Liverpool’s Thiago Silva regret and an age-old debate in the Mailbox…

Date published: Thursday 12th November 2020 9:18

Keep your mails coming to…


It could be Brian bloody Clough…

So last night Didier Deschamps started Paul Pogba in midfield against Finland…

He was hooked off after 57 minutes when France were 2 nil down…

I honestly don’t think it would matter who was managing him now..
Robbie DFC


Say it ain’t so, Joe

This was always going to happen to Joe Gomez this year. Some players, especially those blessed with the physical attributes to cut and move so hard and so well, but whose bodies just can’t quite handle it at the margins (ligaments and tendons can be fragile things).

For Liverpool fans, our experience with him was “wow, what a lad”, then he had the first ACL injury, then the Achilles and the ensuing ankle injuries. He’s had patches of form that convinced you he could be the best defender in the world some day.

As a Liverpool fan, he’s the type of player and the type of person that makes you proud to support.

It’s desperately sad that he’s facing another long spell on the sidelines and I would like to point the (middle) finger at the people who made this happen. 3 games a week for how long????

F*ck off
Ian, LFC (get well, Joe) Hartford, CT USA


If I could turn back time

If Gomez’s injury is yet another ACL, with a huge dollop of hindsight (maybe not considering we needed a short term CB anyway), wouldn’t Thiago Silva have been just perfect?

Also, I really hope we don’t do the whole/hole who’s the best through the middle style midfielder in the mailbox with Gerrard and Scholes. Can we all just agree they were both pretty decent?
Big Bob


Sorry Big Bob: Scholes v Gerrard is back

A single look at their respective trophy cabinets should suffice to end the Gerrard vs Scholes debate. Gerrard was great by virtue of being the main man at Liverpool, everything went through him and he had cart blanche to do anything. He scored screamers because he was allowed to take those shots often.

Lampard only took about 90 more shots than Gerrard in his Premier League career but has 57 more goals than him.

This is also why Gerrard couldn’t replicate his Liverpool form for England. He’s simply not a great team player, controversial hit take here but I think Benitez wins the league with Liverpool if Gerrard wasn’t there. You simply cannot have a sum greater than its parts with Gerrard in the team. It isn’t a coincidence that Liverpool is back on top as soon as he’s left the club. Henderson is the antithesis to Gerrard and the he may not get as many plaudits but he sacrifices individual honours for the team and as a result Liverpool win a lot more games.

I’d even take a prime Yaya Toure over Gerrard if I am selecting a Premier League All time XI. Yaya also bossed the Barcelona mid field, just the thought of Gerrard in that Barca team is laughable.

Think of all the greatest mid fields of all time, does Gerrard get into any of those? He gets nowhere close to a mid field of Keane, Beckham, Giggs, Scholes – you can see any of those four getting into many great mid fields though.

It is undeniable that Gerrard was one of the greatest players of all time but he is not in the conversation when you think of the absolute best. He’s not in the top 10 midfielders of all time nor the top 10 number 10s. Gerrard was great at everything without being the absolute best at one thing. Anytime he did lead Liverpool to winning something it was by having water carriers around him.

I’d even go as far as saying Xabi Alonso is a better midfielder than Gerrard. KDB definitely is.

Scholes and Keane would definitely be in the greatest mid fielders of all time conversation. Scholes probably had a much better long shot than Gerrard but even when he played further forward he never took as many shots as Gerrard.

Obviously a Manchester United fan here though and if Liverpool fans already don’t want to murder me for saying all of this, let me just make it even worse by saying Gerrard is a glorified Paul Pogba. Put two mid fielders behind Pogba and allow him to do anything he wants, the team may sink further down the table but Pogba will come out looking like world class.
Shehzad Ghias, mufc, Karachi


…You can argue between Gerrard, Lampard and Scholes all you like – all 3 fantastic players and one club men. I’d go Scholes closely followed by Lamps, but the best of all time was undoubtedly David Beckham. He could score from anywhere, assisted more than any, could tackle, track back and could drag the whole team along with him. Never went missing. He even made Gary Neville look good for years. You’re welcome.
Jon, Cape Town

Prem’s best midfielders

When looking at these kind of things I’m picking based on
1. How good they were at their best
2. How much they helped their team improve
3. Longevity

