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Liverpool just need a squad…
Thinking more about Liverpool as a whole, this season has demonstrated that we can beat any team in world football on our day. Our outfield ten is pretty great, which is why we have produced amazing results against Man City, Roma and others this season.
But the reason we didn’t compete for the league at any stage this season is because we don’t currently have a squad that can win a league. A single game, no problem. But not enough over the course of a year.
The truth is that we might not be miles off. Keita gives us six viable centre midfielders for three positions (Keita, Hendo, Ox, Lallana, Milner and Gini). But it’s beyond the midfield that really we have no alternatives. Clyne is good and I have a soft spot for Klavan but then we’re only a single injury away from Moreno or Mignolet. The truth is that neither Solanke nor Ings can viably replace any member of our front three, hence Klopp gambling that Lallana might.
I am also not sure I buy the comparison of Liverpool and Spurs’ trophy records over the last decade. In the past decade we have had a real chance to win every single competition we have taken part in, Spurs can’t say the same of any of the competitions they’ve been in (no final appearances, finished third to Leicester and were never really competing with Chelsea either). Ultimately the records do tell the same story but at least we keep bringing ourselves close to glory. That experience has value in itself (for players and coaches alike) and might eventually be the difference further down the line. Success is the ability to go from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm, as Winston Churchill said.
They were missing one man…
In an alternate universe, a certain C-shaped Brazilian decided to stay till the end of the season before making his way to his Mecca land. When Salah went off injured, he stepped into the fray, occupying the left while Mane switched to the right. The Liverpool momentum continued and Mr C scored a blinder which secured the win over Real Madrid. He arrives at Barcelona to an adoring, fawning population, a legend before he begins.
It’s all on you, Coutinho.
How much will a keeper cost now?
You’ve got to figure that any club willing to sell their goalkeeper to Liverpool will now be demanding a premium fee. Most expensive goalkeeper in history, coming up?
Real didn’t create much? What game were you watching?
It’s interesting as a non-partisan in this final to read letters from LFC fans who make comments like ‘Madrid didn’t create much’ and I wonder whether we were watching the same game. For the first half-hour Madrid soaked up the pressure without much difficulty – I remember Navas making one save during that time – and clearly were going to take over at some stage. Once Salah departed, it was all Madrid, comfortably in control. Ronaldo whistled one just over the bar, and was only stopped by brilliant last-ditch tackles on two occasions when clean through. A Madrid goal was disallowed for a very tight offside. Isco hit the crossbar. Modric forced a good save from Karius. Benzema had a couple of close ones. Etc. Etc. At the other end? A goal from a corner, and a great try from Mane that hit the post (with the goalkeeper arguably having it covered even if it had been going in). That’s it. Nothing at all else.
Sorry, Karius or no Karius, it was always going to be Madrid. And that comment (from Marcelo I think) about none of the Liverpool players being good enough to make the Madrid team? I actually wonder how many would even make their bench…
And one more thing: in all the railing against Ramos, no-one mentioned Mane, who is, if not quite in Ramos’ class for shithousery, well on the way. His yellow card was much overdue (even if not deserved for that one specific incident), and that stuff is always very much a part of his game. Funny the LFC fans don’t seem to have noticed that (or maybe it’s okay if the perpetrator is wearing a red shirt).
Ray Lee ( a neutral who enjoyed the game)
Some thoughts on Real Madrid
I thought I’d give the Sunday to Liverpool fans to vent out whatever they wanted to before writing my mail on a Real Madrid perspective. Some thoughts on Real Madrid:
1. I really don’t know where to place Zidane. Clearly, to me he’s not a tactician or coach material in a wider perspective. I do not see an identity w.r.t. Real’s footballing style.
2. That doesn’t mean Zidane’s a fraud either. Yes, he’s rode his luck a lot in the last 2.5 years, but the man’s done a phenomenal job man managing some of the world’s best players. And hey, it’s Zidane, so when he tells Ronaldo to “up his arse”, Ronaldo has to up it. Or at least not whine. It’s remarkable how Ziddane has man-managed great players.
