Mails: Scholes and Keane the best midfield partnership?

Date published: Friday 15th September 2017 9:38

Send your thoughts to for a Sunday Mailbox.


It’s Friday. Yay!
Dale Leeds


The final ‘Klopp out’ responses
I’m probably too late to get on the smiddy is a goose bandwagon but just in case I’m not here are my thoughts…..

1. Stop being such a bed wetter you goose. The season is 2 minutes old.

2. Your main beef with the defenders klopp has bought seems to be their price tags. It shouldn’t matter how they cost to bring in. Sami hyppia is often referred to as one of the greatest bargains in premier league history. Matip would walk into any other team in the league bar maybe spurs which pretty much makes him a £30mil signing. We only got him for “free” because klopp is the boss.

3. Klopp is a trainer first. You just need to look at the improvement of guys like lallana, moreno, can, mignolet and lovren to know why the answer is not always to buy one of your list of 500. Are they all world beaters? No. But all are better players now than they were under brendan.

4. We didn’t sign VVD. No sh*t. But by all report’s the only reason he was interested in coming to anfield was because of klopp. And if haven’t worked it out already klopp doesn’t compromise on his targets…. Unlike brendan (you brought him up) who showed us that when you compromise you end up with Mario balotelli.

It’s a sad symptom of our obsession with 24/7 transfer speculation that opinions like smiddy’s, where the only answer is to sack a manager and/or buy new players, are becoming more and more common. Once upon a time clubs were applauded for patience in managers and player development.

I am just thankful seasons last longer than 7 games.


Fess up, Alberto
Random lunchtime thought: last season James Milner was Liverpool’s first choice left back. He was ahead of Moreno, and since then Liverpool have bought in a specialist LB in Robertson.

So what the shuddering f**k has Moreno done to now suddenly be first choice, ahead of both a new signing (a decent player too) and the player he was behind last year?

Has he got pictures of Klopp after 15 pints in a compromising position with multiple German shepherds? Not sure I can think of any other explanation.
Calum, MUFC, Wokingham


Poor Dejan
It is quite sickening to single out Lovren for Liverpool’s defensive woes. Taking a look at the fantastic defenders in the recent past :

Ferdinand – had the likes of Vidic, Neville, Evra and the likes of Keane to shield them. He even had the luxury of Pique as an understudy.

Terry – had the likes of Carvalho, Ashley Cole, Ferreira and the likes of Makalele to shield them.

Sol Campbel – had the likes of Toure(kolo), Cole, Lauren and the likes of Vierra and Gilberto to shield them.

That brings me to the present day rock solid CBs – Ramos, Pique, Bonucci, Luiz etc. They all have Casemiros, Kantes, Barzaglis and co. And most recently, now that Manutd has Matic and Baily, even Jones looks like a legendary CB. But who does Lovren have? A german-league drained Matip, youngsters Gomes and Alex, redeeming Moreno and who’s shielding them?
Dele from Lagos


Double standards
It’s quite interesting that there are those amongst the mailbox who think that ‘lesser’ teams from UEFA leagues such as Qarabaq and APOEL have no place in the Champion’s League because they’re not worthy of people’s time, or they are diluting the quality of the competition – even though these teams have earned that right by winning the league title in their own country.

But ask yourself – when the FA Cup rolls around, and similarly some ‘lesser’ teams (such as Forest Green, Havant & Waterlooville and more recently Sutton United last season) start progressing to later stages, do we jump on their backs and cry that they are ‘diluting’ the prestige of the FA Cup? No. We talk about the ‘magic’ and that they’re living a ‘fairytale’ and that we hope they can go as far as possible as underdogs.

You see where I’m going with this. Yes, it can be frustrating to watch group games played at 50% effort, but perhaps we should jump down off our gold-plated donkeys and stop blaming ‘the foreigns’. After all, English teams haven’t done too well recently, maybe WE’RE the ones diluting the quality?
Lee (Glaring hypocrisy, as far as the eye can see), LFC


Replacing the Champions League
OK so the Champions League is getting dull. The League cup seen by major teams as a side show that is being increasingly used to blood youngsters in half full stadiums. The FA cup is magic has dwindled to an occasional spark. The UEFA cup is the ugly mate of the Champions League.

