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United aren’t far from challenging for the title
I’m getting a bit bored of everyone crapping on this united team, they are very close to becoming title challengers and just need a decent manager and to ship out or man manage the problem players in the club, Klopp would need a season or two he would of put Man Utd in the title challenge consistently.
If we just look at the team sheet from the Liverpool match:
De Gea – Not what he once was but you can’t deny that the £20 million keeper is still in the top 5 keepers in the world (he seems to be doing a Cech but without getting kicked in the head
Lindelof – A £30 million defender who would walk into any of the top 6’s defense apart from Liverpool, he rarely makes mistakes and should be the captain
Maguire – No he is not worth £80 million and sadly United are going to be bent over by many clubs to spend the extra money but he has a premier league medal, he is an England international and he’s got a massive head (Always a good thing).
Shaw – Touted as the next big wing back and cost £30 million as well, he isn’t a bad player and has been badly managed but with some consistency and no injuries he could still scare the crap out of a right back and break a right winger
Wan-Bissaka – Crystal Palace player of the year and cost £50 million, he has a problem going forward but he can defend, you don’t have to do everything and he does the thing he’s supposed to really bloody well
Williams – A youth team player who, lets be honest, we have no idea how well he can play, we’ve seen some very good form recently and if he can carry that on they’ve got a bloody good player on their hands
Fred – Won 10 trophies with Shakhtar Donetsk (I know its only Shakhtar but at least he’s been in the champions league), is just coming up to the prime footballer age and is finally finding his feet in the premiership, he is going to be turning heads next season or the season after, also £53 million
Matic – This one I have to say is past it and should be set out to pasture with Eric Dier but he isn’t the first choice (the other guy has a nasty cough and couldn’t play) and he offers experience and winners medals in a lot of competitions, as a back up he is a pretty good option (he did cost £40 million as well which is a bit rubbish)
Pereira – A Ferguson signing who I will admit is poo, he should be shipped out and replaced as soon as possible or maybe just use one of the other midfielders at Man utds disposal
Martial – £36 Million with the potential to go up to £58, this hasn’t worked out the way it should of, from what I understand that at Monaco he was close to becoming a world beater, came to United had a couple of good games, got injured and was never able to get a good run together and also he’s a winger, play him as one
James – Coming from swansea to be a future star, has been forced into the squad and is doing quite well, he only cost 15 million as well, also he is a winger, play him as one.
This squad cost around 376 million, now I know that money doesn’t make a player good but these people got valued at this amount because they showed they were good players. I’m a Liverpool fan and if United got a coach who didn’t have to deal with Ed then I’d start to poo myself, Poch would cause the poos to come.
Rich Jennings (Liverpools team cost 340 mil by the way)
Liverpool’s aura of invincibility
Just to echo the mail from Vincentius, Cambridge stating how Klopp is turning doubters into believers. I have found myself unrecognisable as a Liverpool fan in the last month or two culminating with my zen-like stoicism as goal after Liverpool goal was chalked off on Sunday. A facetious smirk emerged as Mane & Salah wasted chances to make score a second goal while most around me jumped around apoplectic and nervous of the potential repercussions. This is what Klopp has achieved. Years past I would also be in a rage at the profligacy, micro managing professional footballers offering aloud if they should have shot, how they should have shot and with what foot they should have shot. But strangely I stood calm safe in the knowledge that United wouldn’t score and if by some way they did Liverpool would simply respond with a goal of their own.
What has contributed to this by in large is something I noticed towards the end of the Wolves game in December. An invisible field that now surrounds the goal of which Liverpool defend. Built by an aura akin to Fergie’s United of old as opposed to Poch’s lemons. Chances ranging from .6 to .9 in Ex G are mysteriously not finding the back of the net. Moutinho, Neto, Neves, Son, Lo Celso and now Martial. All presented with serviceable chances to deny Liverpool a clean sheet and against any other team they test the keeper or score a goal. Against Liverpool they panic and it’s over or wide. This for me(Clive) is evidence that the intangible is becoming tangible, teams are playing Liverpool on reputation, defeated before a ball is kicked and gilt edge chances missed before they are even created. That to me will be hallmark of this current Liverpool, I just hope the force field and with it my newfound apathy towards Liverpool wasting chances doesn’t give out before the end of the season.
