Keep your mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Liverpool, Dortmund and Klopp
I found an article from the Liverpool Echo that stated;
‘Eventually, that excellent scouting and good fortune with players had come to an end – and the limited budget that Dortmund were operating on caught up with them.’
I think this is a part of the reasoning behind this decline.
The other common denominator is Klopp. National underdogs come League champs and euro hero’s playing exciting football is the recipe. In both cases it starts sweet and ends bitter. No love loss just a sense of I don’t care any more.
I would love to know the real why. Could pushing yourself players to insane levels constantly wear them down? Or maybe having backups barely used and thus unmotivated to really try hard as they will never be no.1? Maybe the motivation techniques always work like fire, just not when it’s raining? Maybe it is nothing.
I like Klopp, but he may be that really nice successful friend of yours who everyone likes, but you know his greatest skill is getting people to do what he needs. Works until the people realize that they’re working for his goals, and not he for theirs.
That said, it could be purely the club. Mane, Salah, Firmino et al after becoming league champions and Europeans champions probably have every right to demand more money, perhaps go to a higher level or try something new.
Being told that won’t happen either way because of your current contract is tough titties yea, but don’t be surprised if they aren’t as motivated as a result.(that’s not offensive, when you have a club with a player who sits on the bench and is being loaned out on 500k a week, your next level. When you can play at that level and not run 100mph, even better.)
Lewandowski left Dortmund for Bayern despite being a champion. He had the option to stay, or at least stay longer, and he chose not to. Whatever he knew then is something Wijnaldum probably knows now. And something we may never know..
Calvino( I still believe none of this would have happened at a packed Anfield)
…Liverpool and Klopp’s current struggles just come to show that every “fad” manager has a shelf life of 5-10 years before their tactics are found out or they lose a certain % of motivation. Look at Mourinho and to a lesser extend even Pep. It’s a testament to Wenger that even in his turmoil seasons over a 20 year period he only fell as far as 4th and was sacked when he finally succumbed to 5th after 20 years. For me that is staggering consistency that he is not given enough credit for. Klopp’s cycle seems to be coming to a natural end, Mourinho is finished, Zidane looks under pressure, we’ll see how Poch gets on with PSG. But all these managers had a 10 year golden period. Wenger and Ferguson had 20 plus. Respect on their name!
Back three more important front three
I don’t think it’s just injuries that has done Liverpool in for this season but just the focused and long term nature of those injuries. Just lost our ability to be comfortable camped in the opponents half or hitting teams on the break with Van Dijk and Gomez’ passing range.
We were even top of the league with Matip and Fabinho as the regular pair, both got injured around the start of this form and even Henderson went to centre back just to get injured because that’s how it’s been.
Basically there’s no base to play from with any sort of conviction and I am not sure it’s gonna get better in a congested season where Liverpool’s choices for centre back is new player on loan, new player from the championship (already injured apparently, poor Ben Davies), Centre back who was on loan in Germany’s second division last season, a centre back who was on loan at Kidderminster last season and a great defensive midfielder coming back from injury who should not play centre back in a style of play that was notorious difficult to acclimatise too.
Hell I’d trade the injuries of Gomez and Matip with the health of Mane and Salah, not because they are bad but because we’d have such a better place to play from instead of everything changing so much that everyone in Red just looking sorry for themselves. Our defence is so much more important than the attack.
Tyla (not that I blame them, season has been the longest feeling write off) Roxburgh
Trouble at home
Always worth looking for the positives in life. So here we go.
1) We’re still in the champions league.
2) Fingers crossed we won’t have to play any matches at Anfield for the rest of the competition.
Mike, LFC, London
…This collapse from Liverpool is outrageous. Serious problems that a couple of injured centre halves won’t fix. Start of next season, I predict Klopp will have replaced Low post Euros and Gerrard his successor.
Parker’s proper job
In the mix of Liverpool supporters losing their sh*t, can people give a hand for Fulham and Parker. Doing a proper job and I hope they stay up. Phenomenal achievement to get back into the mix.
