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The FA Cupshot
Yesterday’s match just reminded me that just a single injury (to VvD) is preventing us from reverting from World and UCL Champs to EL finalists/8th placing.
Never mind top of the world; we weren’t even top of Shrewsbury.
Lovren has done his best to remind me why he is not first choice and never should be.
…I agree wholeheartedly with Matt about Liverpool’s decision to leave the senior side at home for the FA cup replay. If the game showed anything, it’s that Matip, Lovren and Fabinho have a lot of rust to knock off, and another game seems like a great opportunity.
Hope the kids can bring it and prevent this from being an annoying embarrassment.
Dan, Plastic LFC
Winning is good too
Research for another project brought to light some (I think) interesting numbers about Liverpool in cup competitions. Between 2014-15 and 2018-19 when they won in a cup competition (any cup, including winning one of a two-legged tie), 67% of the time they won their next Premier League game; if they failed to win in a cup, that win percentage drops to 44%.
Obviously this year is different but the evidence does suggest there is merit in at least trying to win in the FA Cup.
Ed Quoththeraven (I have this comprehensive data for two other teams, and one of them you’ll never guess)
Klopp deserves a thank you
Why do people (the English mostly) care so much about Klopp’s stance on the replay with Shrewsbury? (who were brilliant by the way – personal highlight of the game for me was finding out about Shrewsbury’s ‘Best Seats in the House’ set-up they have at their stadium, loved that!)
*Read in condescending voice as if you are talking to a small baby/child* Did Mr. Klopp disrespect your ‘magic’ FA Cup?
Get a grip – the importance of this cup has been dwindling for years now, and I actually think Klopp is owed a thank you from all parties concerned;
Liverpool’s First Team – they are given a well-earned rest from the phenomenal effort they’ve put in this season. A refresh before this next set of games could be exactly what they need.
Liverpool’s u23s – they get a brilliant chance to perform at Anfield, put their club through to the next round, put right what they got wrong against Villa in the Carabao Cup, and potentially gain huge confidence if they can win the game.
Neil Critchley – See above point.
Shrewsbury – they still get to play at Anfield, but now with an even greater chance at going through to the next round.
FA – they told clubs to honour the winter break, Klopp is simply doing as instructed.
Bodies and minds are rested, youth is allowed to flourish, Shrewsbury will fancy it even more, and the FA are left red in the face…what’s not to love?
Ross (Deluded Liverpool fan)
On scrapping replays…again
Interesting talk in the 16 Conclusions about scrapping replays especially with talk now coming from Championship clubs. 16 conclusions talks about ticket splits to 50/50. My understanding was it was already equal share to each club and the fa, so a third each, with a higher allocation for away fans, I think 25% of the stadium.
I think that the problem here is that clubs, especially championship clubs are not running at a profit. They are running huge losses in a desperate gamble to reach the premier league. An extra game doesn’t help them, it just increases their losses.
Compared with the lower leagues who argued that changing the leagues to 20 would remove games and therefore opportunities to earn money, without reducing their costs.
Quite frankly if the big teams don’t want replays they should play more risky football so that the draw is less likely. Replays are meant to be a punishment. Part of the magic of the cup is a Shrewsbury earning a replay at Anfield. Good on them.
The BBC also needs to go back to a whole day of FA Cup coverage on cup final day. With the iplayer there’s no reason not to.
Alex, south London
But the BBC coverage has to change
Surprised not to see more emails like Eoghan’s in the morning mails. When I sit down to watch a live FA Cup game on the BBC I’m reminded of the wonderful Simpsons quote by Monorail charlatan Lyle Lanley “Y’know, a town with money is like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it!”. This is the Beeb when it comes to their handling of these games. The editorial decision that any team playing Premier League opposition no matter where they sit in English football’s hierarchy are to be cast as plucky underdog, patronised and rooted for. The preening Premier League Peacocks up against the hardworking salt of the earth arbiters of football’s dying soul. This could be a championship first team, doesn’t matter, the narrative is used. It’s embarrassing. In commentary this manifests itself as the trumpeting of any rudimentary footballing tasks being executed. A successful dribble, completed pass or shot on target is greeted with cloying appreciation that borderlines on insulting. Simultaneously any major error is glossed over with the usual “he did so well to get in that position but he’ll be disappointed with that”. Any Premier League mistake of a similar calibre and we are reminded of the wage gap and budget of the teams.
