Keep your mails coming in to email@example.com….
While VVD, Salah, Mane and Alisson often (and rightfully) take up a lot of the spotlight as Liverpool’s “world class” players, I believe Fabinho also comfortably fits into that category of player. Similar to Fernandinho at Man City, Fabinho’s versatility and all round defensive game are invaluable to this Liverpool team, even more so now with the injuries that have befallen them. At 6ft 2, he also has strong arial ability which will compensate for Gomez’s lack of arial dominance. Although VVD is a massive loss, Fabinho’s move to CB allows Liverpool to play all of Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum (as much as I want to love Keita for me he is not quite yet at the level of the others) and Thiago (who is a cut again above everyone). I think this line out will provide a good defensive / creative / athletic balance to the team. Let’s see what happens in VVDs absence but after tonight’s performance against a strong attacking team I’m a bit more confident that we will cope well.
Alex (Tbh I would be happy just watching Thiago clipping effortless 40 yard passes for 90 minutes) London
…After the Leeds game I posited a question to some other football fans: is there a better defensive CB pairing than VVD and Fabinho? Only Man City could pose an argument, and even then Ake was in it. In terms of passing I don’t think there’s an argument whatsoever.
Since then they’ve gained Dias, and we’ve lost VVD, so maybe the tables have turned. But to gain Thiago and lose Fabinho (to CB) doesn’t make a terrible amount of difference in overall quality to the team, if Fabinho continues this level of game that is. Hopefully VVD is back by next season, and he and Fabinho could be the starting duo for the next couple of years.
KC (seen nothing to make this anything but a two horse race)
Falling in love with Salah
It’s just 41 minutes into the Ajax game and there’s another half and almost a season left to play without one of the most important players in the team.
Jamie Carragher was right to point out that Salah was one of the most unappreciated player in the league. Inspite of his insane scoring records season after season, I had a specific bone to pick with the player as he always seemed to play first for himself and then the team (Yes, the argument of the best players being selfish etc.). But it wasn’t a comfortable sight to watch him choosing to take shots when he could have picked mane or any other player, to give us a better chance at putting the ball into the net.
Anyhoo, I just watched Salah collecting the ball in his own half, amidst pressure from the opposition, picking a brilliant pass to Robertson across the field, stumbled down and managed to run the length of the field anticipating the cross from Robertson.
I just feel he’s becoming the kind of player, that many of us as fans were hoping for, he’s been picking players from the right, looking for his team-mates in spaces. His hunger remains for goals, yes; but the above example or his frustration of his back-heel getting deflected from the path of firmino, did bring a smile on my face.
Talisman is the word that I’m thinking of.
Mihir Nair. Mumbai. LFC. (How sh*t has Bobby Firmino been since some time now?Jota needs to be replacing him sooner)
Pickford: Muscat with gloves
John Collins seems fairly representative of a proportion of fans who seem to think that Liverpool fans are up in arms that a player got injured.
Can I just point out that Ox did his knee v Roma in 2018 and was out for a year. Was in a collision with a Roma player. No fans were whining about that.
Fabinho last season was caught late v Napoli in the CL.Was a nasty one,Napoli player got a yellow and Fabinho was out from November-March. Can’t remember much whining about that.
Henderson missed the last few games of last season with a knee injury.Remember people were wondering if he could do his trophy shuffle?
He clashed knees in a game.Went off. Was there uproar about that?
Currently out for a variety of reasons are Alisson,Matip,Keita,VVD,Thiago & Ox.(this was at 4pm on 21/10 so this may have changed by the Ajax game).
One of those is out injured because a hot headed keeper-with previous-came rushing out of his goal. Even though he was in the penalty box and can use his hands he dived off the air and wrapped both his legs around a Liverpool player.It looked horrendous in real time yet somehow the ref missed it.That happens. There is however insurance with a VAR official.He also did not see it even though he looked at multiple angles.That same Liverpool player is now out for 9+ months. Guess which of the 5 out injured we are talking about.
