What Liverpool need most from their victory lap and more

Date published: Thursday 2nd July 2020 8:50

Get it off your chest: theeditor@football365.com…

 

What’s left for Liverpool
Fellow Liverpool fans. I trust you have had an incredible week, as I have. Now that the hangover is starting to subside, I have started to ponder on what I want most for the remaining 7 games. Since our selfish team decided to record the fastest title victory ever to leave us fans 7 more pre season games for next season, we need to find other things to chase in these games. Bloody selfish lads this Liverpool team, so greedy for success.

There is of course the record Premier league point total, which would be nice but tbh doesn’t tickle my fancy that much. Me personally, I am excited most for the following things (other than the obvious one of seeing us lift the actual trophy of course)

1) the guard of honour City will be providing. Could not ask for a tastier dessert to the main course that has been this past week. I am sure City will have an opportunity to break a record themselves on that day, by assembling the most expensive guard of honor in the history of football. And of course, it’s fantastic to be getting a guard of honor from the two time defending champions. It’s so tasty because of how good City have been.

2) Salah’s 3rd consecutive golden boot. This is one I really want tbh as it would make him only the third player after Shearer and Henry to achieve this feat. Will also be interesting to see how hard Mane himself goes for his own 2nd consecutive golden boot, considering he is only 2 goals behind Salah. That’s an interesting subplot imo for the rest of the season. I don’t believe either of them would want to be rested and miss out on that opportunity given the ruthless goal scorers both have become under Klopp. That’s the kind of hunger that makes them elite and I absolutely love it.

3) Minamino now has an opportunity to bed in nicely in a low stress environment and play with freedom. I don’t know if any fellow Liverpool fans noticed, but during the time he was on the pitch against Everton, he looked alot sharper and braver then before the lockdown, and seems to have used the down time wisely to find his bearings. I believe he will get alot of playing time for the remainder of the season, and get an opportunity to sharpen up for next season.

4) See Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliot get extended Premier League minutes. These two young lads are extremely promising, and appear to be the closest from the youth team to make the step up. Honorable mention to Neco Williams too, who looks set to be Trent’s understudy for next season.

So there’s my main attractions for the rest of the season lads. The things you are forced to do when your inconsiderate team decides to win the title in record breaking time, smh.

Any other shouts?
johnnyWicky

 

Chelsea reaction
Would be annoying if it wasn’t so damn predictable.

Willian got two goals and will get lauded by our fanbase who can’t see what’s plain and obvious, he’s absolute toilet.

Blind alleys, overhit passes, walking back, waving arms a la Morata.

He’s already been outshone by Pulisic in what was supposed to be his season to step out of Hazards shadow.

Listening to an NFL podcast the other day and heard the following quote from a top coach “experience is the most overrated trait”. I hope Frank was listening. The “experienced” players are the ones letting us down.

At least Pulisic gives me hope, build the team around the kid, he’s going to be a star.
Adam, Midlands.

 

…Enduring 94 minutes of Rudiger and Christensen impersonate a centre back partnership has been excruciating. I have no doubt many (including f365) will be questioning Lampard and his tactics. Given the way we pushed for a winner, maybe rightfully so. Instead of gaining a point on Leicester, our lead over an admittedly brilliant United has just been shaved to two points. With Wolves, Liverpool and Leicester still to play, this might be the moment we gave United the edge.

Onto the game itself.

I can’t even blame Lampard. The first goal was shambolic from Kepa, Azpi and Tammy. Absolutely poor. Tonight’s performance will have done nothing to enhance kepas chances of remaining Chelsea’s number one. I can’t think of a single save he made tonight. He could have also done better for the disallowed goal and maybe even the third. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by the consistent brilliance of Cech and then Courtois. Perhaps the world’s most expensive goalkeeper should actually save a shot. We will never know.

