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Good old Liverpool…
OK, before the Man U fans (and others) fill up the inbox with laughter and jokes at our expense let me sum it up with this: does it ever get more LFC than that? Beat the champions elect one week, lose to relegation elect the next. Bravo.
This was exactly the kind of game that would show how much we will or won’t miss Coutinho. As last week showed, we have the players to attack a team that is open and wants to attack us, but last night showed we have (now after the sale) regressed back to struggling against well drilled opposition.
We need a creative player in the middle, Ox and Wijnaldum are not going to replace Coutinho – they’re fine players, but not similar to what we lost. I don’t want to get all ‘we should sign this player and everything will be fine’ but I do think we’re missing a trick by not chasing Ozil this month. He’s not going to press like Klopp wants against the top teams, but as he showed at the weekend against Palace he can cut open the well organised teams and that’s what we’re missing right now. Plus it’d ruin Arsenal.
It was possibly the worst game to have lost timing wise. Nobody actually had expected us to beat City (although I’m sure many are trying to claim they did now), but if we’d won last night we’d be level on points with Chelsea, 3 behind United and 5 ahead of Spurs. The significance is that United and Spurs play each other next, so even if we’d dropped points at Huddersfield we’d still benefit regardless of the result in the Spurs/ManU game.
It’s not the end of the world, just one defeat, but it is extremely frustrating nonetheless.
James (LFC – praying VAR confuses more old folk this week so people forget about this result quickly)
…Good to see Liverpool return to being utter b*llocks after finding their absolute best a week before. Just in case you missed it we have now managed to drop points against all three teams currently in the relegation zone.
Gomez had a mini melt down towards the end of the Man City game and that continued into this entire game. Over sold himself twice and then got caught under the ball for the goal. If TAA doesn’t get a chance now then he may as well request to go on loan. Can had the sort of game that makes me hope he does sign for Juventus; slow, wasteful and unable to make a good decision unless given 18 seconds of space and time in the middle of the pitch.
Klopp waited until the 69th minute to make a change but we were losing at half time, it was clear their game plan wasn’t going to change and it was clear from the 5th minute that we weren’t quite in the zone. Criticise Poch for his lack of impactful subs but I wonder if Klopp gives fewer minutes to his subs than Poch.
Nearly nobody escapes blame today; the lot of them were a joke. If you only want to turn up for the big games then you’ll never be a big player.
…But don’t all wet your pants
I’m sure there will be a bit of a reaction to this. Typical Liverpool : beat City, lose next up to Swansea etc etc.
Not too worried about it myself though. While certainly not at our best, we had enough chances to win three games. Salah, Mane and Firmino alone had enough to put this to bed.
Obviously there will be a bit said about Van Dijk’s role in the goal too. I think he went for a header that wasn’t his, didn’t get a lot of it and it went straight to Mawson, who scored. It didn’t look too clever but it happens.
Otherwise I thought he looked pretty good. Solid otherwise at the back, pretty creative up front. The spotlight is on him because of his fee , but he should be just fine. A couple of towering performances later and people will have forgotten all about this goal.
Like City did at the weekend, we’ll need to bounce back quickly – but there’s nothing fundamentally to worry about based on this performance.
How about some good January transfers?
Really enjoyed the article this morning on Top 10 Worst January Transfers. Couldn’t really disagree with any of them. What I am looking forward to, is what I presume is coming next: Top 10 Best January Transfers.
If I may be so bold as to suggest a few from my own team, Manchester United. Although I am still giddy with excitement about Alexis Sanchez joining the club (I am a 38yr old man, giddy is not an emotion I am overly familiar with), it’s probably a little previous to include him on this list.
My first offering is the big Serb, Nemanja Vidic. Signed on Christmas Day(!), this only added to the mystique of a big no-nonsense defender coming over the Iron Curtain to add some steel to United’s defence, Ivan Drago style. Once the work permit was paid for sorted out, he joined the club a month later. To use a well worn cliché, the rest is glorious history. Five League Titles, three League Cups, the Champions League and World Club Cup made him a club legend. Cracking song too.
Second is Patrice Evra. Long before he became an InstaFamous cartoon, he was signed in the same January as Vidic. Although his start was rockier than the Serb, he too matured into a club legend. He has the same honours roll call as Vidic, but in my eyes became even more of a cult hero, owing to the fact he seemed to completely immerse himself in the history and heritage of the club.
