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Don’t break the midfield to fix the defence
Another below par Liverpool performance. Let’s get the distractions out of the way – it must have been a foul on Mane and looked in the box, it was definitely a foul on Milner outside the box and I just don’t know what the handball rule is this week. Was that even looked at by VAR?
However, this has not been a good period for Liverpool and something needs to change. The three centre backs missing is obviously a problem but breaking up the midfield to patch up the defence is not working. Its neutering the attack. I don’t believe in xG but the attack aren’t missing good chances, they are missing bad ones. An obvious analogy is if you have a broken car you can’t fix the axel using the nuts from the wheels. All the pieces may still be there but the car ain’t gonna win no races.
We are conceding one maybe two chances a game. That’s pretty much the same as when we played Arsenal and Roy Keane called it sloppy at times. But this time there is no cohesion in midfield to get the opposition moving out of position. Managers like Klopp know better than everyone else, know better than me. That’s why they can win leagues and champions leagues again and again. People who know better than everyone else can not be told because why should they. But we need to get the midfield back to beat this tactic of playing possum that seems to be so effective.
Liverpool need to score what, two clear unchallengeable goals against United, just to draw by the time VAR gives them the penalties for sneezing or running too close to them.
You say to me three seasons ago it’ll be second, first and then 10th I’d have taken the league win and the shit season after. That this shit season is still as good as the next best who Shirley must stop getting all of these weak match winning penalties eventually means its not over yet, and wouldn’t be over with a bad result against them especially with City getting their stuff together and Spurs and Chelsea expecting to have an effect if not contending. Plus Europe to come.
And Liverpool are still top of the league – although not the PPG league.
Alex, South London
Liverpool subject to the level of refereeing that my beloved Chelsea side experience on a weekly basis and the whole world loses it !
Let me , if I may explain , Chelsea are universally despised by most other supporters , definitely by many of your own journalists and without
a shadow of a doubt the head of the PGMOL Mike “Mavis” Riley ever since we had the temerity to complain when he almost killed our goalkeeper by making him crawl off the pitch with a fractured skull and booked him when he wasn’t quick about it.
With this in mind our games are routinely refereed differently to other Premier League games , in so much as we are not allowed to tackle anyone , that is an immediate yellow card , the opposition can foul at will and in the 89th minute one of their players will eventually be booked for it and the commentator will commend the ref on allowing the game to flow .
Any foul against us is explained away as a “coming together” .
To give you an example of this we recently played someone in the league , had a possession rate of 71% and had a ratio of 13 of our fouls to 3 of the opposition . In the 29% of the game that “they” had the ball we managed 13 fouls . Incredible .
Still , nobody kicks up a stink about it , it’s Chelsea , it’s funny !
We still remain the only side I can remember who’s manager at the time had to go on TV to complain about the lack of penalties we got in the league compared to Europe and also the only side I can recall who once the referee had retired admitted he’d allowed the opposition to foul us at will , leading to a brawl in which we were fined £100K for our part , because he (Clattenburg) didn’t want to be the ref who’d lost the league for Tottenham.
For some time, I have watched the game evolve as referees were charged with managing the game ( Riley again) and not simply applying the laws of the game in a fair and even-handed manner .
So back to yesterday’s game where we saw two penalty claims for Liverpool waved away , Var ignored , every fifty fifty challenge awarded to Southampton and would you Adam and Eve it , it means that the next league game following Liverpool V Man United will be a clash to see who goes top of the league , “super-duper mega Sunday”!
What a surprise .
The Premier League and SKY TV have amazingly and totally without manipulation of any kind managed to get exactly what they wanted to happen , happen .
It’s a football miracle.
Howard Jones believes premier league referees, the guys who are professionally trained and employed as experts on the rules of football, are less able to make correct judgments on the rules of football than 80% of people who took part in a Sky Sports poll, because referees have ego. In other news, history texts are to be amended today to show the Earths true age of 6000 years and God’s creation of man, the decision comes after a poll in Rapture Magazine found 99% of respondents believe all scientists to be part of a global conspiracy and that Charles Darwin ‘was a dick’.
