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Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona…
With the article on him and talk of Liverpool net spend in the Mailbox, I thought I’d write to you about the most inexplicable transfer of recent times; Barcelona spending £125m+ on Coutinho.
The two comparable transfers out of the Premier League would be Ronaldo to Real and Suarez to Barcelona, but Ronaldo had recently won the Balon d’Or and Suarez had posted one of the finest individual seasons in Premier League history. Contrast this with Coutinho, moving for the third highest fee ever paid; he wasn’t in the top 10 players in the Premier League, let alone the top 10 in Europe. In de Bruyne and the two Silvas, that’s three superior attacking midfielders at Man City alone, and with Firmino playing, he wasn’t even the best Brazilian at Liverpool. Why were Barcelona so fixated with him that they were willing to go to such a ridiculous number?
To me, he’s one of those players that casual football fans think is brilliant, because they see him spanking one into the top corner on MOTD or a Sky promo reel. The fan in the ground sees the 20 shots that flew miles over the bar and the middling influence he had on games as a playmaker. He’s good enough for a Europa League standard side, but not good enough for teams with ambitions for greater. It’s telling that Klopp, one of the best managers in the world, didn’t seem all that fussed about his departure and seemingly has zero interest in his return to the club.
Then there’s the impact this has had on Liverpool’s current side and their net spend. They used that money (very well might I add) to sign the second most expensive defender in history and the second most expensive goalkeeper in history, both of whom have improved their team immeasurably. However, rather than put an asterisk next to any title, they can pop one next to their frequent claims about net spend, because a good chunk of their current side has been funded by the most ludicrous act of largesse the game has seen since the Torres/Carroll debacle.
Lewis, Busby Way
Not without logic…
There has been a lot of blow back to Eamonns’ comments, which tends to be the case when criticising Liverpool, but his view wasn’t that ridiculous.
Confidence is such a key aspect of form and when your form was as good as Liverpool’s over the last 18 months their confidence must have bordered on invincible (nod nod wink wink). Like a boxer with 40 knockouts in a row when the loss eventually comes it can shatter that air of invincibility. Liverpool lost 4 of their last 6 games, and the two wins in that period were hardly convincing. That is a massive loss of confidence and form, and it was clearly visible in the players. Recent football history is littered with teams dropping off dramatically from league winning positions to mid table. Man Utd, Chelsea, Leicester, even Dortmund under Klopp went from 4 top 2 finishes in a row to fighting relegation.
So Eamonn’s view is extreme but not without logic. Liverpool will be helped by the lockdown as it allows the team a breather during a potentially disastrous loss of confidence.
In terms of next season, I really have no idea. I think the basic structure of the table will continue but the manager who handles players confidence best during the break will gain the most advantage.
I’ve always tried to remind us Liverpool supporters that we need to stay humble. Humble at least until we’ve won more trophies, and started our domination. What we’ve done now is great but let’s keep the boasting for when we become magnificent.
As the Mailbox has pointed out it is unlikely that we will lose the league, but Eamonn points to our recent hiccup in form as suggesting otherwise.
If you consider them objectively, in the games against West Ham and Watford it looked like the opposition managers had figured out the weaknesses of our system; a system we had been playing for what, 18 months? It’s about time I’d say!
Again, objectively, having seen the team transform and evolve under Klopp (this team plays differently to the LFC under Klopp in 2017), I have no doubt that the Herr would have used this break in football to conceive some variations to our gameplan. He can test these now in training, after all, as Sir Alex showed, things need to keep changing to remain competitive.
I actually think we would be in a scenario similar to what Eamonn described had Covid-19 not interrupted the season, purely because Klopp would not have the leisure of thinking up new plans and being able to implement them. One of those spirals where you just can’t escape as there are games too often to teach the squad new things.
Wik, Pretoria, (adding brackets to show objectivity) LFC
Return of the match
I was trying to not miss footy, honestly. I gave it a go, I really did. Over 2 and a half months now since I last watched a game, well any football at all being truthful. At first I just couldn’t be bothered, there was so much changing in the world and in my family’s life that football was, well, inconsequential. Especially when you see dumb ass players breaking lockdown rules and then, just as poorly, the tabloids houndng them out as the reincarnation of Typhoid Mary. Then we heard of the furloughs and the government subsidies and the multi-millionaires who can’t/won’t give up a weeks wage to save lickle Melchester Rovers and being honest (yeah it’s the new thing, transparency) it all just seemed pathetic. Over a stupid game. The ‘Most important of the Least Important stuff’? Do me a favour.