That sequence of events has literally never,ever happened to a player before and was so preventable.Would Richarlison have done that second challenge if the first was punished? This is why Liverpool fans are so p****d off with the Kevin Muscatt of keepers. You remember him being a Wolves fan? A wannabe thug who nearly ended quite a few careers like Pickford.
It’s a contact sport,bad challenges happen. They don’t often go unpunished and certainly don’t with VAR.
Clicks and Moneyball
Maybe a month ago I asked someone (I think it was a Liverpool fan) to explain what they thought motivated the hate they believed F365 had for their club and I didn’t get a response. I want to ask Ser Davos, Zee, Ved Sen and Simba the same question. Can you explain the benefit that F365 would get from being anti-United? We know from the Liverpool Echo that you can hoover up clicks with positive puff pieces about a club so it’s not like publishing hot takes to get angry responses is the only way to be financially viable.
On a different topic, I am a baseball fan I noticed that it looks like Billy Beane (Oakland Athletics executive of Moneyball fame) is going to take a role in FSG. He has previously expressed an interest in trying his methods in football and I wondered what Liverpool fans thought of the prospect that they might be his guinea pig? Do you trust FSG enough to go along with what might be a rocky experiment? I also seem to remember him being involved with a Dutch club for a while but I can’t remember who and how it went.
NorthernSoul (just because you flag up your clickbait headlines in Mediawatch doesn’t excuse you from using them F365) NUFC
Goal of the season contest
Last night was ridiculous for spectacular goals, you had Modric v Shakhtar, Tolisso v Atletico, Szoboszlai v Lokomotiv, Luis Diaz v City and of course Papu Gomez v Midtjylland.
Talk about trying to pick a goal of the round out of that bunch, some of those strikes would warrant an inclusion in goal of the tournament and it was only Matchday One, if you haven’t had chance to check those goals out you really should, your boss isn’t looking I promise.
Personally I liked Szoboszlai the best, training ground move and finished off as it sweetly hits the crossbar.
Conclusions on United
Sage to Outrage. That is how the pendulum swings these days with every United game. 16 conclusions that are true and worth remembering regardless of the game.
1. The reality is that Man United are on a long term path. Ole has a long term vision and sticks to it.
2. Ole has Phelan who is good tactically. Ole treats his players well and they play for him. The team plays for him. At times they play like shit but they play for him.
3. Our recruitment will always be hamstrung. With our current manager, we will definitely identify the right places to fill. We may be shit at executing the plan and show no signs of setting up the department with a Director of Football.
4. Ole cannot attract players like a Klopp, Pep, Mourinho or Ancelotti can. He just cannot. Haaland, Bellingham are two recent examples. And, these days, player tapping starts one or two years in advance. See Van Dijk or Thiago.
5. Our commercial revenues will stay solid. We have a global appeal that generates eyeballs. Just see the number of articles on United and Liverpool. It does not matter what the results are. Regardless, the articles will be about United and the clicks will mean exposure driving a positive cycle.
6. We wont win the league with this team. We possibly will win a cup sometime.
7. Van De Beek was bought a year in advance to get rid of Pogba. Lets hope Madrid and Barca are desperate to buy him and pay us a bomb next year.
8. Our best defensive combination is Axel and Lindelof. There was a reason Harry was left at home. He is a liability against pacy teams. Axel and Harry will do well too.
9. AWB is exceptional at one thing – Tackling. He is 9/10 there.
10. Fernandes is our Keane. No way are their roles or skills similar but we have a player who has the same drive and desire. He demands and is a colossus in how he drags the team on the pitch.
11. From Jose’s time, when we had a divided dressing room with no leaders, we now have leaders in Harry and Bruno.
12. Rashford will hit a patch of bad form. He is a confidence player and will have bouts of success and failure. He is a gem and a 15 goal striker.
13. For Martial, read Rashford.
14. United badly need a young striker who is an out and out number 9. Let’s hope Cavani is that stop gap. We need to find one for 3 to 4 seasons though.
