Rival-less Man City prosper while seven teams desperately want to beat Liverpool…

Date published: Thursday 12th May 2022 8:48 - News Desk

Jurgen Klopp shouts from the sidelines as Liverpool beat Aston Villa.

The Mailbox reckons Liverpool suffer for their rivalry with the likes of Aston Villa, Newcastle and Leeds while, Man Utd apart, no one is arsed about beating City.

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


Does anyone really want to beat City?
Liverpool are tired. But I don’t go in for the suggestion that winning by narrow margins makes us a lesser side that city.

I do have one thought, from a discussion recently. And that is, does City’s lack of real, visceral rivalry keep them marginally fresher? This isn’t that teams role over for City, they are a great team who can put 5 past anyone (including Liverpool) when it clicks.

But I would have to say, Newcastle, as an example, put in a hell of a shift against Liverpool (did they really? – MC) that was not recreated against City. My question is, is there anything to be said for the fact that teams are basically more ‘up for’ beating Liverpool. In fact far from ‘the country wanting Liverpool to win’. You’d have to say (if not based on the F365 mailbox alone), that most fans actively dislike us. But City seem to be spared a lot of that vitriol (you may say it’s because of emails like this).

If you look across the league, there are a number of teams that really, really want to beat Liverpool (and I want Liverpool to beat) every season, due to a shared competitive history. To name a few:

Newcastle (massive rivalry borne from the 90’s that continues today, see Premier League Classics (TM))
Aston Villa (grand old club who love to beat Liverpool, see my whatsapp after that 7-2)
Chelsea (they just absolutely hate us)
Everton (none needed)
Arsenal and Tottenham (historical rivals that seemed to really revel in that period of being better than Liverpool, now hugely frustrated they’re not)
And finally, of course, Leeds.

You’ve got 7 teams there who I think see Liverpool as a game to really rile them up. Man United applies to both Liverpool and City.

Now of course, there’s a huge caveat here – from the above mentioned teams, Liverpool’s record this season reads W12, D4. So has there been a significant impact on results? I don’t think so. Have our games been a bit more energy-sapping – maybe? Let’s not forget that City, to this point have played almost as many games as us. Sure they have a deeper squad, but they rely on a core of players like Liverpool do.

Do teams go the extra mile against certain other sides? As a fan I think they definitely do. As a player I know I have done this myself – certain teams I just really, really want to beat.

I think it’s a real thing – not exclusive to us, of course. For example United have big rivalries with Arsenal, City and Liverpool. All the London clubs have each other. But 7? ~14 games a season played at the intensity of a derby game. And that’s not even including the games against City themselves. It’s a superhuman effort.

Can the City fans share who they would consider to be the teams they have such rivalries with? Perhaps I just don’t know!



We’ll remember Liverpool before this City
As another season reaches its zenith and everything gets decided, I came to thinking, in 10 years, or 15 or 20 even, will City or Liverpool hold more reverence in our future pundits minds? And I have come to a scientific conclusion that it will be Liverpool who will hold the minds and hearts over The Citizens. City will of course be respected for their record, recognised for being a winning machine but I suspect there will always be a question about how much their finances contributed as opposed to its management.

Liverpool have gone toe to toe for several seasons, potentially succeeding more in Europe, and doing so with an inferior finance package and a less outright talented squad overall. In practically any other league or time Liverpool would be cantering to silverware. In years to come Klopp is held in esteem, likely gets a statue and a stand named after him. I don’t think Pep receives any more than applause and a handshake.

Anyway, here’s praying Stockport beat Torquay tonight so we can finally return to league football after a 14 season absence.
Darren (Stockport)


Deserving champions
Now, anyone who reads the mailbox comments section knows I’m no Liverpool fan, but is Lee for real?

City beat Newcastle 5-0 at home so they deserve to win the league as Liverpool only won 1-0 at St James’ Park? Liverpool actually beat Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield, wouldn’t that be a better comparison?
Both teams have scored 89 goals this season.

Also Liverpool have failed to score only once in the PL all season.
City have failed to score 4 times in the PL.
Other comparisons:

(1)City drew 0-0 at home to Southampton.
Liverpool won 4-0 at home to Southampton.
(2)City lost 2-1 at home to Palace.
Liverpool won 3-0 at home to Palace.
(3)City drew 0-0 at Palace.
Liverpool won 3-1 at Palace.
All games where teams play the low block and Liverpool scored more goals.
Not to forget Liverpool winning 3-2 in Madrid v Atletico whereas City drew 0-0.

