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When the team news was announced on Tuesday night, I looked to twitter to get a sense of the mood from the various Liverpool blogs, podcasts and fan/journalists on what to expect from the game. The general sense was that this was a team which was going to take pressing to the next level. One high profile account made the case that with Keita and Jota, there had never been a team before with the capacity to press and that Madrid would be blown to bits like the unfortunate souls who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. About 20 minutes into the game, I have to say that I was shocked at what I was seeing. This Real Madrid team, particularly, the midfield was honestly so much better than Liverpool that I couldn’t really believe what I was watching. I don’t say this lightly, but Liverpool looked like an Astroturf XI and were embarrassed by Madrid. Pour one out for pressing, offer prayers to the pressing gods and buy a Mass card for pressing because it is clear, as it was in the Champions League final a few years back, that great skilful players just don’t care for it nor are they worried by it.
I wanted to blame somebody for this. I feel that far too much attention was put on the defensive weakness with respect to big Nat and Kabak, both of those players owe Liverpool nothing in terms of quality as neither should ever have been near the team for such a game. The stunning drop off of quality from players is something to behold. I want to call foul on the ridiculous narrative being put forward that the absence of VVD has caused these players to essentially loose their confidence in passing and shooting in case they might concede at the back. I just don’t buy it, I cannot believe that Mo Salah or Mane are receiving the ball and feel they cannot express themselves because any mistake will lead to an instant goal at the other end.
Something is wrong at the club. These are professional athletes, tiredness should not be an excuse for Mo Salah looking like he cannot beat a man without trying to pass the ball through his legs. If Mane has the acceleration to run a the defender, he must have the same level of energy to use his foot to kick the ball at the goal. Some will say, let them find their confidence. But surely, if a person is suffering from confidence issues, you give them a break and let them find their mojo again. I can accept that Trent’s confidence is shot and if this is the case, give the man a break and stop expecting him to find his confidence at the highest level possible.
Finally, the cheerleading Liverpool press cohort need to get their act together and act like journalists and not fans. Whenever the Spanish teams underperform, the press in Spain seem to hold the teams to account. With Liverpool, it seems that the press just want access to players for interviews or staged pictures with murals commissioned to promote podcasts and inflate delicate egos which would be better served at defending.
…The mail from Hamish (he will get better in every regard, and will seemingly either be the best RB or best CM in the world) sums up the problem with massively overrating your own players and assuming footballers all progress on a nice straight path. Morgan’s demonstrates the importance of getting your emotions in check before writing. Morgan, how old is TAA? Not sure you mentioned it. Also, in answer to your question about why TAA is not treated the same as a 19 year old, it’s probably because he has been a regular starter for three years. However when he was 19 himself, he was very widely praised. This has since diminished because, and I’m sorry if this upsets you in your delicate state, he has been absolutely sh*te all season.
I think the main issue with TAA is that, exceptional crossing aside, he isn’t much of a footballer. He thrived as an unexpected success in a very specific system. His window has now closed.
Jurgen seems to have a fascination with blaming everyone and everything other than himself and his players for their despicable performances.
“First and foremost I don’t think we deserved to win tonight, we didn’t play good enough and that is my first concern. Especially in the first half we didn’t play good enough football. We conceded the first goal, served the second on a plate “
The icing on the cake last night was his rant against the referee after losing to a Madrid team without their best defenders.
“That doesn’t change anything at all. He (Brych) didn’t lose the game. We were not good enough to get a better result.”
Now in amongst that he, rightly in my opinion, drew attention to the fact that Sadio was getting fouled all over the place and the ref gave him nothing but he clearly doesn’t lay the blame for the defeat at the ref.
You might have picked that up if you’d bothered reading his comments rather than getting your knickers in a twist because everyone’s mean to Ole but all the other managers get no criticism at all, like, I dunno, a specific article on 12 daft Klopp excuses.
James Outram, Wirral
After a very surprising result on the weekend, i would say many fans or perhaps just myself, headed into this game with a bit of the old nerves, Porto are certainly a top tier side whom knocked out Juventus in the previous round, Porto certainly showed their talent and strength in the first half and then Mason Mount decided to put us all at ease with a beautiful turn and an even nicer finish into the bottom corner.
To see a player like Mason Mount do so well in this Chelsea side is a sight to behold, we have longed for another academy player to fall in love with, to support through and through since John Terry retired, he is a true talented individual who I am confident in saying will be a future club captain and lift many an honour with Chelsea.
On a side note, it does make me chuckle how our left backs seem to be better strikers than our strikers, Marcos Alonso is capable of some incredible strikes, Emerson showed his ability to score a top tier goal the other week and tonight Ben Chilwell channelled his inner “Fernando Torres v Barcelona 2012” as he rounded the goalkeeper and put the ball away for a crucial second goal.
Mikey, CFC (Next up Crystal Palace, or the Ed Quoththeraven Derby)
Jon (Love you Poch, miss you Poch), Lincoln
The flashing neon trumpet intro on a Saturday morning just in time for the hangover.
That smug lanky Norwich tit no one likes.
Martin ****ing Keown and the prick with mad hair that ruins the boxing covering BAYERN Vs PSG.
Taking my chances with Keysie and… Graysie(?)’s bigotry buffering on BEIN channel 11.
Cannot pay for this any more.
…Half time at the Allianz and Neymar has only dived the once, whilst Di Maria has stayed on his feet all the way so far.
Great game, two excellent teams and the only blight is the Partridgesque crapness of the BT Sport commentator and his “expert” – Martyn Keown who I’d be surprised if he could pronounce his own name as he has no idea how to say the actual names of most of the players.
Need Bayern to get a couple of early goals, else I expect the diving and time-wasting to start.
Bladey Mick (football – this is what it should look like)
Defending the defensible
Read this afternoon’s mailbox readying myself to defend TAA, regarding his youth, the disrespect given to Madrid prior to the game, etc. However the bigger issue is the mail from Mohashu, defending the referee for his call on Bellingham. Please, please, do not lower yourself to this ridiculous, myopic, delusional standard, if I want that I’ll just watch some fan TV replays. Seriously, half the mailbox I didn’t agree with (as is usual), but that mail comes across as the final round of BBC’s fighting talk: “defend the indefensible.”
KC (and from a f365 reader!)
Phillips to Spurs
Thanks Dan, your email really cheered me up.
Indispensable, starts-every-game, Leeds-born Leeds fan and now England capped Kalvin Phillips to play squad rotation/back-up to Hojbjerg in an anti-football team with the Portuguese McCleish?
Mat, Leeds fan in Liverpool.