So I’ve not watched anything, no games from Byelorussia, no highlights, no classics from yesteryear. Nothing. Haven’t missed it at all.
And then my son sent me a link to the ‘2 minutes before and 2 minutes after Scott McTominay scored v City’ . And I watched it. And I had tears in my eyes. One, because my son had thought to send it to get me out of my depression/funk/mood. And two, because I realized how bloody much I missed it.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a United fan or not, watching something like that (or the Watford playoff goal, the Aguerrroooo, the Keith Houchen if you’re a Cov fan, a Tony Yeboah thunderbastard and countless others) makes you grin like an inane chimp at the memory, of going ballistic, hugging strangers, turning to your mates and saying ‘holy f***, that was F***** beautiful’. Of dancing on the tables at Flixton cricket club in 99 after Teddy scored, the table collapsing and showering everyone with drinks so i missed Ole’s goal.
So that’s a long way of saying I can’t wait for the games to start. Watching rubbish free kicks that hit row Z, seeing bizarre new celebrations, enjoying a player scoring against his old club and giving it large, seeing a ballboy throw a ball back that a player drops then has a hissy fit, watching a manager/ coach going ballistic at a decision before realizing they’ve got it wrong and grinning inanely while they scuttle back to their seat, of kids making daft faces behind some interviewee, laughing at a professional player making an air shot, loving something like when Batshuayi smacked himself in the face.
So come back please, but come back safely, come back respectfully and come back entertainingly.
Stay safe brothers and sisters.
Steve, ex-FlixtonRed, Canada (not forgetting the classic Zaire 1974)
Waiting for Messi and Ronaldo to retire…
Since the mailbox is full of aggressive and controversial opinions recently, I thought I would throw one more into the mix; I cannot wait for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to retire!
Don’t get me wrong, we have witnessed the best and second-best players to ever play the game, going at it against each other for over a decade, and it has been magical, but is anyone else a little bored of it?
I’ve definitely gotten my rose-tinted nostalgia glasses on, but football seemed to be at its peak in the early noughties (coincidently when I was at an age when football seemed like the most important thing in the world), not least because there seemed to be a new best player every year. Ronaldinho, Henry, Nedved, Shevchenko, Totti, Van Nistlerooy, Kaka, Canavarro Gerrard, etc. (basically your entire list of players who have not won the Champions League). It was a glorious time of new heroes and icons every bloody week. And I miss it. Take Lewandowski for instance, by no means an underrated player, but given his brilliance, I find he is a little understated in the cultural football lore. Here is arguably one of the best strikers to play the game, but his best season ever is one of the ‘Lads’ worst. Without those two, he would be the best player in the world. And not just him, but Salah, Mane, Aguero, De Bruyne, Cavani, Neymar, Bale, Suarez etc.
Many children have missed out on my greatest memory of football, falling in love with new players all the time, because they had a ‘world class’ week. Now, there only seems to be 2 worth mentioning with regards to ‘world class’. It has been an absolute privilege to watch them play, but bring on the future of an arbitrary debate about the best player in the world every year, with multiple names, and not just two!
Néill, (I’ll still cry when they go, mind), Ireland
On Kane to City…
Just like to point out to Johnnywicky in this morning’s mailbox that if Kane had a ‘strong understanding and on-pitch chemistry’ with Raheem Sterling, then he would have squared the ball to him in the semi against croatia then we’d probably all be a lot happier in lockdown reminiscing about that time in 2018 when football finally came home.
Lee (yes, i’m still bitter about it), LFC
Since when does the point swing matter so much
Whenever someone mentions Utd as potential contenders soon ,there is a common thread amongst writers on this Website, Smug Pundits with punch-able faces (I’m looking at ESPN’s Craig Burley) , Young Delinquents like Ade (who sent in a reply continuously referencing our league position and those who responded to the Ken’s rather reasonable mail.
The constant and quiet joyous refrain is that UTd are 37 points and are currently 5th.Have none of you been paying attention to the premiership in the last one bloody decade since when does the points swing matter and current position matter.
Only once in the last decade did the champions win the title the next year, Leicesters league win was after a 46 point swing with them in 14th the previous year, Chelsea finished 10th. The following year the roles were reversed with a 31 point swing as Chelsea regained the title and then promptly dropped back to 5th, Man City became contenders by gaining 22 points while Chelsea fell off they were 3rd the year before, Liverpool went from 4th and 25 points behind in 2017/2018 to contenders the next year.