Either team would be a phenomenal champion but at least get your facts right Lee. I expect better from “you”.

Yours disappointingly
Pádraig “Simon Jordan” O Hara, Kensington.


De Bryune fulfils the Haaland role as Manchester City crush Wolves and close on the title

Two-footed genius
Has there been a better player in the Premier League who was as comfortable on his weaker foot than Kevin De Bruyne? Scratch that, not comfortable, as dominant.

Every strike with is left has control, power and perhaps terrifyingly, accuracy. He rapped one in against Chelsea a few years ago with his left and it was incredible.

I honestly can’t remember a player who could strike a ball with such control with his weaker foot.

Oh and please don’t mail in saying things like “Rooney scored 78 goals with his left” because that’s completely different and you know it.
Robbie DFC.
*Seen Zidane live in Dublin once and his control with his weak foot was ridiculous, however he was being marked by Richard Dunne at the time.


…Fuelled by last week’s accusation of being overrated in the mailbox, KDB has banged in 4 against defensively sound Wolves.
Dave (Amazing how some people still don’t see Haaland is a prodigy), Dublin


…Yeah, De Bruyne was absurd and all last night, but he was also at fault for the Wolves goal by not tracking Dendoncker. Haaland wouldn’t have done that!
Neill, Ireland


With the wonderful Kevin De Bruyne putting to bed the ‘can’t lead his team in important moments’ accusations and City having a heavily injured defence proving a non-issue, I am just wondering: what hopes are the lucky Liverpool fans hanging on to for the final two games of the season?

Rob, Dorset


Keep the faith, Liverpool fans. West Ham only need to win 7-0 on Sunday and we still have a shot at the title. #believe
Mike, LFC, London


City karma
No one likes to see players get injured, but Aymeric Laporte’s injury was Manchester City reaping what they have spent several years sowing. Specifically, it was an unintended consequence of their tactical fouling. Seeing the reverse angle replay of the incident, Phil Foden loses the ball and instead of attempting to win it by fair means, shoves Raul Jimenez over, and the Mexican then bowls into Laporte. If Foden takes any course of action different to cynically fouling the opponent he has conceded possession to, he doesn’t cause his teammate to get injured. Instead of blaming him, however, the responsibility should be with the coaches who instructed him to play in such a way, and with the manager, who will no doubt have something to say about injuries and fixture pile up soon.
Ed Quoththeraven


Big summer for Wolves
Some Wolves thoughts after last night’s belly tickling. Which collectively add up to a confused / worried shoulder shrug

1) There appears to be no discernible pattern to our results or performances. Which is a pretty damning indictment of the management. We have put in some truly excellent performances at times and have been utterly abject on just as many occasions. Palace and Brighton at home were the worst of the lot. But losing to Leeds, Newcastle and Burnley should worry the management just as much.

2) This is still, to all intents and purposes, Nuno’s team, which may explain 1). The club needs to think long and hard about it’s next move. Back Bruno, or change him now and back the next manager to the hilt

Which leads me to….

3) We lose Neves in the summer, possibly Mountinho too. Jimenez is not going to be the player he was pre the Luiz assault and Hwang, Silva and Trincao are not up to it. Saiss is off and Boly continues to struggle after his Covid related issues. Along with Traore not wanting to come back from Barca, despite their intention to send him back, means this is a crucial summer for Wolves. The kind out outlay needed to push for Europe or even avoid a relegation fight, may not be to Fosun’s liking, Mendes little black book or not.

4) On a more positive note, against Chelsea and City Neto had a few moments which reminded me of the player before his injury. Build the team around him until Liverpool come calling and we have a starting point.

5) We did the double over Villa 🙂

Contrary to claims of my number one fan in The Wirral, I did not enjoy last night. We’ve given City a rough ride over the past few seasons, but never seriously looked like doing it yesterday. The club needs to be very wary about next season, having just hiked season tickets in a town that isn’t particularly affluent and struggling as much as anywhere at the moment.
John, Shropshire


Next Hazard
In response to Ronson’s (AFC) question on if Haaland is the first transfer where a player has chosen the EPL over the usual European giants, it’s an excellent question. He does mention Pogba, where I feel he could have moved to most clubs in 2016 if Juventus didn’t price him up so high, but the only other one I can really think of is Hazard to Chelsea in 2012, he could’ve really had his pick but chose the team that just beat Bayern to the UCL. Funny that, even though he won pretty much everything else, he didn’t get the Big Ears trophy but nearly as soon as he leaves Chelsea win it again.
Andrew M, AFC (currently HT in the Coppa Italia Final, far out Handanović is still a fantastic goal keeper), Australia

