Keep those emails coming in to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Liverpool: Really bad at holding on to leads
There has to be an argument that the worst thing Liverpool could do was try to be resolute and hold on to a one goal lead. It might have more sense to bring on a midfielder, be confident and try to continue to control the game in their half rather than inviting pressure on when we basically have a more porous defence than Middlesbrough (who are probably going down).
If Liverpool do get Champions League, it’s a hollow victory that was limped to in which we produced little quality where it mattered in order to achieve it. We will have only achieved it because the teams around us took points off each other and were in even worse states of disarray. If we don’t get Champions League football that is also a failure. The players are in a position where regardless of finishing position, there will be a lot of scrutiny around this squad and only the attackers can consider their positions safe should we get Champions League.
I would’ve said in August that fifth would’ve been a good season but having been top in November that forced a slight reevaluation. Fourth had to be the minimum acceptable level from then on and to be toying with the possibility of missing out on it because of 5 points dropped against Bournemouth, in both cases surrendering leads, is just criminal. Klopp must know this defence is simply not good enough, and there is something deeply wrong with the mentality of some of the players in the squad.
Is Liverpool’s defending a self-fulfilling prophecy?
It struck me, while watching the game against Everton, that a wave of anxiety came over the ground every time we conceded a set piece near to the box. Even in a game we were winning comfortably.
Now, does that transmit itself to the players? And as a result do we defend them worse as a result? Thus the expectation we’re going to concede a goal actually makes it *more* likely that we do. Self-fulfilling?
Of course the easiest and more boring explanation is that we’re just complete muppets at defending set pieces. If so, some work on that over the summer might not go amiss.
Hands up any Liverpool fans who thought we’d follow up handily beating Everton with a nice, convincing win over a lower-placed side? Didn’t think so.
Five points dropped from winning positions against Bournemouth – maybe it’s karma for relieving them of £21 million for Jordon Ibe and Brad Smith.
Brian Oliver, Dublin
A horrible late point swing for Liverpool
That’s the sort of night that really sticks in my craw. I started the night watching 2 games (Chelsea and Liverpool), hoping both the aforementioned won. When Spurs went one down, I got the laptop out and watched that too.
I was happy as the proverbial pig when, with three minutes left, Liverpool were gaining three points on Spurs, and their outside title shot was gone.
Fifteen minutes later and a five-point swing. From gaining three points to falling two points further behind. So gutting.
And I can tell you from watching the games, the results were not deserved. Why do the lows from nights like this have much more of a lasting effect than the highs of a win?
Dom (I hate this game sometimes) Littleford
What do neutrals want from this season?
I’m a neutral football fan. I just like football. The Premier League is great for me at the moment, notwithstanding Chelsea’s unassailable lead at the top. I love seeing Hull’s resurgence under that foreign guy who don’t know the league, Arsenal are as amusing as ever and there are some very entertaining teams in Liverpool, Spurs, Bournemouth etc who want to score lots of goals.
I was just wondering what other neutrals want to happen in the top four and relegation battles in the last couple of months? personally I want Liverpool in fourth, Man Utd in seventh (Everton are only three points behind) and – with apologies to the resident Palace fans, you seem nice but you have Big Sam – Palace to go down with Middlesbrough and Sunderland. And some sort of wild wondergoal from the half-way line. Any other neutral opinions?
(MC – Philosophical question: If you want a club to go down because of the manager, are you a neutral?)
16 (slightly odd) observations
1) Mignolet must put the willies right up his defence with his antics.
2) Lazar Markovic has a kind face and I wish him well.
3) Arsenal have air stewardesses at the tunnel entrance before games.
4) When asked to confirm that he liked Divock Origi, Ian Wright replied “I don’t mind him to be honest”. Thanks Ian for the honesty.
5) Pochettino is the distant spirit brother of Jackass’ Chris Pontius.
6) Hull are actually a very likeable team. I wish them well.
7) Ibrahimovic and Gestede have outrageous arm spans.
8) Jake Humphries pushes for – and often gets – interesting, informative discussions with the pundits. Owen and Hargreaves more open to it than Honest Ian Wright and Keown.
9) Clucas is a name that really works the tongue.
10) Mourinho looks like he needs a hug and a chat. I reckon Mata is perfect for it. He should host weekly drop-in sessions at OT called ‘What’s the Mata?’
11) Just look at them/it. Harry Maguire, Marco Silva, Oumar Niasse, Nice Lazar Markovic, Wee Andy Robertson. So likeable. I wish them well.
12) The PL is as much a soap opera as a football competition. And it’s a bloody great soap opera.
13) The spine of Tottenham’s team is so good and so balanced. Would love to see Pontius stay for a few years yet.
14) Mirallas is super dislikeable. Wouldn’t get a sniff at Hull.
15) Joaquin was some player back in the day at Real Betis. Lovely eyes. Would have been good to see his mooted move to Chelsea come off.
16) Imagine Tony Pulis had Fellaini’s hair.