Criticising decisions you don’t agree with is fine, arguing with people about those criticisms is fine, but accusing people of incompetence and bias just because they know more than you is stupid. Really, really, really stupid, and says far more about your ego than theirs. Howard please think long and hard about your opinion on referees then tell us what’s more likely; that all referees (experts in their field) are egotistical zombies so wrapped up in their own importance that they’re incapable of using their wealth of experience and training to competently perform their duties, or, that you and 80% of Sky Sports poll respondents (but especially you) are less knowledgeable and more subjective in your judgement than the aforementioned experts?
Dave, Manchester (humanity isn’t going to make it, there’s too much stupid)
The useless Pogba/Mane pen debate
Gary (AVFC) entry got me thinking on the perspectives of the penalty decisions.
I thought to myself, how about all of us, as mildly responsible fans of the F365 mailbox, try and look at penalties from the referee’s perspective. It’s a bit boring, I know, but how about we try. How about this for one?
So, for the penalty, the Ref saw Pogba had control of the ball, and was moving to find space to pass/shoot. While running, Luiz’ leg, (unintentionally) tangles with Pogba’s left, causing the latter to fall down and lose possession. So this what the referee had to consider:
Did Pogba have control of the ball? A-Yes
Was there contact? A-Yes (From behind)
Was it enough to cause the player to lose possession/fall? A-Yes (Try having someone impede/trip your trailing leg when you run, momentum and time are NOT your friends)
Did the contact impede play? A-Yes
Did the defender get the ball before the touch? A- No
Did Pogba cut inside or try to run across the defender? A-No
Is that a foul then? A-Yes
Was it intentional? A-No.
Penalty? Unfortunately Yes.
There is little that the referee could have done once Pogba went down under contact. It was a terrible twist of fate for Villa, but the rules of the game are clear in that aspect. If for example, he had lost possession of the ball first with a heavy touch, or had Luiz come across to win the ball before contact, the ref would’ve let it go thinking that possession had been lost.
On the other hand, Mane’s penalty appeal had two major differences compared to the Pogba one.
1. Control of the ball – Mane tried to go on the outside of KWP, and to be fair, the ball was there to be won by either of them as it rolled towards the line. Both of them are fast strong players, and so, the Ref cant be sure that Mane is the one in possession.
2. Mane then runs a couple of yards diagonally towards the ball, in the path of KWP, thus initiating the contact.
In the eyes of the Referee, Mane neither has full control of the ball, nor does he have a clear unimpeded path to it. Infact, it looked a bit like Mane running into KWP’s path, contesting a loose ball instead of the other way around, which is how he called it. IMO, wingers have been trying out this move on defenders for years, and refs have been fairly consistent about refereeing those calls.
Sarthak (Maybe, just maybe, those referees know what they are doing)
Mintys tin foil hat tirade at VAR and his conclusion jumping is really something, so the referees have all got together and decided Liverpool bad United good? Not the fact it wasn’t actually a penalty but the one against Pogba was, no let’s make up an entirely plausible argument that the system is corrupt and anti Liverpool. I’m wondering if United are so loved by the establishment why we haven’t been anywhere near winning anything the last few years, I presume it’s an oversight or a glitch in the Matrix and all will be well soon. If on the 17th Liverpool beat United I will be straight on to Mike Riley demanding to know why his minions failed to award United several penalties against the plucky Robin Hood underdogs Liverpool. Happy new year people.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
I’ve only just managed to get a break at work to read the mailbox, and my word that is a salty, salty email from Minty. My eyes are still stinging from reading it.
It’s not about the officials, pal. Your boys are knackered is all. You’re still top of the league. Cheer up.
Jon (Mou would have been proud of that rant), Lincoln
Klopp is rattled…
Liverpool fans complaining like they’re the only team to ever suffer injuries to their first 11 during a premiership season is a joke. You just don’t hear the other teams moaning about it. It only goes to show how much they have been reliant on Virgil Van Dyke and Alison at the back, regardless of Trent, who’s more of a winger. And lets face it, Gomez is no replacement. Some Liverpool fans think that the man utd vs Liverpool at anfield will be a breeze because it at anfield. But what you forget is, that Liverpool is in Tier 4, so it’ll be empty, behind closed doors, and half the time Liverpool depend on the crowd at anfield. So I wouldn’t get carried away thinking its an automatic win. If I was a scouser Id become religious and start praying for a medical miracle. Ohh by the way. Klopp is rattled.