1. Lampard. His goal record is excellent. He wasnt just scoring tap ins and deflections like many people think. Won 3 league titles, CL and several cups. Came 2nd in the Balon D’or and was good box to box player. Great part of that Chelsea spine
2. Keane. Was probably the key player in that United side during the reign of dominance. Winning POTY and getting into several teams of the year was very impressive considering he wasnt the most flashy of players. Was world class for a long period of time.
3. Gerrard. Carried Liverpool for years. Hurts and helps his legacy that he was in quite an average Liverpool side. He was a one man team at times but also didnt have much success.
4. Vieira. Alongside Keane, the best midfielder in the country when he was in England. Had it all. Played a key role in Arsenal winning their 3 PL titles.
5. Scholes. Dont rate him as highly as others. People seem to think he was some deep lying midfielder who controller the tempo for his whole career. Only really started playing there in 2006. His longevity and success is what makes me put him here. Consistent player in that great United side
6. KdB. Genius. Has everything you want in a player. Hes quick, two footed, scores and assists, great crosser and passer. His work rate is fantastic and has scored so many big goals. 2 league titles and several cups won with City. Will go down as a City legend and could move up this list if he stays
7. Fabregas. Was one of the best players in the world while at Arsenal and was doing so at the age of 19-23. His assist record is great and was brilliant in Chelsea 14-15 title win. Had one of the best peaks on this list. Was unplayable while at Arsenal at times.
8. Yaya Toure. Could probably have him higher up the list. Without him, I dont think City would have won them two titles in 2012 and 2014. He was on a different level. Scored vital goals and his presence scared teams. Underrated player.
9. David Silva. Excellent player and was there for most successful part of Citys history. People still call him underrated which I dont get. He was class but dont think his peak was as good as those above or people are just forgetting. Was a very good player but dont think he was as instrumental as others for City during those title wins.
10. Fernandinho. Never thought he would be this good when he signed for them. Best defensive midfield player we have seen in PL this decade. Key part of Peps successful system which won 2 league titles.

Honorable mentions:
Modric, Matic, Le Tissier, Carrick, Alonso, Essien, Ballack, Kante, Gilberto Silva, Barry, Speed, Ince, McAllister.


…Just to weigh in on this; there are a handful of midfielders who haven’t been mentioned who really ought to:

Modric was incredible at Spurs for two years. Carrick was exceptional for Spurs for two years. Neither managed to do anything once they left. Idiots. Could have a 2015 R/U medal from the league cup had they hung around.



Scholes debate

What utter nonsense from Jay on F365. He says:

“Simple really would Gerrard or Lampard get dropped for a champions league final? Not once but twice.”

He didn’t get dropped. He was 35 in 2009 and 37 in 2011. Fergie always rotated and went with a game plan in both matches to try and stymie Barcelona’s midfield with younger, fitter, aggressive players (Anderson, Park Ji Sung etc.). He came on in both matches when they were chasing the game. Had United played in any other European Cup finals in the 2000s he would have been the first name on the team sheet, as he was in 2008, at the age of 34. So, the fair comparison (if it even is a useful comparison) is whether Lampard or Gerrard would have started a European Cup final at the age of 35 or 37. Since Gerrard was playing in the MLS and had already retired by 37, and Lampard too was playing in the MLS by 37, Scholes’ achievement is far more impressive than theirs: he was clearly still good enough, even when he had the pace of a snail, to play in a European Cup final, whereas Lampard and Gerrard couldn’t hack it. Obviously I don’t believe that myself, as they were quality players, but it’s the logical corollary of Jay’s nonsensical argument which, even if you accept its premise, fails in its own terms.

“If you want someone to score goals, assist, tackle, pass, take penalties, corners, free kicks then its Gerrard or Lampard if you want Tempo than it’s Scholes and see how many games that alone wins you.”

Well, it certainly wins you a lot more titles. Oh, and Zidane said Scholes was the best player in the world, when he was actually the best player in the world himself, and Guardiola said he was the one player who all the Barcelona players wanted to have over there when they were actually the best team in the world (ever). And that’s good enough for me.
Matt, Sheffield.


Owen > Kane

I would have to take issue with Phil, London stating that Harry Kane “has a much better international record” than Owen. Kane has 32 goals in 49 games and Owen 40 in 89 games. However this is not the full story.

Kane has scored just once against Germany and twice against France (one pen) then half the remaining opposition sides are the international equivariant of pub teams, many with part-time players. His only hatrick came against the mighty Panama. Nine of his goals were penalties. The list of other teams is Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Kosovo, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Nigeria, Panama, San Marino, Scotland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey.

