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Are Liverpool being punished for success?
I don’t agree with Matt’s article on Jurgen being a dick. I won’t spout my reasons as I’m sure that many others will explain them for me, I will simply ask this – are Liverpool being attacked for being too successful and do the FA rely on teams not getting through each competition up until its conclusion?
Liverpool have been involved in 6 competitions this season (Premier League, Champions League, League Cup, FA Cup, European Super Cup, Club World Cup). Also by my rough estimation, approximately 99.9999% (exaggerated, relax) of the senior squad are internationals. We’ve seen the problems already: the CWC, due to previous success from last season, conflicting with the League Cup, along with numerous delayed/reorganised games being moved due to replays/new rounds etc., and internationals. Fixtures are getting in the way of each other.
Is it just me, or are there just too many competitions for a world class team to compete in and successfully challenge for? Teams quite literally are unable to play every single game they could hypothetically play in with the strongest squads available. There was talk of splitting the squad in half and supplementing with youth players for the LC/CWC drama. This is exactly what I mean. There just isn’t enough space in the calendar. Plus the entrance of this break is (quite deservedly) creating another gap.
If the FA demand teams constantly put out their strongest teams for each and every competition then they need to reduce the number of competitions. Successful teams are physically unable to maintain that success across a wide range of competitions because there are too many crammed in alongside each other.
The FA really haven’t thought this break through. Or they, and everyone else complaining (hi Matt) need to accept that the clubs competing on the higher end need to rotate with their youth players in order to maintain a relatively competitive edge throughout the season.
Joe (witty brackets), London
P.S. Matt, a lot of the injuries for which players need to “get match sharpness” after having are due to muscle tweaks caused by playing too much xoxo
Think of Mrs Klopp
There’s no difference in the disappointment your family feel about a cancelled holiday if you’re loaded with money or a working class with low income. Everyone needs a break from work sometimes.
I feel sure most Liverpool supporters agree that Klopp’s wife deserve a week holiday with her husband after she will stay another two year in the city so he can continue be the manager.
Comparing Shrewsbury’s 39 matches with Liverpool’s 41 is at it’s best clueless, the decision is nok taken because they’re tired now. It’s to make sure players are not totally burnt out at the end of season, physically and mentally, when maybe another CL final is to be played. The boost the players can get from a week away with their families a sunny and warm place in February can’t be underestimated.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the strongest critics to this decision are the same people who will shout loudest again if Liverpool’s players are underperforming in the Euros in the summer due to tiredness and/or injuries.
And to Accrington Stanley chief Andy Holt, Shrewsbury will make a lot of money on the replay against Liverpool because they played a younger team. They will now have an increased chance to make even more money from Klopp’s decision if they draw another PL team in next round after winning against the kids. The FA cup final will still be sold out and televised all around the world.
I also find it sad that money has become the most important thing in football, but don’t blame Klopp for prioritising a potential CL final before a potential FA cup final. The issue is much bigger than this decision alone, but FA, PL, UEFA and FIFA don’t give a s*** about anything else than money either so nothing will change in near future.
Enjoy your beer in Ibiza or wherever you decide to go.
I think people are really seeing the true Klopp now. A spoilt child who stomps his feet when things don’t go his way. Whinging about fixture congestion when it’s his fault for putting out a weakened team, same as with Everton in the round before. Claiming that the top clubs have too many games. I’ve checked the numbers just to see how tired poor Liverpool must be.
Liverpool have played 38 games up to their draw with Shrewsbury, including the Charity Shield friendly.
The mighty Shrewsbury have played 36 times so far, and I’m going to guess that Shrewsbury don’t have a team of sports scientists, doctors, recovery experts etc. at their beck and call. I doubt Shrewsbury are travelling in luxury to their games and staying in the best hotels.
It’s absolutely pathetic from Klopp, who has more than likely halved the amount of money Shrewsbury would have gotten from an even half full Anfield. Who’ll wanna go see a bunch of reserves managed by Neil Crichley (no offence to the man) vs a League One team. The FA should take a very strong line with Klopp over this and stomp out the dissent once and for all.
Klopp and the cup
I find all this knocking Klopp for disrespecting the FA Cup by not fielding a full team for a replay during the Winter Break a bit rich. Matt Stead doth protesteth too much. I listened to several podcasts in which the pundits were extolling the great competition that they feel is the FA Cup and how those ‘little’ teams depend on FA Cup replays to survive. What utter b*ll*cks.