Phil at MUFC
Hi Football 365 Team,
Klopp’s penalty comments are baffling. Even more surprising LFC supporters coming up with a so-called conspiracy theory. It’s as easy as that – fouls in the box, it’s a penalty. All penalty decisions are doubled checked by VAR. To be honest, I can’t understand how can someone even imagine a conspiracy theory.
It’s clear Liverpool is a team that cannot play under pressure. Last season with their huge cushion of points ahead, they played calmly and kept winning. This season with the pressure on, they are stumbling. Pressure is getting to them & Klopp’s actions & words epitomises that.
Finally I hope that the referees have taken note of the countless unpunished cynical fouls Fabinho & Robertson have committed since the beginning of the season and that they won’t go unpunished (cards even if it’s in the first minute of the match! & free-kicks or penalties) in the match against Man Utd.
P.S The way Klopp is unjustifiably complaining looks like the perfect scenario for Man Utd to win the game at Anfield by a penalty in injury time 😛
Ashwin, Man Utd, Mauritius
Klopp is no ‘fraud’
What on earth is happening? 😕 The last time I checked (which admittedly was weeks ago), Liverpool were well clear of Man Utd and Solskjaer’s job was under threat. This morning, I looked at the table and Man Utd are only one win away from going clear at the top. Where are all these Man Utd points coming from? It’s fraud on the football nation, a complete embarrassment. 😂 Klopp needs to go to the Supreme Court. 😉
On a serious note, Klopp is not a “fraud”, as I’m sure we’ll start getting in the mailbox. Why is modern football discourse obsessed with people being “frauds”? 😕 Liverpool have had two seasons of monumental point-gathering and this is more of a “normal” season.
Positives: not many.
The second half reminded me of the Liverpool from last year. Relentless pressure, buzzing all over but the passes were lacking and crosses were lame attempts. That is as nice as i can be. The goal never looked like coming. Southampton played excellently!
Trent – worst game of his career. Not helped by the forwards.
Thiago – a little disappointing. But to be honest, expectations are extremely high.
Missing Fabinho and Henderson in midfield which makes me question the selection. I thought Rhys and Phillips have been decent in the games they plays (not perfect but good enough), so i dont understand blowing up our midfield to drop Henderson in defence. I think one of Rhys or Phillips with Fabinho, and Henderson in midfield would’ve been the better option, then again i have never managed a game of footy and feel ridiculous criticising anything Klopp does. Though as Rhys or phillips i would be a little confused.
Now for some perspective on this.Last three games, we were absolutely sh*te. Very few chances created, passes and crosses going astray, defensive questionable but every other team so far has had a period where they struggled. we have picked up only 2 points in the last 3 games which for the standard Liverpool set last year is ridiculous.
However, last year was the strange year, not this one. No one is supposed to be 20 points clear at any point of the season. No one is supposed to win 13 out of 14 of the first premier league games. Furthermore this year, when we played Everton, they were deemed title contenders. When we played Chelsea, they were considered title contenders. When we played Tottenham they were considered title contenders. Now we play United as they are considered Title contenders. I know we might lose, and i know that might mean Utd being 6 points clear of us but that means absolutely nothing this year. This will be a Dog Fight of a year, and I for one am very excited for it.
Nik (every game DOES feel like a cup final), Munich
Where do I start…
Dear lord what a fascinating mailbox this morning! I thought it would only be Liverpool fans but I’m a little surprised an Arsenal fan has also chipped in with nonsense today. Where to begin..