Chelsea need a reliable centre back. The second and third goal could have easily been prevented. Christensen managed to lose sight of the ONLY West Ham player in the box, after seeing him and stepping around him! Rudiger should surely have predicted Yarmalenko cutting onto his favoured left foot. Knowing your opponent is left footed, running down the wing with almost nobody in support, I cannot fathom why our senior centre back would direct this opponent to the only possible way he could have scored. I genuinely do not understand this. I have not watched much of Yarmalenko, but even I could see what was going to happen. Antonio bullied our centre backs all game long. Winning cheap fouls, holding the ball up and just being downright brilliant. Great performance from him. Although our defenders may have just made him look like prime Zlatan. If only a certain PSG Brazilian centre back was available as a free agent… Can’t get much worse than tonight, can it?

For all the hate Alonso gets, myself included, he has been more solid than Azpi since the restart. I love our shithouse Spaniard, but his powers are definitely on the decline. His marking at the corner was comedy gold. Against city he gifted Fernandhino a free header. Hopefully Reece James can recover some form and sure up our right flank.

Willian scored both the goals but Pulisic was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch in blue. 60m for him will look like a bargain in the next 5 years. He’s fantastic, and has plenty of time to improve. The sad thing is watching him reminded me of how I sometimes felt watching Hazard during the days of Morata. The feeling that this player is a cut above the rest, is single handedly trying to pull his side through, and could seriously flourish with a higher calibre of players around him. Ziyech and Werner cannot arrive soon enough.

Our midfield seriously lacks creativity. Watching the burgeoning partnership of Fernandes and Pogba has me wondering where our creative midfielder is. Mount is energetic and can finish. Barkley can shoot with both feet and carry the ball. Kovacic excels at breaking the lines and working in tight spaces and Loftus-Cheek has done nothing to suggest he’s better than any of the above.

We could have easily put that game to bed. Tammy had his worst game in a Chelsea shirt and Giroud fluffed his lines at least twice. A striker who can make a goal out of nothing is long overdue. Tammy will be a great option in the future, but tonight was not his night.

West Ham deserve credit for this win. They defended with heart, fought for every ball and seemed capable of scoring throughout. Declan Rice had an excellent game, Ogbonna starved our strikers entirely and Antonio was a reliable, willing outlet. No idea how this side is in a relegation scrap…
Tashen, South Africa

 

…Well what a result for West Ham, they yet again do the double over Chelsea, arguably they should have won 4-2 after that controversial “offside” goal ruled out by VAR, yet again Chelsea showcase that they cannot defend set pieces and yet again our defence was at fault for every single goal.

We may have spent £70m on Kepa but for me he is simply not a top 4 goalkeeper, he just is not, Liverpool showed how a top class goalkeeper is the difference between winning a title and not, Wolves and United look in top form and could easily finish in the Top 4 ahead of ourselves and Leicester, it would be deserved simple as that.

Well I have had a moan about our defence, our goalkeeper and our defending from set pieces, but lets look to the future and the remaining fixtures;

Chelsea: Watford, Palace, Sheffield Utd, Norwich, Liverpool, Wolves
Leicester: Palace, Arsenal, Bournemouth, Sheffield Utd, Spurs, United
United: Bournemouth, Villa, Saints, Palace, West Ham, Leicester
Wolves: Arsenal, Sheffield Utd, Everton, Burnley, Palace, Chelsea

Looking at those fixtures I would expect United to pick up maximum points, Wolves could drop points against Everton and Arsenal (unlikely), Leicester I feel will drop a fair few points based on recent performances they are a team that just do not look at the races right now, now onto ourselves Chelsea, those last two games are going to be incredibly difficult, so lets say we lose to Liverpool and draw against Wolves.

Based on that thinking it would leave the top four being Liverpool, City, United and Chelsea, but that is if Wolves don’t beat us.

