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Next year is our ye…
I’m preparing for the ridicule and scoffing as I type this but I’m putting it on the line that United will mount a title challenge this season, every man and his dog has written us off telling us City and Liverpool are head and shoulders above the rest, well I say b*llocks to that we will surprise quite a few people next season mark my words.
Paul Murphy, Manchester (Chelsea is a great test 1st game)
You’re deadwood, floating underwater
It feels like there’s an important point about Man United’s various needs for revamping their squad that hasn’t been addressed.
How exactly are they supposed to actually get rid of any of this deadwood?
Seriously, who is going to match Chris Smalling’s wage demands and pay a fee for him? As far as destinations that would make sense go, you’re looking at the promoted sides wanting Premier League experience and defensive solidity, but do any of them have the kind of budget for that? Even the club’s whose recruit policy has been poor over the last couple of years seem to be getting their shit together. You can no longer rely on Everton or West Ham to lose their minds as deadline day approaches and throw a random £20 million at one of your squad players.
The comparison has been brought up with Liverpool, and managing to move on the likes of Solanke, Ibe, and Kevin Stewart. However, these were young players who never got a foothold in the first team, and so a certain amount of mystique about their true ability was still around when they were sold as potentially good players for mid-table sides. There’s still time for Solanke obviously (desperately needs a run of games), but nobody could have predicted that Ibe or Stewart would struggle quite so hard in that environment. The same can’t be said of Jones or Smalling. We know exactly how they’d perform if they were to turn up at Crystal Palace, say.
Obviously it’s careless to have run down the contracts of useful squad players like Herrera and Mata, or first team regulars like De Gea. However, United might be left with little choice but to do the same with many of those “not quite” players currently hokey kokeying their way in and out of the team from week to week.
The only obvious parallels at Liverpool I can think of are Moreno (allowed to run out contract while playing bit part) and Lovren (who while we all laugh at a bit here in England, the rest of europe see a World Cup finalist and Champion’s League winner, so it’s not like he’s that hard to shift to, say, Italy). Really not the same thing.
So it’s all very well wanting people gone, but that’s not the same thing as them being wanted by anyone else.
Pierre, LFC, Bristol
Gotta have faith, faith, faith
In response to the article “Man Utd make Liverpool style leap of faith” it’s nonsense to compare Utds panic buying to what Liverpool did last season. VVD and Allison where scouted regularly and Liverpool were in no doubt who they wanted, they went for nobody else. Now utd, wan Bissaka, Gareth bale, Koulibaly, Diego Godin, pjanic, Pepe, rakitic, coutinho, Meunier, Dier, James Rodriguez to name just a few linked to utd so far this summer. That strikes me as panic stations with a scatter gun approach.
To describe Liverpool as a leap of faith is quite frankly insulting. Liverpool identified the problem positions, scouted those positions and got their top targets. There is no leap of faith in the slightest! I can see how rival fans could put it down as “luck” or “leap of faith” as there’s more chance of Hell freezing over than anyone admitting after years of trying Liverpool’s board, manager and scouting department are in sync with one thing in their minds, make the team better!
The shambles in Manchester has little to no similarities whatsoever. The only thing I can take from this is utd are about to spend a truck load of money and are trying to align themselves with Liverpool last season to save some face while they do so. Interesting summer for Utd fans. But please don’t compare Liverpool to that lot!
The cost of success
I had the pleasure in witnessing first hand our absolute destruction of United 1-4 on the day Torres twisted Vidic’s blood… yet again. I could go on at some length about Alexander Ferguson’s shameful assertion post-match that the better team lost showing he was equally unmagnaminous in defeat as in victory and how much the away support was bouncing etc but given we’ve just picked up number 6 I have a semi serious question to pose to the ever august mailbox.
One of my many abiding memories is how visceral the reaction from the home fans was when the ever beautiful Torres held up the world-famous 5-fingered salute that day. Of course it’s a rarity that United fans muster up any sort of noise or passion (unless it’s to sing disgraceful songs about us) but he fair near caused an actual riot*. Honestly, the vitriol and bile that poured fourth with many, many cockneys running full pelt from the East Stand, trying to vault the hoardings and get at him, only to be held up by the thin line of brave stewards. Course we also witnessed first-hand the true violence of the average United fan when they went postal after we played them off the park in the EL tie fairly recently so not much surprises when it comes to that mob.