Your other defense for dominance is that Utd and Chelsea and City and Liverpool chose there managers based upon them being Elite. LOL .No one can dispute these are some of the most successful managers of all time ,they however do not have a history of staying anywhere longer than one cycle or 5/6 years and there are doubts over each team (age and desire to climb the mountain again -Liverpool) , (A rebuild and questions on what tournaments they will be playing in next year- Man City
Chelsea had used and chewed out most of the catalogue of Elite managers and were in dire of adding a British core again in 10 years when ,Ole is not going to be handicapped next year by playing Andreas Perreirra every-game and If you think that shouldn’t matter tell me how many trophies Klopp won with Moreno as lead Left Full Back and Karius in Goal.
F365 seems to think Liverpool and Man City are just going to stroll because they’ve been good for the last 3 years .I’m with Krazy Ken , because no one even the best stays at the top in this league by being complacent.
in the end time will tell.
Q Alphabet Team
I’ve been really enjoying the alphabet Premier League XIs series and always look forward to seeing the next instalment. In fact, I’ve found myself trying to predict who will feature for the next letter’s Premier league team during this COVID-19 lockdown period in the absence of much else to do.
However, I have to take umbrage with selecting Andy Quy as the goalkeeper for the Q team given that he had precisely 0 minutes experience of Premier League action. My vote would be for Niall Quinn as the Q team goalie. Granted, it was not his typical position but at least he has actually experienced life as a goalkeeper in the Premier League and famously saved a penalty (after already scoring for his team).
So, it’s Niall Quinn as number 1 for the Q team and the striker that replaces him is Collin Quaner (ex-forward for Huddersfield who is now on-loan at Ipswich). His record is pretty ropey as he didn’t actually score any goals for Huddersfield when they were in the Premier League but he has at least played a few times in the EPL so he qualifies.
Phil (exiled in Brisbane) Chiz
Ten of the most overrated football writers of all time
1) Matt Stead
2) Matt Stead
3) Matt Stead
4) Matt Stead
5) Matt Stead
6) Matt Stead
7) Matt Stead
8) Matt Stead
9) Matt Stead
10) Daniel Storey
Seriously Though, where does Matt Stead even get off putting some of the names on that List. Paul Scholes, Neymar, Roberto Carlos, Makele … overrated??? I’m never reading an article of his again after that crock of shite.
KC(Wasting my time reading and replying to bullshit articles)
2 top 10’s in one day! Thank you x
Quite a comical article there Mat Stead. Lol , Scholes overrated? 2020 keeps getting weirder !! Wonder who will make your top list as overrated managers, I’m guessing SAF already!!
In response to your Top 10 most over-rated players of all-time list, and to continue the debate over Curtis Woodhouse’s opinion on Giggs, I genuinely think that if you can include Scholes in the top 10 list (I don’t agree), then Giggs should definitely be in the discussion.
Yes his trophy haul and longevity will perhaps never be beaten in the modern game (although his PL appearance record has since been overhauled) but there can definitely be a case made of him being over-hyped.
How many highlight reel goals did he score throughout his career? Yes he has THAT goal vs Arsenal, but in over 20 years of football, he hasn’t had that many memorable ‘jaysus do you remember when Giggs walloped it in’ sort of goals.
If anything, he was the fourth best regular midfielder in the treble season, with Beckham alone repeatedly stepping up the mark in big games more often than Giggsy. In terms of influential players at Old Trafford during Giggs’ tenure, I would rate the aforementioned trio, together with Cantona, Ronaldo, Vidic and Ferdinand (Rooney too even for all his criticism) as more pivotal to their success. And that’s not including the players from the pre-PL era.
He is credited with extending his career by moving into centre-midfield, but it wasn’t like he morphed into Scholes or Pirlo overnight either. It could be argued that Park had a more impressive positional change during the same era (from winger to general busy-body). When he won the Player of the Year in 2009 (I think) it was rightly ridiculed as effectively a Lifetime Achievement Award- what has changed since?
I don’t remember him ever been linked to moves to any of Europe’s elite either (McManaman got a move to Real as one example), and don’t recall any of his continental peers eulogising about him to the same extent they do about Scholes. You mention in your list that Pele was fortunate with the timing of his career- the same could be levelled at Giggs.
Long story short, speaking as a United fan, Scholes was better than Giggs, and it should be Giggs in the over-rated list ahead of him.
Brian (at least I won’t get abused by Liverpool fans this time around :D), Wexford
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