Hopefully we do still make the Top 4, however the only silver lining I can take is if we finish in the Europa League spots, well, at least we already have signed our main two targets this Summer already, but right now we need to be investing money in our defence and goalkeeper positions, 6 games remain of the season, I wonder if the last day of the season will be a straight shoot out for the Top 4, Wolves v Chelsea and Leicester v United.
Mikey, CFC

 

Sent at 8pm
That battle for 7th is beginning to look a bit tasty isn’t it?! It’ll probably be a draw between (my) Spurs and Sheff U tomorrow night which keeps it pretty tight. Just the idea, and hilarity, of a Steve Bruce inspired Newcastle beating the likes of Spurs, the Gooners and Everton into Europe would sum up a very odd end to the 2020 season quite nicely.

On Leicester, are they going to drop out of the top 4 with Chelsea and Man U looking really decent? Even with a Man City ban I can see Leicester missing out on CL altogether as Wolves are still very much in the mix too. I can’t see West Ham getting anything other than a good old fashioned spanking tonight seeing the Blues jump ahead of the Foxes. But I do really hope the Hammers are a poor mans Bournemouth otherwise it’ll be another one of those seasons where they stay up by luck rather than design. Who goes down, I’ve got no idea as there is some real shit down there but let’s hope it’s West Ham (because it’s funny) and Villa (so Spurs can buy Tyrone Mings. Seriously. And offer £5m plus Eric Dier for Grealish then get upset when he’s bought for £70m by City and we never see him again).

Finally, I hate Chelsea. I really do. But Pulisic is an absolute player and next season they are going to look imperious going forward with Werner and Ziyech thrown in. Meh.
Glen, Stratford Spur

 

Two hours later
Oh. My email hasn’t aged well has it. Fair play to West Ham.
Glen, Stratford Spur

 

Saka and the future of Arsenal
Yesterday, Arsenal fans got a great piece of news, Saka has ‘signed da ting’ (gags!) I know to many other clubs, the idea of losing a home grown player to a once rival would have hurt. I saw a lot of Liverpool fans assuming him signing for them was a done deal, so I see it as a little coup for our club that we could keep the young man out of their clutches.

However I feel this signals how the club want to approach the future, where our youth product have a path to the first team. I think we are also getting an insight into the kinds of players Arteta likes. He is not against talent and skill, however it has to be married to work rate. I think some of our players are falling short of this (Guendouzi and Ozil for example) whereas other such as Saka and Xhaka are thriving in that environment.

We have a big rebuilding job ahead of us, and I am happy to give Arteta the benefit of the doubt and time, and maybe without Europe next season, we can really concentrate on the league. It may sound like a fall from grace, but it is always easiest to rebuild from the bottom up.
John Matrix AFC

 

 

….You’d find it impossible to find something wrong with a 4-0 win. But Arsenal’s 4-0 win over lowly Norwich is one of the trademarks of the banter club that is Arsenal. The hallmarks being “Great since christmas but self destruct by march” “5-1 to Bayern” “Comedic Defending” “Trashings against top 6” & “Bully bottom teams”

The last part is what keeps the overall engine running. False dawns after false dawns are what keeps the owners of Arsenal FC from making the drastic changes and investment required to get Arsenal back to a top 4 club. A 4-0 win like this will erase the pain of a 2-1 loss to brighton or 3-0 to City. And this same process will be repeated years after year after year after year….you get it. And the poor fans are so desperate for any morsel of good news that they are just happy to win a game now. Fans of 2005 Arsenal wouldn’t take this.

PS- At least United had the decency to completely implode season after season till the club was forced to make changes till they got it right.

Cheers,
Aman

 

Mind games and prophecies
That Guard of Honour in 2007 has found mention a couple of times recently on this website. From my red-tinted glasses, it is one of the most hilarious moments in the Premier League – but not for the reason that is widely acknowledged.

The sight of Terry applauding Dong, Lee and Eagles was certainly hysterical; but what made that moment especially enjoyable for me was related to an event that unfolded way before that game even took place.

