Keep your thoughts coming on Liverpool, VAR, Spurs and anything else to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Don’t worry about it…
In the dieting world (Keto, low carb, whale sperm) Liverpool’s performance is what would be referred to as a “cheat day”. Don’t fucking worry about it. You look wonderful Liverpool. It’s ok once and a while to eat a cake and a big bag of crisps with a crate of Carlsbergs for breakfast.
Jason G, King of the cheat day diet, Montreal Canada
The acceptance of defeat from Liverpool fans…
Weird one seeing so many Liverpool fans defend the teams performance in the mailbox. Maybe it’s because it’s been so long, but it’s not as if all those players have been there for 30 years trying to win a league, or even supported Liverpool for 30 years without a league, and therefore were too overcome with emotion to concentrate.
They’re professional athletes that knew they were going to win the league months ago. They, and Klopp, have the responsibility to make sure they go out and still act accordingly. Liverpool fans make it sound like after every other team won the league they all just downed tools and stopped trying – “it’s won, it doesn’t matter”.
Also, that should be held against the argument that City had lost the league and it still mattered. City came back from the restart knowing they wouldn’t be title winners and have played incredibly. Liverpool aren’t in Europe or the FA Cup, surely you get the players to finish strong then enjoy a few weeks off?
Obviously you can lose to City, but there’s a way to lose and it’s not getting rolled over and spanked.
Thirty minutes had expired at the Etihad on the final day of August in 2019. Manchester City, the reigning champions, had taken an early lead and Brighton were one third of the way into a damage limitation exercise. Leandro Trossard burst forward and crossed with little success as the excellent Aymeric Laporte swatted away any imminent danger. Several minutes later in a season-defining moment which simultaneously rendered City’s title challenge futile and exposed a rare but egregious Guardiola error, Laporte’s season was all but over after a collision with Brighton’s Adam Webster.
Though City finished as comfortable 4-0 winners, the following fixture saw an unexpected defeat away at Norwich and a new vulnerability to counter attacks led to further losses against Wolves, defeat in the Manchester derby and a loss in a potential title-decider against Liverpool, a game in which City dominated and were denied a clear penalty early in the game (which was notoriously followed 22 seconds later by the Fabinho goal). Already missing previous PFA Young Player of the Year, Leroy Sané, a Laporte-lite City would drop further points to Newcastle and Crystal Palace.
While Laporte’s injury and the Alexander-Arnold handball decision will go down as minor details in Liverpool’s 19/20 victorious season, their title-charge has served as a reminder of Al Pacino’s emotive Any Given Sunday speech in which he describes the fundamental nature of ‘inches’ in sport. While enjoying a clean bill of health this season (no straw-clutching citing of perma-crock Oxlade-Chambelain here please), Liverpool were consistently able to fight for enough inches to edge past inferior teams and amassed fourteen one-goal victories en route to glory. Demolition jobs of rivals were in as short supply as credible rivals themselves, notwithstanding the thumping of a hugely overrated Leicester City, in what seems like a title season without highlights. Besides the frequent feeling of relief of late winners, perhaps. Furthermore, the humbling at Watford and last night’s dismantling against a full-strength City have surely tainted their glorious season.
It would not be unfair to hypothesise that Laporte’s presence would have been worth 20 points to City, especially when Guardiola has frequently had to field unfamiliar defences this season. Additionally, the most ardent Liverpool fans would find it hard to argue against a similar points value being aligned with the imperious presence of Virgil Van Dijk. Thus, we can only imagine the outcome of a season comparable to last season’s thrilling title race where two heavyweights could slug it out unabated by the absence of their defensive cornerstone. Curious thoughts aside, fortune has indeed favoured the brave and we can only congratulate Klopp’s Liverpool and look forward to a more competitive battle next season.
AC in Milan
It doesn’t mean anything…
Man City took Liverpool apart. Its one game. Does one game mean anything? According to some it does. It sets a marker for next season etc etc etc. No it doesn’t. One game does not set a marker. Being 20+ points ahead sets a marker. Chelsea beat Man City the previous week, I did not hear about markers being set then for Chelsea. Enough of this nonsense.