I find the FA a bit like a badly run company where the CEO lays down rules, like no one flying first class only to fly first class himself. What is the point of prohibiting clubs from playing lucrative friendlies during this period only to book your own replays in the same window? Do as I say…
I am sure teams planned their breaks well in advance and laid out programs – that include full 11 vs 11 work. Just can’t image they look up TripAdvisor for last minute deals and then wing it when they get there. So having the manager/coach and half his squad stay behind for a few days, puts a major dent in that forward planning.
The shrill comments regarding lower league team’s survival depending on FA Cup replays at the big teams grounds is so b*nkers. First of all, how many League One and lower teams get as far as the fourth round? Then, how many of them will be involved in a replay that will be at the big team’s ground? (Because if the first game is at the big club, they already have their ‘windfall’.) The odds of this happening are probably as good as playing roulette. So are we saying that all lower league teams need to manage their survival by chance or should these games just be gravy?
Most Premier League and Championship teams already make major team selection changes for these games. Even League One teams going for promotion. So we have already reduced the ‘aura’ of the cup. Sure, at one time, when the league was just one of many competitions and didn’t bring with it such huge rewards as today, and only one team qualified for the European Cup, and the FA Cup winners went into the Cup Winners Cup, there was almost equal glory. But that has long, long dwindled. Nowadays one of the top teams, who have already qualified for Europe elsewhere wins the cup.
In reality, one of the two cup competitions either has to go or be modified. Everyone knows it but no one will do anything. If everyone just bows their head and dutifully gets on with it nothing changes. Klopp’s stance may be considered a d*ck move but it will put the FA’s ineptitude in full view.
…I completely understand Matt’s point of view regarding Klopp’s admission that he will not attend the replay.I get it I really do. People believe it is an insult to the competition, to the opponent and to the greater footballing world. Why can’t he attend if not his players? Stupid Klopp! Arrogant Liverpool! No wonder why no one wants them to win! Bloody elite clubs who do they think they are? All sounds that rung out last night and today and do you know what each to their own, I cant give you a valid reason that will make you happy about the decision as there is none!
(I will admit as Liverpool fan currently going through a season which is the greatest chance of winning the “premier” league in the 30 years I have followed them, I couldn’t give a s**t if he decides to play the under 12’s against A.Madrid in a few weeks as long we get the albatross from around our neck in May, you know the one that we have been ridiculed about for the entirety of my life time? But am biased so…)
What I do have an issue with is :
The phrase ‘winter break’ is a misnomer in itself, of course – a pathetic attempt at offering an olive branch that was liable to snap at any given moment. A two-week break in the middle of February does nothing to alleviate the actual issue of a season that either starts too late or ends too early and requires teams to play more than a quarter of their domestic league campaign – and two cup competitions – over December and January.
This is in my opinion an astonishingly out of character opinion for this website. Granted its not perfect i.e. a Jan or Dec break but surely this is beneficial to all/any clubs involved. Too poo poo its off like Matt has as its not “perfect” is in itself as childish and petulant as Klopp’s decision. How long have managers (excluding Klopp) fought for some respite? No its not perfect but its surely a start. Surely any break for these athletes who in 2020 generally compete year round with additional international matches can only benefit the game. Matt mentions how the shrews have only played 2 games less than Liverpool but fails to touch on the international matches and travelling involved for the players of the “elite cartel” or whatever they are called these days. I would like to be proven wrong by Matt as it’s not often i disagree with him. Is there some research done on injury prevention that he was privy to? If players are not given a break before X amount of games is there no benefit to a break after Y amount?
Luke (can Stevie G kit out for the replay?)
…I really like Jurgen Klopp. I bet hes a great guy to hang out with and I bet he would be an amazing manager to work under. We’ve put up with his relentless whining and playing second string teams in the domestic cup competitions because of what he has done for Liverpool. However, he has completely crossed the line.
The point is his original stance on the FA Cup was questionable. He has resources that few clubs in the country can afford. They still play money spinning tours at other free times. He doesn’t moan about the world club cup (or the Qatar conditions – weird he doesn’t have a problem voicing other opinions). Players are ridiculously privileged and the small chance they may get a hamstring injury to me is not justified for saying how bad they have it (I just watched the man city documentary- the club washes their pants for them).
You’ve heard all of this before. Point is at least while he turned up we could imagine that Klopp slightly cares about the Fa cup. The reason the FA Cup is constantly being belittled is because of the attitude of Klopp et al, but him particularly. Look at the joy at Shrewbury and you see that real people still care. Klopp by not even turning up himself for the replay is bringing the game into disrepute. Voicing an opinion (although he doesn’t seem to acknowledge there is another view point) is one thing. What he is doing is something else entirely. He has shown he does not care about tradition, smaller clubs with infinitely less resources and far more importantly the normal fans themselves who pay his wages. He has shown he cares only for himself.