United rule Manchester
Ok, fook it, I’m Ole in for now but only because no better options are available. Liverpool won plenty of big games when they spent 30 years as a mid table team and will again when they’re back there from next season. 70s and 80s Man United did as well. Fair play to Ole though, he’s got the defensive game worked out, even though the likes of De Gea and part time Cypriot tourism ambassador Harry Maguire constantly let him down. Still hard to see a leader with a vision but all those lads are happily employed. He’ll do for now. I know this page likes that chap at Liepzig but I dunno. Fair play to him for getting as far as he did in the Champions League but Roberto DiMatteo won it.
Also, Henderson has some swagger about him. Looked like a young Neuer out there. Please let that be the end of De Gea. Many thanks to him for being the only elite level player at the club for 3 or 4 years but that was then and this is now. I’m sure the insane money he was paid for it will make him feel a little better.
Eamonn, (59 points in 37 games for liverpool since I said giving up on your European title 10 minutes from the end while playing into the kop might be a big red flag) Dublin
…Yeah but…. Yeah but…. Yeah but…. It was just counter attacking. It was just defending. There’s no pattern of play. They don’t know what they’re doing. It’s a crazy season. If this. But that. Klopp, Ancelotti, Mourinho and many others tried and failed to do what clueless, naive, prehistoric Ole just did. United were fantastic. 2nd best to this City team and manager is no disgrace and if that’s how the season ends, ideally getting a trophy as well, then the progress continues.
Andreas Hunter, St Albans
…Great performance and a well-deserved victory. However, little time to celebrate as we have some important games coming up and need to go in with the same urgency and attitude or that win will have been for nothing. Furthermore, City still look like they’ll win the league with ease which dampens any derby victory.
Currently, we’re 11 points behind the league leaders; this time last year we were 37 points adrift. So that’s a decent sign that we’ve done a lot right so far; although we should rue those silly dropped points against teams we should be beating comfortably. I would like us to get that down to single digits by the end of the season, which would be semi-respectable.
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to point out that Liverpool are 11 points behind us – a 48 point swing from last season. That’s an almighty fall from grace. Let’s see how it ends up but having been in a similar situation after the last time we won the league, albeit we had just lost arguably the greatest manager of all time, I know that feeling. Although after the kicking we’ve taken over the last few years from some less-than-humble Liverpool fans, not all of them mind you, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it amusing.
It’s a funny old game.
Garey Vance, MUFC
I’m guessing the mailbox will have a range of theories on how the Manchester derby played out the way it did, one thing I bet though is that there won’t be any credit for Solskjaer outside of the Manchester United fanbase. I have a rather simple theory explaining this…. We all know at least one person who is that type of Man United fan. If you’re not sure what I mean have a peek down in the comments. Well, Solskjaer sounds like one of them. Near enough every press conference he finds some way to eulogise the mystique of the club, refusing to park in Alex Ferguson’s old parking spot, prefacing any praise for a player with how “they’re a real Man United player”. As ridiculous as it seems when he sounds exactly like a very casual annoying fan it’s hard to take him seriously as an elite manager, hence all the PE teacher jibes.
Solskjaer displays a genuine passion for Man Utd, whereas other more praised managers further down the league show passion for not just their clubs but the sport and division as a whole. Which seems to be at the root of this binary impression he’s left between supporters and everyone else. Or to put it another way, he seems to be the managerial equivalent of players like Herrera.
On a different note, I had the displeasure of watching the West Brom/Newcastle game on Sunday. Jeez. The most worrying aspect of the match as a Newcastle fan wasn’t the overrall result or toothless display…it was Bruce’s satisfaction at it. Newcastle stopped attacking (I use attacking in the loosest sense) in the final 10 minutes and went to all out defence in injury time, with Bruce beaming ear to ear in the post-match interview, repeating his new catchphrase of being “quietly confident” he’ll stay up. If Newcastle can’t go out of their way to try and win against one of the worst teams in the league who were tired from midweek when can they? Given that Mike Ashley seemingly has no intention of dismissing Bruce and after Fulham’s excellent performance at Anfield I’d be interested to know if anyone thinks Newcastle are staying up at this point.