3. To think, football teams and games are purely won on a tactical front alone is flawed. There’s a reason Benitez’s domestic record has been appalling since his Valencia days. At the end of the day, the game is all about 11 individuals making the best out of 90 minutes. So, in that context, Zidane has definitely found a way to do the simple things perfect. Like placing players who increase their prowess when paired with others (e.g. his usage of a 4-4-2 with Isco adding to the Kroos-Modric-Casemiro midfield). After all, quoting Valdano, tactics is all about the multiplication effect. By not being a PFM tactician, Zidane has maybe inadvertently got the multiplication effect.
4. To add to it, we’re not talking about 2-3 average players whose combination makes a super player. We’re talking about 7-8 remarkable world-class players across the pitch whose combination exponentially increases the overall multiplication effect otherwise. Incidentally, Klopp’s man-management is also that. While Klopp has multiplied average footballers like Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner to another level, Zidane did something in an exponential level with his choice of personnel.
5. Also, I think great teams are those who know to pick moments in games. Who know to ride their opponents zenith by not getting damage while inflicting maximum damage when they get their turn. Real have at the very least mastered all this in the CL and it has resulted in four CL trophies in fiv years.
6. When I look back at this Real side years from now, it’ll not be as close as the Arigo Sacchi’s Milan, or Pep’s Barcelona because these sides would be the benchmark. These sides were not mere winners, but they defined the playing culture of so many teams for years. This Real side to me is below those sides. But what this Real side is, is a team where a group of remarkable individuals chose to turn up for 4-5 years in the biggest club competition. Showing character, game intelligence, experience to win it. Nothing more, nothing less.
7. It is also not a shame to lose to this Real side. Whether Salah was not injured would Pool have won? In my view, no. They were on the ascendancy till then, but Real would have surely found a way. I’m just making an intuitive guess here. It’s a shame that Salah’s injury and Karius’ mistakes rule the headlines while forgetting that Real without being the best club side can win this particular tournament as though it was a charity shield game. To me, that is going to be the legacy of this Real side.
8. Since 2009, two league titles in nine seasons is a paltry return for a club who boast supreme talent (and investment). Maybe, Real must next focus on being legitimate title challengers in Spain. That must be the challenge for Perez. Whether it is going to be Zidane or someone else is another matter totally.
9. Finally, let’s not forget the roles played by Jose, Carlo and Rafa Benitez. Jose Mourinho for all his faults basically put Real Madrid back in the UCL map. From perennial R-16 exiters (something Arsenal took over later and Chelsea whenever we do play in UCL), Jose made them serial semi-finalists. It was his lack of trust in allowing his flair players to express themselves that made his ceiling a semi final with Real (or Chelsea and any other big team he manages, for the man’s best is as an under dog). However, Carlo changed it and slowly allowed the hand brakes off. Benitez for all his faults tactically worked on Carlo’s structure, bringing in Casemiro! Zidane built on these brilliant foundations and has done great. This Real side have the characteristics of Mourinho’s winner trait, Carlo’s cup wins, Benitez’ tactics and maybe a bit of all with Zidane. Will Zidane ever win another CL with Real or anyone else? Maybe Real, but with anyone else, I don’t think so. Is Zidane the man to build a team from it’s basics? No. But should we give him credit for what he’s done? Yes. Jose took Real from A to B. Carlo from B to C. Benitez added more to C and Zidane has taken C to a totally consistent level of D (or whatever you want to fill) when it comes to UCL.
Aravind, Chelsea fan
We never leave the playground
I feel really compelled to write to the Mailbox off the back of Karius’s errors; as a person, a football fan, someone who loathes Real and who’s co-incidentally a Manchester United fan.