Howard (and maybe a little bit his players – but that was less punchy)
…Have to say I’m pretty conflicted about Liverpool effectively ditching the FA Cup. It never feels good to set the team up for failure and in this circumstance it also seems to be doing Shrewsbury out of a well-deserved occasion at Anfield and a decent windfall from gate receipts. Although I think Klopp would have done the same for a replay against a Premier League club, given the Villa game earlier this season.
I don’t really buy the ‘respecting the winter break’ excuse, although Klopp’s feelings on the need for fewer games have always been pretty clear. But I do think he’s standing up for his players. Imagine your boss at work gave you three projects, two crucial for the company and one as a ‘nice to have’. You’ve beaten everyone’s expectations on the two big projects, but because they’ve taken up all the resources the third project has suffered. And now, because of that, your boss turns round and says you can’t take the break with your family you’d been promised. You’d be pretty pissed off, right?
Obviously footballers have enough money to rearrange travel etc, but it’s the principle. Sadio Mane couldn’t even celebrate his African Player of the Year gong because he had to return for the run of games. So, Klopp is standing by a promise to his players and they’ll love him for that. Perhaps those players coming back who feel they need games could volunteer to play. Otherwise it’s going to be a non-event. Shrewsbury deserve more, but Klopp’s ultimate responsibility is to his players.
…Just a quick response to Matt Stead’s piece on Klopp not taking to the dugout himself for the replay. He says that ” There is no possible argument for Klopp not to be in charge”, I would disagree with that. If Liverpool are putting forward the under 23’s to represent them then surely their manager should be in the dug out. The under 23’s are a team in their own right. If they are not accommodating any senior players in their team for the next game then surely their manager is the best person to have in the dug out. No matter how well Klopp knows them as a team surely Neil Critchley knows them better.
Regardless I am (and I am sure the majority of Liverpool fans are) quite OK with Klopp and the senior players not being there.
Also is it disrespecting the cup if the under 23’s win?
Gerry S, Dublin
…Matt Stead wrote: “His arguments against the schedule have been compelling, his quest to serve the interests of the players instead of TV companies admirable, his desire to effect genuine change commendable. Most notable has been his consistency on the issue.”
Exactly. He is being consistent in his stance.
The Villa debacle was down to the EFL (and FIFA), this one to the FA. So he has had the same fight with three organisations with no interest in Liverpool football club, or it’s players. We all know that the PL and UEFA call the shots for the top teams. And the FA cup is not on the radar for Liverpool football club, or a large portion of their support base.
A reminder that Gerard Houllier suffered a heart scare while Liverpool boss, and another ex boss in Rafa has had health issues while managing at the top. Surely it can be conceded that staff are also exceptionally heavily worked and deserving of breaks?
Also, if the u23s are to go into the replay, who better to prepare them than the team that works with them day and daily?
You can’t call for genuine change, and suggest that those with the power do more, then moan about the ‘magic of the cup’ when one of them actually does.
I’m sorry Matt, re-read your quote above, you really can’t have your cake and eat it.
Adam, LFC, Belfast.
…Jurgen Klopp has acted in a such a petty manner that Mourinho himself would be astounded. I completely understand the need for a break for the squad, but players like Lovren, Origi, Matip, Lallana etc, the fringe players would surely be good enough to play the match.
The most appauling fact is the lack of decency and respect towards a competition that would be the 2nd trophy of the decade for a club like Liverpool. If Klopp cannot have the decency to cut short his 14 day holiday to a 11 day holiday, he does not deserve any kind of respect from anyone. People around the world slave hours that they would prefer not to. But here a man cannot cut short his personal two week vacay by just 3 days to be there for his team.
Shameful, arrogant, self indulgent behavior by Klopp. Any other manager would have been trashed inside out by the media and FA. Lets see if the FA has the balls to protect its cup. If not, i will be petitioning soon to be the manager for a one off FA cup match for Man United (How much worse can i do tho?).
…Klopp was clearly dismayed by his second team’s performance against Shrewsbury, but does anyone think his comment that he has to play the kids is a bit of psychology? I think he wants Mssrs. Adrian, Williams, Lovren, Matip, Laroucci, Jones, Fabinho, Chirivella, Elliott, Minamino, and Origi to say, “You know what, we haven’t done nearly as much as the first team so we don’t want our vacation. We want to play now and right the wrong of the first game against Shrewsbury.” Those players showed they aren’t at the level of the first team, so why aren’t they begging Klopp to give them a second chance? Their game time the last 3 months has been minimal in the cases of the senior players, so tell the general the soldiers don’t need sleep or food or water and he’ll know he can count on you in future the way he knows he can’t now.