City lost. We played below our usual level and United were the better team on the day, so no complaints and we’re going to have to suck this one up. I would much rather the run had to come to an end against West Ham or Wolves than them, but that’s the way the mop has flopped.
Believe me, I’d love to blame Anthony Taylor. But I can’t.
However, there’s no drama, no panic and the process will continue to be trusted. If the price of not having a big Champions League knockout game against opponents we should be beating when most of the team play poorly and Guardiola stubbornly refuses to change anything for reasons not immediately obvious to anyone is that exactly this happens in a Derby match – then that’s a bigger invoice than I was hoping for – but so be it.
…I’m sending this on 70 minutes, but we’re not going to get anything out of this unless something changes significantly.
We were pretty unconvincing against West ham and wolves after pep changed tactics from our strikerless formation which had been working so well. I said to my mates that we needed to go back to that. When I saw that there was no Foden or Bernardo in the team with their brilliant pressing I feared the worse.
Hats off to united they’ve beaten us at the Etihad with the same tactic again which is bad enough, but why change things when they’ve been going so well? Bloody hell pep.
Apologies in advance, but this is another moany email about VAR. If you’re fed up with it, skip the next half page.
I won’t bother listing all the various decisions, or the frustrations with my or any other team benefitting/not benefitting from decisions. My frustration with VAR is down to the application of it, and the sheer inconsistency of it.
The first issue is the presence of what is effectively a second referee – with access to multiple angles, speeds and frames with which to make decisions. You would think this would benefit accuray of decisions, but the trouble is the subjectivity of it. One referee’s ‘coming together’ is another’s ‘denying a goalscoring opportunity’. Because we’re not privy to the conversations between the on-pitch referee and the VAR ref, the back and forth could vary from game to game. This is a problem, because you get inconsistencies such as the David Luiz/Jan Bednarek ‘same same but different’ decisions and punishments.
This is also where the frustration grows regarding handball, ‘soft’ penalties, fouls in build ups to goals etc – they’re all subjective, and there will never be a strong consensus on the threshold of guilt from one human being to another. This is where improvements to the ‘process’ are needed, so that at least there is consistency there.
For example, the VAR referee can and should absolutely have authority to interject and overrule the referee on binary decisions – offside, ball out of play, mistaken identity etc. But when it comes to binary decisions, the process of referring the referee to the screen needs to be consistent – either the referee is sent to view every time VAR things there’s something to look at (which is not ideal, as this will slow down the game immeasurably) or he makes the decision to review it himself – meaning VAR doesn’t ‘interject’ unless the referee asks them to, for example ‘oi deano, ‘ave a look for a wee tug on Maguire there’. This ensures the subjectivity stays with the referee alone, and VAR only comes into play if the referee wants him to. This places the power firmly back in the hands of the referee, and we all go back to blaming one person, rather than the invisible man in stockley park.
Mic’ing up referees during those conversations would also go some way to restoring faith and trust – because referees insist players stay back during that, there’s little risk of picking up the bad language, cos of the kids innit.
Arsene Wenger – if you happen to read F365, you know this makes sense. The MC can pass on my email no probs.
Lee (written in advance of sunday’s games – where i’m sure Liverpool will get shafted or lose, possibly both), LFC
Take a leaf from NHL’s book
The National Hockey League in North America has a dedicated Situation Room in Toronto that reviews all controversial or questionable calls in all NHL hockey games. In the Toronto Situation Room every goal from every game is reviewed and confirmed. The reviewers in the situation room can also call the on-ice officials at each game to discuss controversial plays while the Situation Room and game officials watch the same videos. The Situation Room is the final authority on all calls. Why can’t the EPL do the same thing? Set up a Situation Room in London that has access to the television feeds from every game. Give one or two or three referees the full-time job of staffing the Situation Room and reviewing all questionable calls. This would provide for the consistency that is currently lacking.
(How could that NOT be a handball in the Burnley/Arsenal game?)
Ron Jeremias, Woodbridge, Virginia, USA
Waiting for Monday
– Two Monday night games in a row mean lockdown weekends are really bad. The fact that the increased rate of games is obviously having an impact on players performances and that these games are of lower quality compared to the start of the season when it was goals galore is also tiring.
