst doing this he has tried to incorporate three new players into an unfamiliar league , one has been injured for weeks on end ( Ziyech) one has had to cover as a winger whilst perma-injured Christian Pulisic , a man who makes Arjen Robben appear robust was recovering in Werner who has seemingly lost all his confidence in front of goal as a result of having to spend have a game tracking back to cover Chilwell’s marauding runs and Kai Havertz who has also been ill for weeks with Covid-19 and only now appears to be turning a corner , he actually ran a bit against City .
Chelsea are playing absolutely dreadfully at the moment , but they have done the same under “Bad moment” Ancelotti and “maybe it’s me” Mourinho .
What you lot in your super woke Ivory tower are doing is hating Tory boy Frank for no apparent reason other than some kind of clandestine class war /Anti Forest sentiment.
Johnny Nic and tribalism…
I found myself largely agreeing with Johnny Nic and the dangerous element that football tribalism brings to the overall experience of being a fan. I deplore the Lad Bible, but a friend recently made the case to me that comedy is subjective and we need to look at each person’s life to appreciate the contextual nuance of a joke. I didn’t really agree with him. The storm around Leeds United using their social media profile to create the conditions for a pile on towards a female pundit is of course terrible, however, I feel that Leeds United and other clubs are broadly following a banter and low hanging fruit culture which surrounds the sport. The broadcasters created this culture long ago.
Back in the 00s, when I was a teenager, Soccer AM set the tone for banter culture and presenting women as less than male guests. Perhaps they were an extension of lad culture at the time, but it was clear that the show was banter and it was aimed at young men. If I recall correctly, they softly promoted tribalism with a studio audience of fans from one club. Banter become even more mainstream in the from of Chris Kamara who by design or nature was presented as a borderline incompetent man covering games who could miss key details and fail to pronounce players names properly. This culture of wilful banter gradually moved over to Soccer Saturday, the show become more and more banterful and of course followed tribal lines by having high profile players from yesteryear in the hot seat. The slide towards banter merchant has been completed by these said pundits not representing Paddy Power in a sort of grim banterclaus Christmas Advert.
Is any of this truly insidious? No. However, the collective weight of this style of punditry and culture was formed by the broadcasters and is evolving with each year. The marriage of social media and punditry only served to accelerate the decline as online content is by nature designed to be viral. We see Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville constantly engaging in banter on twitter which surely serves to infuriate fans of either set of clubs. Of course, it is banter between between to men, however, it is an extension of a legitimate tv show and followers seeking punditry and insight are unwittingly drawn into this tribal row. Rio Ferdinand is quickly devolving in a tribal banter merchant. Sky Sports softly set the tribal tone by basing guest pundits around the teams playing. Keane v Carragher highlights under the official Sky YouTube Chanel would substantiate this idea. Until the broadcasters take the road less travelled and focus on a higher form of art, the slide to cultural banter and tribalism will only become more acute.
Preston and Chedwyn…
I haven’t had cause to write in for a while, but I wanted to canvas for some support as I’m feeling pretty bereft after decisions taken by my (former?) team Preston North End.
Today they announced the signing of 32 year old league one footballer Ched Evans. Ched was found guilty of rape and then acquitted on appeal in 2016.
There is little point in me going into my reasons for being upset: you either get it or you don’t. Rightly or wrongly the case became a lightning rod for all things wrong with the British criminal justice system, and chances are that if you are reading this you know where you stand on Evans. You would either welcome him to your club or you would not.
I am in the latter camp. I feel bereft to be honest. In my 20 years supporting the North end I have never felt like breaking up with my club. Watching Preston on telly each week was one of the vanishingly few joys in this, the year of Covid, and now I feel like I must stop watching Preston. If you’re reading this and have had cause to ditch your club, can you offer some words on how you did it and why?
I’m actually shocked at how much this has upset me to be honest. So hearing from other fans who have found other teams (or pretty much moved on altogether!?) Would be really interesting.
(Just to make crystal clear, I really am not interested if you think I’m being soft or you want to say “ched was acquitted”. No one here wants to read three days of Ched attack and defence.)