It’s fascinating how we react to such an event. Arguably, does the first error happen without the blow of losing their talisman? The whole team seemed half a step out of sync after he went off. The second error’s much less likely without the first… I’m not a psychologist (a PhD in cod psychology perhaps), and I know a lot of Freud’s work has been de-bunked; but for me there is certainly something of the Id, Ego & Super-Ego about this. As horrific an error as it was, like a car crash, I can’t deny that I found it hugely compelling (the Id). Seeing it happen almost in slow motion, knowing that it wasn’t going wide, or be ruled out was kind of exhilarating. And that’s why we love football, because we want to see something spectacular, both the fantastic (like Bale’s wonder-goal) and disastrous. The Super-Ego in us is considerate, empathetic and really goes out to Karius. Who hasn’t been in a situation where they wish they could go back five seconds and not drop that item/say that thoughtless remark? The Ego is the part of us that decides to exploit his misfortune or sympathise. Be sure, the mocking will be merciless (we never leave the playground) and anyone who says they wouldn’t be effected by it is a liar.
Where the guy goes from here is anyone’s guess; the worst part for him is that he now has a summer with nothing to do but remember those moments. So I can’t stress this enough to people – NO ONE DIED. As much as it may seem the end of the world to him, his teammates and by extent the supporters; take a look around the world – put it in perspective.
I’m sure he’ll get the help he needs; perhaps a loan were it’s a fresh start without being actually jettisoned by his club. Football will continue and this will be another patch on it’s rich tapestry (BTW good luck Mo Salah to get fit for the WC) . But I hope it is some consolation for every fan who’s on the end of ‘banter’ because of this, the person who dishes it out – they also sympathise.
Cut Karius some slack
I don’t really want to be drawn into the whole Karius was at fault argument, but I just want to say that it’s easy to forget sometimes how young these players are and the enormous pressure that comes along with playing on the biggest stages in the world. Karius is still 24 years old. I definitely don’t want to think about the irresponsible things I was doing at that age.
Perspective on Ramos
Do Liverpool fans forget they used to have a player who’d try to eat the opposition?
Sam (in NZ)
Ramos’ foul would normally go unnoticed
Imagine this simple scenario. During the Champions’ League final, Sergio Ramos links arms with Mo Salah and they both fall. They roll over and jump up to their feet to continue the game. No one would have even thought such an incident would merit even the smallest discussion. Sadly, the reality is that this did happen, Salah fell awkwardly and got an injury that took him out of the game.
The thing is, in football, the seriousness of an injury is not what players are punished for. This is why a dangerous challenge that makes absolutely no contact can still result in a red card – it was still a dangerous tackle that COULD have injured a player. The flip side of this is that sometimes innocuous challenges end in serious injuries. This doesn’t mean the referee increases the punishment; it’s just sad and unfortunate. Cards are issued based on intent, not on consequence.
So when Liverpool fans, and even journalists like Mirror’s football correspondent David Maddock, more or less suggest that linking arms with a player and falling over is a move out of UFC and should be punished with a huge retrospective ban… Well, you just sound bitter and a bit silly.
Barnaby Dickenson (THFC)
Sometimes we need laughter in the darkness
I’m fully aware this is not a dear Deirdre column in some crappy newspaper, so I’ll try and keep this as short as possible. I’m going through some things at the moment. I’m 32. I live in Dubai. I’m depressed. About life and adult things etc. I don’t know what to do about it. I should and probably will speak to somebody about it soon. I’ve had a lot of bad thoughts in recent times, and tonight has been particularly bad, but I have many friends/acquaintances. So I’ve gone through my entire contact list in order to find somebody to speak to about it. Everyone I’ve tried to call is either busy or didn’t answer the phone. I wasn’t sure what to do next, so I went online and came to F365 for the first time in a while. I’ve stayed away for a little bit now for many reasons. I feel like you generally have a lot more clickbait. Foolishness in the mailbox. But tonight something told me to check back in. Your headline and intro on Sergio Ramos being an evil genius made me burst out in a fit of laughter. I know it might be something most of your readers wouldn’t have given two shits about, but I wanted to say this is why you are the best football website around. I’m just trying to say keep doing what you’re doing, it really does make a difference to a lot of people. All the best now.