Paul – London (West Ham beat Chelsea so West Ham are better than City if you look at one game at a time. West Ham are setting a marker down against City. Ridiculous)
The actual treble…
Exasperated Ash in the mailbox earlier states, “no matter if you have won the treble you DO NOT put in an embarrassing performance like that on”. What’s embarrassing is claiming to have won the treble by winning the PL (handsomely) and two glorified charity shields.
It’s a great achievement, but to win the treble you have to win the League, FA Cup and European Cup in the same season (see Manchester United 1999 for reference).
Happy weekend everyone!
Garey Vance, MUFC
I’ve seen a few comments on twitter and in the mailbox about this being the worst ever defeat, or most embarrassing performance, from the Premier League champions. Let’s put things in a little perspective. These things happen:
Manchester City 6 Manchester United 1 – 2011
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 4 – 2009
Manchester City 4 Manchester United 1 – 2004
Chelsea 5 Manchester United 0 – 1999
Tottenham Hotspurs 4 Manchester United 1 – 1996
Newcastle United 5 Manchester United 0 – 1996
Southampton 6 Manchester United 3 – 1996
I’m not having a pop at United here, quite the opposite. I’m using them as an example because they’re the most successful team of the Premier League era. Every one of the above results was under Fergusson and every result was when United were either the defending champions or would go on to be champions that season. In addition, these were all games that mattered, not games played when the title had already been won.
So let’s not read too much into it. It happens. It’s not ideal, but to suggest it takes the gloss off winning the title is laughable. It also will have absolutely no bearing on next season. We will start again in September (hopefully). May the best team win.
Mike, LFC, London
Watching Spurs losing to Sheffield United, i was struck by the exact same thing I was struck by in their draw with Man United – how can an elite team be this far behind the curve on their fitness and conditioning?
At times it looked like the home side were moving around at 2x speed, oveappinh for fun while Spurs’ midfielders, full backs and, above everyone else, Harry Kane, seemed to be running on empty from minute 70. And this despite having 2/3 of the possession!
I’ve always been a little bit sceptical of the rush to brand Mourinho as yesterday’s man due to favouring defensive football, but his rigid adherence to his tactical periodisation training techniques and well-documented wariness of specialised fitness work appears to be his biggest failure to move with the times. Top level players just don’t look like Mourinho players anymore. Looking at the pitch last night, every player was slimmed down, with hardly an ounce of excess weight on any of them. The clearest example of this is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who must have lost 7-8kg since leaving Arsenal.
Apparently one of the reasons Ole Solskjaer was let off the hook lightly for the abysmal end to last season was because the board recognised how unfit the squad was when he took over, and how the injuries which ravaged several players from March onwards were almost an inevitable result of a lack of proper conditioning in the early parts of the season. If that is true, it’s a staggering indictment of Mourinho’s failings.
FYI Spurs fans…
Please, from all of us United fans: know that it’s not you, it’s him.
When he inevitably leaves, the darkness will clear, smiles will return and some actual football may even break out on the pitch.
We will forever celebrate December 18th as Jose-out day, and hopefully you’ll have your own special date soon.
Ryan, (seriously, why are people still hiring the man) Bermuda
VAR should only intervene for significant errors…
First things first, we got what we deserved last night – nothing. Sheff utd good value for their win. Fair play.
That’s said, I am sick of VAR. It is sucking the enjoyment out of a game I’ve adored for 30 odd years. If there are no significant, and I mean significant, improvements I will be canceling sky subscriptions next year and I will not be alone.
Referees should be left to referee the game. It’s their job isn’t it? VAR should intervene only when a significant error has been made i.e. violent conduct. I accept the handball rule is ludicrous but the fact is, it is only really a problem because VAR scrutinises everything when frankly it shouldn’t be.
Please can this bloody system. Enough is enough.
Dave (sad spur)
As a referee it really gets me when players or in this case managers get it wrong. Chris Wilder says the ‘technology is a farce’. Why??
VAR got the decision spot on Chris, it is the RULE you are unhappy with and probably rightly so.