Last, but by no means least, is Henrik Larsson. At the time he was 36 and although he was signed only as a short term loan, his impact on the club was such that numerous attempts to sign him were made by the club. He only scored three times for United, but every time he played he seemed like a class act, and only added to the sense of regret that United didn’t sign him earlier in his career. He played a charity game at OT after he had left the club, and received a standing ovation when he came on.
I am sure there are others, but those three stick in my mind as being amongst the best.
Fair play to Manchester United’s PR team
United are probably the most commercially valuable club in the world, with deals ranging from official noodles to official tractors. The PR team has definitely been working hard to generate all the revenue to make Manchester United the commercial behemoth it is today.
One can’t help but notice how United players are announced nowadays, the clubs PR team has definitely done a great deal to generate a huge mass following with the ways Pogba, Lukaku and now Sanchez have been announced. From Stormzy’s video, to #RedRom and now Sanchez on the piano serenading us with “Glory Glory Man United”, I can’t help but be impressed with how they’re generating such hype and interest.
I know it’s a far cry from old days when announcing signings was a straightforward process but now it needs a gimmicky approach like the group message video through which Terry was announced at Villa.
Though people may still find the United approach loud, glitzy and unnecessary, as a fan I could not help but get goosebumps watching the Sanchez video. In the world of modern football, where footballers are akin to celebrities and social media following is as important as shirt sponsors, United have definitely upped their game.
Yash, MUFC (Can’t wait to see our new #7)
Nacho, Nacho man
Love your stuff. Great to see some Gooner representation for once (that’s on us, not you). Don’t wanna be greedy and all but you seem to have missed out Nacho who did more in 30 mins than most defenders do all season or some other such hyperbole.
Please rectify immediately with a frank and full retraction.
It’s an order, Nacho choice.
Rich (yes this was constructed solely for the dad joke, but he was legit quality though), London AFC
Van Persie’s departure hurt a lot more
On Sanchez, I have to say that Van Persie’s departure hurt a lot more. Ozil’s would hurt alot more, if it happened. I never fell in love with Sanchez like i have with other players.
I think the reason for this is becuse of his style of play – as Daniel Storey says, he plays as an individual, looking to carry the attack. But Arsenal’s attack isn’t based on the individual, it’s based on the collective. Unlike Ozil who makes the team play better, when it wasn’t working, Sanchez would make matters worse.
Everyone knows Arsenal are awful at defending, but the way we defend is by not giving the ball away. Alexis’ penchant for losing the ball when chasing games would often times put us under pressure and see us get hit on the counter and cause all kinds of trouble at the back.
Of course the sulking throughout last season did not really endear him to me. And everyone says he’s carried Arsenal, but when we had the best chance of winning the league against leicester in the 15-16 season he didnt score a goal for about 3 or 4 months. When we needed him the most, he failed. For that I’ll never forgive him.
Having said all that, it’s gonna hurt like hell watching him buzz around for Man Utd. It always will.
Very angry about Marco Silva’s treatment
Full disclosure: I have no connection with Watford FC and I like it that way but I’ve been in a complete state of disbelief at their sordid, reprehensible sacking of Marco Silva. How shameless is the Watford board? How callous?
Their treatment of Silva is the corporate version of revenge being a dish best served cold on the treacherous M4. ‘Oh but he was only there a few months before he got big headed and tried to move ahead of his station’, you say. But how long were De Boer at Palace or Billy McKinlay at Watford, for example, before they were summarily dismissed? McKinlay, remember, lasted eight (8!) days in 2014. This is what Chief Executive Scott Duxbury said after the appointment re McKinlay:
“ in Billy McKinlay we have someone with the qualities and significant experience to build on the foundations already laid for a successful season ahead.”
He was gone before he could empty the full tank in the company car.
Hypocrisy of the highest order. Message to clubs: don’t expect loyalty from managers or players when you display corporate ruthlessness when getting rid of them. Watford has made no secret of their pride in being an “ambitious” club willing to sack managers even if they had a ‘good’ season. So why shouldn’t managers return in kind?
What is most shocking of all is noticing how much they have hoodwinked the football watching public. I heard the likes of Ian Wright castigating Silva for being too big for his boots, for chasing the bright lights of Everton so soon after being appointed. But all Silva was doing was being incredible aware; aware that he could be sacked by the ruthless Ponzo fellas at any time. But not only did they deny him his move they fired him probably four weeks ago, sought out his replacement, then announced it a few hours after he packed his bags.
I for one (a Chelsea fan) will kneel by my bed tonight and pray they fall into the abyss come May.