Anyway: the question. How are our players now to raise their hands to display our vast European superiority to you and indeed other PL fans? Which hand should the 5 be on? Palms facing or outward? Or is it less offensive to use two hands in a sort of reverse Boy Scouts did-dib? So many questions! I mean look at the reaction when the equally handsome Harry Wilson scored for Derby against United last year and cheekily raised the salute. Crikey, United fans! Talk about a disproportionate response as per… Maybe let us know what is least likely to cause you to go ape and we can pass it on next time we bump into the players?
*Blue Peter badge or CrackerJack pen to the first respondent who responds referencing Heysel whilst fully aware hoolies were so all pervasive in those days that had they been any kop back then it would have been a badge of shame for their club rather than Liverpool. Or the first bitter who bangs on about Everton losing outt when it actually punished Liverpool the most (fair enough) as we continued to be top-dog domestically.
Answers on a postcard or mail the MC.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
Liverpool are here to stay
So according to Mangor, Belfast, disagreeing entirely with an utterly ludicrous and silly argument put forward by a non Liverpool fan is the reason everyone hates Liverpool fans.
I am not some blinkered Liverpool fan, Klopp has made mistakes: keeping faith with Lovren,Moreno,Mignolet/Karius-for too long being a particular pet peeve.
Have had issues with Houllier and Benitez whining unnecessarily when they were clearly in the wrong.
The better team won the league last season but credit where credit is due to Klopp.
“The general consensus was Liverpool had to win the title this year.”
What complete and utter tosh. You probably thought the same last year re the CL when Liverpool lost to Madrid and look what happened, they made the final again.
Since Liverpools 4-1 defeat away at Spurs in October 2017 they have lost 4 league games. They haven’t lost at home in 2 years. In 2018 they would have finished second but Klopp rotated players around the Roma and City games meaning they dropped 9 points v Stoke,Everton WBA & Chelsea.
They will get stronger again this year, not to mention the confidence they will get from being the champions of Europe. Liverpool didn’t have momentum the whole season, they had a wobble – in results not performances – which happens.
Look at their results and performances since that 4-1 loss to Tottenham and-extra in the fact they will strengthen this Summer-explain why Liverpool could not replicate their form of the last 18 months next year?
Their best players are only going to get better.
Have you a Delorean and gone into the future or something?
There is no rationale reason why Liverpool will not improve.
And Spurs to finish second??
Mangor from Belfast..more Merse from London with “quality” analysis like that.
Graham Simons has looked at Arsenal’s fixtures, seen Liverpool and Tottenham back to back early on and extrapolated this to mean we’ll us having a terrible early season and Emery getting the boot after getting beaten by pretty much the best team on the planet.
In last year’s equivalent of August-October’s fixtures (the period Graham think’s we’ll have to go through before putting any sort of run together) we took 22 of a possible 30 points. League winning form? Not now that City and Liverpool have set the bar so high. Top 4? Absolutely. Over the course of the season that would be 83 points, which would be more than enough. I’m not suggesting for one moment that its going to play out like that, but to suggest Emery will be sacked pre-Christmas because we have to play a couple of the big 6 early on is ridiculous.
Bale > Ronaldo
I am shocked that anyone can view Bale’s time at Madrid as anything other than a roaring success.
Even compared to other recent Madrid greats I would argue Bale has out performed them.
Bale’s goal to game ratio is amazing when you consider that he is not a number 9 but a wide attacking player. However he suffers from living in the shadow of Cristiano who’s own stats are out of this world.
But why are we comparing Bale to one of the 5 best players in the history of football?
Instead I would like to compare him to another famous Madrid player, one of my favourite players, the original Brazilian Ronaldo.
A 26 year old Ronaldo joined Madrid in 2002 and played there for nearly 5 seasons. In that time in a team containing Zidane, Figo, Roberto Carlos and Beckham he won 2 league titles and no Champions Leagues, failing to even reach a final. He continued his fine goals scoring form scoring 83 goals in 127 league games.
Now compare this to Bale who joined Madrid in 2013 aged a slightly younger 24. Again he has played in a great team with the likes of Cristiano, Modric and Ramos. In the 6 seasons he’s been there he has won one league title, the Spanish Cup and 4 Champions Leagues. In that time he has scored approximately 78 goals in 155 league games.
Hence Bale has actually scored a similar number of goals and has a comparable goals to games ratio to the original Ronaldo while in that time winning far more.
Let that sink in.
If you had said before Bale went to Madrid he will turn out to be more successful than the original Ronaldo, then everyone would say he will end up going down as a Real legend.