Let me start with Rich (AFC). I apologize for the slight error. 84 mil was the total spent by Arsenal including Pablo Mari and not just on the other two ( i may have rounded off a little). As for my sources, here: https://www.transfermarkt.us/fc-arsenal/transfers/verein/11. I’ll admit I don’t know if this is the most accurate source, and I’ll be happy to stand corrected on the exact numbers. As for the 46 mil I quoted for United, I very clearly mentioned that that is the addition for the first team only. It does not count the amount spent on two teenegers who are in fact not in the first team right now. As to the rest of your mail, I would reply to each of your points but sadly it seems you completely missed the point of my original mail. I was in fact, as you say, comparing only this season, where 3-4 signings would have made us legitimate contenders. The summer was a complete failure from Ed and as I said in my mail, no one is suggesting that we haven’t spent. Just that we should have spent this year and didn’t, which as a United fan, I equate to saying Ole hasn’t been backed in the summer, and I will stand by this regardless of what any rival fan thinks. Also, there’s nothing wrong with saying the manager doesn’t have ‘his’ squad to work with. Every manager brings in players to mould the squad the way he wants. I’m simply pointing out that this process is incredibly haphazard and almost amateurish at United, given the size and stature of the club. I fail to see yet again the argument against this despite your best efforts.
Before I move on, I have to highlight this juicy quote from Rich: “How about managers do the actual thing they really should be very good at and taking whatever group of players they have and coaching them, making them better players and bringing them together as a team and a set of tactics that is greater than the sum of its parts?”. Evidenced by the fact that there is literally not one single professional club on the planet including his very own Arsenal that does this, this right here shows the extent of separation from reality that dear Rich suffers from, and it was at this point that I stopped reading the rest of his mail.
And now to some Liverpool mails. Firstly, I’ve debated for a while now whether I should even write this, but in the end it’s too tempting not to. A couple of months ago I defended Ole against some Liverpool fans and pointed out that Liverpool themselves weren’t exactly having a stellar season either (this was shortly after the 7-2). My mail was met with general derision from Liverpool fans, and my views were dismissed as the uncultured ramblings of a ‘typical’ United fan, ‘obsessed’ with Liverpool, and jealous of their success. A couple of months later, I couldn’t help but laugh, first at Klopp and the couple of Liverpool fans in today’s mailbox going on about United and penalties. Remind me again who is obsessed with what? I mean, Man United aren’t even close to having had the most number of penalties, either this season, or over the last 2 years or whatever Klopp quotes. And then there is Dave, LFC, Galway, who doesn’t think Ole has ever been in a title race. I suppose he doesn’t recognize the club legend who scored possibly the most famous goal in English football, along the way to THREE titles that year. Or maybe the suggestion is that people completely forget their experiences of winning titles as a player the day they retire. Or maybe he thinks Ole suffers from some form of Amnesia that would cause him to completely forget the titles he won in Norway?
While we talk about preferential treatment, let’s not forget Klopp decided to say United get more penalties as though that has any bearing on Liverpool’s performance and in the same breath says he’s not making excuses despite having just made one. Then he decides to lay the blame ‘partly’ on the players, knowing full well that Lampard was just recently taken to the gallows for doing just that. Imagine if Mourinho started moaning in a post match about penalties given to a team they weren’t even playing that day, and then also said the players have to take some of the blame? All of that despite the fact that every decision in the game last night was correct. It was not handball after the rule changes, and Mane went down largely due to having lost his balance on account of having crashed into KWP (and not the other way), therefore not a penalty.
MM, Man United, India (Mentality Monsters, indeed)
More clarity on handballs, please!
I was saying last night after the Gini/Stephens incident that the handball laws have clearly been relaxed in the last month or two, but couldn’t think of a good example. Thankfully I stumbled across this tweet this morning, which I think sums it up. Whereas before, any touch with the hand was deemed a pen, now it seems the hand has to be a good distance from your body.
I am happy that the handball laws have seemingly been changed because they were nonsense, but surely something this important should have been announced, or at the very least leaked to the right people so that everyone knows what is going on. Instead we go on with muddied waters, feeding conspiracy theorists of every club who think that the refs are Out To Get US! Am I being paranoid or do people think less handballs are being given? I am admittedly a Liverpool fan so a strong chance of one-eyedness.