So why not replace the Champions League with the Cup winners cup (I know, I know, bear with me). So if you win the league, the FA Cup or the League cup, you’re in.It would mean a maximum of 3 teams per country so would reduce the size of the tournament. It would ensure, regardless of schedule, that every team would field full strength squads for all cup games. It would mean that aiming for 4th in the League is no longer a trophy ie go big or go home.

Obviously winning the league title is by far the more difficult task but that could be rewarded with a seedings system or even maybe force a play off system for equivalent foreign cup winners and league title winners get straight entry thereby reducing the tournament even further.

You may still get an odd Portsmouth or Wigan but by and large, you would have all the so called big teams in the one competition and you would invigorate the ailing cup competitions. The league wouldn’t lose out much as it’s already the one that everyone wants to win anyway.

Obviously it would mean less games in Europe so the money men at  UEFA/Fifa will ensure it’ll never fly.
Morgan Emmett


Dining at Europe’s children’s table
Last night was our first foray into Europe’s gutter competition and I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed it. It was schoolboy hi jinks of the highest order. Delayed kickoff, flares being let off in the library and botched ticket allocations set the tone for the absurd pantomine that is the europa league. The sight of the opposition manager decked out in the tackiest of attire with bright red shoes and matching tie was topped only by the sight of Wenger trying to look dignified in a black parker with pink lapels.

The farce continued into kickoff with a howling goalkeeping error setting the tone for a first half that was more punch and judy than theatre of football. Referees slipped on their backsides, fullbacks rubbed shoulders with strikers whilst CB’s dribbled into the final third, lost the ball then, hopelessly out of position, dashed back like dogs chasing squirrels.

Arsenal held up their end of the bargain by lining up in an unorthodox 31051 formation which really added a strangely appealing flavor to this dish. It reminded me of the first time I tried a lychee.

I wouldn’t like to dine at europe’s children’s table year on year, but sometimes you just can’t beat a good buffet. I’m going up for seconds.
Liam Gabriel Hoskins (who does the theme music, Duran Duran?) AFC  


Pining for Bobby M
Bloody hell. I didn’t think I’d be pining for Bobby M so early into Koeman’s tenure, but for all the money spent in he summer Everton’s performances thus far this season have been nothing short of Turd.

I don’t know who had the final say on those transfers, Koeman or Walsh, but by the time our third paceless number 10 of the window signed for a club record fee it was becoming painfully clear that there was no joined up thinking going on, no ‘philosophy’ or ‘project’, just the enthusiastic scattergun spending of the financial manager-less nouveau riche.

When we line up against Man United this weekend with three centre backs, two defensive midfielders, at least two number tens and either a child or another midfielder leading the line, serious questions will need to be asked. I just hope that, sooner or later, Koeman can employ some of that pragmatism he displayed at Southampton and a find a way to make a coherent team out of this disjointed morass.


Midfield partnerships
I have been a regular visitor to your site for a number of years and love your blend of intelligent analysis and cutting wit.

I have an idea for a great Top 10 feature that I – and I’m sure your other keen followers –  would love to see you get stuck into: midfield partnerships. The inspiration for this comes from the performances of Luca Modric and Toni Kroos over the last few years and their significant role in Madrid winning back to back European Cups. But where do Modric and Kroos sit in the pantheon of all-time great midfield partnerships? Are they better than Xavi and Iniesta were in their pomp? I would love to read your musings on the debate.

What constitutes a great partnership? For me, the respective pairs would have to have won a World Cup or Champions League / European Cup and would have to have ‘dominated’ for more than a season.

I know modern teams often play with three in the middle and the two partnerships I have aforementioned owed a lot to the Busquets/Casemiro types who often played alongside them but let’s ignore that as it muddies the waters!

Would Pirlo/Gatusso feature? I would hope so. Keane/Scholes surely has to be in there and also perhaps the Schweinsteiger/Kroos partnership that won Germany the World Cup and Bayern the Champions League. (Can you tell I’m quite a fan of Toni!?).

My football knowledge is not great before the 90’s so it would be great to hear about some dominant partnerships before the modern era.

Kind Regards
Patrick Bayer

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