There is one aspect that Paul Manchester has failed to look at with his happiness at how Liverpool are going about winning their maiden premier league title and that is the possibility of achieving the treble. If City continue to pick up points at their current rate, roughly 2 points a game that will leave them with a possible total of 80 points for the season (Liverpool only need 5 wins and draw to achieve that).
This will probably mean that the league would be done and dusted mid March or at the very latest early April thus allowing a Liverpool side who won the champions league and got 97 points last season the opportunity to rotate players before crucial champions league games. Added to this, favorable draws in the FA Cup may ultimately see Klopp start to take the competition seriously with the real possibility of achieving an unlikely treble.
The standards that these players are setting for themselves are extremely high and whilst they wont admit in public it is surely in the back of their heads that they want to achieve that feat.
…Is it just me, or is all this talk of “Invincibles” completely crazy, with chances ever smaller as Man City and Leicester drop more points? The massive gap right now means Liverpool will unconsciously start to shift focus just a little bit to the Champions League, and every knockout stage will surely be a huge focus for the club, with players rested and focus altered. Given how tough it is to go unbeaten, and how many fine margins have been turned by Liverpool to get this far…surely that slight change of focus is more than enough to make it more unlikely by the day? I’d be thrilled if they managed it, but at this point, surely it’s talk for talk’s sake!
Henry, LFC, Köln
…As a partnership, VVD and Joe Gomez have kept 7 clean sheets out of the last 7 in the PL. Prior to this they started 11 of the first 15 games of last season and conceded 4 goals.
That’s FOUR goals in 18 games, or equivalent to 8/9 in a season.
That’s not exactly a small sample size either. This defence and keeper are unreal and barring injuries should be together for the next 4 and a bit seasons, along with Fabinho sat in front of them.
I could see changes in the front 3 over the next 2/3 years. I hope I’m wrong but think Salah maybe has another move in him and will Firmino still be able to get through this amount of work when he’s 31/32. Hopefully Minamino is a ready made deputy and Harvey Elliott looks like a first teamer already and he’s only 16. As does Curtis Jones.
They’ll almost certainly spend in this area too.
Fitness is the big question with Keita and Ox because if they could stay fit then that’s the future Liverpool midfield sorted, along with Fabinho.
Having said that Hendo and Gini have been unbelievable recently and will probably still be going strong in 2024.
The pace this team is setting is surely unsustainable in the long run, but you’d imagine the next few seasons will see a slight regression back to 90 point title wins and I would expect this team to challenge in all of them.
City will come back strong but probably only 1 more year with Pep. Their next managerial appointment will be a huge decision.
Wolves and Leicester look great but it’s a big ask to get to 90 points. Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea look a way off to me. You could see the path to how they could all challenge in a year or two, but they will need to get their recruitment perfect and trust that their respective managers all learn and improve on the job. I genuinely haven’t got a clue how Spurs will do under Mourinho.
Sorry that was a bit longer than planned but to sum up, the (near) future is Red.
Mark Robbo, LFC (Klopp will be LFC manager till at least 2024. That makes me so happy)
Liverpool’s best move
I tend not to get involved in the post big match mail fest, there tends to be a tad too much reactionary guff, although this is always matched by wonderful guffaws. All of it entertaining, the literary equivalent of that quite marvelous Alisson slide post Salah winner.
Then Vincentius, Cambridge made an interesting statement: ‘Jurgen Klopp has been the best signing that Liverpool made for the last 10-15 years.’ For some reason this shook me. It didn’t sound quite nearly enough. Who did we sign in 2004/5 (and since) that was better than Klopp? Answer: no one. Yes, we all love (LOVE) Xabi Alonso, but as gracious and as sexy as his passing and everything else was, it doesn’t compare to the culture shifting, belief defying exploits of Jürgen Klopp. An honorable mention to our beloved Benitez (who I still love), the first manager in the Premier league era that properly got us competing for the top top prizes. But it felt like he was fighting a lonely battle.
Rewind the clock. The 90’s were abysmal (and thankfully for this debate we didn’t ‘sign’ Gerrard), and before that some real glory. John Barnes? Jan Molby? The earth literally shifted in 84/85 when he came through the gates, a genius of his time. So many greats in that period but nope, I’m not sure they qualify (yes we can have a long discussion about the criteria…).