Donkey, (Take Off The Tinfoil Hats), Bournemouth
Diving and flopping
There is a simple solution to this problem without changing the rules. If a player needs on field assistance, the referee could could keep him on the sideline for a term equal to his on field assistance. This would be at the referees discretion, of course, but it would help the players recovery/safety and discourage players from overreacting to on field contact.
What do you think?
Pep escaping without criticism…
In an understandably topsy-turvy season so far where many teams have been lauded one week and then chastised the next, there is again one team and manager who are escaping criticism.
While Utd have been rubbish most of the season (apparently), they are now second. Everton, Spurs, Soton, Leicester and Villa have also had lots of praise and some criticism. Liverpool are top and are still getting criticism for dropping lots of points of late although it does come with the subtext of injuries.
However, given Liverpools relative struggles, surely Pep and team should be the biggest losers for having dropped 16 points of a possible 45 and not be pulling away? Yes, with games in hand they could actually overtake Liverpool (not utd) but with their record it’s not likely – they seem to have gone stale.
This for me looks like the “Leicester” season where all the big teams shot themselves in the foot while someone else was allowed to trickle over the line. Liverpool and City still favourites in my book but only if they wake up soon – and until they do it’s still open for someone else…
Jon, Cape Town (Utd could go top, actual top, for the first time in a million years – knee-jerkery will be OTT but it’s setting up a great utd-pool game)
Some people might think it’s pointless to try to make predictions among the uncertainty of a pandemic, but when has that ever stopped anyone doing anything before. Here are a few things that are definitely* going to happen this year (*not guaranteed):
*Leeds United are surprisingly quiet on social media when they are criticised on television by Graeme Souness.
*A player needs to be substituted with what appears to be a groin injury, but replays show he was given a severe wedgie. As it was administered by Craig Dawson, the officials take no action.
*When the world marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a match between John Terry’s Aston Villa and Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
*Sheffield United’s fortunes improve when Chris Wilder and Alan Knill reverse the job swap they first did at Northampton Town. Wilder then gets knocked off his bicycle by a squirrel.
*A match will be brought to an abrupt halt by a someone suffering an acute eye problem. Replays show he has been sprayed with CS gas, but as the perpetrator was Craig Dawson, no action is taken.
*The trend for converting defensive midfielders into centre backs comes to a halt. Replacing it, teams facing a lone striker system line up with a solitary centre back and two holding midfielders in front of him to overrun the number ten.
*The FA Cup Final song makes a comeback when Chelsea’s players release a version of Blue is the Colour, inspired by the awful celebrity Zoom/Instagram montages of 2020.
*A match will be brought to an abrupt halt when a player is taken out by a nuclear missile. Replays show that it was deployed by Craig Dawson, so no action is taken.
*A contestant on Masterchef produces their take on Balti pie and Bovril. Gregg Wallace comments on the seasoning.
*Wayne Hennessey somehow gets a new contract at Crystal Palace.
That was a fun watch. Hassenhuttl and Klopp’s matching outfits made them seem like Russian dolls of each other on the sideline. It was kind of reminiscent of playing club v country on <insert football console game of your choice>, where you end up with the same player tackling himself. Really hope Southampton can hold on to Hassenhuttl for the rest of the season at least, that team is going somewhere interesting and it would be a shame not to find out where. I feel like Black Forest Hassenhuttl (surely the responsibility of having the secondary moniker must pass, otherwise the Klopp-off would have been essentially meaningless) has lost a little bit of his sparkle in this grind of a year. Liverpool might well need to hang on in the title race until such a time as fans return (and the juggernaut can start up once again).
Can we void the season yet?
Mike, LFC, London
I agree with JODO. Stop the count and declare a winner now!
On a points per game basis though, obviously. So the actual best team wins…
Also, had a good chuckle at Robbie’s list of all the top teams Liverpool have played as evidence of their strong position… erm, United have played them all too and currently have the same points total and a game in hand…almost everyone has played them, given we’re almost at the half way point of the season? Who cares if you’re unbeated against Arsenal, City, Chelsea, Leicester and Everton… you’re also without a win against Villa, Southampton, Newcastle, West Brom, Fulham, Brighton, Manchester City, and Everton… a win against any of those teams is worth the same number of points…