Bobby ballsed up
Oh dear Bobby Duncan. He left Liverpool unceremoniously and now Fiorentina are trying to cancel his contract because he’s refusing to play. You feel like his football career might be over before he’s 21.
What a spectacular waste of talent. When he’s playing second division Irish football and wondering why he fucked up I hope he comes across this mail. Bobby, you’re the reason it all went so wrong.
I like to think if I had his talent I would work so hard to be the best version of myself. Football clubs should really make youth players work normal jobs for a day a week so they realise how damn lucky they all are.
Make cup competitions optional
Couple of points today. First, on those getting way too carried away with one result against Tranmere, this isn’t a sign that (yet another) corner has been turned, that Ole deserves more time, or any other kneejerk reactions. It was just a win against a team a lot worse than us (which is saying something these days), who played the wrong tactics, and past whom we bloody well should be putting six goals. On the contrary, while Ed Woodward was probably spaffing into his pants while crossing “an actual proper striker” off his shopping list, after watching Maguire spank one in from outside the box, anyone with an ounce of sense can see that the attacking we did in the Tranmere game is the exception rather than the rule.
Other than the Phil Jones goal, none of those goals are repeatable. By which I mean that they were individual moments of quality and defensive mistakes that brought them about. The Maguire, Dalot, Lingard and Martial goals were all the result of a naïve defence giving the attacking team far too much time and space (and most of them took a deflection too). Well-struck shots though they may have been, not many defences will be so generous; for further evidence of this, if it were needed, even former footballer Jesse Lingard scored. But the point is that other than the Jones goal, which came from a corner, none of those goals were really created by good attacking football; there was no obvious assist in the build-up, in the sense of a teammate actually manufacturing a chance via an incisive pass or cross. If anything, on the occasions when we did put a good attacking move together, which resulted in a pass or cross into the box, the chance went begging.
I know it probably sounds overly critical and cynical but this was not the game to make any radical assumptions that an improvement is on the horizon. United still absolutely need another option up front, even though Greenwood got himself on the scoresheet again, because without Rashford we are going to struggle to score goals against organised defences – like Burnley. In fact, Martial did very little to actually worry the Tranmere defence or goalkeeper during his 45 minutes. He had just two shots, only one of which was on target, and 31 touches of the ball – fewer than all of his colleagues (including Romero) bar Brandon Williams (who made 28 in just 27 minutes). There is no debate to be had here – Martial is not good enough to be a Premier League striker and never will be.
On the issue of Liverpool and the FA Cup, I agree with the calls for some kind of punishment to be levelled at them if they follow through with their plan to send a youth team and for Klopp not to turn up, but they haven’t actually done that yet so let’s save the punishment until the crime has been committed. But what I would say is that this issue is going to start becoming more commonplace. We’re already seeing increased call to reduce the number of fixtures in the season. I vehemently disagree with the idea of scrapping the League Cup – it’s my favourite and there’s nothing wrong with that competition at all, so leave it alone please.
My suggestion would be much simpler: make the cup competitions optional. What’s the point of forcing all teams to play in them, just for the sake of appearances, when those teams with split priorities just end up playing a weakened side anyway? Instead, why not make it possible for any club at all to opt out of one of the two cup competitions, in exchange for a proportional fee, which goes to their local FA for improvements to the grass roots game in their area. That way, more lower- and non-league clubs could potentially progress further in the competition and earn the chance of a money-spinning tie with a higher reputation opponent, while the teams that wish to reduce the workload on their players get their wish too. The other stipulation would be that the following season you must take part in whichever competition you opt out of.
I dunno, maybe it wouldn’t work but maybe it would. Thoughts?
…Let me start by addressing the loss of Kobe Bryant. One of the greatest (arguably the greatest) player basketball has seen. Tragic! May he rest is peace.
Excellent 16 conclusions on FA cup 4th round. While reading your suggestions to improve FA cup, I had an interesting idea. What if, teams from lower division that matched up against teams from premier league, progress to the next stage of the competition if they drew away. Here me out.
So take for example, Shrewsbury vs Liverpool. In this scenario, Shrewsbury will have to travel to Anfield and if they still drew the game against Liverpool, (0-0 or 1–1 or whatever) they progress. This would be valid till the quarterfinal stages. From there on you have to win to progress. This way we scrap the replays and give the underdogs a fair chance to progress and force the favourites to be creative to win.