I think you need to go back to the signing of a young Kenneth Mathiesen Dalglish in 1977 to compete for ‘greatest signing since…’ I say this because Dalglish came and never really left, he played, he scored, he managed, and went way beyond the call of duty for the Liverpool family all whilst making people smile. They even named a stand after him. Seismic.
This was basically 43 years ago, the age I am now. I think Klopp is the best signing in my lifetime. Hyperbole? Possibly. But it might actually be true, certainly on the basis that it feels like we are currently seeing the tip of the ‘what is possible’ iceberg.
Damn it, he makes ME want to be better, that’s a gift isn’t it?
Calm down, calm down
I have been a Liverpool fan since the late 80s when all my favourite Irish players were at the club. As I was too young to fully appreciate winning the league back then, the last 30 something years have been a series of lows and some great highs but basically we were a cup team with any real consistency..
This year could be the year but I don’t dare to dream and neither do most of my Liverpool supporting friends. Every newssite, mailbox and comment section today is basically giving is the league title now. I do admit Salahs goal at the death against Utd seemed like a floodgate opened and the inevitably of victory is in the air but still… ‘Calm down, calm down’ as Harry Enfield would say.
I want to believe, I want to dream, I want to sing, to cry, to let all the emotion out but until the points total is unassailable I can’t.. it’s been too long, too many false dawn’s, too many ‘this is our year’ comments. I dont think I am alone in this, so fellow nailbiters please join me in run in, let it be joyous, let it be thrilling, let it be record breaking but most of all, let it be (no not OUR YEAR) the beginning of more great things to come!
PK (Waterford, Ireland)
Death by a thousand cuts or a bullet to the brain
Paul from Manchester raises an interesting issue regarding the Mighty Reds’ slow procession to the title. I’m pleased to see him tying himself in knots to try to self-soften the blow as – step by brilliant step – we claim our place back upon that perch.
Imagine though, for a minute, that LFC were involved in a three way battle with Man City and Leicester. United fans would be able to distract themselves from their horror of another week with Ole at the wheel by rooting for those plucky Foxes; other LFC haters would no doubt hitch their wagons to the Oil funded Pep-Behemoth that represents the pale-blue half of Manchester. And if the season went a nail-biting last day, and Liverpool won it, the pain of LFC’s triumph would be sudden but short-lived for those bitter Mancs et al, and could be soon be soothed by the distracting balm of the Euros over the Summer, transfer window speculation, etc etc.
But to my mind, the way things are actually panning out, this relentlessly grinding match-winning record-busting procession, is FAR preferable. There is no hiding place from the daily media love fest as the Glorious Reds march towards the title. The haters ‘gon hate and will have to watch through their fingers in impotent rage as the inevitable Jordan Henderson super fast feet dance gets closer and closer!
And finally, the cherry on the cake. It was good to see Alex Ferguson at Anfield on Sunday; I’m sure I speak for many when I say that I’m overjoyed that he overcame that health scare a year or two back and looks to be in fine fettle to witness the re-instatement of that Big Red Liver Bird on to its fabulous perch!
Mike, Chester (LFC)
You may get a few of these, but RQT seems to have fallen for the myth that Liverpool haven’t suffered any injuries this season.
Of course, he mentions injuries to key players, and people will have varying definitions of who is a key player, but surely we can all agree that first choice goalkeeper tends to be quite a key player. Especially when he is probably the best in the world right now, namely Alisson.
Alisson was injured during the very first game, and was then missing for the next couple of months. Joel Matip, who was one of the stars of the Champions League win last season, and was clearly the first-choice partner for VvD, has been out since October. His replacement, Lovren, was then injured himself, and has been missing since the beginning of December. (Clyne is far from a key player, but has been missing for ages, which reduces the chance of resting TAA.)
Most Liverpool fans would say that Fabinho had been our best (key!) midfielder, up until the point he was injured in late November. He only returned as a substitute on Sunday. Naby Keita and the Ox are both key parts of the midfield unit, and both have been missing intermittently all season. Milner is currently out injured. Shaqiri and Lallana (not key players, but useful squad members nonetheless) have both missed prolonged periods through injury.