In December 2006, Manchester United were at the top of the table, five points ahead of Chelsea. Mourinho, starting the mind games early, cheekily suggested that the “real” gap was just two points as United still had to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Sir Alex’s sarcastic retort (a brilliant piece of foreshadowing) was that if United losing at Stamford Bridge was a foregone conclusion, then he will just play the reserves in that game.

Fortunately, United won the title just before the game at Stamford Bridge meaning Sir Alex could afford to put out the reserves while the First Team suited up and watched on from the VIP box. I remember watching that Guard of Honour, chuckling incredulously as the prophecy came true.

I can’t help but think that little verbal sparring in December played a tiny part in Sir Alex’s decision to go all out and play the ridiculous C Team that he did – just to stick it to Mourinho.
Anuj, MUFC

 

Comparing titles
OK, I’ll have a go at unspinning Ken’s logic. We’ve heard this all season, it’s been debated in the mailbox plenty, but nevermind. Let’s go through it again.

Ken’s theory is pretty flawed, because he equates the top 6 with titles rivals. They are not the same. Title rivals are, by their very nature, teams that are contending for the title. Never, in any season of the Premier League have those 6 teams been fighting for the title at the same time.

When considering how difficult it was to win the title in any given season, title ‘rivals’ are irrelevant. The only relevant factor is the title rival, in other words, the team that finished in second. If the teams from 3rd-20th are absolute bobbins, that doesn’t mean the title is easy to win if your closest challenger has Messi and Ronaldo upfront.

To put it another way, it’s easier to win the title in a league where all top teams are 8/10 than it is to win the league when they are 6/10 but you have one rival at 10/10. In the first scenario you just need to be 9/10 to win the league, in the second you’d have to be perfect to compete.

So, the question is, who was better? Man City this season, or Arsenal in 2016? The answer to that is obvious to anyone. That being said, I’m not writing this to try to denigrate Leicester’s efforts, only to point out the flaws in Ken’s thinking. I think he completely misses the point, that of course Leicester’s achievement was better than Liverpools, but it has nothing to do with title rivals (or rival) it’s because they were Leicester! They were 5000-1. They were nearly relegated the season before!

Now you can easily say that this Liverpool team is better (they are), that Klopp is a better manager (he is) but there is no way that you could say Liverpool winning the title is more remarkable than Leicester.

That being said, even though I’ve just been drawing into doing it, I think comparing titles is pointless. That Leicester team was miraculous. This Liverpool team is phenomenal. There’s no need to try to play down either achievement.
Mike, LFC, London

 

Wigan woe
I have enjoyed the Mailbox for several years now, but this afternoon was the first time that I felt compelled to write in myself.

This morning we received the shocking news that Wigan Athletic has now gone into administration and will receive a 12 point deduction if they avoid the bottom 3 this year or next season in the Championship/ League One if they should get enough points to survive.

Reading the Wigan forums, it was clear that this is as greater a shock to them as neutral fans across the country. I felt real sympathy for them, from such a great 2020 on the pitch, they have been left in the lurch by people who no doubt will never think about the damage their actions has brought on, to not just the club and it’s staff but to the businesses that won’t see money that has been owed to them, at the worst possible time.

As a fan of another Athletic (Charlton) I was deeply saddened by the news and it brought me no joy to know that one our relegation rivals had suffered such a misfortunate, despite improving our own chances of staying up.

Perhaps this is because we have also suffered at the hands of negligent owners who wanted nothing more than to strip the club of its assets and walk away (or drive away in one of their new Range Rovers!)

The EFL did not even have the courtesy to let us know that we were in a transfer embargo for nearly two months, while at the same time, our owners were talking about buying players, despite knowing full well that we were under embargo and couldn’t sign anyone.

It came as quite a shock to learn this shortly before lockdown, and that we are now under an investigation that could lead to our own points deduction. The lions leave the carcass and the ELF devour what is left. It’s the fans who suffer, and will continue to do so until clubs take a stand and walk away from the EFL completely.

