We have mails on Liverpool’s prospects of winning the lot, Ralf Rangnick’s future at Man Utd, and double standards over Marcelo Bielsa.
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Liverpool could win it all
Now I’m not that arrogant to claim we will win the quadruple at all, that would be ludicrous. It’s so hard to do that no English side has ever done it before and there has been a lot of bloody good sides throughout my life Arsenal United Chelsea city. But the fact that it can’t be dismissed as no chance at all, it’s more of a it’s bloody hard but it’s possible is testament to how good this team is.
Carabao salvaged our season
Still buzzing from Sunday’s win… and how could I not?? This season proved to be incredibly hard to get by as a Liverpool fan.
Proof of that is the barrage of vitriol, frustration, anger and misery LFC faithful would normally unleash here and on social media just one or two months ago. Imagine that in a season when we demolished United 5-0 at Old Trafford. Well, expectations have changed.
I had to restrain myself from sending anything in the recent past because I was so beat down by the overall turn of events involving our club. While most rival fans wouldn’t understand why Liverpool fans were being so despondent given our recent success, the reason for that was the overarching feeling that our window of opportunity was closing, our better days were behind us leaving us with the nagging feeling we should and could have won more. One of those lingering feelings you can’t shake off. Only four titles under Klopp (including the World Club Cup and European Supercup) speak of a great run, but not exactly consistent dominance). For the manager and roster of players we have, we should have won more than just one league title and perhaps add another UCL before I get too greedy.
I spent most of this season trying to push an imaginary reset button and start all over again. If this was going to be our last ride, then at least we should contend for the title right? Except we were like 11 points removed from City and the title run was done.
Well not anymore! To me, the moment it all started to change was the second leg of the League Cup against Arsenal when Diogo Jota destroyed them gunners. I feel so happy to have a player like him who can produce moments of magic. I felt a joy and satisfaction that we were going to win this one, however a small cup, the often dismissed as Mickey Mouse cup, could salvage our season. Even acknowledging the formidable adversary we had in the final, we could win. We are Liverpool after all. And we did.
It feels so good to add trophy number 5 to Klopp’s Liverpool tenure and it would have been devastating otherwise given the circumstances of that game. All of a sudden the league is back on and we approach the remaining fixtures with a renewed sense of ambition and trust in our team. City, we’re coming for you. And Europe, we’re good enough to be at least in the CL semis; and at that point, it’s anybody’s game. It is then when our pedigree comes into play. Expect Anfield to be a cauldron again the likes which paralyzes even the most seasoned opposition. We just recovered our mojo back.
Raúl H. García (what a huge sigh of relief this cup win was) LFC-YNWA 1892
Better team lost?
3 emails on Monday unchallenged claiming ‘the better team lost’.
Sorry, but no. Liverpool were the better side and deserved to win. Now, I know stats and performance don’t always match up – you can dominate possession for example, without being the better side. But let’s take a quick look shall we – shots Liverpool 20 vs 11 Chelsea, on target 6 vs 4, corners (a solid indicator of pressure) 11 vs 2. Chelsea were good, especially on the break, Mason Mount had a shocker, but once again I think people are missing the point of offside ala Danny Murphy.
Let me state this loudly – THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A DISALLOWED GOAL. Chelsea didn’t have goals disallowed, they were caught offside! They are not goals that are then scratched off, they are offsides! It’s so frustrating, anyone who takes these in to account and says oh well Chelsea should have scored 3 – NO. Chelsea were offside 3 times because Liverpool have a good offside trap.
For the middle 60 minutes of the game Chelsea couldn’t get near us.
The better side won. That is all.
I’d just like to query Dave, Manchester’s logic for keeping Ralf on for next season; apparently we should because the club is going to be skint?
Pogba, Mata, Lingard and Cavani are all out of contract, and all pretty much certain to leave. That’s somewhere in the region of £800k-£1m per week off the wage bill (definitely pushing the latter if Greenwood’s contract is cancelled as well).
Then you’ve got players departing under contract. Henderson almost certainly will, and you’d hope Newcastle or similar will hand over £20m or thereabouts for him. Then there’s Bailly, Martial, Jones, Tuanzebe and VDB that will all most likely go, whether on loans or permanent deals. Whether through saving on wages, loan fees or transfer fees, there’ll be more put into the pot. There’s potentially others that will leave as well, it’s a very bloated squad, but I’d be surprised if any of those I’ve mentioned are at Old Trafford next season.
Finally, there’s the Ronaldo question. If he can go, I think both club and player will be happy for him to do so, to the extent I don’t think he’d have any qualms about leaving money on the table. If he goes, which he probably will, that’s another £400k+ per week back into the budget.
In total, if the above occurs, the wage bill excluding new signings should be down by anywhere between £100-150m per annum, with incoming transfer fees on top. Couple that with the revenues from match going fans being restored to the accounts this season, and I’d suggest whomever is manager in the summer will have a considerable pot of money to play with. I mean, we’ll almost certainly spend it appallingly, that’s kind of our raison d’etre these days, and as fans we’ll have a modicum of hope that this is a turning point before resigning ourselves to a scrap with Arsenal and Spurs for 4th by the end of September… but it won’t be because we don’t have the money.