Owen has scored a hatrick away in Germany, 3 against Argentina, 2 against Brazil, 1 against France amongst others and just one penalty overall.

Just saying !
Martin (born red) Surrey.


…Phil from London, I think your comparison was extremely off.

Yes I’m a Liverpool fan but I’ll take my Liverpool glasses off for a moment and be objective.

Fowler spent about 3 years in the starting 11 and was then relegated to sub after Evans left so while his goalscoring record may be a little less impressive than Kanes he did a lot of it from the bench and when he did play it wasn’t in a team which was designed to play to his particular strengths (he was good at everything btw)
In addition to this in his seasons when fit and in the starting 11 the premier League wasn’t the goal fest it is now, hitting 20 goals was an achievement then, one which usually only Alan shearer met. Speaking of shearer , Fowler happened to be an England player during a time in which possibly England’s greatest ever goalscorer also played. So Fowler rarely got a look in and when he did it was during “experimental” friendlies.

Perhaps the key thing is when Fowler played…Liverpool were shit. The fact he smashed in 20 goals in a goal stingy period for a team that constantly hovered around 7th is impressive on its own.

The Owen comparison is a bit more fair as his hey dey was when goals started to flow a bit more in prem…shame he played in an ultra negative, long ball counter attacking team as a lone striker then.

I think if you put Kane prime in fowler’s Liverpool he’d probably never get 20 goals. Put him in Owens Liverpool he’ll probably get 20 a couple of times. But put either prime Fowler or Owen in Kane’s spurs and they will easily surpass Kane’s goals in my opinion.


Handball category 3

Kudos to Gabriel Schrute for perfectly articulating the handball crime and punishment conundrum.

Brainstorming other ways to punish Category 3 Handballs (the “Gettin’ Jiggy with It” Handball, where an Indirect Free Kick is awarded but players in the wall are not allowed to protect their groins):

– Opposition players in the wall are selected at the free kick taker’s pleasure

– Referee decides the number of players in the wall, based on the level of handball cheekiness

– For particularly cheeky handballs, this becomes a direct free kick and the distance between the groin-exposed wall to the free kick taker is shortened from 10 yards to 3

There’s a tingle in my pickle just thinking of the possibilities! We’re biologically hardwired to avoid any kind of groinal damage so this could really have an impact (on the game).
Ed Koch, Atlanta (Holler back to the fine Mr Schrute in sunny California)


Frank talk

What is it about Frank Lampard that encourages pointless and boring comparisons? As a player it was Frank vs Gerrard vs Scholes, now as a manager it’s Frank vs Solskjaer vs Arteta.

It’s like deja vu all over again…
Stewart, LFC, Chicago (best midfielder of the Prem era? Keane, no question)


…As much as I don’t overly rate Frank Lampard or Mikel Arteta as managers yet, can we please stop comparing a man who’s first managerial job was back in 2008 (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) to two relatively inexperienced managers?

The fact he’s in the discussion with them and not managers who started around the same time as him such as say Guardiola (2007) Frank De Boer (2010) etc. (I tried to find a good and bad manager as examples, I’m sure other people could find better examples to compare with who started around the same time) says a lot. He’s been involved in managing football teams, granted not for the entire 12 years but a lot longer than Lampard or Arteta so make them the comparisons just seems stupid at best to me.
Aaron (was very shocked someone looking so young has managed so long)


Ole’s nous

I saw MM, Man Utd, India suggest that no sensible fan thinks OGS is a tactical genius but he clearly missed the mailboxes after all those wins he mentioned in his same mail. They never said it was a time to reflect, they mostly told us that Man Utd were back. Then people would laugh at them and we would get more mails telling us that everyone was talking about Man Utd and that was proof itself that they were back.

I can promise you that under Hodgson, even when we won (which was rare) nobody was ever too confident that we had finally turned a corner. We had the wrong manager, awful owners and a load of players who weren’t good enough for a team that wanted to challenge for the title; the only difference between Liverpool fans then and Man Utd fans now is that somehow a lot of them still think OGS could be the answer.

It’s also all well and good telling us you beat PSG a month ago thanks to his tactical genius but you did that 7 games after he became manager. The only difference between now and then is that he’s spent a bucket load of money on new players and failed to improve any existing ones through his coaching. I do love watching all the false dawns unravel though so please keep writing in with your “next year will be our year” optimism. You’re only another £50m player away from challenging for the title I’m sure that’s the issue.