This continues into the studio and was particularly prevalent in the tone of the Shrewsbury v Liverpool coverage. Ian Wright was asked if he was happy at the lack of VAR as it would have possibly given Liverpool a penalty and denied Shrewsbury theirs, his response was basically he’s happy it wasn’t there because it served the underdog and thus created more ‘drama’. Ian, seriously? Then we have Gary’s reaction to the pitch invasion, “great to see, all very good natured” he reliably informed us. Cheers Gary, I’m sure stewards up and down the land will be thanking you for emboldening future FA Cup crowds to follow suit. Then we had the panel waving and thumbs upping those fans who had gathered round below the studio. Deliciously Roman the way Gary dangled the fabled cup in the faces of the amassed peons and Andy Warhol enthusiasts clutching their Roy Of The Rovers comics.
Yes there is scope for lauding the underdog and enjoying the unfamiliar surrounds of a ground from League One or below but please stop turning every game into David vs Goliath. It cheapens it when the comparison is actually apt.
We need some red perspective
It is imperative for my sanity (and I should imagine that of other Liverpool supporters as well) that we retain some perspective.
Having been a Liverpool fan for 30 years (of my 37 year life), I do not recall us winning the league.
I do recall being incessantly mocked by my Man Utd and Arsenal supporting friends over the years.
I do remember coming close in 2002, 2009 and 2014. I remember the pain of those seasons, and wondering if I will ever see my team win the league.
I remember the elation of the 2005 Champions’ League win, followed by apathy to the 2007 and 2018 losses. Again emphasised by the ‘yay, but…meh’ feeling of the 2019 win. Whilst it’s wonderful lifting the Champions’ League again, it was a high that didn’t quite fulfil the low of losing out on the league again, especially as history told me that we won’t have another sniff of it for a few years.
All I have wanted football wise for the last 30 years is to watch Liverpool win the league.
So much so, that at Christmas time, when City went to 7/1, I put a very large sum of money on them to win the league, safe in the knowledge that if we blew it again, I would at least be able to console myself with a holiday or something. I have never been so happy to lose such a sum of money. If someone had offered me winning the league in exchange for this sum at the beginning of the season, I’d have taken it for sure.
So, all this talk from our fans as well as other quarters of Triples, or invincible seasons is driving me a bit crazy. It would be nice if we did more than win the league, but let’s get it straight. All we wanted to do is win the league, and we need to A) do that, and then B) bask in it.
As a younger man, I had visions of me sprinting naked through the streets if we won it, such would be the elation. However, there’s a real risk of it all feeling a bit lame.
I need to ensure that my focus remains on winning the league, and that the celebration is suitable in order to release 30 years of frustration.
I would suggest for your sanity, a few of the (perhaps younger) fans do the same
Rome wasn’t built in a day…Ole is doing okay
Ole has come in for a lot of stick recently, some of it is deserved and some not, but it’s important to take stock of where we are and where the main issues lie. I was at the Burnley game last week and it was such a poor performance, which Ole and the players must take responsibility for. The atmosphere was mildly toxic, although the ‘singing section’ in the Stretford End didn’t stop all match and still chanted Ole’s name after we were two down. Their ire was directed at the Glazers and Ed Woodward, not Ole.
We are fifth in the league and, given injuries and current morale, it will be tough to make top four; although not out of the realms of possibility. We have only conceded two more goals than City and have conceded less than Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal. We do struggle on set-pieces and Ole has to take some blame for that. I’m not sure if it’s the use of zonal marking or how the system is being coached but we need to change that and/or hire a new coach for set pieces.
Our ‘goals for’ column leaves a bit to be desired. We find it tough to break some teams down and do not take enough advantage of set pieces. We have been too reliant on Martial and Rashford, who have had decent seasons (Martial has been scoring a goal every other game and Rashford slightly better). Between them in the league those two and Greenwood have scored 26 goals. This is only four less than Liverpool’s front three, who have an average age of 27.3 – the average age of Utd’s aforementioned three is 21.3. They are young and inconsistent but will only improve. Liverpool’s current team is arguably peaking, ours is only at the start of a ‘cycle’. I think I am right in saying we have the lowest average age in the league (or thereabouts). The potential in this team is massive but we have been hit by injuries to key players, including our most creative MF for most of the season, and it shows. This is where the years of bad recruitment takes its toll, leading us nicely onto where most of blame should lie.
Ed Woodward looks like he’s trying. I believe he genuinely cares and wants Utd to be successful and get back to the top so he can bask in the glory. I can’t say the same for the Glazers, whose priority seems to be the mighty dollar. Ed is obviously a good businessman but he doesn’t seem to have the footballing nous that the likes of David Gill had/has. Our approach to recruitment has been largely scattergun and left us with a bloated patchwork squad. Last summer felt like the first time we have genuinely had a plan since Fergie left. We sold a lot of experienced (and some decent) players, which was the correct thing to do as they weren’t a good fit, but they haven’t been adequately replaced yet. This has left us reliant on a small pool of players who are capable of playing week-in week-out. Ed promised a Director of Football yet nothing has happened and, perhaps as a result, nothing seems to be happening in the transfer market. This needs rectified and quickly, to give the manager, and that would be any manager, the best tools to do their job.