I hoped that the EFL would learn from their mistakes with Bury, but it’s clear that not only have they learnt nothing, but they do not care to do so either. The Football League and it’s members deserve better.

As a side note, I was very disappointed to see that the story was nowhere to be found on the front page of Football 365 and there was no information on the events of today when I did a further search . If you’re not one of the big six then you’re clearly not important enough to worry about, but for every club that goes to the wall, English football loses a part of its identity and soul.

Best of luck to Wigan and all the other clubs facing uncertain times.
Scott Lindsey CAFC (I Still love the Mailbox and Mediawatch)

 

…Just a quick one on the sad situation at Wigan Athletic emerging today. While I get that financial irresponsibility should be punished as a means of deterring others from doing it for competitive gain, I think what the EFL are doing to Wigan is rather despicable. It was only a matter of time before a club got into serious financial difficulties, considering the effect that the Covid lockdown has had on football as a whole, but to insist on applying the business-as-usual sanctions seems draconian and disproportionately punitive in the present circumstances.

Surely the overall ambition of these financial rules is to ensure that member clubs of the football league stay in existence? What would the EFL gain from applying this punishment to Wigan, and indeed any other clubs that fall on hard times in this crisis? Relegating Wigan, which is almost certainly what will happen one way or the other, only serves to hasten their demise as a football club, unless an outside investor can be found.

While relegation in a normal season would not automatically spell the end for Wigan, given the state of the global economy, financial redemption is far less likely to be forthcoming, especially for a relatively undesirable team (from an investment point view): it’s a club in a predominantly rugby town, with a catchment area that overlaps with/is close to Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire (so less likely to have access to the bright prospects that United, City, Liverpool, Everton etc. pick up, plus local supporters are spoilt for choice too), playing in the second tier with limited marketing possibilities in comparison to its peers.

Anyway, I hope the EFL apply some common sense and leniency to the situation, for both Wigan and any other similar cases. It would be tragic for the players, coaches, fans, and – more importantly – the everyday employees of the club to find themselves without a team and/or a job at the end of all this.
Ted, Manchester

 

Production lines
With the discussion around productive football clubs, I can’t believe no one has mentioned the famous Senrab FC yet!

Wanstead Flats’ finest Sunday team has produced:

Ray Wilkins
Sol Campbell
John Terry
Lee Bowyer
Ledley King
Jermain Defoe
Ugo Ehiogu
Fitz Hall
Muzzy Izzet
Leon Knight
Paul Konchesky
Ezri Konsa
Darren Purse
Bobby Zamora
JLloyd Samuel
Ray Lewington
Terry Hurlock

NB. this is not an exhaustive list. Absolutely remarkable for one small club, which doesn’t even have a seniors section.

Regards,
Thom, PAFC

 

…A quick message regarding This Means More. The dissection in the Mailbox is making me lose my goddamned mind. It’s a marketing slogan, which means it has a target demographic. That target demographic is Liverpool fans. If the slogan resulted in more Liverpool supporters buying more tat from the club shop then the marketing team has done a good job. Giving consideration to how the slogan makes other supporters feel is not part of their objective. Every adult ought to know how advertising, marketing, sponsored content… etc, works. If you don’t then I hope this email is enlightening.

Now regarding clubs and their luminary graduates, take a look at River Plate:
Pablo Aimar
Claudio Caniggia
Hernan Crespo
Alfredo Di Stefano
Radamel Falcao
Gonzalo Higuain
Javier Mascherano
Ariel Ortega
Javier Saviola
Santiago Solari

Cheers,
Hesham (LFC)

 

A recurring theme
Why do referees only blow the whistle after the goalkeeper kicks the goal kick or free kick and it’s in the air. They could have whistled before the keeper wasted his time collecting the ball and taking the kick. Are they having fun with that little tease that maybe you could sneak in a goal. Or is there some unknown rule that you cant blow the whistle unless the ball is in play.
David (hoping I’m not alone here) Morris

 

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