The two downsides I see to this is that lower division teams would play for a draw (potentially makes it a little cagey) and it seems little unfair to premier league teams. However, this could also lead lower league teams to believe that they might have a chance to progress and potentially win FA cup. Moreover, if the EFL cup is scrapped, the revenue from that could be added to the FA cup pot.
I would love to know what the other mailboxers think about this or may be have a better way to deal with the problem of replays and/or EFL cup.
Sj Nair (RIP Black Mamba) Minnesota, USA
Man Utd perspective
Last time I checked United are 5th with a large stadium a decent young squad and maybe a bit of a mess but still 5th!!!!
Yet today I even read it compared to mugabe a man who presided over a regime supporting mass homophobia ,anti white racism, supporting murdering lynch mobs during land repossessions and causing thousands of deaths by leaving his own people in mass poverty. But yes that’s definitely in the same league as a team who are 5th in the premier league still in Europe and could definitely be playing champions league football next year and still investing in millions in new talent. I get it they’re not as good as they were but Jesus there needs to be some perspective here
Caught in the net
In attempting to query the benefit of discussing net spend, Alay (what happened to all the Diarras?), N15 Gooner in Amsterdam has inadvertently demonstrated the whole bloody point of it!
Yes the richer clubs (Man Utd in Alay’s example) will spend more (but you know what Alay – their players should generally cost more when they sell them too), and some clubs (Spurs in Alay’s example) will have to tighten their purse strings due to external budget balancing. Some (Liverpool) are successful in offloading players for high values whilst others (Arsenal) have let contracts dwindle and managed their assets poorly.
But net spend is a useful (not perfect, not the only tool, but a useful one nevertheless) to provide context to the different situations of these clubs. Had United bought better they would have enjoyed a better return on the likes of Di Maria and Depay when sold. You can’t judge Spurs’ spend without considering their sales in the context of having the balance the books because of a new stadium. They simply can’t go and spend £250m on players this summer without re-couping that or getting into serious financial difficulties. Would Liverpool have had the funds to spend big on Van Dijk and Alisson had they not taken Barcelona’s leg off over Coutinho? No. Similarly had they not sold Coutinho, or received a far smaller amount from Barcelona, would Van Dijk and Alisson have cost as much? Again, probably not, as the selling clubs knew they had £120m+ in the bank. Had Arsenal not let contracts dwindle their players would have a better re-sale value and therefore they might have more funds to play with in the market.
…Joff, Barton Gooner .. Of course it damn well matters where the money comes from and of course it changes the level of achievement! Being a great manager isnt just a case of making sure you pick the best 11 every week. It is multifaceted job and recruitment and man management are arguably just as important as selection. Most clubs have to use various different types of skill, scouting, wheeling and dealing (sorry Arry) and clever operating to buy and sell players in a way that keeps a squad competetive while always improving and not bankrupting the club. Are you saying managing to do all that takes about the same effort as a wealthy sugar daddy arriving one day and handing you wads of cash?
And in the interest of preventing “tribalism” from effecting the perception of this mail. Your an Arsenal fan right? So by your logic, Arsene Wengers 3 titles won from a combination of coaching, good scouting, careful selling and buying great player mangment etc where in no way a better achievment than Man City, PSG or Chelsea back in the day winning the league because they had 10 times the money anyone else had. Of course Arsenal’s titles were a much better achievement because it does matter where the money that built the foundation came from. So IF ( Ive been hurt too many times to take anything for granted) Liverpool do hopefully clinch the title this year with their 70 million net spend and their 2 full backs costing a combined 8 million, of course it will be a better achievement than Peps 500 million net spend and his 162 million spent on full 3 backs alone. Theres just no comparison.
On an unrelated note, My 2 neighbours have recently become very competitive about which one of them would win if they raced cars. So one of them actually sold his car and decided to use the money to build a brand new one himself. He built the entire thing piece by piece with each part carefully selected from the tyres to the pistons. But he was on a tight budget so he had to bargain for each part and couldnt just buy the best of everything, he had to be very careful and make sure he got the right part everytime. My other neighbour however, just so happened to have a rich uncle who died recentely and left him s**t loads of cash out of the blue. So he went and bought himself a Maserati. Amazingly, Regardless of this massive advantage, when they finally did race it was actually draw! But I guess both of their achievments were exactly the same, As in the end it doesn’t matter where it comes from!
Pierce, Ireland ( Never understood why Redknapp took such offense, he was a damn good wheeler dealer)
Can’t remember the point of his email but Alay N15 Gooner in Amsterdam asked an interesting question in his brackets; ‘what happened to all the Diarras?’ Well I think they’ve all been replaced by Dembeles.
tomvons (no interesting points here), Surrey