Lewis, Busby Way
PS I like Ralf, not as a manager going forwards, but I really hope this consultancy role isn’t just BS.
This is an open question for the Mailbox, but what do you all think it means when a team prioritizes character in their transfer search? I was thinking about this watching Werner struggle as he has tended to do compared to Jota or Diaz seeming to take to their new team like a duck to water. Now obviously it may be the system, but it seems to my eyes that Chelsea have a good system set up to maximize the ability of their players. But then the potential stars like Pulisic and Werner just don’t seem to shine quite as bright as they should. What does Werner lack that Jota has? When Liverpool signed Jota for the same price they were apparently reluctant to pay for Werner, it just made me wonder what those variables actually are. I assume at this level players come to work on time and possess an eagerness to improve, but what else could a team realistically be looking at? You interview previous coaches and former partners and that sort of thing, but what can you really learn from that sort of exercise that would mean paying for one, but not the other. To my untrained eye, there is a minimal difference between Werner and Jota before their respective transfers, and I think we would all agree Werner looked better on paper.
Niall, Bethany Beach
Sorry to bring this story up again but seeing the mail about reasons to love Bielsa has annoyed me. I love Bielsa and hate all these morons in the media who call him a fraud. He did a great job at Leeds playing in such an exciting manner. The issue I have is the spy gate story. Everyone seems incapable of being critical towards Bielsa and has to hate Lampard. If this was the other way about Lampard would have been mocked to this day. It’s extremely embarrassing that Bielsa did that. It’s unsportsmanlike and I find it bizarre that people were shocked that Lampard wouldn’t like it. F365 along with many others have this weird irrational hatred of Lampard. I’m not sure if it’s because the media ‘love’ him because it’s clear they don’t. It’s very divided. The “Proper Football Men” seem to like him which means F365 and more liberal media hate him. And then vice versa for Bielsa. All the old Brexit dinosaurs hate Bielsa. Why can’t people just make their own opinions up? It’s so clear to me that everyone just gets their opinions based off others from Twitter. I swear if Lampard did some of the things Klopp or Pep did you would find a way to insult him. It’s so weird to me how blindly bias you lot are.
Money, football and keeping perspective
Recipe for a full mailbag
Give John Nicolson the brief to write something about a major existential issue in football
Let the sub-editors have the day off
Print the swirling thoughts spewed out by JN’s Hieronymus Bosch-like mental process
Sit back & count the clicks/money
There is much to like about JN’s piece arguing for the decoupling of football from “Big Money”. The lament over the fracture of clubs & communities, the concern that football authorities ought have better policed “proper person” protocols in vetting prospective owners & not least for his aim to create a more-effective framework for financial fair play. Sadly, though, as is normally the case with JN, he cannot avoid channeling his inner sixth-form Trot – flailing around at anything which fits his conspiracy-theory view of the world. Through JN’s lenses, nothing has improved in the world of football since it became richer & there is only one place to look for the culprit – capitalism !! Clearly he was not watching the Carabao Cup Final yesterday – where two teams, full of incredibly talented footballers played out a breathless, quality 130 minutes with complete commitment. I may be a Liverpool fan & therefore not as interested in the fortunes of the lesser-Alonso (& maybe privately censorious of his own less-than-stellar personal character moments along the way) but boy was I impressed to see him running a left wing overlap past Trent in the 117th minute. This was not the quality of football of the 1970 FA Cup Final I happened across on YouTube the other day; go watch that again & tell me that bad pitches, less athletic & all British players offered a recipe for a better spectacle. The pinnacle of English football rarely produces a turgid game these days….and the Championship summit is equally exciting. Are the spoils equally shared ? no. Are there checks & balances in place to retain sharing which ensures the viability of well-run, lower league clubs, yes. Can they be improved, likely yes – but the answer to the question is not complete swivel-eyed revolution. If you want to see Diaz, Mendy, Kovacic, Salah et al – then you have to be able to compete financially…simples.
By quoting a fiction author twice to assert that money is built on crime & interspersing ill-thought-through conflations of Trump, Brexit & Putin, JN undermines his good intentions. Perspective is important here. Have football & money become too vulgarly intertwined ? Yes, in the eyes of the majority of football fans I speak with, whether they work in English factories, NY hedge funds or Hollywood. Is it alone in that ? No – ask anyone trying to buy a house, a car or a bottle of wine. We have rampant inflation (mostly a function of rather non-capitalist flooding of the economy by governments with cheap money), a growing haves vs have nots gap & there is much of an argument to seek a reset. Covid, combined with a new feeling with respect to work (“the Great Resignation”) are beginning to reset the power between the richest & the rest of us. Football CAN make a difference too.
Don’t approve as owners those where there is even a shadow of evidence that their principals are connected with regimes involved in oppression or worse – we kinda know who they are…
Do encourage responsible owners with decent structures & plans e.g. FSG, Leicester
Do manage FFP robustly, with transparency & greater representation there for fan-voices
Beyond that, I find it hard to support the need for revolution. Football long ago recognized that more money CAN lead to more quality & more quality is what people, in general, want. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Stuart, Los Angeles