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Bayern and bombardment…
Watching Bayern undress and hose down Chelsea was a sight to behold, and of course got me thinking about one thing- Liverpool. Bayern moved the ball around in ways Liverpool haven’t bothered to even try in quite a while. Could Liverpool play this way if Klopp so wished?
In the last two seasons, Klopp has moved away from creativity and towards bombardment. He has had no option- almost every team Liverpool play against sits deep and stays narrow, so solutions were needed.
The creativity is still there in spades, but takes a backseat to the bombardment.
The mantra now is play high up the pitch, win it back high up the pitch, keep crossing it, keep switching it, keep playing over the top, repeat and repeat and repeat until something gives. Win corners, win frees ,win second balls- just keep the opponent sitting in their box and don’t let them breathe.
This is why luck appears to always on their side.
Enough pressure and eventually an opposing defender will put in a dodgy tackle and give a pen away.
Enough pot- shots and one will eventually deflect right into Mane’s path.
Enough crosses and one of the clearances will be mishit.
Enough corners and eventually one will fall right to Firmino.
Liverpool now are all about creating openings- not about creating sitters.
It’s all a percentages game.
Klopp deserves immense credit for deciding to turn the bombardment up to 11 this season, when the feeling last summer was that Liverpool needed a midfield creator, the option of a more nuanced approach.
My worry now is that it might just be too simplistic to go all the way to Istanbul again. Klopp’s Liverpool hadn’t really encountered a stingy defense in the UCL knockout stages until Atleti came along.
Can Klopp re- programme his team to play the type of football needed to break down Europe’s best, or will he feel that even more bombardment is the solution?
Time will tell
Anyway, Bayern were good
Chelsea will grow and leave Barkley behind
Barkley is a 10-year old bully who enjoys playing football against 5 year old’s, never ages and feels good about himself. Once he plays against someone his age or 5 years older (hi Bayern) he disappears not understanding how or why the other team moves so fast and in that pattern. Anw, he still qualifies as a young English international (ahem, Mr. Woodward).
The reason Barkley fits in, is that Chelsea are at his age group. They will eventually grow and leave him behind. Hopefully by this summer.
On another note, I appreciate Lampard’s comments after losing games, I generally agree with them. He is either too naive or not good enough to do anything about losing in the first place. Current evidence, as I view it, point to naivety. Chelsea has played good football this year against it’s peers. We’ll see if they can raise their level next year and try to compete with the big boys.
Quick reactions to this morning’s mailbox
Oliver – I can see how you’ve arrived at the conclusion that Naby Keita’s time is done. The way West Ham played seemed to negate his strengths and despite some promising interplay early in the game he seemed not to be able to figure out how to unlock the Hammers. Ox came in and his more brash direct style made a difference almost immediately. But I don’t think one performance means curtains for Keita. He is the only midfielder we have that combines incisive risky passes that cut through defenses with powerful dribbling, a decent tackle and decent shooting boots. When he has had a run of 2-3 games you can see him start to find the cogs and start to turn them. His unique attributes mean Klopp will want to keep him and only if he gets a decent run in that fails to produce will he be moved out. Curtis Jones is more likely to replace an aging Milner. I still have faith that Keita could become our best and most game changing midfielder. Believe….
Jack – on the existence of a too good pass. I have friends who swear that whenever Firmino misplaces a pass it’s because the intended recipient’s football brain was inferior and didn’t anticipate the genius sufficiently. I am not sure I fully agree with that but it is possible for an intended pass to be so excellent that the intended recipient doesn’t think it is possible and therefore can’t react quickly enough to take advantage.
Miguel L, LFC
Alonso deservedly saw red
I think Aaron. CFC. Ireland is blinkered in his view, but also completely missing the point. For me, and the majority of people I have spoken to, Alonso deserved to see red. But that debate is not for this mail.
The best thing about that red, was that it was the refs decision. He went to the monitors, and changed his mind. No Stockley Park involvement. No other person reffing the game. Just the on field ref and his interpretation of the challenge. This is VAR working how it should be. We are crying out for this in the premiership, but sadly seem to be avoiding it at all costs.
You cannot compare last night’s call to that of Maguire (red in my opinion) or Lo Celso (red in everyone’s opinion) because they are completely different actions being applied to the same situation. I really hope that this does now catch on in the Premiership, because I thought it was excellent refereeing by Clement Turpin, and more of that at home would make VAR a lot more palatable
I’m a fungi
Last night I had a dream about the Champignon league. Not Champions League. Champignon.
Every player was a carbon copy of the real world but they had a mushroom for a head, Harry Maguire looked exactly the same. Curiously though his attendance did act as a sort of spinning top inception moment to let me know I was dreaming as Manchester United won’t be anywhere near the Champions League for a while.