Finally Salah has missed a few games this season (three in the Laague I believe, including the game at Old Trafford) and has been nowhere near his best as he recovered from the ankle injury that had been troubling him.
In summary, yes, Liverpool have had their fair share of injuries. It could have been worse, obviously. If we had also missed VvD, TAA, Robertson, Bobby and Mane then of course we would have struggled! But which team has genuinely suffered that level of misfortune?
Vinny (LFC) Colchester
Shades of grey
Very few things in football, life or the universe are black or white, there are usually shades of grey and that is definitely the case with United, despite the usual hypothesising after a loss to the runaway league leaders. Gary Neville has a point when he points the finger at the squad who played Liverpool but he is being a little forgetful, take arguably the best two midfielders (I won’t even start on the Pogba debate) and undeniably the best striker out of any Premiership team and you will see drop in performance.
In my opinion, and Gary Neville’s and I agree with him on this, the current issues at United are down to Woodward and co., primarily because they should be the continuity when the manager or playing staff change but also because they have allowed some disastrous decisions to take place. Moyes removing the Ferguson era back-room staff, who would have been club employees, not appointing a Director of Football or similar as soon as Ferguson left, bringing in players who were obviously not committed (Tevez, Di Maria, Falcao etc) and then shattering the wage structure for Sanchez, forgetting that we were not getting him on a free but swapping for a £37M player in Mkhitaryan. The list goes on and on and this is, in turn, is down to the owners, the Glazers themselves. I’ll not go on about leveraged buyouts but I have heard other fans saying it’s a good thing that the owners don’t interfere in the football side of the business, it is, to a point, but the problem with the Glazers is that they don’t just not interfere, they truly don’t give a s***. They take £20-25m per annum in ‘Management Fees’ and occasionally rock up to a game, when they can be arsed, they don’t care about anything other than the ability of Woodward to keep the commercial side on track with noodle, bog roll and sausage roll partners aplenty. That is why there is no Director of Football and why the playing side is being neglected, Woodward is inflating his own ego and has been allowed far too much power by neglectful owners, the results of that are now being seen on the pitch and in the squad wage bill.
Ole Solskjaer is probably not the man to get United back to title winning ways but one thing he is doing is to right at least a few of the wrongs, Smalling, Sanchez (partly), Young, Fellaini, Lukaku (not committed) are all gone, the players coming in are at least working for the cause and the wage bill will slowly come down to reflect that. I get a bit fed up with the Solskjaer bashing that is going on, he is basically trying to undo years of neglect in a year and a half and definitely requires more time. The squad is decimated by injury, the players are either showing promise but not yet good enough (James, Wan Bissaka, Greenwood, McGuire), good but injured (Rashford, McTominay, Bailly), probably not good enough (the rest of the squad), or too worried about their Instagram accounts (Pogba, Lingard). Two more windows, a Director of Football and some more deadwood gone and we can truly judge Solskjaer.
Paul, Man Utd
I’m loving Paul, Manchester’s frankly hilarious attempt to show how Man Utd fans are fine with how this season is panning out and how the poor Liverpool fans wont be able to enjoy winning the title this year as there will be no defining moments blah blah blah.
How was yesterday evening for a defining moment Paul? When Salah put in the second and the whole stadium erupted into a huge party in front of the Man Utd fans. I think they enjoyed that. What about all the records Liverpool are breaking along the way as moments to enjoy? Oh and there’s the small matter of a 4 month party for the fans as the team stroll home to win the title.
Granted an Agguueerrrooooo moment would be lovely, but I think most Liverpool fans will be more than happy with how the season is going.
It was a foul
Just a final point, if I may, on Liverpool’s disallowed goal for a foul on De Gea. So far, I have seen many a pundit and fan rebuke the decision on the basis that he kept his eyes on the ball all the way through, he made a genuine attempt to play the ball etc…
Sorry, but since when have those been the determining factors in whether something is a foul or not??
I confess, I’m a goalie myself and I do agree somewhat with Souness or Keane, whichever one it was that said in that situation De Gea could have helped himself by getting his knees up to protect himself and the space around him, so that the opposing player runs his back into it; but even that is a risky move these days which could easily be interpreted as a foul by De Gea instead…
But to those claiming it’s not a foul based on the above initial statements (eyes, genuine attempt etc…), I ask of you – are any other tackles anywhere else on the pitch judged the same way?? If I make a genuine attempt to win the ball on the floor, eyes solely on the ball at all times, but the opponent touches it first and I make no contact with anything other than the man I’m tackling, causing him to fall to the floor – is that not always judged a foul?? And is that not exactly what Van Dijk did??