That is why the Stretford End hasn’t turned on Ole. That is why it is difficult to properly judge Ole before we have had a few successful transfer windows. There are at least three, arguably four or even five better squads in the league, accounting for inexperience, and that is why we are where we are. Does anyone look at our squad and think otherwise? Yes we shouldn’t be losing to Burnley but matches in isolation do not define a season, where we end up in the league will. This is a sh*tshow six years in the making and will take time to correct, if nothing else Ole has helped start the process of doing so.
Ed and the owners need to get the finger out and give the manager the squad he needs over the next few windows. Simply changing managers isn’t going to solve anything at this time as the other issues need to be addressed first. Is Ole the man to get us back to the top? I don’t know, the optimist in me sure hopes so, but I do know he’s doing okay, we are fifth in league and still have a chance to win silverware. So a bit of perspective and patience is required, Rome wasn’t built in a day and Manchester United will not get back to the summit in one season. But we will get there eventually, when the smugness and schadenfreude currently being displayed by others about our ‘plight’ will make it even sweeter. So keep it coming.
Garey Vance, MUFC
…’Proof of Solskjaer’s ability to take United forward – and be the best-suited manager to do so – can never come against these opponents or even in these competitions. That really doesn’t need to be repeated, does it?’
No. But if they had lost, bet you would have used it to continue to push your line that he isnt the best suited manager. Cant have it both ways.
More net spend talk
There seems to be a lot of focus on transfer fees, net spend and the like, which is all well and good, but devoid of context it becomes as pointless as Emery’s Arsenal.
Man United are failing, that is plain to see. They win some they lose some, they struggle against ‘lesser teams’, they sit fifth but only because others are shit too. But their failure is far greater than that of Tottenham right? Of course, because they spent so much more on their squad, particularly taking into account net spend. Brilliant. So I assume all clubs start from the same point each season, with an equally weighted and valued squad, and with equally competent negotiators, who buy similar quality players from clubs who all treat every buyer as the same, offering said player to clubs across the globe for the same set price. Basically it works like a shop, same price for everyone. Got it.
Except it doesn’t does it. Clubs value their players differently to potential suitors, and both sides will haggle for all they’re worth. Players are worth what people are willing to pay, their price affected by the length remaining on their contract, their personal situation, their relationship with the manager and fans, whether they’ve put in a transfer request, and myriad other factors.
Man U and their ilk will seemingly get fleeced for transfers (Maguire for £85m for example) because clubs will charge a higher premium when selling to them. Richer clubs will also pay less mind to the sale value, balancing the books has never been an issue at Man City say, despite the story fed to poor Richard Dunne. So, net spend becomes even less of an issue when clubs are willing to pay whatever it takes and care little for resale value. Spurs under Levy are the prime example of a club that need to not just balance their purchase ledger but also fund a huge infrastructural investment through astute squad management, so they have a hard nosed businessman running their negotiations with the explicit remit of driving a hard bargain, only buying within their means and generally buying with resale value in mind.
Turns out there’s quite a lot to this transfer malarkey, business is a confusing and complex thing innit. Lauding Liverpool for their relatively low net spend is great and all but they got lucky and sold Suarez, Sterling and especially Coutinho to extravagant buyers in the mood for a statement signing. Not to take anything away from Pools transfer committee, it’s a great model, but it does skew the net spend thing somewhat. Arsenal have spent a fortune on their squad, but would be in a far better state balance wise if they had a team that managed their contracts with anything approaching competence. But they haven’t and so they’ve spent a lot.
TLDR: shut up and enjoy the football.
Alay (what happened to all the Diarras?), N15 Gooner in Amsterdam
…I see Marc C has spectacularly missed the point of my email about net spend (ironic he states ‘how can it be so difficult to comprehend’) – he states that Klopp has spent £70m to build the team – VVD cost more than that!
My point was, why does it make a difference where the money came from to build the team (I mean as a measurement of the manager’s achievement)?
Mark C states ‘this is an incredible achievement on a very small budget’ – what utter nonsense, the squad cost about £500m!
Joff, Barton Gooner (Celebrating blind tribalism)
I don’t know if Arsenal are going to complete the signing of Pablo Mari this transfer window.
I don’t know if he is any good at playing football.
I don’t know whether he is worth the £7.5m transfer fee.
But what I do know is this.
My goodness he is one handsome man.
DC (RIP Kobe 8/24), BAC