Also Gomez…injured in a pointless training session before a pointless friendly. FML.
Minty, LFC


…While people criticise Oles handling of Pogba and big up Arteta for shelving Ozil, you’re missing a few points.

Ozil is clearly going nowhere and happy to run down his contract. Arteta is trying to force his hand and if it doesn’t work he’s just losing wages, there’s not a huge transfer fee they are losing out on and Arsenals squad is not bloated.

In the case of Pogba, he is clearly worth a fortune, even if that fee is tumbling every month he turns in sloppy performances. Utd do not have a history of letting go of stars on the cheap so Ole knows the only way of getting rid of him is to talk him up, to play him and to try and get him playing to his potential so that if someone comes in with 70 mil or so the board might accept. Utd can afford Sancho but did they really want to buy him? If Ole gets a good price for Pogba the board would have to pull their finger out.

Ole successfully got rid of Sanchez (Jose signing BTW) by talking him up and welcoming him back into the fold. He did the same with Smalling. He gets no credit for that and doesn’t ask for it either. He even moved on Ashley Young, another of Jose’s favourites.

Jose tossed aside Fred. Ole didn’t. Jose kept playing Sanchez. Every. Fucking. Game. Ole didn’t.

Other managers can freeze out players and throw them under the bus for all I care but I’m glad we have a manager who takes this approach.

As utd continue to be talked as title contenders one week to a shambles the next, I rather see this season as the real one with the asterix next to it that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to. Usually title contenders have shown their cards before Christmas and by Jan it’s a two horse race. Can’t see either of those hapenning this year – we could have a Leicester repeat (Spurs or Villa) or someone could make a late charge. More likely going to be Liverpool though.
Jon, Cape Town


Cape Town Jon with the hat-trick

This is how to let fans back in (virtually), listen up Ed.

While we have a couple of weeks international footy break, the mailbox likely gets less heated and Utd sit comfortably between the relegation spots and title contenders, I thought I’d solve the problem of no footy fans in stadiums. For the fans and for the noodle deal makers alike.

It’s simple and as with many others great ideas to the mailbox there are no flaws.

Utd need to buy 100 cameras and place them all around their stands. Then, next to each camera place a massive speaker. Now each of these 100 setups becomes a zoom call on match day.

Charge us poor fans 1 quid for a link to the camera. We get to watch from our virtual seat in the stand, we get to cheer, ooohhh and ahhhh, swear (not in the family stand) and sing, sending that noise back into the stadium. With Utds fan base around the world you’d get record gate receipts. You could even run your noodle advertising at the bottom of the zoom call screen. You could also let fans virtually switch seats whenever the ball goes up the other end, just keep the noise coming from all around. Hell, you could have fans virtually sitting inside the spider cam, that would be a roller coaster ride.
Jon, Cape Town


Words hurt

In response Mat (I hate International breaks)

The reason why it is not ok for Greg Clarke, John Motson or anyone else to say something offensive because they are from a different generation, is because it is hurtful. That’s it but it should be enough. It can also legitimise others to make similar or worse comments.

Friends was incredibly popular and used to make constant jokes which implied being called “fat“ was a bad thing. Despite the cast being ridiculously thin. They also referred to being called “gay” as an insult. At the time, I made similar comments until a friend of mine asked me not to. When i asked why he told me he was gay and he did not like it. He never offered any further explanation and i never asked for one, i just stopped using “gay” as an insult because there is nothing wrong with being gay. I never thought that there was, i was just making very immature and naive jokes which hurt people i enjoyed hanging out with.

It took me a long time for me to understand why the comments were and are hurtful.

Just because you do not understand why something offends someone does not make it ok to do so. In the case of Greg Clarke or John Motson (who i still love) they are public figures whose comments are published and publicised. They have influence and their words have power. This gives them a responsibility to not only know the types of things which are offensive but ideally to try to understand why those things are offensive.

Just because it “used” to be ok to says coloured does not mean it wasn’t offensive. If you do not know why being called coloured is offensive then look it up. It will take you about a minute to find out. If you can’t be bothered to do so what does that say?

Personally I don’t like being called black, why? Because my skin is not black and never will be, it is brown. I have never met a person who is actually black, have you? However, I have tolerate the label because society says so but, but that doesn’t mean i have to like it.

If we all took the time to think of how others perceive things maybe we would not all be so horrible to fans of other teams, even if we don’t like them.
Balham Gooner


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