RickyG (am I just mad cuz my kids are half-Portuguese though?) Blues
Ten more swap deals
As I have had a bad day, I’ve decided to cheer myself up by mooting some other swap deals:
1.Juan Mata, whom AFC chased before they were gazumped by Chelsea. Swapsies for Mezut.
2. Simon Mignolet for Jack Butland or Kasper, + a wheelbarrow load of cash probably.
3. Bakayoko for Lemar, probably next January window.
4. Harry Kane for the entire BBC. Still Madrid get the better deal.
5. Wilf Zaha for Pedro.
6. Bartra for Lovren.
7. Nzonzi for Xhaka.
8. Dybala for Lukaku.
9. Gylfi Sigurdsson for Iheanacho.
10. Alex Sandro for Antonio Valencia.
Peter (Henriflop Mikhataryflop), Andalucia
Now is Rashford’s time to prove himself
Regarding any potential move for Marcus Rashford, he has appeared in every single game for United this season. Sure, many of those appearances have been from the bench but he is getting plenty of game time for a 20-year-old.
He needs to kick on from here and with Sánchez coming in he will not appear quite as frequently until promise becomes the real thing. It may not work out between him and Mourinho but now really doesn’t seem like the time to jump ship.
It’s that thing about young players backing themselves. Also it probably won’t be too hard for Rashford to outlast Mourinho with his reputation still in tact.
Really don’t get this argument. They won! Winning is good!
What does the average football fan deserve? I’d imagine if I was a Barcelona /PSG or Bayern Munich ticket holder I’d be more than delighted with the matches I’d seen and spent my hard earned dosh to get into.
I’m asking this question because during last night’s match between Swansea and Liverpool I noticed a moment. It was in injury time and Liverpool where pressing for an equalizer, Swansea broke and a Liverpool defender (Matip I think) had to put it out for a throw, along the 18 yard line outside the Liverpool box, and those Swansea fans just beside it went absolutely bonkers, like we just won the champions league bonkers. I thought is that what they deserve?
Football is now a results business, go out, don’t get hammered and try and nick something. Now I don’t expect Swansea or any team outside the top 6 to come out and try and play one twos around that Man City midfield or push their defenders up high against that Liverpool front 3, but at what point has a fan said to his mates in the pub “god I hope we dig in here tonight lads, maybe have 28%of the ball and 2 shots on target!”.
Now I fully expect a couple of mails on “it’s called tactics” but is not also called entertainment? That’s why we love watching games like Liverpool vs Man City or why we tune into Messi and Neymar every week. When have fans decided they want results rather than entertainment?
We criticised Tottenham for clicks
Yes, I am Tottenham supporter and I was quite surprised by the piece you published yesterday about the lack of impact of Pochettino’s substitutions. Then I contrast that with the reporting of last night’s defeat of Liverpool by Swansea and Tottenham’s draw at Southampton at the weekend.
Are you really so concerned by the clicks your site gets that your reporting has to be so slanted as to not upset the multitude of Liverpool fans who read your pages for fear that they will stop clicking?
(MC – Yep, you got us. We didn’t criticise Liverpool (apart from the F365 Says piece on the game, natch) to keep their clicks.)
On UEFA’s new leader
After my letter yesterday, by coincidence (obviously) there was an interview in the Daily Telegraph this morning with Aleksander Ceferin, president of UEFA.
I know it is never a good thing to brag about ignorance, but I consider myself reasonably well read, and I have to say I have forgotten if I had even ever heard of him. He has had the job for 16 months.
In the interview Ceferin stated that there would be “… no Super League…” whilst he was in charge. He also spoke of capping agents fees, adding “If the player is stupid enough to pay by himself, then we can’t stop that”. He would not comment on PSG allegedly flouting UEFA’s fair play rules, as its currently being independently investigated.
The Rich Buggers League is in the hands of the clubs I would suggest. As for his second point, it is more likely the stupid clubs will increase the players signing on fees so they can then pay their agents. His response to UEFA fair play I can understand, but not his sidestepping (according to the Telegraph) questions about Blatter and Platini.
He did sign off on the introduction of the UEFA Nations League, which even UEFA’s own glossy brochure states (regarding how the competition works), “(The) rules are fairly complicated, and it may take fans a while to get to grips with the intricacies of the system”.
But it is OK for future governance. He brags that he has limited the amount of time he can stay in charge. To twelve years !! What could possibly go wrong ?
We have the answer
Enjoyed the top 10 worst Jan transfers, though the answer to Daniel Storey’s hat-trick question is Shinji Kagawa, who scored half of his 6 PL goals in a 4-0 win over Norwich.
Ray R, Man Utd, Mcr