15. I feel bad for Romero and Ighalo. United of old would never treat them poorly.
16. McTominay is a great find. This kid is going to go places too. Well, this was to get to 16.
I don’t know if you have noticed that when Maguire isn’t playing Lindelof has a great match. Could this be because he only has his own job to do and not babysit Maguire.
Go easy on Kepa
Mikey’s email on the Chelsea result raised an uncomfortable reaction in me. His snide remarks re: Kepa seems to me standard on social media and his reference to Pete Cech’s inclusion gave the sub text of anyone but Kepa.
The reality is that the goalkeepers work in the Covid bubble and should one be positive the other two will have to self isolate. So to insure against that doomsday scenario Cech trains separately as a back up plan.
The constant hounding and abuse of Kepa is really uncomfortable, not all remarks are directed at the player through social media, but I have real empathy for the lad. He’s a shell of the young man who came to Chelsea, sitting behind a back 4 that doesn’t trust him and who he doesn’t trust to make a f*ck up.
I hope the lad can secure a loan back to Spain in the winter transfer window and rebuild his career and sanity away from the abuse of MSM and social media channels. He may not be the best, but he deserves some dignity as a human being.
I haven’t received such internet backlash since I claimed nobody ever got excited about falafel back in 2013. This one really stings, though, as it actually does matter. Me bringing up the Aguero/Massey-Ellis incident again feels necessary as brushing it aside as non-malicious and having the boss dismiss it may well become the norm, and “that is NOT okay!”. In an incredibly abusive and slanderous response to my initial mail it was suggested that I was “mansplaining” (despite conveying how my GIRLfriend felt about the matter). If it helps I can call upon more female takes on what happened. Suzanne Wrack wrote in The Guardian Sportblog: “those who defend the Manchester City striker’s grabbing of the official are blind to the context that makes it indefensible”. She too has gone online to condemn the from-behind contact as “disgraceful, unprofessional and patronising” and subsequently received many complaints from men and much support from women. She explains: “As the abuse resulting from my tweet continued to pour in, so did the replies from women, many who work in football in some capacity, creating a collective sigh at behaviour which, for them, feels all too familiar. One message came from a grassroots female referee thanking me for commenting on the issue they face ‘on a weekly basis’ but feel they would be ‘laughed at’ if they called it out”. Andy’s (relatively civil) response to my mail was to point out that “just because it’s a man instigating something with a woman doesn’t mean it’s always about being sexist”, which is true. However, the contact Aguero makes doesn’t have to be borderline molestation to be perceived as subconscious or conscious sexism. And it’s not just me, there are plenty of women you can ask on the matter.
For all I know Massey-Ellis might not be that bothered about it. She’s likely experienced worse. Or, maybe she would rather leave it alone for fear of being “laughed at”. With Aguero, I don’t actually believe he is the problem itself. People can learn and improve. He may well be the nicest guy. That doesn’t mean we laugh off what many perceive to be (probably, but certainly not less harmfully) subconscious sexism. Comments on how it was not malicious or threatening are clearly missing the point. Calls for out-and-out equality do not understand the necessity for equity to help those who have more of a struggle to get into what is chiefly a white man’s workplace.
Wrack concludes: “It is not OK to touch a woman like that in her place of work, it is not OK to touch a woman like that in a club, it is not OK to touch a woman like that in a bar, it is not OK to touch a woman like that on a football pitch”. To be clear, Massey-Ellis had disengaged from the dialogue with Aguero and started to walk away. She grabbed his hand and threw it away. Don’t make this the norm. And, to Aman, I would love to see a montage of the men assuming it’s OK to grab the ref from behind. We could even do a cool side-by-side comparison with the Massey-Ellis one. By the way, my girlfriend was surprised you didn’t go all out and call me a whiteknight as well. Don’t worry, I’m not. I’ll call a spade a spade when necessary. And you, my friend, seem like a world-class tool.
Simon, Norf London Gooner