Remember this rule was changed because people didn’t understand the difference between deliberate and non-deliberate handball.
It’s a bit like when the kids in school are all banned from doing something, because a few can’t follow the rules.
It’s unfair and stupid in some cases, but VAR (and the ref) are there to make sure the rules are followed and that is exactly what they did yesterday!!
Andreas (this doesn’t change that VAR is being used in the wrong way a lot of the time) Brussels
Been trying to understand why/how a trained referee could ever come to the decision to cancel that Kane goal last night.
The one thing that makes some sense to me for it, is that the FA, or whatever body is ultimately responsible for evaluating referee performance, must have a very strict scrutiny over decisions and then severe consequences for mistakes by referees. So much so that the VAR official would prefer to follow the letter of the law rather than use judgement and common sense.
Haven’t checked if they publish their reports on referee performance but I sure hope they do. I would expect both the evaluation process and the actual reports to be publicly available. Perhaps that can help us understand a bit more what’s going on in referees heads.
Kikis (Keep in mind we are at the beginning. In the end VAR will come good)
Just a follow up to Tiss’ email there regarding VAR.
Didn’t get to watch the game last night, but from what I’ve read, his hand touched the ball. The current rules are that an accidental hand ball by the attacker means no goal. It isn’t anything to do with VAR.
Just wanted to flag that as I saw a lot of “ridiculous VAR decision” stuff in the press this morning and it grates – it’s a good example of unjustified VAR-bashing.
Criticise the current iteration of the handball rule by all means – but it’s not the fault of the official who applied the rules correctly.
I suppose the issue with VAR then is that the guy only apparently handled it as a result of being fouled. The question is where should VAR draw the line? Do they review every incorrectly awarded throw in, or do they restrict it to the big decisions – goals, serious foul play, etc. Currently the rule is the latter and, broadly, I think that’s the best balance even if it’s annoying when you get the occasional decision where your goal gets disallowed but the blatant free kick a few seconds earlier doesn’t get reviewed. Though opinions may justly vary.
The alternative is a more nuanced, subjective approach, that I do not think the football landscape is capable of handling – as you see when the “boys in the studio” rage against the VA ref for correctly applying a rule, rather than the rule itself, which is where their ire should be directed. The football press’ sensationalism and inability to convey any shade of grey are why the current version of VAR was, in my opinion, pilloried for a raft of unjustified reasons (some are justified though, takes a bloody age and they could do a much better job of communicating decisions in stadiums)
It seems to me that nobody understands the new handball law.
Accidental handball only rules out a goal if the handball causes the player to control or gain possession of the ball and create a goalscoring opportunity as a result.
The ball didn’t even move when it (possibly) grazed Lucas’ arm hair, so he can’t possibly be said to have gained control or possession of the ball.
Even if he had, he didn’t create a goalscoring opportunity. The defender kicked the ball against his back to do that.
Not that it really matters. We were soundly thrashed. Jose out.
Man Utd bus…
Mark’s inclination for poetic licence when he erroneously states that ‘thousands of ‘fans’ gathered to smash up the City coach on the way into Anfield’ is reinforced when he claims that West Ham ‘did’ the Man U bus in the first match after Beckham was sent off in the World Cup, and he should know coz he was there!
Point one: Liverpool fans gathered to greet the Liverpool team bus as they always do prior to big games. As the City bus took the same route a few dickheads lost control and lobbed some bottles at it which resulted in a cracked window. Please stop trying to make out like it was the battle of the Somme ffs.
Point two: Unless Jesse Lingard was playing for Man U in 1998 you’re talking out of your arse.
James Outram, Wirral
Do Man Utd need to buy Grealish?
I ask -does Man United really need to buy Grealish? I think we should have a conversation about this. My blunt answer is not really. With Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in top form, united do not need another attacking Midfielder like Grealish. Besides, our midfield is stocked with other performing players including Matic, Fred and McTominay. There is a need for an effective balance in the squad.
I believe that the money would be well spent elsewhere, in defence (e.g. Koulibaly) or attack (Sancho). Cheers from Australia.
Professor David Achanfuo Yeboah