On Tottenham’s brilliant resilience
Another astonishing show of resilience from the lads last night. We really looked bereft in the first half, struggling badly with the mounting injuries and unable to create clear cut chances. Second half we got a real foothold on the game but I still couldn’t believe it took until the 88th minute and a little bit of fortune to get the equaliser. Lukasz Fabianski paid a high price for his injury feigning, as when the board went up with 7 minutes on it, it must have killed Swansea’s players mentally after just conceding an equaliser.
This whole team has gone up a gear this season. People waxed lyrical over our performances last season but for all our endeavour, we only won half of our games. We have already won 19 games from 29 this season. Our GD is +38. We’ve won by 3 or more goals 7 times. We’ve won by 2 or more goals 11 times. This is a team that can beat anyone and the next step up is winning/putting in regularly good performances away at our rivals.
Our position isn’t a huge surprise to people who watch us week in week out. Pochettino has come in to detoxify the club first and foremost. Rid the club of the stench of Tim Sherwood, the selfish attitude of the likes of Adebayor, Kaboul and Capoue. The first season was just about scraping as many wins as possible whilst we were pulling ourselves from the wreckage. Even then though, the team spirit Pochettino was establishing was clear, with quite a few late wins from substandard performances.
15/16 season was about fixing the defence and building something exciting. In the 13/14 season we conceded 51 goals and finished 6th. In 14/15 season we conceded 53 goals but finished 5th and scored more goals. The 15/16 season we brought in Toby Alderweireld and ended the season conceding just 35 goals, joint best with Utd, but made significantly worse by our 5-1 defeat to relegated Newcastle on the final day. Nevertheless, we finished with a +34 GD. The football was excellent at times, but the weak mentality was still evident at the end and we still finished below the other lot down the road.
16/17 and the present day and we sit second, 5 points clear of the nearest challenger with a game in hand, 7 ahead of 4th and a healthy 11 point cushion in the Champions League places, having played 1 game more than 5th and 6th, who both travel to Southampton for their game in hand. Few predicted this when Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester Utd spent big money in the summer. Our team spirit has been undeniable this season, and now our quality is shining through.
The beautiful thing about football is that it keeps taking you by surprise.
Since Mike LFC Dubai told us that Tottenham’s win against Chelsea would help his team catch Chelsea, which I met with a firm and fair rebuke that seemed to trigger half of Liverpool, the following has happened:
Liverpool – P11 W4, D4, L3 – Pts 16
Tottenham – P10 W7, D2, L1 – Pts 23
Chelsea – P10 W7, D2, L1 – Pts 23
Hull City P11 W5, D2, L4 – Pts 17
Fewer points than Hull City!!!! It’s much earlier in the ‘Klopp Project’ for sure but there are some key differences between Klopp and Pochettino. The former’s excellent record in the big games and poor record against the dross of the league says to me that whilst stylistically they’re said to be improving, they still can’t get the basics right, and struggle to beat teams who play with less ambition. Pochettino on the other hand, has substance by the bucketload and we just grind teams to dust, good or bad. We are relentless. Lets hope we can just finish the season strongly and finally finish above that lot down the road
Ross THFC (COYS!!!)
A Liverpool fan on why Man United are on the up
As a Liverpool fan, I have no dog in this fight, but I do think Utd fans have cause for optimism when looking back over the majority of their performances in the league this season.
Their current predicament reminds me a little of Liverpool under Rodgers two seasons ago, and a brief spell under Klopp this year, where the team were playing some excellent football, right at the top of the league in terms of chances created and shots on target, but where we concurrently also had a string of games where opposition keepers were standing on their heads, we were hitting the woodwork with alarming regularity, and some harsh decisions from refs helped tip wins to draws and draws to losses.
As Pacino said about a different type of football, it’s a game of inches. The current iteration of Utd are right on the precipice: if Mourinho can stop the scapegoating of match officials and some of his own players, and instead engender a more positive, confident mindset within the club, I could see some of those saved/marginally missed shots nestling in the back of the net instead, and Utd challenging at the top of the league again as a result.
Just as likely though, given Mourinho’s history of lashing out when under pressure, Utd could fall the other way, the players lose their sense of a collective identity, and the performance levels drop off taking with it their title ambitions for another season or two.
I do think it starts with the fans though. If Utd supporters keep their collective chins up, stop the madness of a small minority who are already calling for Mourinho’s head, and focus on the quality of performances of late, the results should start taking care of themselves.
I would love to be proved wrong, mind…
Good on UEFA?
Was good to read that UEFA have announced they will not give into blackmail from big clubs who want a European Super League.
The richest clubs will never give up their greedy dream of a competition of they get to be in regardless of merit (how dare UEFA expect rich teams to actual play well and qualify to get the CL money) so one way they could solve the issue themselves without defying UEFA is to have their Super League competition in the summer when there is no World Cup or Euro’s. So every 2 years get together Europe’s richest clubs in a designated country (USA, China, Japan etc) For the Emirates/Budweiser/Mcdonald’s Super League. Everybody plays each other once, best team from the entitled bunch tops the league and all the clubs go home happy with a big fat pay packet.