He challenged for the ball. He didn’t win the ball. He instead knocked the man he was challenging onto the floor. Sounds like a foul to me, wherever it is in the pitch and whatever role the person he’s tackling traditionally plays formation wise…
Had Van Dijk played the ball, I would sympathise 100%. But he doesn’t. His challenge/tackle is all man, no ball. That’s 100% a foul in every situation imaginable, however honourable his intent was.
Paul (Spurs) T.Wells
…Mike, LFC, London, wanted some clarification on the rules in the previous mailbox.
I presume he is unaware of this thing they have on the internet called google, where you can search for things. I therefore took it upon myself and headed over to the FA website where the laws of the game are happily written down:
A direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following offences: …
impedes an opponent with contact
For some reason, Mike isn’t aware of this rule, and neither would it seem that Graeme Souness or Gary Neville are either.
To me it is very simple, if you jump for a header with the keeper, make no contact with the ball but impede the keeper who would otherwise catch the ball, its a free kick.
Mike cites the Everton match as inconsistent, and he’s right, but for the wrong reason, clearly that too should have been a free kick.
Fair play to liverpool, they managed to win without the help of VAR this weekend, so well done them, but suggesting that this proves they haven’t had the benefit of the doubt from Referees and VAR in other games is a bit rich (city, palace etc).
The reality is that when you are on top, referees generally favour you. To my mind it is almost a subconscious reaction to the domination top teams show that the referee is almost waiting to make a decision in their favour. United had it when Fergie was in charge, City have had it under Guardiola and the best complement I can give Liverpool is that it is coming their way now. So enjoy it, but don’t feel the need to justify it, it just comes across as petty!
Frank and Ole
Now I am in the camp that Ole isn’t the long term solution for UTD for a multitude of reasons that I and many mailboxers have already painfully stated.
However it does seem that he is being unfairly judged compared to his peers , and by that I mean being an ex club legend being put into charge of a difficult situation of which he is trying to make the best of.
Roy Keane mentioned this on Sunday but how is Lampard spared any criticism compared to Ole ? ( this once again would be a major issue if Gerrard replaced Klopp)
Lampard walked into a much stronger situation than Ole did , a club that had qualified for the champions league the season before and had won a title in the recent past with several core members of that team still residing at the club.
Obviously Chelsea lost Hazard but UTD lost Lukaku and Sanchez with the former definitely still an asset.
Ole had a classic new manager bounce when first appointed as did Frank , but Chelsea have lost more premier league games (and won more ) than UTD but he is not subjected to the same scrutiny.
Before anybody screams and says yes but he hasn’t had the chance to sign any players due to Chelsea’s transfer ban let’s put that notion to rest.
Pulisic ( 55m) wasn’t free and clearly was signed in advance of the transfer ban . In addition Chelsea recalled three current first team players on loan , Abraham, Mount and Zouma. By my back of an envelope calculations that’s 50m , 35m and 20m worth of talent so in total Frank has had 160m worth of “new players” at the club.
I am in no way suggesting that Frank should be under pressure as he has only been in the job for 6 months but at the very least it would be fair to judge Ole in a similar manner. Previous experience obviously counts as well where Ole edges it basis his Molde experience. However he should not be compared to multiple title winners Pep , Klopp and Jose.
Finally a question for UTD fans . Is the stated reduced expected revenues for next season impacting actual potential signings ? Do UTD have as much money as we all think or has the playing field leveled due to non champions league participation ? Fernandes looks good , he wants to come , why has the deal not been done ?
DL (I agree with Roy, titles more impressive than records) LFC , Geneva
Given the number of comparisons between current day Man Utd and 1990’s Liverpool, I’m surprised nobody has made the comparison between Solskjaer and Roy Evans. Both are nice guys brought in to replace a ‘hard man’ manager who had gone toxic, both are steeped in the history of the club, both brought reminders of better days, but ultimately neither of them were/are in the same class as their direct rivals. Solskjaer is as far behind Klopp & Pep as Roy was behind Fergie and Wenger.