– To the lad who listed 18 times VAR had screwed over Arsenal and called it corruption… I think every fan could create a similar list. I’m not calling him paranoid, just myopic. How VAR has been implemented has been abysmal. That said, it’s a definite handball by the Burnley player, so they were denied a penalty – given Pepe’s finishing it’s questionable that that equates to a goal.
– Who else forgot it was Der Klassiker and watched the first half of Villa Wolves before realising? I’m a mug, made even worse by Dortmund losing it late on when the ref was trying so hard to hand the win to Bayern.
– If you didn’t put a fiver on Leicester to win after Brighton had bossed the first half and only scored one, then you don’t know how to bet on football.
– I’ll admit that the ‘This Means More’ slogan did wind me up – more than it should have. But as questioned by a Liverpool fan who texted me, if they change their slogan to ‘Stop Being Shit’ I’ll fully get it behind it.
– Everton lost at home 2-0 to Fulham, and Newcastle have taken 6 points from us…
– How did United get good at defending – is it really recent? Is it as simple as Henderson over de Gea? Was it just against Citeh?
– Some good individual match ups tomorrow. We’re underdogs but should be good with Godfrey v Werner; Allan v Mount; Doucouré v Jorginho etc
Matt, EFC, London
What is a Xhaka?
Muarry asked the question yesterday, ‘what is Xhaka for?’, I can’t answer that but I think I know what he is, he is a Rugby player!
Plays the ball sideways or backwards.
likes to bring down the opposition players
Shout and point players into position
likes to drive his team on
Goes to ground a lot
As a rugby player he has some great talents and traits that any manager would love, hence why Arteta insists on playing him i would guess, but just like a rugby player he can’t play football.
8 mistakes that have lead to goal against his team in the last 3 and half seasons, more that any out field player in that time, I think that stat is enough of an endorsement for him to move on.
Is it our culture? Why do we enjoy the negative. Its almost self reinforcing, Now I dont live in England anymore, but the North American mindset with sport is almost always positive. In England we love to live in a sarcastic world. We love detriment even if its too our detriment. The FA for all their faults -inventing VAR- have gone and manufactured the most impressive repertoire of attacking midfielders I have seen since Spain domainted. There is at least 8 in the premier league and also that kid(s) that plays in Germany.
Dare we as englishman, admit? Someone has actually done their job, if anything too well. We dont know how to defend anymore. But we have small diminutive players, edapt on the ball. Like what we wanted. The world has all suffered the last year, but surely (and biasly) its written in the stars that we win the euros? The fact that Saka is barely in the conversation is a clear interpretation of the level were now at.
Were seeing a whole project unveil itself infront of our eyes, Grealishs calves included. Maybe we should for once reap the rewards, have optismism and enjoy our bread, even if its sourdough.
Sean, Vancouver Island
Following the Arsenal vs Burnley match the great intellectual of our time Dean Windass cliamed that Arteta is not the man for Arsenal who instead should employ Brendan Rodgers, fair enough opinion but not one I want to discuss. I want to discuss his categorisation of Rodgers as an English Manager.
We all know he isn’t, we all know he is Northern Irish and given the history of the province and its turbulent past it should behoove pundits to at least get the basics right. Also a hint of xenophobia in his reasoning he could have talked about Rodgers tactics or style of play vs Arteta’s but no in mastermind Windass’s mind he is better because he is “English”
Over the past few weeks we have seen several articles lamenting the abuse pundits get and we all by in large agree that it’s unacceptable and has crossed the line at times but Windass’s comments show how low the bar is set when it comes to punditry and why an element of fan bases react to the absolute nonsense a lot of ex players come out with.
Same can be said of Lee Dixon who is finding it hard to “be nice” to Xhaka after his mistake. One week we lament the abuse he receives, the next ex players actively encourage it
Football is in danger of eating itself with its own hypocrisy, maybe just maybe the media should stop looking for 140 character sound bites and actually enjoy people with a modicum of intellect and sense