New Manchester City player Erling Haaland celebrates scoring
Champions League mess
I am a regular reader of your site but first time contributor, and reading about the pointless debate about whether the Prem or Champions League is harder to win (it’s obviously the league because you can be punished in May for a bad run that happened in December – although I suppose in the CL, 5 teams have a genuine shot, whereas it’s 2, 3 at best in the Prem… anyway), I began to wonder off on a trail of thought as I often do about the daftness of the Champions League.

In its current format, persistently inconsistent teams (one of Arsenal or Spurs included) are rewarded for patchy form with a place at a competition that not only will they not win, they won’t even be competitive over the course of it. Its only real benefits are that the format gives fans of EPL teams something to get excited about at the end of an OK if unspectacular season, and from UEFA’s point of view, pretty much guarantees that the big teams don’t miss out after a patchy season.

From a neutrals point of view (I am a Blackburn supporter living among Liverpudlians), the examples above of Arsenal and Spurs makes an obvious mockery of the ‘champions’ part. And I’m not knocking these teams either, both are clearly heading in the right direction.

But for me the crux is the impact that this existing format has on the Europa League (UEFA Cup in my day). We are all familiar with the Thursday Nights insults thrown around, top teams playing kids when the Europa League is inflicted upon them and other negative situations or manifestations associated with the competition. And this to me is because the teams that should be in the Europa are busy being irrelevant in the bloated ‘champions league’.

Imagine a crazy scenario where champions of each UEFA league were the only teams that qualified for the Champions League.

Then consider the names qualifying for the Europa League instead – Liverpool, Barcelona, Juventus, Chelsea…. Would the Europa then still be considered a 2nd rate tournament? Or would this re-invigorate it and ensure we have 2 highly prestigious tournaments instead of one competition whos small pool of potential winners can be identified 8 months in advance?

I know this won’t happen because money and also planned reforms that will happen, but as a fan I would like to see this, alongside a review of the tournaments format. Group stages are yet another safety net to remove peril and ensure the big names are there at the end. My suggestion, probably flawed would be a seeding system based on co-efficient, where teams from the Prem, La Liga, Serie A for arguments sake, all join the fun in round 2 at conflicting sides of the draw, as per tennis majors.

I haven’t considered the financial aspect, such as how Ireland or Luxemburgs Champions League representatives suddenly become the PSGs of their respective leagues. But from a footballing/meritocracy perspective, I’d sooner see an elite competition where the Champions of England play the Champions of Italy in the final, rather than the 3rd or 4th place team in England.

Plus, the Europa League would then genuinely be close to par in terms of prestige due to the calibre and profile of the teams qualifying, not to mention quality.

Aside from the benefits that these thoughts would have on the Europa League, it just seems wrong that a whole 20% of our Prem teams should be qualifying for the elite competition.

Probably a bad time to bring this up with a Liverpool v Madrid final rounding off a truly entertaining knockout phase, but I would also suggest that the excitement has been confined to the latter stages which in a way I think supports my point.

Hoping all in the F365 community are happy and safe.
Stu J


Biased against everyone. Except Wolves
Well played Matthew Stead and Football365. Well played.
Stephen (Minnesota, USA)


…I won’t lie, it took me till Brighton to get the gag.

Top work.
Jon (Erik Lamela is the king of N17), Lincoln


Huge win for Chelsea
What a huge three points that is, not only against an historic rival in Leeds but in the race for Champions League football ahead of next season!

Overall it was a solid Chelsea performance, better than previous games which isn’t hard to do when you think about it after those performances and it was fantastic to see Romelu Lukaku bag his third in two games, the obvious talking point will be the Daniel James red card, was it a red? 100% yes a very dangerous tackle indeed but the added talking points were the reactions from a small section of Leeds fans whose chose to taunt Kovacic whilst he was substituted off, but that wasn’t the worst part, there was a moment during the first half when a Chelsea fan was taken ill in the crowd and there were some truly horrible and appalling chants from again a small section of Leeds fans, I’m certain that the majority of the home crowd were equally disgusted by these individuals, we all as fans partake in banter and chants but not when it is in regards to someone potentially fighting for their life.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod

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