Any way, the point of my mail…
Messi was bang average last night, like he’s been every single time I’ve watched him live. Granted this is no more than 20 times in total, some being international tournaments, most others being Champions League games that happen to be away from home.
Question to the mailbox, what players who everyone else rates have you only ever seen do the business in highlight reels? Messi’s career has, sadly, completely passed me by in 30 second highlight clips.
Technical rules are still important
The advent of the internet was supposed to bring enlightenment to the world. “Levelling up” the planet to a certain level of competence across all fields.
Instead, it has meant a whole flood of happy amateurs using access to a little information to become “experts” cheaply and easily, thus draining true experts time and resource in having to provide more information to cut through sh1te that’s out there. That is the true brain drain that has happened.
Who knows how many doctors and scientists could have cured cancer by now had they not been explaining to mums in Dagenham why sticking pencils up their babies noses is actually NOT a cure for teething problems…
This can be seen across all areas, such as finance, IT and (my area of expertise) law. When such a proliferation of information is out there to all, no one sees fit anymore to go back to the absolute written laws/rules on which everything else is built.
I’m reminded of that when I’ve read recently on these pages that you can be offside from a corner. From presumably one of these “experts” who have enough hours on FIFA (or VAR analysis) to purport to be proficient In all laws of the game (cos computer says so!)
So I thought I’d spend a few moments of my (not so, it turns out) precious time adding a smudge of explanation.
It is correct that one can technically be offside from a corner (indeed, a throw in is the only set play with an offside exemption explicit in the laws). However, technically the offside rule is that a player is offside if he is both ahead of all opposition players except one AND the ball.
So given the ball at corners is almost on the touch line when taken, technically, offside is possible but practically almost impossible to occur. Hence why offsides are never seen from corners.
So there. That’s a few minutes away from the list of house chores my wife’s given me.
Saw a mail from Man Utd fan (Paul) talking about dwarfs and being offside from a corner and a nefarious plan to play all the opposition offside from a corner by standing on the halfway line. Sorry to burst the bubble of this particular fantasy – you cannot be offside receiving the ball direct from a corner – plus it is not really possible to be since a corner is almost never a forward pass (if it is then it most likely is a goal kick) but a cut back for the attacking players running onto the ball from behind the corner taker – as such – like in open play – they cannot be offside. I suspect the offside call was not made from the first phase – I.e. being in offside position when corner is taken but in second or third phase I.e when a second player plays the ball forward to a teammate who is offside player. Therefore Paul you were correct first time about offsides direct from a corner but VAR has simply left you (and most football supporters really) questioning your knowledge the rules again (the is due to no proper definition of what a clear and obvious error is – so we are left with the present I’ll defined definition that appears to be ridiculously officious and pedantic interpretation of laws – then add to the mix that ridiculous new handball law amendment that penalises attacking players only)
Red Tom – Man Utd
While I don’t disagree that VAR is a dirty, dirty acronym that has stained the game, Paul’s tactic involving players clearing out of their half at corners would result in an unopposed free for all in your penalty area- you can’t be offside if your start position is behind the ball in relation to the opposing team’s goal when it is played.
It’s why if you cut a ball back to a team mate to bypass a goalie and let him score into an open goal (see Vinnie Jones and Danny Dyer in Mean Machine), it’s all good. However, I don’t doubt that VAR would ruin this by drawing those dopey red and blue lines to make sure everything was scientifically correct and take 4 mins to decide where the player’s start point actually was in relation to the ball.
Owen (The Monk is my kind of keeper), Whangarei
If a defending team lined up at midfield to try to get the other team offside that would be incredibly stupid. An attacking player can’t ever be offside if they are behind the ball. Every attacker is behind the ball on a corner when it starts. So you’d have 7/8 attacking players with no defenders to stop them beating down on the goalie.
The only point taken from that Jordan Pickford article is that he has the second worst save percentage in the Premier League, while Dean Henderson has the second best save percentage in the Premier League.
Using his passing accuracy in comparison to other keepers who play for teams who make no attempt to play out from the back seems like a strange way to justify a keepers continued inclusion in the national side over a keeper who is literally better at keeping the ball out of the net (contrary to modern football talks belief, a keepers most important job is to make saves, not pass 5 yards to a defender to up your accuracy stats.)
Pickford’s last 12 months does not define who he is as a player and there are many arguments to make against dropping him from the England side, but please, lets stop pretending that a keeper passing to a defender standing close to him is anything out of the ordinary that can’t be coached.
Kepa, who is the most expensive keeper (and Kepa) in the world, got dropped for his weak save percentage and not many people seriously questioned the decision (because keepers are meant to make saves.)
Pickford’s ability to pass a ball is just not as important as everyone pretends.
Gaaavie, Kavas Guavas, Kaapstad