There were many reasons Liverpool fell into decline in the 1990’s, but all Pool fans knew we were not going to beat Man Utd or Arsenal with Roy in charge, he simply wasn’t good enough. Nice guys don’t finish last – Klopp is proof of that – but second rate will never be more than second best.
I’ve had a good run of mails sent to the mail box that aged well. I recently sent one in reminding manyoo fans of the mail I sent in the summer saying that Maguire was the new Andy Carroll, a grossly over priced average player, and Wijnaldum taking the p*** yesterday while making Maguire look like “a broken down lorry”(Matt’s words from 16 conclusions) only further highlights that. Not to mention how 21 year old Gomez absolutely bullied Maguire on the Van Dijk header.
I’d now like to remind Paul, Germany of the mail he sent in back in December claiming I was showing disrespect to Leicester. I had said that I would prefer to have Leicester on Liverpools trail rather than City, as City were more capable of putting a run together, and Leicester could prove to be a useful distraction for them. What do you think now Paul? Clearly Leicester have taken a knock mentally since losing 4-0 to Liverpool, because their results have plummeted since that game. Tbf, Paul did say that the boxing day game would be a big factor in how this goes, which has turned out to be the case.
What I didn’t account for was the inconsistency shown by City. Even though the Liverpool fans were singing yesterday “were gonna win the league”, I still wouldn’t go that far. I can STILL not rule out city going on an extended run of wins, and that means this is not over till the scouse lady sings.
Ok, I admit, I’m an FC Nantes fan having lived there during a study year abroad, so reading this news story on the BBC website has hit a raw nerve.
Cardiff FC are encouraging wreath laying at their ground, planning a stadium based tribute and are involved in organising a ceremony at the local Cathedral in remembrance of Emiliano Sala whilst simultaneously trying to argue he wasn’t legally their player and taking Nantes to CAS to thus avoid having to play the transfer fee!! That absolutely sticks in my craw and has my bloody fuming!!!
Cardiff management, in my eyes, are hypocrites and scum!! And yes, I know some of the above will be fan led, and that’s fine if they want to mourn the death of an individual they had high hopes for – but where’s the protest/effort/outrage to get their club’s hierarchy to equally accept their responsibilities to a player – their player!! – who lost his life in tragic circumstances, little of his own doing!!
Raging and livid right now…
Paul (Spurs, and FCNA) T.Wells
Bruce ain’t all that
Great mail from Lucas Atkin on Steve Bruce at Newcastle, echoing a lot of the same points I’ve had to make to colleagues who routinely tell me Bruce is doing a good job despite them not watching Newcastle games.
This season our performances have been horrendous. We defend well (mainly by having a back 5 and 2 CDMs rather than clever defensive shapes) and we rely on the pace of Almiron and Saint-Maximin to get set pieces and score from them. Joelinton has been poor but he’s horribly isolated and we don’t build attacks.
We get outplayed in every match and based on expected goals we should be bottom of the league with 8 points! (See @experimental361 on twitter)
Now, Bruce has a tough job to follow. As Lucas says Rafa took this team to be as good as it could, and second half of last season we were a legitimately decent outfit for the first time in a long time, and Bruce can’t be expected to follow that. But this season he’s been extremely lucky with results rather than turning us into a good side. Doesn’t bode well looking forwards.
Hoping we’ve got enough points to stay up but a manager who has no playing style and should be cut adrift at the bottom of the league based on performances is certainly not doing a good job. He’s a poor manager, well out of his depth, who’s had the serious rub of the green and that’s it. His old school methods with regards to player fitness appear to have ruined us with muscle injuries too… I’m 100% #bruceout until something meaningful changes and I don’t mean nabbing a few more freak results.
Leeds (and West Brom) are falling apart again
So another gameweek in the Championship has concluded, yet another defeat for the top two in regards to Leeds and WBA, both teams form right now is absolutely awful, Leeds with 1 win in 5, WBA with 1 win in 7, both teams looked like runaway guaranteed promotion candidates, however I’d be surprised if either were in the top two come May.
Would love to hear the views from WBA and Leeds fans as to what has gone so dramatically wrong recently.
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