The two biggest criticisms of Bale seem to be that he is injury prone and has not adapted to the club, culture or language.
Both are fair. Bale has suffered with injuries as did the original Ronaldo, however he has still had a massive impact on the club in both consistently scoring goals as well as having big moments in games and scoring winning goals in the biggest games.
As a Spanish speaking Englishman I find it hard to understand why Bale has struggled to grasp the language given the time and resources at his disposal, this is amplified when watching Bales team mates notably Modric and the Brazilians who all speak flawless almost native Spanish even though this is not their first or sometimes second language.
However lots of players for whatever reason struggle with languages. Do we judge Tevez’s or Diego Costa’s time in England anyone worse because they could seemingly not speak a word of English? As for not fitting into the culture I think he is a shy albeit competitive boy who just wants to focus on football and not the showbiz side which must surely wrangle with the Madrid commercial department. Maybe once he finishes playing he will come out a la Scholes, however is Scholes any less of a Man U great just because during his playing career he didn’t make documentaries with his team mates or court public attention or affection?
My overriding feeling is isn’t it incredible how successful Bale has been despite being unable to learn the language or adapt to the culture.
Am I saying Bale is better than the original Ronaldo? No. But through the prism of their time in Madrid, Bale has been more successful than the original Ronaldo.
Paul K, London
Obamacare and VAR
Simplifying things to avoid going into too much detail: around 10 years ago, when the Democrats in the USA were trying to pass Healthcare reform with the Affordable Care Act (later referred to as Obamacare), there was a lot of opposition to it, both in Congress and with American people. Americans were/are irrational when the concept of Socialism comes up, even when its specifically Socialized Medicine (I’ve always wondered, does Capitalized Medicine really sound like a better system?)
To get the bill passed, Democrats had to compromise, changing their proposal to lessen the resistance against it from Republican congressmen and their constituents. The compromised version which got passed, although an improvement over the healthcare system that preceded it, was very flawed and inefficient, and it has been heavily criticized for these reasons. Ironically, the compromises made to allow the reforms to pass are specifically what led to the flaws and inefficiencies.
Which brings us to VAR. People have been trying to introduce video assisted refereeing technology for years. There was/is irrational resistance to the concept of technology in football.
To get video assisted refereeing technology introduced, the proposal was designed to lessen the resistance against it. The compromise version which got passed, although an improvement in decisions over unassisted referees, is very flawed and inefficient, and is being heavily criticized for these reasons. Ironically, the compromises made to allow VAR to be introduced are specifically what leads to its flaws and inefficiencies.
Parallel over. Specifically with VAR, the was an instance that the referee on the pitch needs to be supreme, that their decisions must stand, and that they personally must walk over to the side of the pitch to watch replays. As other writers have rightly pointed out, video refereeing in other sports is smooth and doesnt take nearly so long. Different sports use technology differently, but most do not insist that the on-pitch referee ambles over to a screen to deliberate on a decision while the world watches him watching the screen. (American football used to do it this way, but changed it for the specific reason that it was inefficient!) If a centralized team was making these decisions, it would not only be faster, but also more accurate and more efficient. The common argument against is that this undermines the on-pitch referee, but surely this is a minor philosophical objection rather than a valid point?
Oh, one final Obamacare parallel – it is entirely normal for their to be teething problems when introducing major changes to a massive system. Just like Obamacare website apparently didn’t work well when first launched with bugs and slow loading times, it’s not surprising for VAR to be buggy and slow during these first few seasons we use it. Things will get better, even if nothing is changed, simply due to experience and familiarity, and trial + error. (But as noted above, I really hope we give up this fixation on the on-field referee’s opinion, as that seems like an easy win).
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
By the book
All this talk of sporting and football books, I can’t believe nobody has mentioned the greatest football tome ever written and my personal favourite: The mad cap adventures of a Scotland, Ipswich and United legend and his chums, everyone’s favourite morning radio voice , I give you philistines: There’s An Awful Lot of Bubbly in Brazil ( the life and times of a Bon viveur), The Alan Brazil Story bras told by Mike ‘Porky’ Parry. Genius youse tubes.
Harvey O. (North London is lily white)
In response to Mark MCFC, The player who scored the goal was Asisat Oshoala. She plays for FC Barcelona Femini and scored their consolation goal vs Lyon in the UCL Final.
I thought she’d missed also because there were other moments she got into great positions and overran the ball. But that goal was pure world class.